When most people think of a last minute beach holiday or cheap summer getaway in Europe, they think of the Balearic Islands, the Costa del Sol or Greece.
Majorca, Benidorm and Crete all offer their share of sun, sea and sand, but what about trying somewhere completely new, somewhere you’ve never been before?
Sometimes it can feel like the only other alternative is to shell out on a long haul holiday. Fortunately, there are a number of amazing European destinations that won’t deplete savings.
We’ve teamed up with Holiday Gems's seasoned travel expert, Neil Latham, to find out more about the best European beaches and holiday destinations that aren’t in the Mediterranean…
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
Bulgaria may seem like an unlikely choice to some, but the country’s fabulous Black Sea coast continues to grow in popularity with British holidaymakers.
Sunny Beach is one of Bulgaria’s two main resorts and is the perfect setting for a summer break, with a superb range of family-friendly accommodation, activity centres, restaurants and bars.
But what makes the Balkan coastal town so special is its sublime 10km Blue Flag beach, where you’ll find golden sands, clear turquoise waters and a selection of amenities.
Sunny Beach is a Bulgarian beauty spot that rivals neighbouring Greece on bases. Holidays to the Black Sea coast are also renowned for being great value for money – perfect if you’re on a budget.
Tenerife, The Canary Islands
Tenerife is no newcomer when it comes to Europe’s best beach holiday destinations. In fact, the Canary Islands are widely believed to be one of the continent’s first mainstream destinations.
One of the best things about Tenerife is that you don’t have to wait for the summer for hot weather; the island enjoys year-round sun with average temperatures of 20-25 degrees Celsius.
And where better to enjoy Tenerife’s glorious climate than on one of the island’s many spectacular beaches, which range from quiet hidden coves to well-maintained coastal resorts.
Keep an eye out for Tenerife’s unique black sand beaches, such as Playa Bollullo in La Orotava, they’re just one of the natural wonders you’ll find on this captivating Canaries paradise.
In short, Tenerife has everything you’d expect from a brilliant beach holiday, with numerous activities, water parks, eating places and cultural pursuits, as well as a stellar selection of hotels.
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
If you still need convincing that the Mediterranean is the only place for a beach holiday in Europe, just take a look at Croatia’s magnificent Dalmatian Coast.
The region is home to a selection of fabulous islands, including Hvar, Mljet and Vis, which can all be discovered on a boat tour of the sublime Adriatic Sea.
On the mainland, you’ll find a combination of must-see landmarks, historic sights, breathtaking beaches, family-friendly resorts and an assortment of traditional restaurants.
The Dalmatian Coast is perfect if you like travelling around and island hopping, with the ancient cities of Dubrovnik and Split easily accessible from the coasts main resorts.
Croatia’s Dalmatian coast is an excellent choice if you like the excitement of a city break mixed with the luxury of a beach holiday.