Top 10 best luxury beach resorts in Europe

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today: Top 10 best luxury beach resorts in Europe

Each year, millions of tourists are enjoying a sundrenched summer holiday in Europe’s southern regions. However, the Mediterranean Sea – where Europe’s most fabulous coastal resorts are located – is not particularly known for its beaches, which often tend to be narrow and composed of pebbles, mostly explained by the fact that the Mediterranean Sea has tides of a very low amplitude due to its very narrow outlet/inlet into the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless, it’s Europe’s prime summer playground, offering spectacular natural scenery including ancient pine forests and scalloped bays. Here’s my selection of Europe’s most fabulous beach resorts where you can treat yourself and your loved ones to an unforgettable holiday.

There is more info below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite beach resort in Europe in the comments section.

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Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel, is set in South Sicily with 1.8 km (1,2 mi) of private coastline. The contemporary architecture combines luxury with simplicity that is in keeping with the local culture. There are 168 rooms, 32 suites and a dozen private villas, all with sea view. The property’s four restaurants enchant the senses with menus inspired by traditional Sicilian cuisine. The resort’s award-winning spa offers holistic treatments and health programs. Golfers from all over the world come to enjoy the two 18-hole championship courses and a nine-hole par-three course.

  • Hotel websiteVerdura Resort, a Rocce Forte Hotel
  • Other accolades: Verdura Resort, a Rocce Forte Hotel, also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Sicily.
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Verdura Resort here.


Located in a spectacular private bay on Crete’s northeast coast, Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas evokes the intimate charm of the traditional villages found throughout the Greek isles, expressed in an elegant, contemporary architecture. Blending in with its rugged and dramatic surroundings, the property – one of the best beach resorts in Europe – boasts spacious rooms, suites, and villas that bring the beauty of the outside in, some with their own private pool. Facilities include an award-winning spa, direct access to a private beach, a magnificent infinity pool, and several gourmet dining options.

  • Hotel websiteDaios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas
  • Other accolades: Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Crete.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit or one complimentary lunch or dinner for up to two people per room).
  • Review: read my review of Daois Cove Luxury Resort & Villas here.


Set amid lush olive groves and overlooking the Ionian Sea, The Romanos offers a distinctive and inspiring environment of genuine luxury and heartfelt hospitality. Choose from 321 beautifully appointed guest rooms, suites, and villas – be sure to book one of the 128 that have their own infinity-edge pool. Dine on local and international culinary flavors in numerous unique venues. Activities such as philosophy walks and olive harvesting are sure to pique your interest, and set aside time to indulge at Anazoe Spa, with special therapies based on ancient Greek practices and oleotherapy treatments.

  • Hotel websiteThe Romanos
  • Other accolades: The Romanos also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Greece.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, $100 USD food & beverage credit, early check-in, late check-out, and daily breakfast for 2).



Well-heeled hedonists feel right at home at the 218-room Hotel Il Castello at Forte Village Resort. Set in an exclusive enclave on the southern coast of Sardinia, this resort provides a stupefying choice of diversions: beachcombing, gourmet dining, thalassotherapy, youth soccer led by Chelsea Football Club coaches, fashion fittings from the foremost Italian labels, and more. Il Castello guests enjoy their own pool and have direct access to one of the Med’s best beaches; suites come with heady extras, including a private butler and chef service. Twenty-one restaurants take you on a culinary world tour.

  • Hotel website: Forte Village Hotel Castello
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, a complimentary round of golf for up to two people, complimentary spa access with use of thalasso pools, and 20% discount on spa treatments).



Vila Vita Parc celebrates the best of Portugal, immersing guests in an ultra-luxurious and lush seaside oasis with every imaginable service, amenity, activity and pleasure. The property is perched majestically atop a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, set nearby the typical village of Porches. Its Moorish style influenced architecture is harmoniously inserted in the local landscape along the Algarve coastline. The 170 breezy, sea-themed rooms and villas provide guests with the ultimate privacy. Guests can indulge in body treatment at the spa, a cruise on the yacht or a six-course tasting at the two Michelin-star Ocean.

  • Hotel websiteVila Vita Parc Resort & Spa
  • Other accolades: Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Portugal.
  • Tip: get complimentary benefits when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, and a bottle of wine, seasonal fruit and mineral water on arrival).



Cap St Georges Hotel & Resort redefines world-class luxury hospitality with its panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea, surrounded by lush gardens with centuries-old olive trees and captures the rich culture and landscape of the island through its architecture. Delivering some of the most expansive, luxury accommodation in Paphos, Cyprus, the property comprises 202 mostly sea-view rooms and suites, all thoughtfully curated with contemporary luxuries and amenities. An extensive range of facilities are available, including a 130 m (430 ft) beach, three outdoor pools, a heated indoor pool, a playground, a spa, 10 restaurants and bars, a nightclub, a high-end boutique, a shop with Bio-organic Cypriot products and a jewellery shop.


Rising out of, and carved from, the native rock, Calilo is cradled by 1,000 acres of protected land and fringed by six miles of golden sand, lapped by a cerulean sea. In a remote corner of unspoilt Ios, in the heart of the Cyclades, and just a pebble’s throw from party islands Mykonos and Santorini, this 30-suite sanctuary offers an escape from the crowds. Think sun-drenched seclusion surrounded by an ancient olive-pricked landscape – nature and art at its heart. From its architecture and interior design to the striking artworks and installations, Calilo is the creation a family whose aim is to preserve, protect and nurture this tantalising land – and to share the dream and the island’s mesmerising magic.

  • Hotel website: Calilo
  • Review: read my review of Calilo here.


Located along Turkey’s sparkling Riviera, Mandarin Oriental Bodrum is one of Europe’s most exclusive beach resorts. This bespoke 133-room hotel stands encircled by olive groves, an exclusive private beach, and a water sports center with myriad options. Wave to passing yachts from your private cabana, take a dip in one of many pools, play tennis, or join a Pilates class. A kids’ club is available and the spa provides a host of nurturing treatments, so there is something for everyone. Inspired dining options range from traditional Turkish fare to contemporary Japanese cuisine.


The Adriatic has a new nautical playground: One&Only Portonovi. Resplendent at the entrance of Boka Bay, a fjord-like idyll on Montenegro’s Adriatic Sea (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the phenomenal beach resort is the jewel of Europe’s most fashionable new riviera. With its spacious rooms, suites, and villas, and Riviera-style dining helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Giorgio Locatelli, this 60-acre retreat is a must-stay for discerning. Play on the private beach, try an al fresco yoga session, relax in one of the 11 pools, or join the after-dark festivities hosted by the resort’s resident DJ.

  • Hotel website: One&Only Portonovi
  • Other accolades: One&Only Portonovi also features in my list of the most anticipated hotel openings of 2021.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
  • Review: read my review of One&Only Portonovi here.


Laying amongst centuries old olive groves, Amanzoe’s hilltop location affords panoramic views of the Peloponnese countryside, the glittering sea, and awe-inspiring mountains. Designed by quintessential Aman architect, the legendary Ed Tuttle, this exclusive haven of unsurpassed beauty features classically inspired yet sleekly contemporary villas, which open to expansive private terraces, creating unrivaled sense of space and seclusion. A stone’s throw away, Amanzoe’s beach resort club – one of the most exclusive in Europe – comes with four pools and provides fun in total privacy by the water.

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  1. I have to disagree with No. 7 on your list wholeheartedly. Having just returned from the Forte Village, Sardinia, 2 days early, I would not suggest this is a Top 10 Luxury Resort in Europe in the slightest.

    It is for FAMILIES with loads of kids, so if you want a nice hotel with your partner, avoid this like the plague.

    No vegan or vegetarian menus in any of the restaurants we went to. There are supposed to be 21 in all. We found about 6. No smoothies or shakes served anywhere on the resort and when we asked the CONCIERGE, he didn’t know! I mean what on earth.

    Very noisy restaurant, the Il Castello. They think it a good idea to add a pianist playing a portable keyboard (that nobody is listening to) to the noise of staff banging and clattering the cutlery and plates, kids screaming, people talking and so on. Then the Tiki Bar starts its DJ up in the evening so you hear the boom boom boom of the base on top of the pianist and everything else. Ridiculous.

    There is a live band that plays outside most nights, from 9-11pm, so if you want a nice relaxing or romantic evening, or an early night, you’re not going to get one here. Instead you will hear the band from everywhere on the resort.

    It was appalling weather so breakfast was inside one morning. It was even noisier than it was outside with the kids, staff clattering cutlery and plates, people talking loudly. Such an unpleasant experience. It was like feeding time at the zoo!

    There are no adult only pools, or areas in the whole complex. There is a water park, so that in itself tells you this resort is for families with kids.

    The staff are not very good English speakers either. Some are, but the majority are not. Not what you would expect from a supposedly luxury resort.

    The resort is not 5 star as we know it in London. It is 3.5 at best. If the weather is bad, there is nothing to do. We left 2 days early and have never been so delighted to get back to England, where the weather was much better than it was in Sardinia

    It’s a definite NO from me.

  2. I concur on the comment re: Forte Village. It should be avoided at all costs, unless you love being surrounded by noisy Italian children (and they get loud, trust me).

    Puente Romana on the other hand is missing in action on this list. Fantastic place to be

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