When we think of Europe, we think of the elaborate buildings, charming streets and tasty foods that make up the continent. It is a place steeped with history and culture; locals and tourists alike flock to world-renowned museums and explore the bustling streets by foot or by bike.
Cities and nature are things that are often talked about in juxtaposition. But these European cities are built upon gorgeous natural landscapes—sometimes beaches. Europe and beaches aren’t something we automatically pair together in our minds, but cities and natural beauty exist side by side. They are the perfect places for exploration and relaxation—and photo opps. Whether you are in front of, or behind the camera, these are the four best European locations to take stunning photography.
England is known for its castles and glorified history—not necessarily its beaches. However, make your way 47 miles south from London and you’ll find Brighton, a quirky little beach town that oozes mod-rocker cool. It’s a old meets new—much like London—but in a seaside setting. The strip of beach itself has a Santa Monica vibe, complete with a festive pier and Ferris wheel. But for the best photo spot, head to Brighton’s beach huts, a row of colorfully painted tiny buildings along the beach. Bright pinks, blues, greens and oranges line the sand—a pop of color no matter how cloudy the England sky may be. Your photos will have an artsy, quirky quality in a UK setting you can’t find anywhere else.
Charming cliffside buildings and teal seas make up this Italian wonderland. Located along the central Amalfi Coast, this resort town is perfect for vacation-goers and travel photographers alike. Sip Italian wine and enjoy fresh pasta while taking in the breathtaking views. Green and pink foliage contrast with the white buildings and blue ocean below. Grab a camera, get to a high vantage point and take in the whole scene. You don’t even need to be in the picture for people to know you’re living your best life in paradise.
Menorca is Mallorca’s beautiful, but underappreciated, little sister. This hidden island gem off the coast of eastern Spain is every photographer’s dream. It has dramatic cliffs, hazy sunsets, and far fewer crowds than most other European beach destinations. There are plenty of gorgeous seascapes along the coast of this island, from cliffside lighthouses to hidden coves. Go in the summer season and you will experience Menorca in its most glorious state with bright hues of blue in both the sky and water. Cova d’en Xoroi is a can’t-miss spot: a bar carved into the side of a cliff? Groundbreaking. Catch sunset over the water for some of the best drinks and most beautiful photo opps you’ve ever seen.
Apart from their tales of mighty gods and goddesses, the Grecians are known for their islands, and Santorini does not disappoint. The views of the coastline from anywhere on the island are incredible, but there is a reason why Oia is the famed tourist spot. With its iconic white buildings, blue rooftops and Aegean sea below, Santorini makes for stunning photos you can’t get anywhere else. Sunrise and sunset are the best, when the sun casts a golden glow on the white island. Everyone goes to Oia Castle to watch nature’s dazzling display, but to avoid crowds in your life and your photos, find more secluded spots by exploring the many alleys and steps found in the town. You’ll feel like royalty in your oceanside kingdom.
Written by Megan Lee