Travel and Leisure — November 11, 2015 at 5:00 am

Europe’s 6 Coolest Historical Beach Towns

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Nothing expresses European culture more than historic architecture, quaint cafes and traditional cuisine. Historical seaside towns nestled alongside beautiful ocean shorelines convey the essence of the European lifestyle. From Nice to Porto, these are the coolest historical beach towns in Europe.

Nice, FranceNice in FranceAlso known as Nizza, Nice is one of the most popular and beautiful French Riviera towns. The Old Town contains Italian-style architecture that intermingles Greek and Roman mythology. From Paris-inspired cafes to Roman ruins, Nice has it all. Nice also favors the luxuries of life from a wide variety of sushi to house-music nightclubs that stay open until sunrise.

Porto, PortugaliStock_000067696247_SmallPorto is a historic Portuguese city located on the Douro River estuary. Visiting Porto is like taking a walk through 18th century Europe. Porto is most notable for its ship voyages that discovered parts of the world during the 1400s. Historical roots date back to the 4th century and Roman era. The beach is several kilometers from Porto’s center. Take a 15-minute trip on the original streetcar that drops visitors off at the beachside. However, the best part of Porto is the deep pours and inexpensive wine.

Palma de Mallorca, SpainSanta Cruz de La Palma viewPalma de Mallorca is one of Spain’s Balearic Islands. Palma gets its name from Palmeria that was founded by the Romans in 120 BC during their expansion across the Mediterranean. Today, Palma is stylish, sophisticated and vibrant. From urban to remote beaches, Palma offers shorelines for everybody. If you want to experience Spain’s notable nightlife, book your hotel in or nearby city center.

Sorrento, ItalyiStock_000002662191_SmallThis popular Almafi Coast beach town has its claim to historical fame. Most every culture has lived in this cliffside town. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and the Normans were some of the few cultures that migrated to or once conquered Sorrento. Notable artists such as Goethe, Dickens and Scott spent time in Sorrento as a source of inspiration for their creative work. Below the city center are the beaches where locals bask in the hot South Italian sun for hours before enjoying dinner at a traditional restaurant that overlooks the shoreline.

Chania, GreeceiStock_000075445083_SmallLocated on Crete Island, Chania’s history began in the Neolithic era. Romans conquered Chania in 67 AD, and much later it was heavily bombed during the Battle of Crete during World War II. Today, Chania is one of the most visited cities in Crete. The historical city boasts the traditional flavor of Greek cuisine, souvenirs and beaches. Visitors can tour old ruins, castles and churches in addition to the beaches.

Lagos, PortugalAerial from natural rocks near Lagos in PortugalLagos is the perfect mixture of old and new. Discover Moorish vestiges and walk the cliffside trail that overlooks the shoreline’s towering spears that protrude from the water. Lagos blends backpacker nightlife and traditional restaurants, which keeps the atmosphere vibrant and prices affordable. Book a sea kayak trip to discover beaches that are only accessible via boat.

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