Coastal areas and big cities have never been a good match. Normally, in the big cities close to the coast, there are ports that are an entry point for ships carrying many different kinds of goods.
But this does not mean that there are no cities where we can set up our parasols and towels to enjoy the sea and the sun’s rays.
Get your Havaianas flip-flops ready, and don’t forget your sunscreen, we’re going to the beach!
Today we want to show you some of the best urban beaches to visit in Europe, so you can spend your holidays in 2022 between buildings and sand.
1- Las Canteras Beach, Spain
Our first beach on the list is in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands.
Chosen this year as one of the 15 best beaches on the continent according to the Traveller’s Choice ranking, organised by the Trip Advisor website, Las Canteras is one of the most renowned urban beaches.
More than 3 kilometres long, its yellow sand stretches along the bay that dominates the northern part of the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is an ideal beach to visit with the family and enjoy playing games on the beach.
Looking towards the sea, behind us there is a promenade with hundreds of bars and restaurants. Even if we were just to stroll by the sea, a visit to Las Canteras would be a unique experience.
On calm days there are crystal clear waters that are perfect for a swim. However, most of the time you will find waves that are perfect for water sports such as bodyboarding or surfing. Without a doubt, a beach to visit more than once.
2- Cabedelo do Douro Beach, Portugal
From the Canary Islands we move to the Portuguese city of Porto to discover its most representative beach.
Its name comes from the fact that it is located next to the mouth of the Douro River, which runs through the centre of the city of Oporto a few hundred metres back.
Its extensive white sandy area is the perfect place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. On its promenade, the beach has showers, bars and beach bars that extend the range of services offered by this magnificent beach.
With calm waters, the best thing to do is to take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean, then return to your towel on the sand and enjoy the sun’s rays.
After spending the day at the beach, we can go to the city centre to enjoy monuments such as the Oporto Cathedral, stroll through neighbourhoods such as Do Barredo or visit incredible places such as the Lello e Irmão bookshop.
If you want to pack light, you can try the You Malta Mix Sandals, which are ideal for a stroll around the city.
3- Plage Castel, France
The capital of France’s Côte d’Azur is called Nice. Here we find an imposing old city, with historic buildings to walk around.
The St. Nicholas Cathedral, which looks very much like the one in Moscow, is another of the city’s highlights. It is rare to see such an orthodox building in France.
And after seeing these places, there is nothing better to do than to go straight to the Plage Castel, in the middle of Nice’s seafront avenue. There you will find a beach of small pebbles, where you will find services such as parasols, sun loungers, deckchairs, deckchairs and showers.
It is also a good place to go to a French restaurant where you can try some of the catches that have been made nearby, right in the heart of the Mediterranean.
The beach is named after a nearby medieval castle on a hill, which you can climb if you want the best views of the city of Nice.
Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun with good sunglasses, and remember that to counteract the walk, there’s nothing better than a dip in the turquoise waters that bathe the beach of the castle.
4- Bagno Sirena, Italy
We now move on to the vibrant city of Naples. In the heart of the city centre, in the western part of the Bay of Naples, is the small but charming beach of Bagno Sirena.
Being so close to the buildings, not only does it make for an incredible postcard view, but it also has all the amenities you’d expect from a beach.
We suggest you lie on the yellow sand and enjoy the turquoise water lapping at the shore from time to time. But if there is one thing that stands out about Bagno Sirena, it is the landscape.
You will see the city of Naples in front of you, with the gigantic volcano Vesuvius in the background. Don’t forget to take a photograph of this incredible spot.
After an intense day at the beach, don’t forget to bring your espadrilles so you can be comfortable and visit iconic places in the city such as Spaccanapoli Street, see the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta or eat what, according to the Neapolitans, is the best pizza in Italy.
5- Bačvice Beach, Croatia
This list could not be complete without one of the best beach countries in the whole Mediterranean, Croatia. In this case, we visit one of the best urban beaches in Europe more unknown.
Located in the city of Split, in the south of the Balkan country, this beach is a reference for the inhabitants of the city. There we will see many young people, who spend almost all their summer time in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea.
Although it is a very small coastal area, only a few hundred metres long, the beach is perfect for children, as it has showers, children’s play areas, umbrellas and sun loungers for rent and bars and restaurants all around.
You can also rent pedal boats to explore the area around the beach.
In the city of Split, the best thing to do is to stroll around the historic centre, where most of the monuments are located.
One of them is the Diocletian’s Palace, which served as a military fortress since Roman times, so it holds within its walls centuries of history.
6- La Concha Beach, Spain
If we are talking about urban beaches in Europe, we cannot omit La Concha beach in San Sebastian.
The Basque coastline has some great yellow sandy beaches, but none has the beauty of La Concha. Perhaps because of its landscape, as it seems to be embraced by the entire bay of the same name.
In front, we have the island of Santa Clara, perfectly situated between the Urgull and Igueldo mountains.
There is no shortage of services on the beach, especially in the summer season. There are sunshades and sun loungers for hire, showers, lifeguards and boats for hire to explore the bay.
Just behind is the promenade, which runs along the 1400 metres of beach, and where you will find buildings that are very representative of San Sebastian’s Belle Époque.
Today, excellent bars and restaurants line the promenade, perfect for relaxing while contemplating one of the best urban beaches in Europe.
To the east of La Concha beach is the old quarter of San Sebastian, which you must visit if you are in the city.
There you should see buildings such as the Buen Pastor cathedral, or the basilica of Santa María del Coro. In the Plaza de la Constitución square you can sample the rich Basque gastronomy, where pintxos are the king of the menu.
Most of the urban beaches have many services, so you won’t have to worry about anything. Bring your beach bag, your favourite swimming costume and let your only worry be sunbathing.
7- Camden Beach, Great Britain
The city of London, despite being miles from the coast, also has its own beach. An artificial beach, but one of the best urban beaches in Europe.
Above all because of its location, in the heart of the bustling Candem Town. This beach is only open in summer, when the weather is fine. Have you ever thought about wearing your bikinis in the middle of London?
In the small space of the beach there are all kinds of elements that transport us to Caribbean beaches: palm trees, sand, sun loungers, parasols and even hammocks, to enjoy the beach in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world.
In total, the space occupied by the beach between the shops and street food stalls in Candem is 900 m2, in which up to 150 tonnes of sand are deposited.
After leaving the small oasis, we can take the opportunity to visit both Candem Town and other parts of the city of London. Big Ben, Hyde Park and the British Museum are perfect places to complete our visit to the British capital.
8- La Barceloneta, Spain
We finish our list of urban beaches in Europe with La Barceloneta. Anyone who has been to Barcelona and has not set foot on the yellow sand of this legendary beach may have to reconsider returning to the city.
And not because of the beauty of the beach, but because of the great atmosphere that surrounds it. There are plenty of trendy bars and restaurants in the areas surrounding the beach, and there is a youthful air about the place that can’t be beaten.
The beach is 420 metres long and has all the necessary facilities such as showers, umbrellas and sun loungers.
It is also common in the summer season to find sports areas for beach volleyball and beach football. The other option is to rent a paddle surf and paddle along the waters of the Mediterranean to get a good view of the city.
When we finish our day at the beach, we can go and visit different places in Barcelona such as the Sagrada Familia, the Gothic Quarter or the Ramblas, to spend an amazing day in the Catalan capital.