Europe is blessed with some of the most picturesque coastlines in the world. From crystal clear turquoise waters along the Mediterranean to glaciers and fjords, here’s a look at some of the European coastal towns that will take your breath away.
Although Kotor is gaining popularity as a cruise ship stop, the town is still relatively quiet when compared to other European coastal destinations. Kotor’s fortified port dates back to the Venetian period and features a medieval Old Town, complete with winding pedestrian-only streets and centuries-old churches. Towering limestone mountains surround the bay, providing a stunning backdrop against Kotor’s low-lying red roofs.
Elegant villas and residences line the shores of Biarritz, France, while surfers can’t get enough of the wild waves here. If you aren’t keen on catching a wave, take a romantic stroll along the several miles of sandy beach. Food travelers won’t want to miss Biarritz’s chocolate museum, where you can learn about traditional chocolate from the Basque Country.
Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region isn’t just one of the most gastronomically rich areas of the country; it’s also home to some stunning towns, including the seaside gem of Cesenatico. In the town’s old harbor, you’ll find bright and colorful boats that are part of the Floating Marine Museum. The picturesque canal is also rather historic, designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1502. Wander both sides of the canal and stop for lunch to try some of the freshest seafood from the region.
Tossa De Mar, Spain
Take a road trip in Catalonia’s Costa Brava region and you’ll find a dizzying number of coastal towns that will absolutely take your breath away. One of these is Tossa de Mar, which is an ancient fishing village complete with a 12th-century fairy tale castle right on its shores.
Tossa de Mar is quieter than some of the neighboring coastal towns in Costa Brava, making it an ideal stop for travelers looking for a more relaxed holiday. Be sure to wander through the walled area of town, known as Vila Vella, and visit remnants of a Roman villa that dates back to the 1st century B.C.
Herne Bay, England
Herne Bay is instantly recognizable with its Georgian clock tower that dominates the coast as well as the brightly colored beach huts that dot the shoreline. The classic seaside town is located in Kent and is popular with water sports enthusiasts who come to go windsurfing, ride a jet ski, sail or race Zapcats. You can also book wildlife sailing trips where you have an opportunity to spot dolphins and seals in the wild.
Located on Gotland, Visby is the island’s only town, and it is as historic as it is stunning. The fairy tale medieval town still has a well-preserved fortified wall, helping it earn UNESCO World Heritage Site status in the mid-1990s. The island of Gotland was once a major Viking settlement, and you can visit the nearby 10th-century Tofta Viking Village. To learn more about the island’s history, visit the Gotland Museum in Visby.