Europe’s Top 10 Sunshine Locations

It may not come as much of a surprise, but the most popular countries in Europe for sun holidays include Greece, Spain and France. What is somewhat remarkable, however, is that these three countries completely own the top ten beach destinations in the continent. No room here for Italy or Portugal (although they do feature in the top 20) and even the hot spots of Turkey, Croatia and Malta are overlooked in favour of these ten sizzlers. Luckily, Nova Car Hire offers cheap car hire in every European country, whether or not it features on this list:

cheap car hire greece1.Corfu, Ionian Islands, Greece

Top of the sunshine list is Corfu, an idyllic island of whitewashed villages, Venetian forts, buzzing nightlife, and sandy beaches. The closest beach to Corfu is Ermones, but if you rent a car in Corfu, it is definitely worth your while to drive the 27km to Paleokastritsa – renowned beauty spot with a paradise beach.

2.Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

A perennial favourite among families and fun-seekers alike, Tenerife is a resort destination in the Canary Islands. Custom-designed for the perfect holiday experience, it is lined with exceptional man-made beaches of fine black shingle or golden sand and offers just about every facility the holidaymaker could want.

Tranquil, clear waters and a reliable breeze make Tenerife ideal for windsurfers. In fact, the island is perfect for a range of watersports, including swimming, snorkelling, and scuba diving, but if you just want to lounge on stunning coastline, it’s great for that too.

car hire spain3. Palma de Mallorca, Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Majorca’s economic and cultural capital is Palma, a perfect base for trying out as many of the island’s beaches as you have time for. Regularly voted one of Spain’s top locations for quality of life, Palma offers stunning beaches of golden sand as well as icing-sugar strands buzzing with life.

4.Rhodes, Dodecanese, Greece

Blessed by the sun god Helios, Rhodes is the ideal destination for sun worshippers. Rent a car in Rhodes and enjoy clear waters, burnished sand, and cloudless skies for more than 300 days a year. You could spend your time exploring the island’s age-old history and culture, or you could opt to fling yourself on the sand and soak up all that sunshine. It’s a difficult choice, but it’s up to you.

5.Nice, French Riviera – Cote d’Azur, Provence, France

Nice has a reputation as the preserve of A-list celebrities and the super-wealthy elite, and, though some of its beaches are strictly off-limits, unless you are a guest of the hotel or resort that owns them, there is a great selection of fine public beaches to discover if you rent a car in Nice. The pebble beaches do take some getting used to, but the sunshine and the sparkle of glamour make the lack of sand no hardship.

6.Marbella, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia, Spain

Marbella is not designed for the shy and retiring. Set on Spain’s southern coast, it is the go-to resort town for holidaymakers who like to see and be seen. Don’t worry if you’re not into flaunting yourself, however: Miles and miles of sun-baked beaches mean you can lounge to your heart’s content, and, if you’re into watersports, you’re spoiled for choice. You won’t get bored when the sun goes down either: An abundance of casinos and lively bars gives you plenty of options.

cheap car hire greece7.Santorini, Cyclades, Greece

The sunsets on Santorini are legendary, but you won’t be in any rush for the sun to make its spectacular departure behind the horizon if you’re taking a holiday on this stunning Greek island. The majority of the beaches here are black because of the island’s volcanic origins, but the most legendary beach is the aptly named Red Beach, near Akrotiri. Other breathtaking beaches on Santorini are Perissa Beach on the west side of the main island and Kamari Beach on the east. Both are virtually endless stretches of glorious black sand.

8.Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain

Famous primarily as a party destination, Ibiza offers a lot more than night-time fun and excitement. The island is wrapped by some 160km of coastline, dotted with more than 50 beaches. On the bigger beaches, you will have a choice of restaurants and bars, and you can also engage in an almost unlimited range of watersports. If peace and tranquility is what you are after, however, there are plenty of quieter beaches where you can lounge in the sun or escape to the shade.

9.Crete, Greece

It’s hardly surprising that Crete is a popular beach destination, given the quality of its golden sand and the delicious heat you can rely on long after summer has ended in the rest of Europe. The drawback of all those paradise beaches is that the east coast of Greece’s largest island can get uncomfortably crowded at the height of summer. With car rental in Crete, however, you can head further west or south and discover tranquil beaches, laid-back resort, and long sunny days virtually all year round.

10.Nerja, Costa del Sol, Province of Malaga, Andalucia, Spain

Nestled on the very eastern edge of the Costa del Sol, Nerja is wrapped by more than 15km of fine, sandy beaches that are ideal for beach bums and adrenaline junkies alike. If you get bored lying on the beach, you can go water skiing, scuba diving or sailing.

Even better, although Nerja offers everything the holiday maker could want in terms of facilities, it has escaped overdevelopment and has a welcome dearth of high-rise apartments. Take a stroll along the expansive promenade for breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.