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Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Best LGBTQ+ beaches in Europe

Summer is fast approaching and you’re probably looking for some LGBTQ+ friendly holiday inspo, right? Well look no further! Our Thomas Cook experts have narrowed down the best sand spots across Europe. From birthday-suit-only stretches to secluded coves and azure bays backed by neon-lit beach clubs – we’ve left no stone unturned! 

Elia Beach, Mykonos

Best for: Things to do 

Dreamy sunsets – check! Thrilling watersports – check! Clothing optional – check! And that’s just the beginning. Ranked as one of the top gay-friendly beaches in Europe and renowned for its welcoming and accepting atmosphere, this Greek favourite should be on your radar. It’s situated just 10km from Mykonos Town (around 25 minutes by car) and is hands down one of the most idyllic coastlines on the island.

Look out for the rainbow flag proudly dominating the powder-white shore for serene sunbathing stints, cocktail-fuelled boat parties and beach bars. How’s that for a sunsational vacay?

How to get there:

By car/taxi: Whether you’ve rented a car or hopped in a taxi, Elia Beach is easily reached in around 20 minutes from Mykonos Town taking the road towards Ano Mera. 

By bus: You can also take the local bus from Mykonos Town departing from Fabrika. This takes roughly 30 minutes. 

By water taxi: Want to take in breathtaking sights on your way there? Then take the scenic route via water taxi leaving the old port of Mykonos Town or Platis Gialos Beach. 

Where to stay: Mykonos Blu, Grecotel Exclusive Resort 

  • Luxury club resort with 5 flashy stars
  • 20 mins from Elia Beach 
  • Lavish infinity pool 
  • Two drinking venues & a duo of a la carte eateries  

Playa De Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Best for: Sun-seekers 

You’ll find this hidden gem among the colossal sand dunes of Maspalomas next door to ‘Kiosk 7’ (a trendy beach hut whipping up drinks and snacks). It’s approx. 3km long made up of golden sun-soaked sands and fronted by Atlantic waters. And did we mention it’s surrounded by a natural park? No wonder this diverse and inclusive space has been a popular LGBTQ+ spot since the 1960s!

And if you find yourself looking for a place to skinny dip, head for ‘Kiosk 6’ AKA the nudist beach next door. So what are you waiting for? Sunbathe, swim and socialise along one of the finest stretches in Gran Canaria

How to get there:

By foot: Easily reachable by walking, just take the coastal path to Playa de Maspalomas from Faro Lighthouse. It should take roughly 15 minutes, but you can also take a shortcut through RIU Palace Maspalomas across the dunes following the marked paths to the correct kiosk. 

By bus: Not staying in the area?  Hop on a bus from Las Palmas via line 30, or from Morgan using line 1. The bus stop in Maspalomas is a further 10-minute walk to the sand.

Where to stay: Bohemia Suites & Spa

  • 5 star ultra-modern facilities 
  • Swanky spa setup 
  • Rooftop cocktail bar 
  • 5 mins from Playa De Maspalomas

Playa Es Cavallet, Ibiza 

Best for: Lazy sunbathing stints  

Woah, we’re going to Ibiza (if you know, you know)! Located amidst Las Salinas Nature Reserve on the southern tip of the island, Es Cavallet is a long, narrow strip of white sand that merges with the clear waters that bathe its coastline. There’s no better base to kick back and enjoy a tanning session or swim in the azure depths of the Med. You may even be tempted by some head-to-toe pampering from the onsite masseuse – now that’s what we call a relaxing beach day! 

Head here after noon when the pace picks up at shoreside bar, Chiringay. Free-flowing drinks, beachy beats, swoon-worthy sunsets and top-notch food are all to play for at this carefree cove. 

How to get there:

  • By bus: There are regular buses that run from Ibiza Town to Playa Es Cavallet. You can take the Linea 11  from the Ibiza Bus Station (Estación de Autobuses). It takes approximately 25 minutes to reach the beach and costs around €4 per person.
  • By Taxi: Taxis are available across the island and can take you directly to Playa Es Cavallet. These are metered, so the cost will depend on your starting point and the time of day. It’s a good idea to confirm the price with the driver before getting in the taxi.

Where to stay: Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa

  • Stylish 5 star stay in Playa d’en Bossa 
  • 8 mins from Playa Es Cavallet
  • Serene spa with thermal zones and bubble beds
  • Lagoon-size pool with underwater loungers 

Beach 19, Portugal

Best for: Free spirits 

Thinking about a cityscape to Lisbon? Where UNESCO-stamped landmarks meet Michelin-starred restaurants and charming coastal cocktail spots. We don’t blame you! But first, you’ve got to check out Beach 19 AKA Praia de Bela Vista. It’s one of Europe’s largest stretches with jaw-dropping sandstone cliffs, towering dunes and rolling waves. The views alone make it a must-visit. 

Its off-the-beaten-track location makes it popular among those who wish to bare it all and for that reason, it’s been officially declared a nudist beach. Swimsuits or not, you’ll spend your days topping up your tan while listening to the ocean crash against the shore – the ultimate relaxing retreat! 

How to get there:

By train: You can take the Fertagus train from Lisbon to the Pragal Station and then transfer to the TST bus (number 153) which stops at Praia da Bela Vista. 

By car: This is one of the fastest ways to reach Beach 19 with an approx. journey time of 30 minutes. There’s plenty of onsite car parking if you’ve hired a vehicle, or you can make use of the efficient taxi system in Lisbon. 

Where to stay: Vila Gale Collection Palacio dos Arcos

  • 5 star boutique stay along Lisbon coast 
  • Gourmet cuisine 
  • Refurbished 15th century palace 
  • Satsanga Collection spa with hydromassage pool 

Mar Bella, Barcelona 

Best for: Party-goers

Imagine yourself lazing on a powdery stretch with a refreshing mojito in hand, the sun on your skin and the Med at your feet – sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? And to make it all the more alluring, you’ll find Circuit, the biggest international gay festival hosted here in August. We’re talking big-name DJs, dancers and non-stop partying. 

When you’re not hitting up its biggest events, you’ll be mingling shoreside at Chiringuito BeGay bar. Or how about soaking up ocean vistas from a catamaran ride? There’s also kayaking adventures and sailing trips when you fancy dipping your toes into the water. 

Where to stay: Novotel Barcelona City

  • Panoramic city vistas 
  • Mediterranean eatery with show-cooking stations
  • Rooftop pool on the 19th floor 
  • 15 mins from Mar Bella Beach

    So what are you waiting for? Visit ThomasCook.com for holiday inspiration! 

Thomas Cook

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