Let’s be honest – we all want a sandy beach for our summer hols. Sometimes pebble just doesn’t cut it. So which Mediterranean islands are the best for sandy beaches?
These 10 islands are great choices if perfect sand is high on your agenda.
The number 1 island in the Med for beautiful sandy beaches is surely Sardinia. This large Italian island is a beach lover’s wonderland – from the ritzy north-west (which is a popular hunting ground for superyachts) to the striking and rugged east, and windy dunes of the west.
Standout beaches include: Chia (pictured above), Cala Goloritze, Mariolu, La Pelosa, Spiagge de Principe, Cala Brandinchi (Tahiti Beach), Porto Giunco, Tuerredda, Costa Rei, Arutas
Hot on Sardinia’s heels is the hauntingly beautiful Balearic island of Menorca. This Spanish island is low key, laid back, and chock full of gorgeous sandy crescents.
The sand on most is fine and powdery and the water is a crazy shade of turquoise, though there are also some wilder and more geologically intriguing beaches for the explorers.
Menorca’s easy-going resorts and calm waters make it a great choice for families with young children.
Standout beaches include: Cala Macarella and Cala Macarelleta, Cala Mitjana, Cala Galdana, Cala Turqueta, Platja de Cavalleria
Corsica’s best sandy beaches are right up there with the best of Europe. Many of its sandy crescents are kid friendly and scenic, with glistening turquoise waters surrounded by Corsica’s mix of forest and fragrant shrub.
It has endless beaches with soft white sand for your perusal.
Standout beaches include: Santa Guilia, Palombaggia, Rondinara, Santa Manza, Roccapina, Marinella
Once a popular party destination, the small Greek island of Skiathos has slipped somewhat under the radar. But it has legions of loyal fans who return year after year to enjoy its sandy beaches and untouched pine forests.
The best sand is found in the west of the island on the beaches around Koukounaries, and in the numerous untouched beaches in the north which can only be reached by off-road tracks.
Sand on Skiathos is golden rather than white, coloured by the island’s sandstone, but soft and glittery on the best beaches.
Standout beaches include: Koukounaries, Maratha, Big Banana, Agia Eleni, the Mandrakis
The Greek island of Corfu is one of the most popular beach destinations in the Med. Thanks to its dramatic coastal scenery there’s a wide range of beaches to choose from.
But fans of sandy beaches won’t be disappointed – just be sure to head to the island’s west coast for long buttery sweeps paired with perfect sunsets.
Standout beaches include: Agios Georgios, Agios Gordios, Agios Stefanos (NW), Glyfada, Kontogialos, Halikounas
Beach vacation heavyweight Mallorca unsurprisingly boasts a large number of sandy beaches – reputably as many as 260. So you’ll find everything here from nightlife-focused megaresorts to quiet pretty coves and pristine windswept stretches with soft sands for you to lay your towel.
Standout beaches include: Platja de Palma, Alcudia, Es Trenc, Cala Mesquida, Cala Pi, S’Amarador, Cala Millor (pictured above), Cala Agulla, Cala Mondrago, Santa Ponsa.
For some of the most beautiful golden sands and turquoise waters in Europe, brave the ferry or flight connection and head to Naxos in the Greek Cyclades.
Lack of an international airport (and occasional strong winds) keeps the crowds away. Even in high summer the island’s big sandy beaches never feel too crowded, and it’s only a short drive to find a remote beach.
Don’t miss a trip to the nearby Little Cyclades islands, where arguably the sand is even finer and the sea even bluer.
Standout beaches: Agios Georgios, Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka (pictured above), Pyrgaki
Just across the channel from Naxos is sister island Paros, another reliable bet for beautiful sandy beaches combined with traditional Greek charm.
Of the two, Paros is better for nightlife and shopping – with chilled out boutique vibes centred around the pretty whitewashed town of Naoussa. From here you can catch water taxis to the area’s beaches.
But there are plenty of other sandy beaches to discover spread out along the island’s coastline – as well as on satellite island Antiparos.
Standout beaches: Monastiri, Santa Maria, Chrissi Akti (Golden Beach), Agia Irini, Aliki, Livadia
Although many of Sicily’s beaches are pebbly, it’s the largest island in the Med so there’s still plenty of bright bouncy sand to go around if you know where to look.
All with the bonus of the best gelato you’ll ever taste.
Standout beaches include: San Vito Lo Capo (pictured above), Mondello, Fontane Bianche, Cefalu, San Lorenzo, Lido Fiori, Cala Mosche, Giardini Naxos, Sampieri
Honourable mentions: the beautiful islands fo Ibiza, Mykonos, Ios and Crete were all so close to making this list, and are great choices for a sandy beach holiday.
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Sardinia (Arutas): © gevision / Shutterstock.com, Sardinia (Chia): © Elisa Locci / Shutterstock.com, Menorca: © pkazmierczak / Adobe Stock, Corsica: © gevisions / Adobe Stock, Skiathos: © chirnoagarazvan / Adobe Stock, Corfu: © Zbynek Jirousek / Shutterstock.com, Mallorca: © lunamarina / Shutterstock.com, Naxos: © Vania Tonova / Shutterstock.com, Paros: © pkazmierczak / Adobe Stock, Sicily: © nadisja / Adobe Stock