When we think of Europe and the coast, there are a few destinations that usually come to mind first. We might think of the French Riviera, the Greek islands, the gorgeous seaside towns of Spain and Italy. All of these are iconic destinations for travelers from all over the world. And yet, to limit our fascination with Europe's coastal getaways to the headline-snatching paradises is to do this wonderfully versatile continent a disservice. Here are four more fascinating coastal spots in Europe that might surprise you, or which you simply might not consider ordinarily.
It is certainly no secret anymore that Croatia has some of the most gorgeous coastal spots in the world. A bit of a hidden gem just a few years ago, the country has exploded in popularity, and it's for the reason you might expect: Game Of Thrones, which does a lot of shooting there, is making an impact. Indeed, the numbers have shown that the show is turbo boosting Croatia's economy almost too much, with the city of Dubrovnik having to restrict tourism to prevent overcrowding. The city of Zadar, however, receives far less attention and is equally intriguing. Featuring a Venetian-style old town that juts out into the Adriatic Sea as its own peninsula, it's a striking visual city built for world-class relaxation.
Image source: Wikimedia commonsGibraltar, Great Britain Gibraltar is a very bizarre destination, at least so far as geography and politics are concerned. Though technically a part of Great Britain, it's actually a Mediterranean peninsula attached to mainland Spain. Said to be one of Europe's most hotly contested areas in terms of territory (current prime minister Theresa May has vehemently vowed to keep it under British control), it seems to be the subject of dispute every few years. But don't let that eclipse its allure. This is a unique seaside spot, marked above all else by the famed Rock of Gibraltar, which is a paradise for travelers who love history and nature. Featuring everything from Europe's only native apes to ancient tunnels carved out as wartime hideaways, the rock which is really more of a mountain is absolutely fascinating.
Image source: Wikimedia commonsKotor, MontenegroMany of us have it in our heads that Montenegro is a beautiful place, but that perception tends to be light on specifics. Unlike other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, Montenegro does not necessarily possess a given city or beach that is known the world over as a specific destination. But perhaps Kotor should be on that list of places. It's actually not technically on the sea, but rather slightly insulated, positioned on the Bay of Kotor (which does ultimately spill into the Adriatic). It is perhaps a bit unoriginal to describe a place this way in an article like this, but the simple truth is that Kotor is an almost uniquely beautiful old town, nestled at the base of a mountain on one of the most picturesque bays in the world. If you are into tranquil relaxation, you can't do better.
Image source: Wikimedia commonsLanzarote, SpainThis is a different kind of coastal getaway as it's actually on the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain (rather than attached to the European mainland). Nevertheless, it is another overlooked spot that's absolutely sensational to visit. With beautiful beach stretches known for walking and cycling routes, and eco-friendly accommodations, it's a great place to get in touch with nature for a few days. The Telegraph even ranked it among the best summer holiday islands in Europe, which could put it on the map a little bit more. But for now it remains something of a hidden gem.