The health benefits of a summer beach holiday

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These days, sunshine has a bad reputation. We are all too aware of the dangers of its harmful rays, and the impact that these can have upon our skin. However, there are many benefits to sunlight exposure as well. As long as you ensure adequate protection for the skin by using suncream and seeking a shaded shelter in the hotter hours, soaking in the sun on a summer beach holiday is great for your wellbeing. The positive benefits of spending time in the sunshine include access to vitamin D and boosted serotonin levels that help to lift and calm your mood.

A summer beach holiday also brings you in close proximity to the sea which works in many ways to bolster your mental health. While we regularly see articles about the benefits of being in green nature such as a forest, the healing power of blue spaces like the ocean, lakes, and waterfalls is less widely spoken of. However, the positive effect is remarkably similar: the physical escape from the urban helps us to switch-off, de-stress, and re-ground ourselves in the bigger picture. 

If you are feeling the need to relax and unwind away from your day-to-day environments, a summer beach holiday might provide just the break you need. In this article, we have focused on the best beach holiday destinations in Europe, with options to suit solo travellers, couples, and families. Browse below for inspiration and then get planning your perfect summer getaway – your body and your mind will thank you for it.

European beach destinations to visit summer 2023

Solo Travellers

Barcelona, Spain

Ah, Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi’s playground is one of Europe’s top travel destinations, beloved for its striking colourful architecture, laidback bars and restaurants, and energetic atmosphere that sees people dancing in the streets to live music after dark. The city is pleasant to explore alone, and there are endless opportunities for socialising with new friends – including at the buzzing beaches.

Mykonos, Greece

If you are more interested in sun and surf than engaging in artistic pursuits, try Mykonos, one of the most popular of the Greek Islands. In the summer, the island comes alive with DJ-led beach parties that offer the opportunity to dance ‘til dawn – literally. During the day, simple rest and relax on the utterly picturesque coastline. 

Ibiza, Spain

A best-of-both-worlds scenario can be found in Ibiza, one of the Balearic Islands (belonging to Spain) that sit in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Ibiza has a reputation of being a party destination, but there are many quieter areas where days can be devoted to total relaxation on the sand. Yoga enthusiasts will love the range of retreats in Ibiza offering the chance for expert-led classes. 


Santorini, Greece

Just three hours by ferry from Mykonos is Santorini, arguably Europe’s most stirring tourist hotspot. Known for its awe-inspiring sunsets, this volcano-formed island is covered in a cascade of elegant white buildings with many intimate viewpoints leading down to spectacular golden sandy bays. A popular spot for honeymooners, you will find no shortage of romance at this beach destination. 

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Another coastal area in Europe known for its beautiful buildings is Italy’s Amalfi Coast. This 50km stretch of shoreline is back by colourful fishing villages and majestic cliffs capped by secluded villas, vibrant lemon groves and charming olive groves. Go on gentle hikes across the cliffs, indulge in a day trip to a nearby island, and spend evenings in romantic restaurants dining on delicious Italian cuisine.


Benidorm, Spain

Europe has many popular family-friendly beach spots, and Benidorm ranks highly among them – particularly for British travellers. The destination is designed to make life easy for parents travelling with children: airport transfers from Alicante to Benidorm bring you straight to your beach resort where a host of fun-filled activities are on offer including a wide-variety of water-sports. 

The Algarve, Portugal

Portugal’s south coast is an enduringly popular family-friendly beach destination in Europe. This laidback region has reasonable beach weather for an impressively long season, running from April well into October. Spectacular rock formations enhance the views at the sandy coves, and the laidback atmosphere is perfect for families seeking a chilled-out escape. Lagos is a particularly sought-after spot thanks to its beautiful beaches, historical sites, and range of hotels and eateries.  

Cornwall, England

Older children will love the chance to try surfing and a range of other water-sports in Cornwall, a county running along the edge of England’s south-west coast. Cornwall boasts several world-class surf breaks and there’s plenty of places offering lessons for beginners or those who need a refresher. The long sandy bays are also excellent for building sandcastles and other activities favoured by younger children. Don’t miss out on the traditional English dish fish and chips!

The post The health benefits of a summer beach holiday appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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