Coastal Towns to Visit in Europe with Eurail

Europe has a vast and diverse coastline. If you’re a fan of sea and sand, there are hundreds of incredible coastal towns. Whether you’re looking for long walks, lazy afternoons, sublime views, or a quick refreshing dip at the beach, chances are one of these famous European destinations will keep you satisfied. And the best part? You can visit all of these by train.

Coastal towns in Europe

1. Split, Croatia

Venetian church tower and Diocletian Palace in Split | Coastal towns in Europe

Croatia’s Dalmatian coast has some of Europe’s most sought-after beaches and coastal attractions. This stunning stretch of coastline serves up a range of towns and beaches. They offer something for everyone, which occasionally means you’ll be fighting off crowds from across the continent. But if you’re looking for a good starting point from which to explore the region, as well as impressive beaches and appealing architecture, then head to the popular town of Split.

How to get there by train: Croatia’s domestic rail network has regular trains to Split. You can also find connections to international destinations including Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, and Slovenia.

2. San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian cityscape at dusk | Coastal towns in Europe

San Sebastian, in Spain’s Basque Country, is just one town in the north that will capture your heart and have you reaching for the camera. It has a combination of an idyllic bathing beach, a nearby surfing beach with famous urban waves, and dozens of restaurants and bars in a vibrant old town for when the sun goes down. This makes San Sebastian one of the most popular coastal towns in the region.

How to get there by train: There are regular trains to San Sebastian from throughout Basque Country and Spain. International trains come from the southwest of France and Portugal.

3. Barcelona, Spain

Beach view of Barcelona | Coastal towns in Europe

Barcelona, on the other side of the country, offers an equally immersive coastal experience, although it’s somewhat different from its Basque counterparts. In many ways, Barcelona is the coastal city that has it all. There’s over 2.5 miles of beach just a short walk away from a diverse selection of bars, restaurants, and museums. You’ll also find historical, architectural, and cultural attractions nearby.

How to get there by train: There are several trains to Barcelona from throughout the country, as well as several long-distance trains from France.

4. Faro, Portugal

Marina in Faro Portugal | Coastal towns in Europe

The Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region. It’s packed full of stunning scenery, laid-back coastal towns, and, of course, beautiful beaches. If you’re after sun, surf, and a bit of a party, you can’t really go wrong with any of the towns along this coastline. The small town of Faro is attractive and particularly convenient to reach by rail. It’s also a great place to base yourself if you want to explore the rest of the Algarve.

How to get there by train: Faro is the main regional hub for all Portuguese rail services along the Algarve coastline. There are regular trains from Lisbon and further north.

5. St Tropez and Cannes, France

Cannes beach at night | Coastal towns in Europe

France is fortunate enough to have hundreds of miles of coastline, offering access to both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. While the north of France offers truly unique and beautiful scenery, it’s in the south that the sun – and the rich – come out to play. St Tropez and Cannes tend to be overrun by sun-starved tourists, but they still have to be seen to be believed. They also offer easy access to other top French coastal towns and the famous Provence.

How to get there by train: The nearest train station to St Tropez is Saint-Raphaël. From there, you can catch a bus that takes just over an hour.

6. Santorini, Greece

White architecture of Oia village on Santorini island, Greece | Coastal towns in Europe

Few countries in the world can lay claim to beaches and a coastline like Greece. While you can’t get all the way to the island of Santorini by train, you can get pretty close. This idyllic coastal destination is a living postcard. The deep blue waters and baking sunshine, combined with iconic white houses, are perfect for anyone looking to soak up some rays in a true coastal paradise.

How to get there by train: You’ll need to catch a ferry to Santorini, but there are several departure points from the mainland. Eurail Pass holders receive a 30% discount on Blue Star Ferries and Superfast Ferries to Santorini.

7. Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre Italy at sunset | Coastal towns in Europe

Italy’s coastline is vast, diverse, and dramatic, but few regions garner quite as much acclaim as Cinque Terre. There are five towns that make up the region. While the dramatic buildings often steal the show, the rugged cliffs and dramatic ocean views are equally impressive. All towns are worth a visit, but if you’re after a beach, head to Monterosso.

How to get there by train: Cinque Terre is an easy train ride away from Florence.

Coastal towns and sublime beaches abound in Europe. If you’re exploring the continent with a Eurail Global Pass, there’s no reason why you can’t dip into all these and more. Timing is everything with a European coastal holiday, and many popular resorts inflate prices for the inevitable influx of tourists. But if the crowds get you down, just hop aboard the next train and find a secluded beach all for yourself.

For more summer inspiration:
Summer in Europe: Where to go to make it unforgettable
The 5 biggest European music festivals this summer
Sand and surf with Eurail: Best beaches in Europe by train