While living in Europe and working as an au pair, I have travelled to 15 new countries that I can safely say would never have been explored if I hadn’t taken the risk and moved across the world straight out of high school. And I would recommend each and every country I have visited. I can’t even tell you my favourite, because they’re all so unique and incredible! However, what I can do is give provide a few tips for some of the countries as you chase the European coastline.
Croatia is a country that is best visited in the summer months due to the crystal clear waters of the ocean and the openness of the city. I explored Split and stayed in the En Route Hostel – very affordable and probably the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. It’s close to the old town (10-minute walk) and provides a complimentary breakfast. While visiting Split, you have to explore the Old Town, I recommend a walking tour – a free one is provided by the hostel – and I also recommend driving 1.5h hours to see the Krka Waterfalls!
The food and drinks there are relatively cheap if you look for the right restaurants and bars. I also highly recommend doing the zip lining in the small town of Omis. You probably need a maximum of 4-5 days to fully explore this city. You can search for Split accommodation here.
Also a summer destination due to the crystal waters and outdoor lifestyle. I went with a group of friends to this destination and we found that it was cheaper to rent an Airbnb (Vista Vaios) and split the cost than to find a hostel. I highly recommend the Captains Restaurant on the marina for affordable seafood and very good service!
The town of Mykonos is actually on the opposite side of the island from the infamous beaches and clubs – Tropicana, Super Paradise Beach, and Paradise Beach. For more great beach clubs and restaurants in Mykonos, check out this article. They are well worth visiting but taxi is pretty pricey.
However, there is a bus! A bus will take you to and from the beach for about 6 euros roundtrip, from the centre of town. Also, if you’re into tattoos, I recommend the Flesh for Ink Tattoo and Piercing Parlor (close to bus stop). The staff is super friendly and willing to sit down for hours and work out the perfect tattoo for you.
Other than that, Mykonos is actually kind of expensive if you expect to eat out every day, for every meal, so be prepared. I recommend about 4-5 days for Mykonos as you can quickly run out of activities, especially if you’re on a budget. You can search for Mykonos accommodation here.
Sicily was a bit of an impulse holiday for me, so I didn’t plan it very well. I went with a friend so again, we rented an Airbnb in an apartment. We spent one day in Catania – I don’t really recommend it as a destination, it’s nice to explore. The beach in Catania is far out from the city and not really worth anything, so I recommend jumping on the bus, it goes every hour to Taormina – which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been so far.
The scuba diving (blue sea diving centre) is also worth a visit if you’re into the ocean as much as I am, and after your scuba diving, you can go cliff jumping! The staff at this dive centre are very informed about ocean life and they love their jobs. They love to teach new people and show them the places they explore every day.
In terms of food, you must try the Mount Etna Wine, The brioche con gelato and the Arancini balls. Taormina is stunning and you can easily spend a couple of days there exploring the oceans, the beaches, and Isola Bella. You can search for Sicily accommodation here.
AMALFI COAST, ITALY
The Amalfi Coast is another oceanic destination in Europe. This trip I did with a student group from Florence and we stayed in a hostel in Salerno (Ave Gratia Plena). It’s a very basic hostel but provides a complimentary breakfast, which is handy when travelling on a budget. The beach in Salerno is nice to watch the sunset at with a glass of wine. You only need one day in each of the coastal towns (Positano, Amalfi, and Salerno).
They are all gorgeous towns and have a lot to offer, with their unique charms. I highly recommend doing the hike from Amalfi Coast to Positano and then taking a dip in the ocean in Positano. You can grab some fresh fruit from the market and take it down to the pebbled beach for a picnic. The ocean is gorgeous and the waters are clear. There is then a ferry that will take you back from Positano to Amalfi, or even all the way to Salerno.
The food and drinks are relatively cheap around this coastline and you probably need a maximum of 5 days to explore these 4 coastal towns. You can search for Amalfi Coast accommodation here.
FRENCH RIVIERA, FRANCE
What a beautiful place! I was initially going to go on this trip with a student group from Florence, but then I decided that I could do it cheaper by myself. So what did I do? Well, I stole their itinerary and went rogue. I knew that there would be beautiful beaches and oceans at this destination so I packed my swimsuit, towel and Garmin VIRB (waterproof camera like a GoPro) and took off on a bus. I went on this trip around mid-July 2018 and the weather was gorgeous!
Along the French Riviera, I visited the towns of Nice, Antibes, and Monaco. Nice and Antibes are the destinations to hit for the beaches, whereas Monaco is just a day trip to visit the place and visit the infamous Casino!! (where I lost 10 euros)
The beaches there, however, not what I expected. Absolutely stunning views but the beaches weren’t sand, they were pebbles and rocks. I actually noticed this a lot around Europe, the beaches are made from stones rather than sand. It has its perks but being from the west coast of Australia I definitely appreciate my white sandy beaches.
Anyways, the water was perfect and you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas in specific private beach areas. I thought this was a really nice idea so you didn’t have to lie on the stones and you got some protection from the sun as well. The beds are quite pricey but there are so many options that I’m sure you can find a reasonably priced one.
The seafood at this coastal destination is also to die for!! I mean how can it not be, it’s on the coastline. When I visited the french riviera I stayed in an Airbnb rather than a hostel because I kind of wanted my own space and wanted to treat myself to a little bit of luxury. You can definitely find cheap hostels in Nice or Antibes. You can also search for French Riviera accommodation here.
My favourite of all the places along the French Riviera was Antibes. It has these small cobbled streets, covered in bright flowers and little shops and cafes. The people there all have huge smiles on their faces, stretching from one side to the other. In Antibes, you can find a beach with sand – a nice change from rocks.
The beach is packed though! I recommend if you’re staying in Nice to take an early train to Antibes as the train station lines get insanely long this time of year and that way you can also get a good spot on the beach. Take a towel, buy an ice cream, go for a swim in the crystal clear waters and relax on the sandy beaches.
All I can say in conclusion is don’t forget your swimsuit and your camera for those insta-worthy shots! The coastline in Europe is a hot destination in the summer months and I highly recommend visiting them in summer – they just wouldn’t be the same in winter.
Have you ever been to any European beach destination? If you have any additional tips for our readers or questions please leave these in the comments below.
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Find Accomodation Along the European Coast
- Find accommodation in Split, Croatia
- Find accommodation in Mykonos, Greece
- Find accommodation in Sicily, Italy
- Find accommodation in Amalfi Coast, Italy
- Find accommodation in French Riviera, France
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We Are Travel Girls Contributor Anouk Marren
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