A Data Analysis of Europe’s Best Beaches in 2023

Elafonisi Lagoon, Crete
Photo: Marina T/ Unsplashed

Data analytics has become a dirty phrase in the European Union (EU) this year. Coming off the back of France’s record high fines on tech giants Google (US$120 million) and Amazon (US$42 million) for obscuring cookie tracking consent options for their users, the EU is clamping down hard on data collection policies in 2023 as the world shifts to a more and more digitised reality. 

Businesses small and big have been capitalising on data analytics for a while now to not only get a sneak peak into the lives of their target audience, but to also find out where and what best to advertise to them, whether or not they know it. While most people pick up quite quickly on the uncannily voyeuristic effect of being tracked online, a good many of us also welcome these “targeted ads” as “curated” recommendations for products or services we might enjoy. 

Social media feeds, for example, are already the result of highly curated likes and dislikes manned by powerful sorting algorithms and often the first place one would go to get ideas or recommendations for a travel itinerary. Munich-based holiday-home booking platform Holidu has picked up on the power of social media to do just that, using data already available on the net to compile a list of Europe’s best beaches, a list truly by and for the people. 

The methodology? Holidu first narrowed down the sample size using ratings and reviews on Google Maps — only the beaches with the highest ratings and at least 500 reviews made the first cut. The initial ranking was sorted by an average of rating and comment number before being filtered once more by the number of views each beach enjoyed on Instagram and TikTok posts which featured their name as a hashtag.

From Santorini to Ibiza, Europeans are no strangers to enjoying the continent’s abundance of wonderful beaches. Between small, undisturbed strips of sand to listen to the sounds of the ocean in solitude and beach-club-run city beaches pumping with parties and water sports, you can most find any kind of beach to fit your fancy. Without further ado, scroll down for Holidu’s top five trending beaches in Europe in 2023. 

1. Omaha Beach, France

Omaha Beach, France
Photo: Nusa Urbancek/ Unsplashed

The famous Omaha Beach along France’s Normandy coast tops the European ranking. With no fewer than 152,376 Instagram hashtags and 132,000,000 TikTok views, Omaha beach has been consistently attracting travellers from all over the world to its shores. The Normandy coast makes for one of those picturesque vantage points where the sky and ocean seem to blend into each other as they swallow the horizon. Yet, it cannot be ignored that a bulk of its visitors also come in remembrance of the brutal World War II landings, making for an emotionally charged experience where natural beauty and historical heritage share in the same space.

2. Playa de Las Canteras, Gran Canaria

Playa de Las Canteras, Gran Canaria
Photo: Hello Canary Islands

Second runner-up goes to the Spaniards, specifically Playa de Las Canteras on the north coast of the island of Gran Canaria. The 286,340 Instagram hashtags and 14,600,000 TikTok views are evidence of Las Canteras’ beauty, comprising stunning stretches of golden sand, crystal clear waters and an internationally renowned coral reef along the coastline. The beach is no stranger to tourism with the lively promenade on its banks offering a variety of restaurants, bars and shops to enjoy your day out at the beach.

3. Praia da Rocha, Portugal

Praia da Rocha, Portugal
Photo: Legendaventura

Just next door with 118,596 Instagram hashtags and 3,700,000 TikTok views is Portugal’s proud entrant from along the Algarve coast, Praia da Rocha. Framed by dramatic cliffs and rock formations, da Rocha has natural beauty and more, attracting plenty of tourists as well owing to the 17th century fortress left standing on its eastern edge. Praia da Rocha is known for being a lively beach, beloved by locals and travellers alike looking for the perfect beach getaway.

4. Zandvoort Beach, The Netherlands

Zandvoort Beach, The Netherlands
Photo: Joop Iaan/ Unsplashed

Zandvoort Beach from The Netherlands comes in fourth with 125,577 Instagram hashtags and 3,700,000 TikTok views. This Dutch beach attracts thousands of visitors every year for its vast sand dunes and vibrant atmosphere. Sunbathers, water sports enthusiasts and beach club goers can all be found enjoying Zandvoort Beach, there will surely be a corner fit just for you.

5. Elafonisi Lagoon, Crete

Elafonisi Lagoon, Crete
Photo: Dimitris Kiriakakis/ Unsplashed

No ranking of the best beaches in Europe would be complete without a feature from the fabulous Greek Islands. Elafonisi Lagoon is a natural wonder on the southwest coast of Crete, famous for its pink sand coloured by the calcifying of the shells of dead benthic foraminifera (amoebae) in the water over thousands of years. Scoring more than 10 million TikTok views with 98,518 Instagram hashtags, this beach is a clear favourite on media and with young adults.

Explore Holidu‘s complete European beach ranking here, or the United Kingdom ranking here.

For more travel reads, click here.

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