The best seaside towns in south Europe ranked: Valencia, Spain claims the top spot

valencia, spain, town hall square
Town hall square in Valencia.

The countries in south Europe, especially those around the Mediterranean Sea, have one of the richest history anywhere in the world – a good reason to visit the region, but for many accidental holiday-makers seaside towns are destinations where they want to relax a week or two. The question is which town is the most attractive for a tourist to visit? Here is the answer: Valencia, Spain.

Seaside towns in south Europe were ranked by Which, based on a survey they published in July 2023. 3000 travelers participated in the survey, rating destinations’ beaches, seafront, food and drink, accommodation, tourist attractions, overall attractiveness, shopping, entertainment, peace and quiet, safety, friendliness, and value for money. Which is a British consumer organization, and it is possible that majority of survey responses were received from British residents.

Nonetheless, the results of the survey caught my eye, and our other traveling writers agreed that the top choices and bottom choices were very much spot on. It is not a coincidence that we have been praising Valencia for quite some time, and in fact, published a travel guide to this exciting city as well. Another destination that now seems to have been discovered by travelers is Tavira in Algarve, south Portugal (or perhaps the reason is this Algarve travel guide that appropriately awards Tavira the title of “the prettiest town of Algarve”.

Here is the top 15 of best seaside towns in south Europe according to the survey:

tavira in algarve, portugal
The pretty town of Tavira in south Portugal.
  1. Valencia, Spain
  2. Porto, Portugal
  3. Venice, Italy
  4. Tavira, Portugal
  5. Pollença, Mallorca, Spain
  6. Chania Town, Crete, Greece
  7. Rhodes, Greece
  8. Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
  9. Barcelona, Spain
  10. Lisbon, Portugal
  11. Nerja, Spain
  12. Dubrovnik, Croatia
  13. Estepona, Spain
  14. Malaga, Spain
  15. Nice, France

Some of the towns are really large cities, like Barcelona and Lisbon, whereas Nerja, Rhodes and Tavira are small towns without the buzz of cities. This is an important factor for a tourist who is planning a vacation: do I want the traffic, noise and hustle of a city or more peaceful pace of life of a small town.

The ranking for the least attractive seaside destinations hits the right notes as well. Apart from Mykonos Town that we haven’t visited, the bottom 5 of the survey are towns we are not planning to re-visit unless work takes us there. Here is the bottom 5:

  • Benaldamena, Spain
  • Naples, Italy
  • Portimao, Portugal
  • Fuengirola, Spain
  • Mykonos Town, Greece
Nizza, france city center promenade.
Nice, France, Promenade des Anglais.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *