Top European Holiday Resorts
Some want to climb mountains, others want to sail solo round the world, but for most of us, the perfect holiday is sunshine and relaxation on the beach. That’s why Europe’s top tourist resorts are all beach locations and mostly around the Mediterranean. British holidaymakers always want a fine weather guarantee.
The eastern Mediterranean coast in Turkey is moving quickly up the British holidaymaker’s popularity table. In the 1980s, Marmaris was a sleepy fishing port in a sandy bay on the Aegean Sea surrounded by pine forests. Today, the beach offers sailing and all kinds of water sports, while Mamaris town is famous for its lively nightlife. History buffs can take days trips inland to see ancient Greek ruins at Physkos and Halicarnassus, Roman ruins at Ephesus and Byzantine cathedrals just about anywhere.
The coast at Olu Deniz just south of Marmaris is rated frequently in tourist surveys as one of the top five beaches in the world. The sea is turquoise and aquamarine and a blue lagoon shimmers in the shadow of Babadag Mountain.
The Algarve coast in southern Portugal lies far to the west, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. British tourists have been flocking here since the 1960s. There are 200 miles of coastline with beautiful beaches and stunning rocks stretching out into the sea, all punctuated with little coves and bays. The crystal blue sea is perfect for snorkelling.
Albufeira is the Algarve’s main town and gateway, offering top restaurants, shopping, nightlife and historical attractions. The Algarve weather is mild and sunny the year round making it a perfect spot for sports enthusiasts, whether golf, horse riding or cycling. Backpackers can be more adventurous and travel to the cooler parts of the Atlantic coast.
British holidaymakers have been voting with their feet for decades and have made Spain their favourite holiday destination. It only takes a two-hour flight to get there from most European capitals. Benidorm has two, four-mile long beaches, the Levante and the Poniente, of pristine, soft, golden sand that frequently win European Blue Flag awards.
The tacky image that Benidorm had in the 1970s and 1980s among British holidaymakers has long disappeared. Today, the resort offers top class hotels and every form of activity for all ages, from nightlife and theatre, to water sports and volley ball, all within easy reach.
The Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and Lanzarote offer spectacular volcanic landscapes overlooking endless beaches. Located just off the coast of Morocco, though part of Spain, the islands are warmed by air flowing from the Sahara Desert and have the best climate in the world. Temperatures in the Canaries are 24 degrees C in the middle of a northern European winter so there are holiday opportunities the whole year round.
There are 60 kilometres of beaches over nearly 230 kilometres of coastline on Gran Canaria, the largest island. The longest stretch, from Playa del Ingles to the Maspalomas lighthouse, is backed by even more sand dunes inland. Playa del Ingles – the Englishman’s Beach – is the largest beach resort in Europe after Benidorm. Enjoy lazing on the beach or by the pool before returning to Playa del Ingleshotels to prepare for Gran Canaria’s exciting nightlife.
Photo by ahisgett