6 Best Beaches In Europe If Your Study Abroad Trip Needs Some Sand & Sunshine
Girls just want to have sun. There's truly nothing like studying abroad in Europe. During the week, you most likely spend your days experiencing your city and getting some sleep. And on the weekends, you jet set to somewhere else that's oh-so-sweet in the constant search for adventuring and curing your wanderlust. You're lucky, because it's fairly easy to hop from one country to the next — between trains, buses, and those slightly sketchy flights, there's always a way to get to where you want to go. But, city life can be draining and if you're looking for some tropics to add to your to-do list, we hope you'll visit one of the best beaches in Europe when you're studying abroad.
Your Instagram needs some sun, and you're in desperate need of the sea. But, before you start to stress, take a deep breath, and keep palm and carry on. Sure, Europe is filled with cities worth seeing, like Copenhagen, London, and Madrid. You'll love your long weekends roaming around busy streets as much as you will laying on the beautiful beaches. Your bucket list at the beginning of your stay was probably filled with excursions like parasailing in the Swiss Alps, and climbing one too many stairs to the top of Florence's Duomo.
Spending some time along the coast won't keep you from city life, and is for shore something you should consider. Truth is, these beaches are nothing like the ones you remember from home. So, break out the swimsuit and pack your beach bag with the essentials, including lots of sunscreen (the sun is so strong, and nobody wants to sit on a plane with sunburn), and hit up one of these six spots for some quality time in the sunshine.
1. Brac Island, Croatia
One of the best memories I have from abroad is the beach on Brac Island in Croatia. We decided to spend a weekend in the city of Split. This island sits just about an hour off the coast from Split by boat — or booze cruise, if you're looking to party or pop some champagne on the sea.
After docking on this island, we walked just a few minutes down the sidewalk and found this purely pebble beach tucked into a white marble town. The water was crystal blue, and there were snowy mountains from the mainland in the distance. Despite not having any sand, this beach will forever be the best one I'll ever go to, and should definitely be on top of your travel list, too.
2. Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is the hidden gem of Italian beaches. Don't get me wrong, the Amalfi Coast lives entirely up to the hype. But, if you're looking for a spot that's a little less commercial, you should definitely take a trip to one of these five coastal towns.
Built right into the mountains, Cinque Terre is the birthplace of pesto and the home of seafood cones. You can take a pretty hefty hike from one town to the next (I promise, it's worth all the views and Instagram opportunities), or just take a train if you're looking for a trip with more rest and relaxation.
If you're studying abroad in Florence, the saturated pastel houses and beautiful beaches are only a couple of hours by bus. You could do it in a day or book an entire weekend. Just don't sleep on something so sweet and sun-kissed.
3. Corfu Island, Greece
You've heard about Santorini and Mykonos, and don't get me wrong those spots are well worth losing sleep over. But, if you're looking for a beach in Greece that's lively but still a bit of the beaten path, well, I suggest a place like Corfu.
A lot of study abroad travel services will offer trips to this tiny island in the Ionian Sea. Lined with resorts, there is quite a nightlife scene in Corfu — but the beaches and coves that are tucked into the mountains are the places you'll want to seek out and stay in for awhile. Unlike the rocky beaches of Croatia, or the rough shell-lined shores of New England, the white sand of the Greek islands is one of the finer things you'll find while abroad.
4. Lagos, Portugal
Settled into southern Portugal is an island known for its towering cliffs. If you're getting a little sick of the Mediterranean Sea, traveling to different tropical place along the Atlantic Ocean will be a nice change-up. Take a boat ride amongst the rock formations or just dive right into the warm water.
The culture of this coastal place will feel a little like that of Spain. It'll feel just a free and lively as Barcelona, mixed with the richness of places like Paris, and the history of those old Italian towns. Experiencing Europe through a study abroad lens is a once in a lifetime offer, and making time for the magic of Lagos will be worth the memories you'll get in return — and not to mention the tan lines, too.
5. Positano, Italy
Positano is the perfect spot for traveling tourists, but also for study abroad students looking for some sun and sand. Although it's become quite commercial over the years, it's still worth spending a weekend in Sorrento and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.
During your stay, you should definitely check out the Blue Grotto and wander around the island of Capri. Always order the seafood pasta, or bounce over to Naples on your way back for the original pizza. (Joey from Friends would be so incredibly jealous.) Buy a pair of custom sandals and snap some pics for social media, because no beach trip is complete without flip-flops or a camera roll full of fun times with friends.
6. La Barceloneta In Barcelona, Spain
One of the best parts of Barcelona, aside from unlimited amounts of paella and Picasso, is its most popular beach, La Barceloneta. A lot of the main and most lit clubs and restaurants of the city sit right on the sand of this beautiful beach that will seriously upgrade your study abroad stay.
If you're looking to soak up a lot of culture and sun rays, Barcelona will definitely be the destination for you. You'll want to pack a beach towel, sunglasses, and a little extra cash so you can see sights like Gaudi's Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia.