Europe’s 10 Best Beaches for Social Distancing

As Europe begins to open its borders after months of lockdown, we're spotlighting secluded shores as well as more popular beaches pioneering the social distancing measures that will help you stay safe while getting your long-awaited fix of sea air. As soon as it's safe to do so and provided you adhere to government guidelines, we'll take you from Comporta to Croatia via Lithuania's best-kept-secret beach. Summer 2020 is not cancelled.

Coronavirus-free coasts, secluded shores and Europe's safest beaches

Batumi Beach

Adjara, Georgia

Thanks to government measures, coronavirus cases remain low in Georgia - so much so that the country has adopted a new tagline: "The Safe Destination". The second-largest city behind Tbilisi, Batumi is a delightful cocktail of nature, wellness, sustainable tourism, shopping, good food, better plonk, historic sites and, of course, its namesake pebble beach, lapped by the Black Sea. If the Batumi Boulevard is too busy for your liking, drive 20 minutes north to the narrow shore of Mtsvane Kontskhi, backed by a botanical garden. On the fence about travelling right now? Temperatures linger around the mid-20s into September.

Stay: Kartuli Hotel

Comporta Beach

Alentejo, Portugal

So blissfully quiet is Comporta Beach, that it's said Madonna once took to riding her horse along the 20km stretch on Sunday mornings. A few kilometres from Lisbon, the Alentejo region (along with the Azores and the Algarve) is among Europe's areas least devastated by COVID-19. Even in summer, crowds are minimal on Comporta's coast, but for something more secluded still, head to the golden sands of Porto Santo in the Madeira archipelago.

Stay: Sublime Comporta

The Bay of Kotor

Kotor, Montenegro

Montenegro was Europe's first corner to declare itself "corona-free", and the coastal, medieval city of Kotor (a Unesco World Heritage Site) hasn't clocked even one case of the virus. Nestled in a mountain-ringed bay, it's a blissful marriage of city (the restaurants are especially good here) and nature, with a web of trekking and cycling routes cast over the surrounding area. Once you've done exploring, find a quiet spot on one of the area's many intimate beaches caressed by the Adriatic - Oblatno is our favourite.

Stay: Three Square Apartment

Monolithi Beach

Preveza, Greece

Greece was among the European countries with fewest deaths. As more than 500 of its beaches open, the government is implementing a host of social-distancing measures including a compulsory four metres between umbrellas, no more than 40 people per square kilometre and a fleet of drones that warn beachgoers when things are getting too close for comfort. We've got our sights on Epirus's unspoiled city of Preveza, at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. Here, stretching for 22km, Monolithi Beach is the longest in Europe, so you'll be unlikely to trade germs with fellow visitors.

Stay: daLUZ Boutique Hotel

Hel Peninsula


It's worth checking Poland's pandemic status when planning a trip because (at the time of writing) the country is yet to pass its pandemic peak. That said, the country's restrictions are easing and its borders have opened. Fly into Gdańsk and drive an hour north to Hel, a 35km sandy slither of a peninsula that separates the Bay of Puck from the Baltic Sea. Despite its name, it's anything but hellish. Bike tours are a pleasant (and personal-space-friendly) way to take in the vistas.

Stay: Villa Aqua BlueApart Jurata

Kostanj Bay

Rijeka, Croatia

With one of Europe's lowest infection rates, this Balkan country opened its borders without restriction in mid-May. When it comes to beaches, the Croatian Institute of Public Health has issued a raft of safety measures including regularly disinfecting deckchairs, no more than 15 people per 100sq m and the provision of hand sanitiser. Crowned 2020's European Capital of Culture, the city is fringed with white-sand beaches including the clear, Blue Flag stretch of Kostanj Bay.

Stay: Apartments Porto Marina

Jesolo Beach

Venice, Italy

Italy endured one of Europe's worst outbreaks of COVID-19, but it's worth remembering that much of the country relies on tourism - more than 40 per cent of which clings to the coast. While its regions vary in the easing of lockdown restrictions, Jesolo Beach - a narrow strip that lies between the Venetian Lagoon and the Piave River delta - is taking a tech-forward approach to keeping sun-worshippers safe. Parasols are operated via remote control, lockers and bathrooms are opened by electronic bracelets, and bathrooms self-disinfect.

Stay: Palazzina Grassi

Jūrmala Beach

Riga, Latvia

Recognised by the European Commission as one of the continent's best sustainable tourism destinations, Jūrmala (just west of Riga) is fronted by 30km of powdery sand. Medicinal mud baths and mineral waters are a big draw here. Hire a paddleboard for a (socially distanced) view of the shore and inhale a few good lungfuls of pine-scented sea air. It's worth heading inland, too; the beach is backed by an eclectic cluster of buildings (think art-nouveau timber cottages and Soviet-era sanatoriums) as well as an open-air museum and the wildlife-rich Kemeri National Park.

Stay: Dome Hotel

Nida Beach


Life really is a beach at Nida, where 100km of fine sand, sweeping dunes and forest are prime territory for taking a respite from our anxiety-inducing present and seeking solace in nature. A four-hour drive from the capital, Vilnius, this seaside resort on the Curonian Spit is overlooked by most tourists, bar some in-the-know Germans and local Lithuanians. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are great here, but if you want to stay on dry land, climb the dune of Parnidis (Europe's second tallest) or let the breeze tousle your hair on the cycle path. Note: there's a nudist section of the beach too.

Stay: Inkaro Kaimas

Playa de Canet

Canet d'en Berenguer, Spain

Spain is another one of those European destinations that has been devastated by the pandemic but is pioneering ways to make its coastline safe. Beachgoers will have to book their patch of sand via an app at Canet d'en Berenguer, 20 miles north of Valencia. The shore will be split into a grid of socially distanced sites, with staggered arrival times and a maximum capacity of 5,000 - that's just half the amount of people who'd normally visit.

Stay: Barracart Apartments

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