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Europe's Best Beaches for Swimming: Insider Favourites

by Simpson Travel on 23rd February 2016

palombaggia Palombaggia, Corsica

Gently lapping turquoise shores for paddling in or exhilarating waves to plunge into - whatever your dream beach, you’ll find it on the world’s most diverse continent. The team at Simpson Travel picks their favourites…

CORSICA

PALOMBAGGIA

Bathe in shallow, crystalline waters before settling on your lounger for a manicure or a cocktail - Corsica’s most famous beach combines Caribbean-esque beauty with the high glamour of St Tropez, while still managing to be child friendly.

SANTA GIULIA Santa Giulia, Corsica

SANTA GIULIA

This horseshoe-shaped bay has a ‘lagoon’ feel, with calm and shallow waters perfect for paddling in. During peak season there’s a lifeguard on duty too, keeping a watchful eye over the water babies indulging in all the sea sports on offer. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants, cafés and bars, as well as sun loungers and parasols for hire.

FRANCE

PLAGE D’AGAY

Vendee_Beach_House Vendee Beach House, Longville-Sur-Mer, France

Splash or snorkel away the day at this little-known bay, an hour west of the famous resort town of Cannes. Nestled at the foot of the Estérel Mountains, there’s also beach volleyball and a kids’ club.

LONGEVILLE-SUR-MER

This beautifully unspoilt strip of Atlantic Coastline invites swimmers to take a beach safari, stopping off at each of the 17 separate entrances along the forestry road to find the perfect dipping spot for you and yours.

GREECE

ELAFONISSI Elafonissi, Greece

GERAKAS BEACH

A Zakynthos favourite, this idyllically beautiful turquoise-water, golden-sand cove shelters the endangered Caretta-Caretta sea turtle. Snorkel in the rock formations or just curl up on your lounger and enjoy the wild ruggedness of the surrounding landscape, characteristic of the beauty of this Greek island.

ELAFONISSI

Villa-Lapis Villa Lapis, Kalkan, Turkey

Dive into beautifully clear waters and take in the gorgeous pink hue of the endless white sands. They’ve earned this beach the nickname ‘pearl of Crete and despite its popularity, there’s always room, even in the height of summer, to find a solitary spot to swim or stretch out on.

TURKEY

PATARA

An invigorating dip in the waters of one of the most beautifully wild beaches on the Turkish Mediterranean coast might just bring you up close and personal with the endangered loggerhead turtle. A protection order for these wonderful creatures has enabled this 18km Kalkan beach to keep development at bay.

Can-Xanet Can-Xanet Villa, Puerto Pollenca, Mallorca

IZTUZU

Arrive at this iconic nesting ground for the loggerhead turtle via a tranquil boat ride along the outstandingly beautiful Dalyan River. For an invigorating dip you can dive into the estuary, or take a gentle stroll along the expanse of sand to learn more about the local turtles in an on-beach sanctuary.

MALLORCA

PUERTO POLLENCA

PLAYA-DE-MURO Playa-de-Muro, Mallorca

Set against the backdrop of the Tramuntana Mountains, this peaceful Blue Flag bay has calm waters ideal for little ones just getting used to waves, an excellent array of shops, cafés and restaurants nearby, and all the facilities you could need for a family play date.

PLAYA DE MURO

With all the restaurants, facilities and watersports you could want at one end; deserted soft dunes shelving into shallow turquoise waters at the other – these 6km sands offer the best of both worlds.