10 of the best beach bars and cafes in Europe: readers’ tips

Our tipsters pick beach bars for lazy days, fantastic seafood and one last cold beer near the airport before flying home

Winning tip: Better than paradise, Portugal

A short boat ride from the town of Olhão, on the quiet side of the Algarve, is the island of Armona. After a walk along the beach path to the far side of the island, you are greeted by a sign for Camaleão Beach Bar that says “Welcome to Paradise” – but it’s better than that. Shaded seating areas perch in the white sand, along with a chilled jazz/reggae/house soundtrack and stunning views, creating the perfect place to spend a day or three. Great cocktails and Portuguese beers at low prices make it even better. Stagger back across the island to catch the last boat home.
On Facebook
Jack Sears

Seafood special, Tynemouth

Riley’s Fish Shack, King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth
Riley’s Fish Shack, King Edward’s Bay. Photograph: Alex Telfer/The Observer

Riley’s Fish Shack on King Edward’s Bay has become a north-east institution. Visitors without the famous “Geordie shield” should be warned – queues are often long and there’s no indoor seating. Those in the know wrap up warm and grab a hot chocolate from nearby chocolatier Gareth James. The food is worth the wait, though. With a changing specials menu, you might find traditional fish and chips alongside spicy fish tacos or seafood empanadas, all to take away and enjoy picnic-style on the beach.

Urban chic in west Cornwall

“The Hoxton Special, a beachside cafe
Hoxton Special. Photograph: Roger Kirby

The Hoxton Special, a beachside cafe on the coastal path just west of Marazion, serves much more than great coffee in china cups (Marazion is plastic-free). It has fantastic views across to St Michael’s Mount and Penzance, and a blackboard lists daily activities, from kite-surfing and paddleboarding to chill-out yoga, with equipment hire and training from certified instructors available. For the less energetic, pull up any of the random, donated seating options, savour the coffee from Olfactory in Penryn and soak up the rays.
Roger Kirby

Guardian Travel readers' tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers' tips homepage


Chilled out in south Devon

The Beach House beach cafe at South Milton Sands near Thurlestone
The Beachouse, near Kingsbridge. Photograph: David Pearson/Alamy

Beachhouse on South Milton Sands near Kingsbridge is a shack really. But it’s a shack with excellent local seafood, a fun ambience and delicious cocktails and wine. Interior bench dining is sociable, with small boxes of Trivial Pursuit cards to entertain while you wait for the tastiest, freshest grub. And if you can’t get a table (always book ahead), you can sit outside or take away. Breakfast is also a must try.
Jane Bolton

Last drink before flying home, Croatia

Kastel Stafilic beach.
Kastel Stafilic beach. Photograph: Alamy

Once you’ve checked in your bags at Split airport, walk 1km south along a road called Put Divulja (opposite the airport with greenhouses both sides of the road). Follow the road to the right and in a few metres you will come across the delightful Cafe Tsunami on Kastel Stafilic beach. This cafe-bar, raised slightly above the beach, commands superb views across the bay and is a decidedly more relaxed way to wait for your flight. Sit in the bar and sip delicious cocktails or recline on a lounger before taking one last dip in the Adriatic.

Moules on the sand, Normandy, France

Moules mariniere

La Cale in Blainville-sur-Mer is a shack right on the beach. Wobbly mismatched tables sit in the sand and unusually for France there isn’t much service : you order at the bar, collect your cutlery and even cut your own bread. The menu is simple – moules frites or sausages cooked on an open fire, but the atmosphere is always fantastic, it’s always busy with lots of families and sometimes live music. Some reviews are sniffy about how basic and idiosyncratic it is, but it is my all-time favourite restaurant.
On Facebook
Charlotte M

Hippy hangout, Folegandros, Greece

Folegandros Island, Agios Nikolaos bay, Greece, Cyclades Islands,
Agios Nikolaos bay, Folegandros. Photograph: Getty Images

Papalagi Seafood beach bar in Agios Nikolaos bay overlooks gin-clear sea and a beach you can only reach by boat or a sweaty walk (this keeps the beach mellow, with an alternative crowd). Clothes are optional and a few hippies live in tents under the olive trees for the summer. After a morning swim, long lunches with ice-cold white wine (dubious quality – but it’s cold) and fresh seafood followed by a game of cards provide the best lazy afternoons. It’s all served by a couple of grizzled locals living life in the slow lane. If I ever get the balls to drop out of the rat race, this is where I’m heading.
On Facebook
Benjamin Reed

On the rocks, Mallorca

Bar Sa Punteta on rocky beach

Bar Sa Punteta sits right on the craggy rocks by a hidden beach, an impossibly beautiful 40-minute meander (or five-minute drive) through ancient terraced farmland from the unspoiled Tramuntana mountain village of Estellencs in Mallorca. Every twist and turn of the road brings a new view – of sea, cliffs, forest, almond groves or donkeys – and by the time you’ve reached the rustic beach bar, sipped a cold beer under the bamboo shades and sat watching local kids jumping off the rocks into the crystal-clear sea, it’s all but impossible to leave.
On Facebook

Down the strand, the Netherlands

Strandtent De Pit, Netherlands.
Strandtent De Pit Photograph: Strandtent De Pit

Ten minutes’ drive from Hook of Holland ferryport, Strandtent de Pit in s-Gravenzande was the perfect place to spend the last moments of our summer holiday, drinking, eating and watching the sun set over the North Sea. It serves fantastic sourdough pizzas, antipasti, wines and local beers – and all at very decent prices, hooray! Our one-year-old learned here that sand will cushion a fall, toppling off a bench as she clambered around playing with a little Dutch girl as we chatted to the parents over a few drinks. As seems to be the Dutch way, it pairs laid-back style with friendly, welcoming vibes.
On Facebook
Ian Martin

Fjord fiesta, Norway

Stokkøya Bar, Norway
Stokkøya Bar Photograph: Stokkøya

Stokkøya Bar is an absolute gem, on a stretch of beautiful white sandy beach on Stokkøya island three to four hours’ drive north of Trondheim. Go at midsummer, when the sun doesn’t set, and you can watch the rosy night sky reflected in the fjord all night from the dunes. The food is based on a zero-miles principle and is foraged from the area where at all possible. It also hosts pop-up concerts on weekend evenings throughout the summer months.
Kate Connell


Guardian readers

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
10 of the UK’s best beach cafes and bars, chosen by readers
Seaside fish and chips is a great institution, but our tipsters also recommend coastal hotspots for crab sandwiches, ice-cream and wakame sesame salad

Guardian readers

03, Jun, 2021 @10:30 AM

Article image
10 of the best beach bars in Portugal
With cold beer, caipirinhas and great seafood, these bars, from the Algarve to Porto, are as hot, bright and breezy as the stunning Atlantic coastline itself

Kevin Gould

14, Aug, 2017 @5:30 AM

Article image
Best beaches in the UK and Europe: readers’ travel tips
Recently, Bournemouth was rated the UK’s best beach by TripAdvisor but our tipsters prefer quieter sands, picking favourites from Ireland to southern Italy

Guardian readers

07, Mar, 2018 @10:30 AM

Article image
10 of the best rooftop bars in Europe: readers’ travel tips
From the tops of boutique hotels to car parks and old office blocks, our tipsters know where to enjoy booze with a view

Guardian readers

31, May, 2018 @5:30 AM

Article image
10 of Europe’s best beach restaurants
There’s nothing like eating freshly caught fish with the scent of the sea as an accompaniment. Travel writers pick their top beachside restaurants

Guardian writers

11, Mar, 2019 @6:30 AM

Article image
Readers' travel tips: 10 of the best beach cafes in Europe

Nothing shouts 'holiday' more than sipping a sundowner or eating seafood at a cafe right on the beach. Readers share their favourite cafes and beach bars with a sea view

Guardian readers

15, Jul, 2013 @6:00 AM

Article image
10 of the best seaside cafes and restaurants in the UK: readers’ tips
Our tipsters tuck into everything from good strong tea and cake to scallops and langoustines – but all these coastal pitstops make the most of their gorgeous setting

Guardian readers

24, May, 2018 @5:30 AM

Article image
10 of the best brewery tap rooms in Europe: readers’ tips
Our tipsters try everything from a Peak District brewpub crawl to a beer in Ukraine named in ‘honour’ of Vladimir Putin

Guardian readers

13, Sep, 2018 @5:30 AM

Article image
Family campsites in Europe: readers’ tips
Italy’s coast, lakes and mountains are popular among Guardian readers for family camping holidays, but sites in France, Portugal and Switzerland get a look-in too

Guardian readers

26, Jan, 2017 @12:30 PM

Article image
Best of Normandy and Brittany: readers’ travel tips
Northern France is known for beaches, cider, cheese and seafood but our readers also pick out some less obvious delights on the coast and inland

Guardian readers

14, Jul, 2016 @11:00 AM