17 Instagrammable European Towns We’re Dreaming Of Right Now
Is it just us, or is our whole Instagram feed on holiday in Europe?
Whenever we open up the app to scroll, we’re confronted with picture after picture of friends and acquaintances soaking up the sun in far flung, glamorous European destinations. Jealous, us? Well, maybe a little bit. But seeing so many glorious pictures has us dreaming of a vacation of our own. These are the seaside towns we want to visit, pronto.
Tucked away just outside of Marseille is Cassis, a sleepy French town famous for liqueur and for untouched, secluded beaches. If you’re looking for a holiday somewhere in the South of France (but without the hectic crowds of the Riviera), Cassis might be the place for you.
Instagram-perfect Clapboard shutters and cute cobblestoned streets are what set this Portugese seaside town apart from its neighbours. Just 40 minutes from Lisbon, it’s the perfect destination for a day trip from that buzzy Portugese city. Remember to pack sunscreen, reading material, togs and plenty of Portugese tarts in your canvas beach bag.
Sure, you might not think of England as the sundrenched European vacation spot of your dreams. Also, they’re about to leave Europe, so this little town won’t be a European seaside spot for much longer. But what Margate lacks in blistering Southern European sun it makes up for in fantastic food and wine. Think fish and chips, smooth ice cream and great cider. Delicious.
You’ve heard about Puglia, Ischia and of course the Amalfi coast. But what about Liguria? The Italian Riviera is one of the country’s most underrated seaside destinations, with sparkling green water and some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat. Skip the Cinqueterre (too touristy) and go straight to Camogli, a gorgeous seaside town just outside of Genoa, where the foccacia is hot and salty and the beaches are ringed in by mountains. Make sure you leave one day free to hop on a ferry to San Fruttuoso, where you can swim in the shadow of a monastery.
Less than an hour from Athens by boat, Hydra is one of the most accessible Greek Islands. It’s also car-free, which means that the pace of life on this dreamy inlet is slowed down and chilled out. Make like famous residents including Leonard Cohen and spend your days reading, writing and swimming.
Guernsey, United Kingdom
There’s so much history packed onto this green island tucked away in the middle of the English Channel. As the only English territory to be occupied by the Nazis in WWII, the place is full of fascinating and, at times, tragic stories of WWII, which will prove endlessly interesting to those who love their holidays with a side of learning. But there are also beautiful beaches, too, with bracing water, after which you can head to a hotel to have a restorative plate of scones with jam and cream.
Istria, or Northern Croatia, is still relatively tourist-free, even though it boasts the same glittering water and Medieval architecture as its Southern compatriots Dubrovnik and Split. What that means is that you can stretch out in the sun in peace at one of the area’s many (many, many) beaches.
Come for the Game of Thrones filming locations, stay for the unparalleled swimming. Malta is an easy, unfussy holiday spot with plenty to see and do as well as stunning beaches for when you just want to relax.
Right on the Mediterranean, Kas will dazzle ancient history buffs and thrill anyone who loves to scuba dive or snorkel. The food is fantastic, the swimming plentiful and the vibes excellent. You’ll never want to leave.
Often called one of Scotland’s most stunning coastlines, the West Orkney town of Yesnaby is the place to stay if you’re looking for a left-of-centre seaside adventure.
Northern Spain is full of wild coastlines and romantic beaches, and nowhere more so than Basque country and Bilbao. A stay here will fill your heart (and your belly, of course), and is within spitting distance of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, the coastal walk where they filmed Dragonstone in Game of Thrones.
If the water is too cold for swimming in this quaint, colourful village on the coast of Copenhagen, never fear. You’ll still have plenty to do, including eating some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste.
Croatia gets the bulk of the attention when it comes to Adriatic Sea holidays, but don’t forget Slovenia. The gorgeous country, fringed with forests, has a beautiful coastline, upon which the town of Piran is located. Like many Adriatic locations, it was once ruled over by Venice, which means there’s still Italian influence in the architecture and design. And the swimming? Be brave and dive off the rocks on the harbour straight into the ocean.
Sure, Chania is Crete’s largest and, therefore, busiest town, but don’t write it off just because it’s buzzing. The village centre is full of interesting shops run by local artisans, the restaurants serve that salty, zingy Cretian food and the ancient history is second to none.
One word: Fjords. Head to the Norwegian city of Bergen, a few hours on the train from Oslo, and you will have the chance to see the intricate coastline that the country is so famous for firsthand. Also worth experiencing is the Flam railway, often voted one of the world’s most picturesque trainlines, which takes you up through the green Norwegian countryside and into the mountains.
Just south of Croatia, Montenegro has all of the same appeal of its neighbour with none of the crowds. Opt for Perast, a sleepy seaside town overshadowed by a mountain, for the ultimate in chill out vibes.
And just south of Montenegro is Albania, sure to become one of the most popular European beach destinations in the coming years. Dhërmi is the busiest beachside town and it’s not hard to see why, with its natural beauty and inviting waters. Dive in.