The safest beaches in Europe for 2020 summer

Where to enjoy the sun and sea as Europe reopens for tourism

Finally, travelers can start to plan their holidays in Europe after the coronavirus outbreak. Most of the countries have already unfolded what their travel restrictions will be for the upcoming months and when travelers are welcome again. Everything points out that July is a viable month to travel safely and now it’s time to choose where to go. 

The travel portal European Best Destinations has prepared a list of the 10 safest beaches in Europe to enjoy during a couple of summer months left ahead. The list was prepared together with tourism offices that belong to the EDEN Network (dedicated to promoting sustainable travel in Europe) and basic criteria were the incidence of COVID-19 in the country, beaches length, and square meters available per visitor on the beach.

Other conditions taken in account were the accommodation offers and their commitment to health safety, such as room disinfection service and respect for social distancing. 

So, if you are asking if there are safe destinations after coronavirus, the answer is YES! As long as travelers follow health authorities guidelines and keep social-distancing when applicable, enjoying holidays will be perfectly possible.

The 10 Safest Beaches in Europe

The selected list by European Best Destinations includes mostly lesser-known summer destinations but it is impressive in terms of beauty and attractions.

Book from our range of all-sizes hotels, tourist apartments or private villas (choose the “free cancellation” option, in case you are still unsure) as well as your flights, and enjoy your summer vacation on the safest beaches in Europe.

Preveza, Greece 

beach in preveza greece with sunset

Preveza is not one of the top Greek destinations and it isn’t even a mythical Greek island. But this year Preveza is THE safest destination for one simple reason: it has one of the longest beaches in Europe, with 20km long and 80m wide. Besides, health authorities have put several safety measures in place to assure accommodation, shops, restaurants and the beaches are COVID-free. 

The main beach in Preveza is Monolihti, but it is not  the only one. The town is small, with less than 20,000 inhabitants, and is resort-free.

Preveza is in Epirus, 360km away from Athens, and is in the Ionian Sea. Right in front of Preveza is Southern Italy and therefore it has a completely different style. It is not the typical Greek village with bougainvilleas and blue-domed buildings. It is more likely the part of Greece heavily influenced by the Venetians, that reshaped the architecture of part of the Greek islands in the XVII century.

Greece has many good scores in the safest beaches list because the country was barely affected by COVID-19 (179 deaths so far) and has taken strict measures to assure safe tourism, like setting a minimum 4m distance between each beach umbrella. 

Re-opening situation

Travelers can visit Preveza after July 1st with hotels and shops open. No quarantine required.

How to get to Preveza

Fly to Athens and rent a car to reach Preveza in around 4 hours. Another option is to book a flight to Aktion and reach the town in 10 minutes. 

Where to stay in Preveza

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Preveza. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Halikounas beach, Corfu, Greece

Aerial view from Halikounas beach in Corfu Greece

Corfu is a famous summer destination for international travelers, and the fact that Greece has 50 times less cases of COVID-19 than other European countries is a great green signal to this piece of paradise. 

Unlike Preveza, Corfu is big and with abundant natural diversity. It is actually the second biggest of the Ionian islands with around 100,000 inhabitants and 593 square kilometers. Corfu has a professional tourism infrastructure in place as it receives more than 330,000 tourists per year

Despite its long history and juicy myths, Corfu became an appealing summer destination for its hundreds of beaches with pebbles and golden sand, sheltered coves, caves and smaller islands. On the Western coast of Corfu, there are the long sandy beaches. On the Eastern coast, there are mostly pebble beaches. 

Then there is Halikounas, picked as one of the safest beaches in Europe for  this summer. It is an amazing long strip of sand separating Ionian sea and lake Korission. The lake is part of a protected natural reserve. As for safety concerns, Halikounas has more than enough square meters for travelers to enjoy very relaxing vacations.

Re-opening situation

International travelers can visit Corfu after July 1st. No quarantine required.

How to get to Halikounas, Corfu

Fly to Corfu and then rent a car. It is a 40-minute drive to Halikounas.  

Where to stay in Corfu

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Corfu. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Comporta, Alentejo, Portugal

Comporta beach Alentejo in Portugal
Photo by Gustavo Verissimo

Coronavirus didn’t really find success in Portugal and even less in Alentejo. The region was affected 600 times less than any other European area and, even in normal times, is never overcrowded with tourism. 

Alentejo is one of the most uninhabited regions in Portugal and is still a synonym of peaceful vacation. 

So it’s time to enjoy Comporta, a 20km-long beach located one-hour away from Lisbon. This is where Madonna used to ride her horse during her 2-year stay in Portugal, and is one of the few anecdotes of this hidden gem in the Atlantic coast.

As many Portuguese villages, Comporta offers accommodation mostly in small hotels and guesthouses, although there are a few “boutique resorts”. Besides, as in most of Portugal, gastronomic offer is simply remarkable, with fresh seafood and traditional dishes for excellent prices. 

Re-opening situation

Hotels are gradually re-opening between June 14th to July 1st. No quarantine required.

How to get to Alentejo

Book your flights to Lisbon and then rent a car to Alentejo. It is an hour drive.  

Where to stay in Comporta, Alentejo

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Comporta, Alentejo. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

Lagos beach Algarve Portugal

Portugal has done really well in its fight against COVID-19 and its main touristic region, Algarve, should start receiving travelers as soon as the season is launched. However not all Algarve is overcrowded. One of its most beautiful spots is Lagos (“lakes”), a historic city located in Western Algarve with a coastline full of dramatic natural landscapes.

Lagos is neither peaceful as other Portuguese beach towns nor is saturated with tourism. It has trendy bars and cafés, some vibrant nightlife and excellent accommodation. It is a good destination for families with kids or teenagers, as it offers a wide array of activities and places of interest. 

Lagos main beach is Meia Praia, with 5km of extension and gold sand. It is long and wide enough for every traveler to feel safe and enjoy the view.

Re-opening situation

Hotels are gradually re-opening between June 14th to July 1st. No quarantine required.

How to get to Lagos

Book your flights to Faro and then rent a car to Algarve. It is an hour drive.  

Where to stay in Lagos, Algarve

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Lagos. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Porto Santo, Madeira Islands, Portugal

Porto Santo in Madeira Islands Portugal
Photo by Bernardo Ferreria

Madeira is the least affected region by the coronavirus outbreak in Portugal, which makes it even more eligible to enjoy some deserved holidays after the quarantine months. 

Madeira Islands is a volcanic archipelago with exuberant landscapes and a wide offer of sports, like diving, cycling or canyoning. It is made of 5 islands in the African coast. Three of them are the “desert islands”, another one is the main island (Madeira) and then there is Porto Santo, which has only 5,500 inhabitants. 

Porto Santo is an absolute paradise for nature lovers. It is often visited as a day-trip from Madeira. Differently from the main island, Porto Santo has many white sand beaches. Its most known beach is 7km-long and with nearly no buildings around. 

Reopening situation

Madeira will be open to international tourism on July 1st.

How to get to Porto Santo

Book flights to Funchal Airport (Madeira) and from there you can get a ferry (1h crossing). There is also an airport in Porto Santo and the flights from Funchal take around 15 minutes. 

Where to stay in Porto Santo, Madeira 

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Funchal or Porto Santo. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Hel Peninsula, Poland

Hel peninsula in Poland

There is a heavenly place on Earth called “Hel”. It is in Poland and it is a peninsula whose big attraction is a huge strip of sand, 35km long, with fine sand. Hel is 33km away from the mainland. 

This place has an impressive military record. During the invasion of Poland by the German nazis in World War II, Hel Peninsula was one of the longest-defended pockets of Polish resistance and it was the last spot to be liberated by the Allies. After that, it became a naval base and in the 1990s it started to become civilian again. 

Nowadays tourism plays an important part in Hel’s economy but it is far from saturation. Hel is actually another hidden gem for international travelers due to its beach and Baltic sea, nature and history.

Reopening situation

International travelers are welcome after July 1st, no quarantine required.

How to get to Hel Peninsula

Book your flights to Gdansk then rent a car to Hel Peninsula. It’s only an hour and 15 minutes drive.

Where to stay in Hel Peninsula

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Hel. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Ghajn Tuffieha beach, Riviera Bay, Malta 

Riviera bay Malta

Malta has fortunately had a very low incidence of COVID-19 with hospitals not going overcrowded despite its high population density. So it ticks the first requirement to be one of the safest beaches in Europe for 2020 summer.

The Republic of Malta is a Mediterranean archipelago in the South of Italy and in the East of Tunisia. It is often referred to as one big open air museum, which is not an exaggeration. Malta dates back to 5,200 BC and throughout history has blended all sorts of cultures (Fenicians, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, French, and finally English, that occupied the island for 200 years). The country has only 3 inhabited islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino) and is perfect even as a short-stay destination.

One of the safest beaches to enjoy summer after coronavirus is in Malta itself in a bay called Riviera, in Mellieha. There, travelers find Ghajn Tuffieha, a beach big enough to offer some amenities that are important for families, like toilets, sunbeds, restaurants and parking. It is also cool for water sports and barbecues. 

Reopening situation

Tourist season restarts on July 1st.

How to get to Melhieha, Malta

Book your flights to Malta airport here. Then rent a car to Mellieha, it’s only 30 minutes away.

Where to stay in Mellieha, Malta

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Mellieha, Malta. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Jurmala, Latvia

Jurmala beach Latvia

Jurmala is a seaside town only 30-min away by train from Riga, Latvia’s capital, and is considered one of the best sustainable wellness destinations in Europe, according to EDEN Network. 

Jurmala is a green destination, rich in natural resources, like mineral waters, therapeutic mud and pine forests. Its beach is 32km long with white quartz sand. Waters are not deep and the beach has amenities that match the needs of many families, like toys, water-bikes or volleyball and soccer fields. 

But the town is also famous for its spas and natural wellness treatments that spoil travelers. It is actually called “the resort town”. 

Reopening situation

Hotels and restaurants open on July 1st. Wellness centers and events venues will be open for less than 500 people at a time .

How to get to Jurmala

Book flights to Riga and then rent a car or take a train (it’s around 30-50 minutes)

Where to stay in Jurmala

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Jurmala. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Nida, Lithuania

Nida beach Lithuania

Nida is a tiny resort town in Lithuania with less than 3,000 inhabitants that receives around 200,000 tourists each summer. It is between the Curonian lagoon and the Baltic sea, and is close to the border with Russia. 

Nida is quite a secluded destination, away from the noises of the contemporary world. It offers more than 100km of fine sand and moving dunes. It is in the “Curonian Spit”,  a huge strip of land between two seas/gulfs and lands. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by Russia and Lithuania.

Lithuania annexed Nida in the 20th century and the town is very much appreciated by Latvians, Russians and Germans as well. It used to be the vacation destination of Nobel Prize writer Thomas Mann (“The Magic Mountain”) and today his summer residence houses a memorial exhibition dedicated to him. 

During the COVID-19 crisis, Lithuania has passed through it with high notes and the country offers very interesting attractions besides Vilnius and Nida. It’s had 40 times fewer cases than most of European countries and the health system is in perfect shape. 

Reopening situation

Lithuania welcomes international travelers after July 1st. 

How to get to Nida

Book your flights to Palanga, then rent a car (it’s a 1h30 drive). Another option is go to Vilnius and drive for 4 hours. 

Where to stay in Nida, Lithuania

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Nida. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.

Binz, Rügen Island, Germany

rugen beach island germany

Who would think of Germany as a beach destination? Well, times have changed. Rügen is the biggest German island and is located in the Baltic sea. It is a popular summer destination with around 6 million visitors each year and is famous for its 5km-long Binz beach. 

Binz is known for its charming architecture and nature, surrounded by Jasmund National Park and chalk cliffs. Sea, surf and sandy beaches make a good synthesis of Rügen Island and what to expect from it. 

Reopening situation

International flights are allowed in Germany after July 1st.

How to get to Rügen Island

Book your flights to Berlin and then rent a car (it’s a 3hour-drive). Another option is to fly to Rostock Airport and then drive for 1h20. The “gateway” to Rügen island is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, where it is linked to the mainland by road and railway.

Where to stay in Binz, Rügen Island

You can check Booking.com, Agoda or Skyscanner for hotels, hostels or guesthouses in Binz, in Rügen Island. Additionally, you can check our accommodation search engine which includes the most relevant hospitality vendors including Airbnb.