A Thalassophile’s Guide To The 7 Most Romantic Places In Europe Where Sea Meets Shore
The ocean —whether open water or its sandy beaches— is an obsession for many. All kinds of travelers find themselves irresistibly drawn to the beautiful waters of the planet and for as many different reasons as there are different people.
Some people crave the thrill of confronting the depths of the unknown, while others seek the excitement of speed and surf. No less valid is that innate desire for serenity and calm that many of us can only find with the accompanying soothing sounds of crashing waves.
For a lot of us, it might have been a long while since the last time we had a fun day out on the beach, so I hope this article helps give you some ideas for your next ocean adventure.
Lisbon is the hilly, seaside capital of Portugal. Being one of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon is a popular romantic destination for city trips while offering plenty of marine activities thanks to its location adjacent to the Atlantic ocean.
There’s much to see and do in this cosmopolitan capital; immerse yourself in the bustling and distinctive nightlife of the historic Bairro Alto neighborhood – the perfect place to make new acquaintances with apps like Taimi.
Soak in the old world culture from the city’s many architectural masterpieces, or simply bask in the sun at any one of the many gorgeous beaches just beyond the city limits.
Boat tours are particularly popular for discovering Lisbon’s many prominent attractions. Leisurely travelers can opt for an easy-going sailing tour, while the more adventurous can book themselves a ride on a party boat.
Lagos is an ideal vacation destination: I found myself in a quaint, little town with plenty of fun aquatic activities on offer. You can take your pick of a variety of watersports, go on chartered boat excursions, explore the area’s numerous sea caves, or simply enjoy the idyllic serenity of Lagos‘ beaches and the azure sea.
Favorite watersports include stand-up paddleboarding, surfing and kitesurfing, jet-skiing, kayaking, diving, and snorkeling.
On its face, Benagil is your typical fishing village, but recently it’s become world-renowned for its spectacular caves, accessible only by sea. A Benagil boat tour offers an exciting way to discover these breathtaking natural caverns.
Benagil boat tours can take you to several sea caves in the area, most notably the eponymous Benagil sea cave itself. The many boat tours on offer will spoil you for choice, some that last a whole day and come inclusive with a BBQ lunch on a remote beach. There are also half-day boat tours and even 1-hour “Benagil Express” tours.
Portimão is ideal for travelers looking for a day on the beach with easy access to promenade shopping and intimate dining at the same time. The city is renowned for its historic center, lively marina, and stunning beaches.
This destination should be a hit with any kayaking enthusiasts, as aside from the typical boat cave tours, travelers can opt to explore the area’s caves themselves via kayak. For those looking for an adventure beneath the waves, snorkeling and diving tours are available. Or, if you want to get your blood pumping, there’s plenty of wakeboarding to be done in Portimão.
Vilamoura is famous for its gorgeous beaches, spacious and contemporary marina, and luxury resorts —not to mention its world-class golf courses, casinos, and nightlife— making it a perfect destination for a family vacation. There’s something to do for everyone here, even if you aren’t looking for sand and sea.
That said, I found the beaches are so clean and the ocean so calm that even the most sea-shy traveler will find it hard to resist the urge to take a relaxing and refreshing dip.
One of Vilamoura’s most popular activities is the sailing boat tours, where you’ll find plenty of opportunities for sport fishing, whether you’re looking for reef fishing, big game fishing, or even shark fishing.
The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands, informally known as the Canaries, is an island chain in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Morocco. Year-round sunshine makes the Canaries a very popular and romantic holiday destination. Tenerife is particularly well known for its vibrant nightlife.
Boat tours between and around the islands offer plenty of activities, from fishing, diving, snorkeling with turtles, to even dolphin and whale watching. There are also watersports to enjoy, like surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. To get the most out of all the activities on offer, personally, I’d recommend you visit the Playa de Sotavento beach in Fuerteventura.
Albufeira is a lively city with fantastic beaches, beautiful waters, and a distinctive rocky coastline. Its modern marina offers watersports and boat tours all year round.
While I did just say Albufeira has many fantastic beaches, my favorite has to be the Praia de Santa Eulália, for its fine golden sand and golden cliffs, where sits the Grande Real Santa Eulália Resort & Hotel Spa.
With these recommendations, we hope that you find the adventure you’re looking for. Whether you prefer being out on the open ocean, on the shore with the waves lapping at your feet, or living it up in the city after sunset, Europe, particularly Portugal and Spain, have something for everyone.