Our favourite European seaside spots with a slice of adventure

With the summer holidays at your doorstep, you might be looking for a nice seaside spot to unwind for some days. A place in the sun, with a beach, good food, charming villages, and some activities to keep you moving (hiking, biking, snorkeling, or surfing). Now, we've come up with some European seaside destinations where to enjoy fabulous beach moments and grand adventures at the same time!

Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve (Sicily)

Scopello, Sicily, Italy

Lo Zingaro Natural Reserve is a spectacular secret spot known to few tourists. The reserve (situated on the northwestern tip of Sicily) stretches for 7 km from the village of Scopello in the east to San Vito Lo Capo in the West. A balanced mix of pristine beaches, elevated hiking trails with spectacular sea views, and a wide variety of flora and fauna make this site one of Sicily's most impressive locations. The park attracts both walkers and bathers alike. You can walk for half an hour and find delightful pebbly coves and transparent turquoise waters to cool off from your hiking trip or spend the rest of the day in peace. At both entrances of the reserve, you can get maps showing you the walking paths and the various bays you can explore.

If you want to stay a few days in the area, San Vito lo Capo is the place to be. It boasts a half-moon bay with a long white sandy beach, crystal clear turquoise water, a quaint center with white-washed houses, and an undeniable influence of Arabic culture. You won't find wild nightlife here but a laid-back atmosphere with great places to have a drink or eat its famous couscous!

Lo Zingaro, Scopello, Sicily, Italy

Snæfellsnes Peninsula (Iceland)

Snæfellsnes is a large peninsula, often nicknamed 'Iceland in Miniature.' It has a bit of everything. Diverse natural resources, calm fishing hamlets, and a rugged coastline with rocks protruding from the Atlantic Sea. On the border of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you can find the charming village of Grundarfjörður. It is the perfect home base for exploring the beauty of this peninsula, moreover, it is just a 2.5 hrs drive from Iceland's capital. From Grundarfjörður, you can reach the most famous beaches of Snaefellsnes; such as Djúpalónssandur beach, with black, volcanic sands. It is known for its four lifting stones that have been there for a long time. Fishermen used the stones to measure their strength! Another rather unique beach in this area is Skardsvik Beach. It is a golden sand beach surrounded by volcanic cliffs, a perfect place to stop and have a picnic! In Grundarfjörður, you can also rent kayaks and paddle gently into the glacial waters among flocks of seabirds and playful seals while soaking up the views. You will be surrounded by green slopes and mighty mountains such as the iconic Mount Kirkjufell, which rises like a pyramid out of the surroundings.

Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes, Iceland

The North Coast (Scotland)

The North Coast comprises an area of wild scenery, secluded beaches, and historic castles in Scotland's Northern Highlands. In 2015 a 500-mile loop was launched that goes around the coastline of the North Coast, passing some of the country's best scenery and off-beaten places! You can make this circular ride by car, but it is also an ultimate cycling challenge! Most people start the route from Inverness, but if you like to combine some strenuous biking hours with days of relaxation, you might want to stay in the charming small village of Durness. It is surrounded by sheltered coves and has some impressive beaches, one of the best is Durness Beach, with kilometers of sandy coastline. It is a perfect place for a picnic on a sunny day or a walk along its turquoise waters. You might even spot surfers catching a wave. What do you need more for a perfect holiday feel?

Durness, Durness Beach, North Coast Scotland, United Kingdom

Egersund (Norway)

Only one hour from Stavanger, on the southwestern coast of Norway, you find the

Magma Global Geopark, UNESCO, Egersund, Norway

historic town of Egersund. A charming seaside spot with wonderful wooden houses, good restaurants, niche shops, and a beautiful coastline. Besides, it has some fantastic bathing areas with sandy beaches which are perfect for spending a sunny day. One is Skadbergsanden, with more than 500 meters of beach and small dunes.

But Egersund has more coastal attractions and activities to explore. Head to the island of Eigerøya with its charming lighthouse or explore the Magma Global Geopark (a UNESCO site). It is the perfect spot for some hours of coasteering. Work your way along the coastline and explore the moonlike landscape with spectacular rock formations, this unique experience you cannot miss!

Nazaré (Portugal)

Big wave, Nazare, Surfing, Portugal

The traditional fishing village of Nazaré on Portugal's Silver Coast (Costa de Prata) has become an attractive seaside resort in recent years. About an hour north of Lisbon, it is a traditional holiday getaway for the Portuguese. And for a reason! It has a beautiful crescent-shaped beach, the perfect place for sunbathing and playing with the children. Besides, along the boulevard and in the narrow streets, you will find many restaurants that will seduce you with their fresh fish. But that's not all. Nazaré is a real surfer's paradise - its colossal waves are perfect for extreme surfers! All days a year, you find surfers hitting the waves… Just sit on the beach and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the ocean breeze. If you want to learn to surf, head to the bay between Baleal and Peniche (65 km south of Nazaré). Especially between April and September, the waves are friendlier and smaller, thus ideal for beginners!

Vík - Iceland

The small fishing village of Vík, on the South Coast of Iceland, is perfectly set on the seafront at a dramatic stretch of coastline. It has some of Iceland's most beautiful black sand beaches, such as Reynisfjara! Unfortunately, you cannot swim at this beach due to the tides and conditions. Still, it is a stunning spot with breathtaking views of its famous basalt columns that stand proudly in the sea! Another way to admire the views is on a horseback ride. Vík is a starting point for various tours, including family riding tours - ideal for younger, inexperienced horse enthusiasts - going at a slower pace.

Vik, Katla, Iceland, Reynisfjara black sand beach

Connemara (Ireland)

Killary Harbour, Connemara, County Galway, West Ireland

The coastline of Connemara in Ireland is a jewel! It comprises multiple peninsulas, all remote and wild, and it has some beautiful beaches along the Wild Atlantic Way. White Strand Beach, for example, is one of the best swimming beaches in the area as well as the breathtaking Coral Strand Beach with its crystal clear waters.

Connemara provides visitors as well with an abundance of sportive activities, from walking and cycling to horse riding and kayaking.

However, there is a quite new and unique activity that attracts as well people to Connemara. Foraging! Foraging is searching for nutritious foods in the wild. At the coast of Connemara, there are excellent places to go foraging! And the kids will love it too! As you walk along the beach, you'll not only learn about the area's ecology and geology but also pick edible seaweeds and spot local wildlife. If you're lucky, you can even see otters, seals, and dolphins.

Santa Maria (The Azores)

Sao Lourenco Bay, Santa MAria, The Azores, Portugal

Santa Maria of the Azores archipelago is known as the "island of the sun." With a warmer and drier climate than the rest of the islands of the Azores, it features a varied nature, from green pastures and vineyards to rocky cliffs and mountains. But the most impressive characteristic of Santa Maria is its s