Observing the way the landscape changes and chancing upon hidden seaside towns is an idyllic way to explore a destination. Which is why we’ve asked international travellers to recommend their top five of Europe’s most scenic coastal walks.*
Mers-les-Bains in Picardie, France
The resort of Mers-les-Bains
The seaside resort of Mers-les-Bains has retained much of its 19th-century architecture and charm. Most of the seafront was built in Art Nouveau style, with ornate windows facing the immaculately-maintained beaches. Villa Yvonnette is a classic example of this style and is ideally located, giving guests access to the town’s beautiful white cliffs.
Mullion in Cornwall, UK
The view of Mullion Cove on the Cornish Lizard Peninsula
A classic English hamlet on the Cornish Lizard Peninsula, Mullion Cove is a popular spot with birdwatchers. The autumn months add tinges of red and ochre to the usually green landscape, and rare birds of prey are often sighted riding the wind currents. If you explore the beach at Mullion Cove, and continue to head north along the coast, you will arrive at the equally charming Poldhu Cove. There aren’t many places to stay around the Cove itself, so visitors are advised to stay in one of the inns in the town of Porthleven, and go exploring from there.
St Bees in Cumbria, UK
The cliff path at St Bees in Cumbria
The northern England Coast to Coast Walk is a mesmerising stretch that can take up to two weeks to complete. The walking trail starts in the Cumbrian town of St Bees, and there are also plenty of shorter coastal walks to keep less ambitious hikers happy. Walking the clifftop path to Whitehaven takes around four hours and offers six miles of Cumbrian coastline, interspersed with stately country houses like The Mansion.
Muxia in Galicia, Spain
The Muxia coastline is a traditional pilgrimage route
Muxia was a site of medieval pilgrimage in the past, and continues to be one today, although modern pilgrims are just as likely to come for the beautiful scenery and invigorating hikes as they are for religious reasons. Walking along the Muxia coastline will lead you past some of Galicia’s best kept secrets: the hidden beaches at O Rostro, composed of over 2km of white sand dunes. To stay connected with the area’s long and varied history, check into one of the restored fishing stone houses of Apartamentos Praia do Capitàn.
Saulkrasti in Saulkrastu novads, Latvia
Sunset over the beach at Saulkrasti
The coastal town of Saulkrasti is less than a 1-hour drive from Riga and, after a day few days in capital, many visitors choose to drive to the town of Lilaste. This is where you’ll find the famous ‘singing sands’ of Lilaste, and from there it’s a two-hour walk along the coast to the centre of Saulkrasti. The route goes along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Riga and past the Piejūra National Park. To witness the sands at sunset, break your journey in Lilaste and book an apartment at the Singing Sands Apartment.
**The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the top destinations endorsed for ‘coastal walks’ by travellers.