Top hostels and tours in Europe for beach bums!
Ben Hyde takes us on an eye-opening trip along Europe’s dazzling coastlines to discover the top hostels and tours for beach bums this summer…
1. Italy On A Budget Tours
Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, but do you ever wish you could stretch your hard-earned pennies further? Well, Italy On A Budget Tours are happy to help you do just that! Their friendly, knowledgeable team offer travellers an opportunity to experience Italy from a local point of view, and at an affordable price. Driven towards the young, independent backpacker, they provide tours to the likes of the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Florence and Tuscany. Spend a day relaxing at the beautiful Amalfi Coast and then the next, exploring Naples. Or maybe book to be shown around Pisa and then Venice. Their expansive portfolio of tour packages allows you to keep your options open… which cities you explore are completely up to you and the trips with kick-ass beaches are a real bonus. Oh, and the tour groups are all led by fun-fuelled Italians that are fluent in English, to ensure you have an authentic experience and get plenty of inside info. Buon viaggio!
2. Shamrocker Tours
It’s widely accepted that the Irish are the friendliest people on the planet, and it just so happens that they also inhabit an absolutely gorgeous country. Stunning cliff faces, a pallet of greenery, vibrant local characters and then… even more of that green stuff! These are all part of the package that Shamrocker Tours promise to deliver, as well as the bonus of a breathtaking beach or two… that’s the joy of being an island, after all! The relaxation of the countryside certainly holds an appeal but don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll be seated for long. With trips up to the Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, your legs may be a little achy by the time you’ve finished breathing in the ‘forty shades of green’ on offer. But don’t worry, if you book Shamrocker’s 7 day tour, your hardworking legs will be rewarded by some chill time on a couple of extra beaches. Coumeenoole is a small rustic beach on the Dingle Peninsular, whilst the Kilmurvey is a stunning sand beach sheltered in a cove on Inis Mor. So, sightseeing, hiking and beach chilling all wrapped up in a Shamrocker Tour is a fabulous way to visit the Emerald Isle… and a healthy dose of ‘great craic’ is guaranteed too!
3. Expat Explore Tours
There’s a lot more to France than the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland. From Paris to the French Riviera, Bordeaux and Normandy, you have the chance to soak it all in with Expat Explore and their Highlights of France Tour. Offering a balance between guided tours and free time, you’ll be whisked off to beautiful Normandy. Explore the D-Day landing beaches, they’re hauntingly beautiful, brushstrokes of greenery line the golden sands and set against a stunning blue backdrop. The history these beaches are steeped in can be difficult to imagine but you’ll find memorials along the coast too. Travellers are taken by coach across the breadth of the country, giving you the time to experience the picturesque French countryside. Admire the beauty of the French Riviera, where you’ll find sparkling beaches, rustic Nice and maybe even take a dip at the iconic Pont du Gard. The tour is a 12-day adventure, allowing you to go on driving tours and orientation walks, or you can even embark on one of their optional excursions, such as a cabaret show (there are plenty more to choose from). The beauty of France is a must-see and experience for any traveller, so make sure you pack a camera!
4. Go Sail Turkey Tours
Go Sail Turkey‘s tours do exactly what they say on the tin, offering backpackers the chance to sail across the Turkish coast with their 3 different cruise packages. You can go from Fethiye to Olympos, or vice versa, and each tour promises a wealth of sightseeing as well as plenty of opportunities to relax. Each tour stops at the gorgeous Oludeniz beach (also known as the Blue Lagoon), which promises to take backpackers as close to paradise as they are likely to get. But it’s not just a load of stretching out onto the sand, the Turks are famous for their excellent paragliding experiences, or you could even try your hand at scuba diving if heights aren’t your thing. A real scorcher! Sun cream will be a must for this one.
5. Sail In Greece
Uncovering the beauty of another dazzling Europe coastline, Sail In Greece takes backpackers on cruises from Mykonos to Santorini. With the deep blue sea and the pure whiteness of the sand, travellers can take in the sheer vibrancy and beauty of Greece’s shores. The tours stop at the Manganari, Paradise, Kolompithres and Milopotas beaches, with each one of them promising a day of relaxation and a hell of a lot of heat. Clear waters, blue skies and white sands dotted with leafy parasols – you won’t want to leave! From booze cruises to Athens, to smaller yachts for those on a tight budget, these guys cater for everyone. If that wasn’t enough, then you also get sailed around by your very own Greek captain!
6. Hakuna Matata Hostel
Now settled along the peaceful coastline of Rua da Fonte, the Hakuna Matata Hostel has been maintaining its rave reviews ever since upgrading to a larger property. In the tiny seaside town of Zambujeira do Mar, Hakuna Matata now features a backyard with a barbecue, balconies to soak in the Portuguese sun, and every home appliance you could ever need. They also offer free Wi-Fi, if you can’t resist taking a peek at Facebook whilst you’re there. Varied and delicious Portuguese food can be found in the numerous restaurants all along the coast (fish is a local favourite), whilst Rota Vicentina offers a stunning walking track if you fancy a hike. But the main pull of the hostel is the Zambujeira beach. With beautiful white sand and a sea of rich turquoise, it will be impossible to resist hopping up onto the cliffs to admire the view. Being the main beach in the area, Zambujeira boasts great waves for surfing or bodyboarding, as well as nearby tracks for mountain biking. With such a mind-blowing beach, literally on its doorstep, Hakuna Matata easily lives up to its name with a strong “no worries” policy!
7. The Flying Pig Beach Hostel
When someone tells you that they’re taking a trip to the Netherlands, it’s always pretty safe to assume where they’re going. But if you want to see what the country can offer besides Amsterdam, then The Flying Pig Beach may be the place for you. Situated in the centre of the beach town of Noordwijk, this hostel offers a chance to experience all manner of beach and water sports. Whether you’re a pro surfer wanting to hit the waves, or a novice needing a couple of lessons, Noordwijk is more than happy to oblige. This scenic spot offers a massive expanse of sand with great waves for surfing and swimming. It’s the best backpacker chill-out spot imaginable, with a pristine coastline stretching out across 13km. If that wasn’t enough, The Flying Pig’s bar is open all night long – play battle shots or sip on a cocktail at one of their wild beach parties. Seeking relaxation or adventure, the all-round Dutch experience of The Flying Pig has it all.