As July kicks off, it's time to finalize those summer beach plans. Forget Hawaii and the Bahamas this year, and opt for a more romantic destination. From France to Spain to Greece, the great gay beaches of Europe are a beautiful alternative to the popular tropical getaways.
During your next European excursion, be sure to check out these gay and gay-friendly beaches.
1) Elia Beach - Mykonos, Greece
One of the most beautiful destinations in Greece, Mykonos is the place to be. A rainbow flag proudly waves above the golden sands of this beach. Sun lounges are available with a wait staff on hand. Or check out an isolated area where the dress code is a bit more lax.
2) Mont Rose Beach - Marseille, France
Close to the beautiful port city of Marseille, this is the oldest gay beach in France. This rocky beach with deep waters is popular among LGBTQ locals. It also serves as a cruising spot with its deep rocky hideaways.
Castel Plage Beach in Nice, France (Wikimedia Commons)
3) Castel Plage Beach - Nice, France
This beach is a slightly more elegant option for the stylish beach goer. A gay-friendly destination, there's always a diverse crowd. A sheltered beach with a private dock, there are plenty amenities (including sun beds and a wait staff) for the perfect seaside getaway.
4) Beach 19 - Lisbon, Portugal
This clothing optional beach is one of the most popular gay beaches in Europe, located within a protected natural reserve. It's a perfect spot for surfing, sun tanning, and even the occasional cruising.
Llevant Beach in Formentera, Spain (Naturismo.org)
5) Llevant Beach - Formentera, Spain
Just a quick boat ride from Ibiza, this peaceful alternative is a perfect destination for a relaxing day at the beach. Popular for nude sunbathing and swimming, its calm waters and beautiful sand dunes will make you want to stay year-round.
6) Mako Beach - Gallipoli, Italy
Although gay nightlife isn't as lively in this small Italian town as most popular destinations, the local gay community flocks to this beach during the summer. The rocky beach leads to a wooden deck where there's a bar beloved by the LGBTQ community.
Bellevue Beach in Copenhagen, Denmark (Wikimedia Commons)
7) Bellevue Beach - Copenhagen, Denmark
Although Scandinavia doesn't come to mind as a beach destination, this coastal destination has a very lively LGBTQ community. A short stroll from a charming fishing village and a short drive from the fun downtown district, this beach is a popular alternative to the city's clubs and shopping. Head to the very north end of the beach for a clothing optional area where the locals are beautiful but body positive.
8) Raco del Conill - Benidorm, Spain
A little out of the way, this beach is definitely worth the trip. Just a short trip from the Villajoyosa International Casino, this nudist beach is also a cruising spot, which means you're likely to get lucky in one way or another. There's also a chiringuito for snacks and drinks.
Es Cavallet Beach in Ibiza, Spain (Flickr/GanMed64)
9) Es Cavallet Beach - Ibiza, Spain
With an island full of the best parties in the world, it's the most popular destinations for gay tourists. The morning after, you can head down to Es Cavallet Beach to rest off that hangover. Join the clothing optional beach goers or enjoy a bite and a drink at the Chiringay gay beach restaurant.
10) Playa de la Bassa Rodona - Sitges, Spain
Close to Barcelona, this beach is popular among the Spanish locals and tourists alike. Even during the offseason, the Sitges Gay Carnival in February draws a large crowd. Although straight visitors have begun to discover this beautiful beach destination, the gays flock to the area by Hotel Calipolis.