The Most Romantic European Beach Honeymoon Destinations

By Kitty Bean Yancey

Hawaii, the Caribbean and South Pacific get lots of bridal buzz. But the sands of Europe, less well-known among Americans, are enticing. Here are some European beach honeymoon destinations perfect for newlyweds:

Hvar, Croatia Honeymoon

 European Beach Honeymoon Destinations

Ferry from Split or Dubrovnik to an enchanting island (pronounced like “far”) that has been popularized in recent years by celebrity visitors. Newlyweds will find hot nightlife in the summer high season, such as partying ‘till dawn as DJs spin at Carpe Diem Beach Club, and what’s billed as the most sunshine in Croatia, lavender fields and secluded coves. Find a private villa in Hvar

The Algarve, Portugal Honeymoon

Portugal Honeymoon

This coastal region in the south of Portugal seems to have it all: an abundance of sunny days, long stretches of golden sand, beach bars, golf courses and a varied menu of restaurants. As with most of Europe, be forewarned that August finds the beaches awash in vacationers. And for more privacy year ‘round, seek out the less crowded Western Algarve. Look for the perfect home for two in Algarve

Mallorca, Spain Honeymoon

Spain Honeymoon

From the lively Mediterranean city of Palma, with cafes, long stretches of sand and sizzling nightlife, to remote rural towns, Mallorca offers a variety of diversions for honeymooners. Lie on uncrowded beaches and enjoy a three-hour lunch with local wine at an outdoor harbor-side restaurant in the fishing village and jet-set retreat of Port d’Andratx. Or dance at nightspots in Deia. Biking and hiking also are popular pastimes on the largest of the Balearic Islands. Browse villa holidays in Mallorca

Crete, Greece Honeymoon

 Crete Honeymoon

Dozens of alluring, uncrowded beaches and quiet villages with mountains perched in the distance draw honeymooners looking for an authentic experience. Clear turquoise waters and sugary sand make Elafonisi and Chrissi Island two destinations to check out. Less isolated is Georgioupolis. After a day of sun and surf, fork up fresh-caught fish at a taverna. Those who like a lively spot might base themselves near the city of Heraklion, which has an airport. Search for your Greek hideaway

Côte D’Azur, France Honeymoon

French Riviera Honeymoon

The former French Riviera haunts of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald — Saint-Tropez, Nice, Cannes —make for a sophisticated sojourn. Sip local rosé while lunching at one of the many cafes on chic Tahiti Beach outside Saint-Tropez, then shop in the city’s renowned boutiques. Gawk at the fabulous yachts moored at the marina or watch local seniors show off their skills at the bocce-like game of boules in a city-center square. Pick up a Provençal paisley-print tablecloth or people-watch on the pebbly beach in Nice. Pose on the sands of Cannes like the movie stars who flock to the film fest each spring. Save a spot along the French Riviera

Kitty Bean Yancey is a Washington, D.C.-based award-winning former USA TODAY travel writer. She freelances for publications including AARP Magazine and AAA publications.