Throughout my years of travel, I’ve found that few experiences come close to a solo date at the beach, especially when exploring someplace new.

I don’t know if it’s the scenery, the sound of waves crashing into the shore, or just the fact that you get a moment to yourself to think and relax, but a short trip to the beach alone will leave you feeling happier and more rejuvenated than ever.

Luckily for those traveling to Europe in the coming months, the continent is filled with many amazing places to do just that.

Wizz Air, one of Europe’s biggest low-cost carriers, just released a new study on the best beach destinations for solo travelers, which contained a ranking that was based on criteria like coastline length, rainfall, and safety.

Below, you’ll find the gorgeous countries that made it to the top 5, and I’m telling you right off the bat that the top 3 are not what you’re expecting.

5. Italy

View of Positano, Italy

Let’s start with a place you might’ve guessed, though – Italy.

The dreamy Mediterranean country is home to so many iconic beaches and coastal cities, that it’s become one of the first places to pop into most travelers’ minds when they think of a European summer escape.

I don’t even need to tell you how stunning Italy gets this time of year.

Chances are you’ve seen pics of the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, and Sicily a million times over on your Instagram feed, probably wishing you’d get to see the breathtaking views one day, too.

If that sounds like you, this is your sign to finally plan that Italian beach getaway – remember, stops to iconic beaches across Puglia, Tuscany, and Capri are a must.

4. Greece

View of Milos (Mylos) Beach, Lefkada, Greece

If Italy isn’t the first place you think of when planning a summer in Europe, chances are Greece is.

The country has become world-famous for its pristine beaches and crystal clear waters, but believe me, the actual views are even better than what you’ve seen online.

Here, you’ll find what I consider to be the best beaches in the entire continent, from Navagio in Zakynthos to Mylos in Lefkada – don’t get me wrong, though, these are far from your only options.

Greece is a country of 227 islands, each boasting a more impressive array of beaches than the next.

Do you want to walk through the white stone houses of Santorini, experience the opulence of Mykonos, or lounge on the pink-sanded beaches of Crete?

The only downside to a Greek summer getaway is that you’ll have a hard time choosing what to do first.

3. United Kingdom

Mussenden Temple overlooking Benone Strand in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

OK, now we’re starting to enter “unexpected” territory.

The UK has always been notorious for its dreary weather and constant rain, which is why many tend to write it off when planning their European summer escape – however, that’s a mistake.

Not only do mid-day temperatures reach perfectly acceptable sunbathing levels in some of the warmer parts of the country, but people seem to forget that having a good time at the beach isn’t necessarily tied to sky-high temperatures.

Once you see the stunning coast that stretches through Cornwall and the Shetland Isles, you’ll see just how much there is to enjoy from an alternative beach experience.

2. Norway

Couple overlooking Lofoten islands, Norway

You know how Norway has always been famous for its dramatic fjords?

Well, that kind of geographic layout makes for some truly stunning beach scenery, even though it might not be what you’re used to.

And even still, water temperatures in the summer reach 69.8°F (21°C), which is more than what can be said even for more “typical” beach destinations, so don’t cross Norway off of your potential summer destinations list just yet.

1. Finland

View of Yyteri, Finland

Coming in at no. 1, much to everyone’s surprise, is Finland, home to the most pristine coastline along the Baltic Sea.

Whether you end up exploring the secluded beaches of Turku, sailing along the many charming coastal towns, or taking in the untouched beauty of Bellevue, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

So, pack a long-sleeve top or a wetsuit if need be because missing out on the unforgettable sights of Yyteri would be a waste of opportunity.

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