Screw taking chances on the arrival of the great British summer - we all need some sun, and sitting in an office is definitely NOT the way to find it.
The beauty of our fair isle is that it sits a hop, skip and a short-haul flight away from literally thousands of stunning beaches.
There’s a stretch of sand or a rocky cove to suit the most hardened sunseeker or beach bar addict out there, and we’ve found 14 of the best, including a few you can even drive to.
Who wants to exit Europe now, eh?
1. Cala Llombards, Majorca . Flight time: 2 hrs 20 minutes.
This tranquil cove on Majorca’s south-east coast is both romantic and family-friendly. The shallow, clear water is great for snorkelling and there are pine trees for relaxing in the shade.
2. Tropea Beach, Calabria, Italy . Flight time: 3 hrs .
Tropea Beach in Italy’s southern region of Calabria is a Tripadvisor favourite. As well as a wide stretch of soft golden sand and a bay of gentle water, this beach has a stunning backdrop of dramatic cliffs.
3. Playa de Los Lances, Tarifa, Spain. Flight time: 3 hrs.
To hang with the hipsters, head for Tarifa - famous for windsurfing and kitesurfing - and this 10km stretch of dazzling white sand bordered by a protected area of natural beauty.
4. Plage des Marinières, nr Nice, France. Flight time: 2 hrs
The south of France is known for its glamour, which comes with a high price tag. Try out this pretty bay in the old fishing village of Villefrance-sur-mer which is lined with chic French shops and cafes and was the setting for films including The Jewel of the Nile and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
5. Cap de Creus, Costa Brava, Spain . Flight time: 2 hrs.
We Brits often overlook the true Costa Brava which is wild and unspoilt, lined with small coves and breathtaking views. The peninsula of Cap de Creus is Spain’s most easterly point and its surreal rocky landscape inspired Salvador Dali.
6. Alvor, Algarve, Portugal. Flight time: 2 hrs 30 minutes.
The fishing village of Alvor brings the best of all worlds to its beach - one end is a wide, 5km-long belt of amber sand, with good waves and watersports equipment for hire. At the other end you can find shade under the striking sandstone cliffs typical of the region.
7. Las Salinas, Ibiza. Flight time: 2 hrs 40 minutes .
If you party hard, you need the coolest spot on Ibiza to relax in. The fiesta goes on through the day at the groovy beach bars packed with the famous and the outrageous, and luckily this sandy bay is as good-looking as its fans.
8. Arienzo, Amalfi Coast, Italy. Flight time: 2 hrs 40 minutes .
If you’re dedicated to seeking out Europe’s best beaches, you’ll be rewarded with this Positano gem. Arienzo clings to the bottom of the steep Amalfi coast and is reached by 300 steps. Once on the beach however you’ll be treated to the most hours of sun of any of Positano’s beaches.
9. Bounty Beach, Marbella, Spain . Flight time: 3 hrs.
We mustn’t forget Marbs on our tour of Europe’s best short-haul beaches! For the best chance of a TOWIE encounter stick to Bounty Beach near the centre of town, which has a relaxed and young vibe and great music too.
10. Watergate Bay, nr Newquay, Cornwall. Flight time: 1 hr 10 minutes .
Don’t forget the UK if you’re a beach-lover. We have fabulous beaches, just a shame we can’t guarantee the weather! At Watergate Bay you’ll find a long stretch of sand sheltered by towering cliffs - great for surfers of all levels and families. You can eat at Jamie’s Fifteen Cornwall or the friendly Beach Hut.
11. Elafonisi, nr Chania, Crete . Flight time: 3 hrs 10 minutes .
The beach of Elafonisi in south-western Crete is one of the island’s most popular beaches, and for good reason. It is an islet connected to Crete only by a thin strip of sand and offers shallow turquoise waters with the backdrop of a nature reserve. It gets busy, but parking is free.
12. Dinard, Brittany, France . Flight time: 1 hr 30 minutes .
Hop across the channel by plane or ferry for a spot of old school charm in the Breton village of Dinard. No bikini parades or beach raves here, just ideal bucket and spade territory. Perfect for grannies and grandads giving mum and dad a few days off.
13. Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia, Greece. Flight time: 3 hrs 25 minutes.
Greece has so many fabulous beaches it is hard to recommend just a few. You may recognise the bright white pebbly arch of Myrtos from the film of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
14. Chia Beach, Sardinia . Flight time: 2 hrs 25 minutes .
Sardinia is one of the most beautiful islands in the Med. Travel south to the small village of Chia and you’ll find its sparkling white sands in a string of bays along the coast. You’ll even see flamingos at the lagoons just inland.
By Sophie Morris
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