European beach culture

Last Updated: 5th Feb 2013

by – Matt Vernick, Tour Manager, Europe

european beach, nice, french riviera

European Beach Culture is centered mainly on the Mediterranean coast in places like the French Riviera, Greece, and Spain, although other beach hot spots include the Atlantic Coast of Portugal and the Bay of Biscay.

You cannot travel to Europe in the Summer however and not get involved in (or at least do a some people watching) and sample a little bit of Europe’s beach culture.

Fashions on the Beach

Topless bathing is the norm for many women, although it is not expected, it is widely accepted almost everywhere. There are very few nudist beaches (although no one ever bats an eyelid at the practice in Greece) however getting your top off is not only popular with the younger set. You are more likely to see a 60 year old wearing nothing but a G-String on a beach in Nice as you are the young, sizzling hot bodies that are more likely to be found in Ibiza, Spain.

The European fashion for men’s swimwear leans more towards the tight-package hugging for of the classic Speedo’s (a.k.a. Budgie Smugglers, Meat Hangers or D.T.’s among others) and extends to the longer, but equally tight Euro style swimming shorts. While surf brands and board shorts are common, the norm is for the local style. Like the women, the older male set is not afraid to show a bit of flesh (not to mention flab and hair) as they often seem more intent in showing themselves off than the often more discrete women.

Deck Chairs

Deck chairs and umbrellas on the beaches are common site and usually you have to pay to use them, (anywhere from 2€ to over 30€). Many restaurants will also serve food, drinks and even alcohol to your deckchair on the beach, a perfect way to enjoy lunch, there is no better way to relax, soak up the sun and live the lifestyle of the rich and famous….Euro style

Bars, Clubs and Beverages on the Beach

Europeans generally have a more relaxed and liberal attitude towards alcohol with most people consuming beer and wine to help complement their meals. Throughout the Mediterranean, restaurants and bars operate on the beach front and it’s possible to enjoy a glass of wine, a beer or even a cocktail while you relax and lay out on the beach.

Places like Paradise Beach and Cava Paradiso on the Greek Island of Mykonos along with Borra Borra on Ibiza are some of the more well known beach ‘clubs’ in Europe, however you will find many place like this spread all along the length of the Med.