Top 5 lake beaches in Europe

“Beaches with a difference”

Think you have to go somewhere tropical to find great beaches? Think again…

  • Top 5 lake beaches in Europe

    Think you have to go somewhere tropical to find great beaches? Think again. Europe’s lakes have beautiful beaches too – here are five of our favourites to tempt you this summer.


    The lively harbour town of Riva has some of the longest stretches of shingle beach on Lake Garda. And Spiagga Sabbioni is one of the best, with deckchairs, sun loungers and even canoes available to hire. Swim out to the floating pontoon, play a game of beach volleyball or basketball, and have fun in the playground. If you prefer to take things easy, you can sit back under the shade of the trees and just enjoy the views.

    people sunbathing on beach in Riva

    Shingle beach in Riva


    Tucked against the cliffs below Bled Castle, Grajska is one of Slovenia’s best bathing spots with views across to the island in the middle of the lake. It’s a great spot for families to relax, with sun loungers and umbrellas, and plenty of shady spots under the chestnut trees. Splash around to your heart’s content in the large swimming area, where there are two waterslides and a diving board. Or hire a rowing boat from the boathouse to enjoy the scenery from a different point of view.

    view of Grajska beach, Lake Bled

    Grajska beach on Lake Bled


    At the very tip of the Sirmione peninsula, the smooth rock shelf of Jamaica beach reaches out into Lake Garda – giving the water here a vibrant turquoise colour. Wander through Roman ruins and shady trees to get to the water’s edge, where you can enjoy some of the best views of the lake. It’s not the best spot for taking a dip − the rocks can be slippery and the water gets deep quickly. But there are plenty of bars nearby so you can soak up the scenery with a drink in hand instead.

    Jamaica beach and Roman ruins on Sirmione peninsula

    Jamaica beach on the Sirmione peninsula


    A short walk from the scenic streets of Zell am See’s old town, the Strandbad is a great swimming spot – and is free to enter if you’ve got a Zell am See-Kaprun summer card. Get out on the water on a stand-up paddleboard, make some waves jumping into the lake from the diving tower or whizz down the giant slide. Back on dry land, you can sunbathe on the grass or head to the lakeside restaurant for a drink or lunch.

    Zell am See waterfront and town

    Strandbad, Zell am See


    Also known as Mermaid Bay, this secluded spot has hosted a few famous faces over the years, from Winston Churchill to Russian royalty. It’s a crescent-shaped cove on the Punto San Vigilio peninsula, with views over the southern half of Lake Garda. Grassy lawns slope down to a pebble beach, and olive groves and poplar trees give plenty of natural shade. And it’s one of the best lake beaches for swimming in Europe, with water that gets up to 26°C in summer and three bathing platforms bobbing off the shore.

    See a different kind of beach on a Lakes & Mountains break.

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Author: Mathew Robinson