Sankt Peter-Ording, Germany
No other North Sea beach is like that of Sankt Peter-Ording: 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) long and up to 2 kilometers wide. Enough space, therefore, for the wicker beach chairs, which also stand on dry land at high tide. Those looking for activities after basking in the sun can enjoy beach sailing, windsurfing or kite surfing — or splash in the cool waters of the North Sea.
There are also some gorgeous beaches on the German Baltic Sea coast — if sometimes a little hidden. Like the western beach of Fishland-Darss, one of the most beautiful regions for nature lovers. Mass tourism? Not at all! And when the weather plays along, the pine trees on the beach almost look like palm trees, don't they?
Playa Es Trenc, Mallorca, Spain
The playas and calas, or beaches and coves, of Mallorca are what summer vacations are all about. Only about 45 minutes by car from the lively capital La Palma, the gently curving beach of Es Trenc beckons with its crystal-clear water. It is the last undeveloped beach of Mallorca. The dune landscape at Es Trenc has been placed under environmental protection.
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The Italian Riviera merges seamlessly into the French Riviera, better known as the Côte d'Azur. Beside the glamorous and awfully expensive city beaches of Cannes and Nice, one bay follows the other along the coast. Many of them are only accessible by foot or by boat. The beach L'Escalet near St. Tropez is exceedingly popular. It is free and you can get there by car.
Elafonisi, Crete, Greece
Which island would you like to visit? All of Greece's islands add up to more than 3,000, the largest being Crete, a hot spot for more than 4 million sun worshippers a year. The many bays, in which the sea glistens in all colors, compete for the vacationers' favor. One of the most beautiful is the bay of Elafonisi with its fine sandy beach.
Praia do Marinha, Portugal
The Algarve coast has many faces: it's suitable for families, party tested, attracts surfers with its waves and sunseekers with its beaches. And it's wild and pristine. Protected from the wind by 30-meter-high (100 foot) cliffs, Praia do Marinha is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. A great panorama can be enjoyed from the Miradoura viewpoint.
Podrace beach, Brela, Croatia
Croatia is particularly attractive to German holidaymakers because the country on the Adriatic Sea is accessible by car. In Dalmatia, south of Split, lies Brela, the well-known holiday resort on the Makarska Riviera. Brela's beaches — like the Podrace beach here — leave nothing to be desired, as they are among the most beautiful in Croatia.
The South Sea is actually far away from Germany, but in a small way it also can be found north of Düsseldorf in Xanten, because here a natural swimming area is called Xantener Südsee (South Sea Xanten). It can't quite compete with the South Pacific, but there's a sandy beach, sunbathing lawns and a summer feeling here, too. There's also a diving tower, bathing islands and a restaurant.
San Sebastian, Spain
For residents and visitors of some large towns, city beaches provide a local recreation area in the truest sense of the word. The white sand in San Sebastian, Spain, meets every need — and the weather in the Basque Country's metropolis is usually suitable for a vacation at most times of the year.
For those who want to enjoy the dolce vita (good life) on their beach vacation, the Ligurian coast in Italy is the place to be. The most famous places here are Portofino, Cinque Terre or San Remo. The coast, also known as the Italian Riviera, is lined with small, charming towns with beaches in between and in front. The one at Camogli is particularly picturesque.
Author Anne Termèche
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