Ibiza, Mykonos, Sardinia and the Dalmatians are famous for their beaches, yes, but you don’t have to travel far from many of Europe’s cities for a relaxing day on the sand. For travelers on city breaks all over the continent, the sea (…or river…or lake) is often just a short ride away on public transportation. Here’s how our locals in Europe enjoy their favorite city beaches.
Barcelona: Sant Sebastià beach
From its quirky modernist architecture to its medieval Gothic Quarter, Barcelona packs a strong cultural punch. Anchored by the central Boqueria market, the city’s fine dining, tiny tapas bars and tacky paella restaurants along the beach are world renowned. Considering all there is to see and do in the Catalan capital, it’s easy to forget Barcelona is located directly on the Mediterranean Sea.
Down by Sant Sebastià beach in Barceloneta, spotter Ilse de Ridder points visitors to Surf House Barcelona for its healthy fast food, like fresh tuna tatake. More than a spot to eat and drink, SHB also offers a full beach experience with activities like paddle surfing, jogging on the beach boardwalk, live surfing championship broadcasts and surf lessons.
Berlin: Weißer See
Located just 5 km from Alexanderplatz (20-minute ride on the M4 tram) Weißer See is a small lake located in Berlin’s Weißensee neighborhood. Completely isolated from the city by a park, the Strandbad (lido) on the eastern side of the lake offers a sandy beach, sun loungers and a bar. While the beach is open daily, spotter Sarah Curth recommends visiting in the evening and enjoying a couple of drinks at sunset.
Cologne: Rodenkirchen beach
On the western bank of the Rhine River, a small beach in Cologne’s Rodenkirchen neighborhood is a favorite of spotter Mathias Weidle. The sandy stretch along the river is the perfect spot to spend a sunny Sunday.
Saint Petersburg: Sea shore under the pines
Saint Petersburg is a sea port with plenty of seaside places to enjoy the water and cool air. Beach Laskovyi is recommended by spotter Olga Samoilova, considering this is her favorite beach. Notably this relaxed spot is easy to access by public transport and makes for a good walk, where you can eventually enjoy a break over a nice meal or beverage in one of the restaurants and cafes in the area. This place has guaranteed for peace and solitude with a nice atmosphere of people enjoying themselves swimming, sun bathing and playing beach volleyball on the upcoming warmer sunny days.
Dublin: Shelley Banks Beach
Our local Alina loves the mostly undiscovered – even by local Dublin people – Shelley Banks Beach. It’s one of her favourite getaways for a long walk in the vibrant city that she loves.
Porto: Matosinhos beach
Spotter Vasco Figueiredo Teles’ favorite part of Porto? Foz, and the seafront. The beach stretches on for 3 km – from the trendy spots like Castelo do Queijo, Homem do Leme, Molhe, Gondarém, Senhora da Luz, Praia dos Ingleses and Ourigo to the more local Matosinhos Beach. Vasco suggests a walk, run or bike ride along the promenade during the week as the beaches become crowded with visitors at the weekend.
Oslo: Bygdøy Sjøbad
Located on the northwest side of the Bygdøy peninsula lies the small Bygdøy Sjøbad beach which makes for a great spot for the ideal beach day you are probably looking for with plenty of sand, pontoons and diving platforms for recreational use. Perhaps the smallest beach but to its fair defense is also quiet and safe making it ideal for families and those looking to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Frankfurt: Orange beach
Frankfurt has an abundance of industrial spaces that expropriate the water’s edge from pedestrians and bike riders alike. However, in the Gutleutviertel, a few bridges down from the Hauptbahnhof, Orange Beach re-appropriates such space for the common citizen. Part kiosk, part event space, Orange Beach caters to those finishing a long afternoon working in their allotment gardens (Schrebergarten) and others congregating from all areas of the surrounding city…
Warsaw: Poniatówka beach
Unlike other European cities, Warsaw’s city beach is directly in the city center. Poniatówka beach on the Vistula river allows visitors to have a bonfire, sunbathe, play volleyball or bike along the entire coast. Spotter Ola Synowiec likes the two local beach bars, Temat Rzeka and Plażowa. Both organize events, parties and food trucks.
Zagreb: Jarun lake
A spot on the map since 1728, Jarun lake was forgotten and abandoned until it became the location for a new sports center in 1987 with sailing, rowing and kayak clubs. Beyond its relaxing shores and pristine water for swimming, spotter Milana Martinovic recommends Jarun for its popular bars and clubs, like Aquarius.
Have a great summer!