Beach in Sylt, Germany

4 Unexpectedly Awesome Beaches in Europe

You’ve no shortage of options when it comes to cheap holidays on the beach throughout Europe. Given the area around the Mediterranean alone, travelers rarely need look anywhere else. But the continent offers some seriously awesome beaches beyond those the typical travel brochures try to pitch you. You just need to know where to look!

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Here are four of our favorite European beaches that might surprise you:

Beach in Sylt, Germany
© dierk schaefer

#1: Vik Beach (Iceland)

Sure, Iceland … wait, what?! If you’ve never been, it’s hard to imagine that Iceland has any semblance of a beautiful beach. But the country’s geology has, for thousands of years, been building stunning beaches on every corner of the island.

Located in southern Iceland, Vik Beach is a black sand beach that deftly summarizes the country’s entire landscape. This isn’t your typical “catchin’ some rays” destination. Instead: bring your camera. It’s located in the wettest part of the country and it’s sure to be raining like the devil. But rolling thunderheads, coupled with dark cliffs surrounding visitors on all sides are quite a photogenic site to behold.

#2: Falsterbo (Sweden)

If Iceland’s not quite your thing, head a ways east to Scandinavia. Falsterbo is a quaint, charming beach resort done about as perfectly as only the Swedes know how. The sand here is (almost literally) blindingly white and tiny, cute-as-a-button wooden huts dot the sand as far as you can see. Bonus: with a ban on motorized watercraft, the only sounds you’ll hear are the waves and the wildlife.

#3: Butterfly Valley (Turkey)

A deep canyon accessible only via boat or a long, steep walk down make Turkey’s Butterfly Valley one of the few almost entirely undeveloped beaches in Europe. It sure ain’t easy to get to, but it’s well worth the trip. The area is so named because of the butterflies that take over during June through September. Bonus: if you don’t feel like hiking back out in the same day, rough beach houses can be rented by the night.

#4: Sylt (Germany)

Rough Guides said of Sylt that it’s “genteel and sophisticated, with a clientele to match”. Indeed, which is precisely why it’s been dubbed “The Hamptons of Germany”. And just like the Hamptons of the U.S., there are plenty of eclectic, upscale shops and trendy boutique restaurants to keep the upper class jetsetters happy. Oh, and the impeccable beach that surrounds the interior is nothing to sneeze at it either.

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