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We’ve rounded up the best, most serene, hidden gems and small coastal towns in Europe perfect for a beach vacation this summer, including gorgeous seaside spots in Italy, Croatia and more.

consider getting off the tourist trail for a beach vacation in Europe

We are gearing up for a very busy summer travel season. In fact, airfares to Europe from the U.S. and then all over Europe will be up as much as 50% summer as the demand is quite high and the supply simply isn’t there.

Best most serene hidden gems and small coastal towns in Europe perfect for a beach vacation

What are the best, most serene, coastal towns in Europe for a beach vacation this summer?

If you are lucky enough to afford it and have the time, you are going to want to make the most of it. And maybe that means not going to the same places everyone is going to. With a little research, you can uncover a hidden paradise that maybe even your most well-traveled friends haven’t heard of.

Here are 7 of the best, most serene, small coastal towns in Europe that are perfect for a relaxing beach vacation, including gorgeous spots in Italy, Croatia and more.

7 most serene coastal towns in Europe for a beach vacation this summer 

1. es trenc, balearic islands

Perhaps the most beautiful part of the Balearic Islands in Spain, with miles of pristine white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush Mediterranean vegetation, Es Trenc is a hidden gem. Located on the southeast coast of Mallorca, it offers an authentic island experience. Think uncrowded, genuine and just a bit rustic. You and the fam can walk along the shore all day, or explore the sand dunes and pine forests.

most serene coastal towns in Europe for a beach vacation

The most serene coastal towns in Europe for a beach vacation this summer: Cala S’Almunia, Mallorca. Spain.

2. Porto Santo, Portugal

There are very few unattractive areas in Portugal  – and Porto Santo is no exception. With beautiful beaches and clear blue waters, you’d think that crowds would be intolerable. Luckily, this lovely and unspoiled coastal town is still relatively under the radar. 

Porto Santo beach, Madeira Islands, Portugal.

3. Cinque Terre, Italy

People have been visiting the beaches of the Italian Riviera for decades and, well, it gets pretty crowded in the summer. But you can still find a few quieter places like Cinque Terre will you get the full Riviera experience. From the food to the incredible culture and let’s not forget the amazing sights in this cliffside town. A perfect place for nature lovers as well. 

The most serene coastal towns in Europe for a beach vacation. The village of Manarola at sunset. Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy

4. Kotor Bay, Montenegro

This stunning bay in Montenegro is surrounded by mountains and limestone cliffs, producing one of the most stunning vistas you will ever see. This is a great destination for the outdoorsy crowd. Visitors can hike, kayak, and cycle. If you go, be sure to explore the town of Kotor, known for its medieval architecture. Also, check out the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, which dates all the way back to the 12th century. 

The Bay of Kotor coastline, Boka Bay, Montenegro

5. Vouliagmeni, Greece

You will have access to a bevy of beaches in this area of Greece—Astir Beach, Vouliagmeni Beach, and Kavouri Beach—all perfect for sunbathing and water adventures. If you get tired of the beach, head over to Thermal Lake. It’s fed by underground hot springs and is known for its restorative properties. There are also several luxury resorts in Vouliagmeni, including some of the finest spas and restaurants. Plus, you are just a short drive away from Athens.

The best serene coastal towns in Europe for a beach vacation: Vouliagmenis Lake, near Athens, Greece.

6. Rovinj, Croatia

This charming coastal town located in the Istria region of Croatia, not only has gorgeous beaches (especially if you love rocky coves) but also houses a beautiful old town. Think cobblestone streets, village squares and exquisite shops and houses to look at. 

Rovinj, Croatia

7. Isola di Ponza, Italy

It takes a bit of time (usually a whole day from Rome) and planning to get there, but it is worth the train/car/ferry ride. Isola di Ponza or Island of Ponza, has really not been discovered by too many people, despite being located between Rome and Naples. Once there you have a choice of beaches including Cala Feola, Frontone Beach, and Chiaia di Luna. Then take some hikes around the cliffs, explore hidden caves and just take in the incredible sights of the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Island of Ponza, Italy.

the most serene beach vacation destinations in coastal towns in Europe

That’s our take on the best, most serene, hidden gems and small coastal towns in Europe perfect for a beach vacation, including spots in Italy, Croatia and more. Which one’s at the top of your list, dear reader?

Meredith Lepore

Meredith Lepore is a travel and luxury writer and editor whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure,, Marie Claire, Self and more. She’s visited many top hotels and restaurants (although she’s still waiting on that private jet ride, which she insists would help her get over her fear of flying.) Her personal definition of luxury is Doritos and The Gilmore Girls, plus the occasional meal at Per Se. Meredith resides in New York City with her Yorkie, Otis; her preferred home décor vibe channels Valley of the Dolls.