Portugal, Italy, Spain: Top 3 beaches in the world are all in Europe


Portugal’s Praia da Falésia takes the coveted top spot on Tripadvisor’s ‘Best Beaches’ list

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In a world where sustainability and natural beauty increasingly dominate travellers’ choices, Portugal’s Praia da Falésia emerges as the crown jewel, topping Tripadvisor’s prestigious Best of the Best Beaches list for 2024.

This impressive stretch of white sand and colourful cliffs was noted as “best for scenic walks and sunbathing” and is up from number six in 2023.

Europe prevailed in the other top spots, with Italy‘s Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa at number two and Spain’s La Concha Beach in San Sebastian in number three.

All three were recommended for spring trips.

Tripadvisor award puts the Algarve on the map

Praia da Falésia, located in the heart of the Algarve region, captured the coveted number one spot, enchanting visitors with its picturesque blend of white sands and dramatic, orange-coloured cliffs kissed by the Atlantic Ocean.

What sets Praia da Falésia apart is its pristine shoreline and commitment to sustainability. The nature park adjoining the beach protects its spotless condition, offering a sanctuary for local flora and fauna.

Praia da Falésia: What to know to plan your beach day

One of the most extensive beaches in the Algarve is the list-topping Praia da Falésia, which stretches almost six kilometres.

It extends to Albufeira’s Olhos d’Água neighbourhood in the west and shares borders with the resort town of Vilamoura to the east. Though it’s essentially the same beach, the narrower western end is known by a different name, Praia do Barranco das Belharucas.

While Praia da Falésia is located in the more touristy part of the Algarve, the beach remains largely untouched, with little development directly on its sandy shores and fragile clay cliffs.

Further from the beach, there are several resorts, hotels and beach clubs, including Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, The Residences at Victoria and Domes Lake Algarve Autograph Collection.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, holiday apartments, vacation rentals, and guesthouses are available in the nearby towns of Albufeira and Vilamoura, where you’ll also find plenty of bars and restaurants.

How to get to Praia da Falésia

There are several ways to reach the Praia da Falésia area. Faro Airport (FAO) is the nearest airport, with a driving distance of approximately 30-40 minutes to the beach.

From Faro Airport, visitors can rent a car or use buses or taxis to reach their accommodation.

You can also travel to popular tourist spot Albufeira by train. The train station is about 5.5 kilometres from the old town centre.

To reach Praia da Falésia beach by bus, there is an infrequent service operated by the Vamus company that departs from Albufeira’s bus station to Praia da Rocha Baixinha.

If you have rented a car in Portugal, you can drive to the beach, where you’ll find parking.

The best time to visit Praia da Falésia

For sun worshipers, the summer months, from June to September, have the best weather and ideal swimming and water sports conditions.

However, you can also enjoy pleasant weather and fewer crowds during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (October to November).

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You might also find that accommodation and flights are cheaper if you travel off-peak.

Spiaggia dei Conigli: How to find the hidden beach

Italy’s Spiaggia dei Conigli came second on Tripadvisor’s best beaches list and is renowned for sea turtle sightings and diving.

The serene Spiaggia dei Conigli (Rabbit Beach) in Lampedusa is accessible only by boat or on foot via a short trail off the main road.

Although a little challenging to locate, the effort is worth it for clear waters and soft sands. Take any of the hourly buses from Lampedusa town if you don’t have your own transportation.

Because of the dreamy white sand and azure blue waters, the beach and its natural reserve are frequently likened to those in the Caribbean.

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Rabbit Beach is one of the rare beaches in Italy where you can observe Caretta Caretta turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs and if you’re lucky, young turtles hatching.

For accommodation, travellers can choose from various hotels, guesthouses, and holiday rentals near the beach. Popular luxury hotels in Lampedusa include La Rosa dei Venti, La Calandra Resort, and Hotel Cupola Bianca for travellers looking for an upscale stay.

How to get to Spiaggia dei Conigli

Getting to Spiaggia dei Conigli involves travelling to the island of Lampedusa, situated in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and Tunisia.

In the summer, Lampedusa becomes more accessible via direct flights from mainland Italian cities like Rome and Naples, and there’s also a ferry service and frequent flights from Sicily.

La Concha Beach: One of Europe’s most photographed beaches

Coming in third on Tripadvisor’s top beaches list, La Concha Beach in San Sebastian is one of Europe’s most iconic and photographed urban beaches, renowned for its natural beauty and vibrant atmosphere.

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Located along the picturesque Bay of La Concha, the beach has white sands, turquoise waters, watersports, and a long boardwalk, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists.

La Concha is incredibly well-equipped and has beach amenities, including toilets, showers, lockers and classic blue and white sunshades.

Several hotels are within walking distance of the beach, including Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra, Zenit Convento San Martin and Hotel Arbaso.

How to get to La Concha Beach

Getting to La Concha Beach is easy, thanks to San Sebastian‘s well-connected transportation network. The city is hugely accessible by air, train, and road, and many hotels are also within walking distance of the beach.

San Sebastian Airport (EAS) is the nearest airport, offering domestic and international flights and San Sebastián railway station, also known as Donostia-San Sebastián, is the main railway station.

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Best time to visit La Concha Beach

The summer months, from June to August, are popular times to visit and offer hot and sunny weather ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. During this time, the city comes alive with festivals, cultural events, and outdoor activities, creating a festive atmosphere.

The summer season attracts larger crowds, so if you want a chilled out beach experience, you should visit during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn when the weather is still pleasant, and the city and beach are less busy.

How were Tripadvisor’s Best Beaches chosen?

Based on an analysis of all the reviews left on Tripadvisor for beaches globally over one year, the award reveals the beaches that were the highest rated by travellers who visited.

From rave reviews of dreamy views to unrivalled cleanliness to watersport-friendly seas, award-winners provided the best overall beach experiences.

Tripadvisor’s top three beaches are all in Europe

Other beaches in the top ten include Palm-Eagle Beach in Aruba, Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos and Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia.

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Sarah Firshein, Head of Editorial at Tripadvisor, says, “Our top 25 winners alone encompass 18 countries across five continents.

The top three beaches are all in Europe, ousting the perennially popular Caribbean from those spots a sign that some travellers are eager to swap typical resort vacations for the coastlines of Portugal, Italy, and beyond.”

In the US, winners span eight states this year, from the northern coasts of Maine to the Pacific shores of Oregon, signifying that people all over the country have access to great beaches within driving distance.

However, Hawaii and Florida unsurprisingly shine with the most award-winning beaches – and Hawaii leads with ten winners.

What other beaches made the list?

In addition to honouring the world’s top beaches, Tripadvisor introduced a new ranking of Sustainable Beaches, recognising destinations that exemplify a commitment to environmental conservation.

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From the golden sand shores of Sandbanks Beach in the United Kingdom to the azure waters of Radhanagar Beach in India, these sustainable havens inspire travellers to tread lightly on the earth while soaking up the sun.



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