Once plied by the trade routes of some of the world’s greatest civilizations, today the Mediterranean is better known as a byword for summertime fun and big spending. Europe’s upper classes come to drop big bucks at casinos and clubs on the French Riveria, college students let off steam on Ibiza, history-lovers rove all over the Greek Isles, and those looking for sun hit the beaches. The fair weather, temperate waters, and easy access via car or boat have turned beach bars into the gathering places of choice around this inland ocean, offering the best of all worlds: views, relaxation, a hip party scene, and high-end hospitality. And the good news is that you don’t need to have a nesting yacht to enjoy some of the fanciest beach bars out there. Whether you’re looking to party hard or feel like 1950s European royalty for a day, these are the most extravagant beach bars and clubs in the Mediterranean to do so.
1. Eden Plage Mala
Classic Riviera scenery and old-school French taste come together at this chic beach bar and club, which is just a short drive from Monaco. The club’s tiny white-sand beach, decked out with vivid red-orange umbrellas, is surrounded by towering cliffs covered in green foliage and luxury ocean view homes perched along the slopes. The waters of the Saint-Laurent Bay make for great snorkeling and swimming, but with a view this good, it’s best to just lay back on a sun chair on the private sunning deck, sipping an Aperol Spritz and dining on calamari. The beach is shared by other bars and clubs, but the superb setting and very Euro vibe make up for the lack of exclusivity.
Where: Plage de la Mala, 06320 Cap-d’Ail, France
2. Monte-Carlo Beach Club Monaco
This playground for the Monte-Carlo elite has been a Riviera mainstay since the 1930s and recently got a facelift for the modern crowd with an eye-catching white-and-white facade. There are multiple outdoor verandas and patios for dining and drinking, and even a private dock for sunbathing. But the hotel’s standout feature is its Olympic-sized swimming pool, surrounded by striped umbrellas and stately palms. Here you can do laps, dive, people-watch, or just lay in the sun knocking back drinks from the pool’s bar. Or, if you prefer the real deal, the ocean and private beach just a few steps away. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a guest to enjoy the beach; you can purchase day passes that allow access to the beach, restaurant, and a heated beachside pool.
Where: Avenue Princesse Grâce, 98000 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Monaco
3. Scorpios Beach Club
Perched on a rocky headland, Scorpios is not only one of the most luxe bars on Mykonos but also one of the most Instagrammable. Southwestern-style pergolas, fairy lights, palm trees, woven lamp covers, and a cohesive sandy color scheme make every angle ‘gram-worthy. Scorpio’s founders designed it to be a modern recreation of the ancient Greek agoras or gathering places, with concerts, meditation and yoga sessions, art exhibits, gourmet menus of seasonal, organic fare, and shopping at the artisan bazaar. But the beach is the highlight, with unobstructed ocean views, sunning areas, and private cabanas. Soak it all in with a glass of wine or a fruity cocktail.
Where: Paraga, 84600 Mykonos, Kikladhes, Greece
Ibiza: party central. There’s no shortage of waterside bars and clubs on this party-all-day-and-night island off the coast of Spain, but Amante stands out from the crowd. The two-story combination restaurant, bar, and event space is nestled against a rocky cliff overlooking a bay and private beach (a rarity on the island). From the dining and bar terraces, it’s a short walk down to the waterfront, where you can go for a dip or relax on the beach chaise lounges. At the bar, you’ll find a high-end selection of wine and spirits, but the fruity cocktails are especially refreshing. Amante is a popular wedding and business event venue, and pretty much everything here costs a pretty penny, so you’re likely to see lots of big spenders. The moonrise parties for when the full moon rises over the bay also draw big crowds.
Where: Cala Sol Den Serra, 07849 Santa Eulalia des Riu, Ibiza
5. Theros Wave Bar
A short drive from the town of Fira on Santorini, both sides of Theros Wave Bar’s private beach are abutted by craggy sea cliffs, guaranteeing solitude. The white-washed rock walls of the bar and dining room echo the Cycladic style of traditional Santorini architecture, with a large, thatched roof, vaguely Polynesian decor, and a fun selection of Tiki cocktails adding tropical flair. Ocean views are enjoyed from the multiple open-air verandas, decks, and shaded outdoor sitting areas, and in the evening, recessed lighting provides the perfect romantic mood. And, the ultimate fancy flex, beachside bottle service is available, so you don’t need to interrupt your tan for a cocktail or glass of bubbly.
Where: Eros Beach, Vlychada-Santorini, Greece
6. La Scogliera Positano
Overlooked by the pastel, terraced houses of Positano, the darling of Italy’s Amalfi Coast, La Scogliera Positano is always a favorite among vacationers and those seeking a taste of classic European beachside elegance. Backed by rocky sea cliffs, the small, pebbly beach is dotted with blue-and-white striped umbrellas and lounge chairs, with access to the water and nearby promenade. The onsite restaurant and bar serve fresh, delicious seafood dishes and Italian classics, washed down with wine or summery cocktails. A day pass costs 45 euros and comes with your own beach chair, shower access, towels, complimentary water, and a floaty mattress to relax out on the waves. And in the evening, it converts into a lounge and dance club, with DJs and an extensive drinks list.
Where: via Marina Grande 4, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
7. Xuma Beach Club
Set back from a white beach and surrounded by hills, Xuma Beach Club always draws a crowd during the sweltering Turkish summers. The waterfront is always crowded with umbrellas and sun chairs, with a long wooden dock where you can relax and sip a nice mojito or dive into the refreshingly cool waters. Other activities include dining at the two on-site restaurants, playing beach volleyball, or getting a massage. And in the afternoons and evenings, DJs and musicians pump up the energy and turn the place into a hopping dance club. This is one of the most popular beach bars in Bodrum, so you’re bound to see fancy yachts anchored offshore and jet-setters partying it up.
Where: Yalıkavak Mahallesi Küdür Caddesi 81, 48400 Muğla, Turkey
8. Hula Hula Beach Bar
At the moment, visitors to Croatia are all about visiting the filming sites for Game of Thrones. But don’t discount the beach party scene, especially in Hvar, a gorgeous Adriatic port city dating from the 13th century. The Hula Hula Beach Bar is always a happening spot with dance parties, endlessly flowing drinks and plenty of sun and sand. You can throw your money around by renting your own private portion of the beach or a boat for a day, as well as indulging in fresh seafood, fancy cocktails, and overflowing Champagne from the beach bar and restaurant. There are several dining areas and verandas spread along the upper beach, as well as airy pavilions for massages and dance parties. Hula Hula is especially popular with the young crowd, so there’s always hip music playing from a rotating cast of DJs and musicians, and the parties last well into the night.
Where: Vlade Avelinija 10, 21450 Hvar, Croatia
9. Kiki’s Beach Bar
Hacienda Bay, Egypt
The Miami Beach of Egypt, Hacienda Bay is distinguished by its endless sandy beaches flanked by trendy homes and Cerulean waters. Kiki’s is the beach club of choice, with hip, open-air pavilions decorated with artfully shaped bamboo and wafting fabrics intersected by dance floors, palm trees strung with hammocks, and dining areas. Dance parties fueled by boozy summer-themed drinks and up-and-coming DJs dominate the summer, but there’s plenty of space to chill and relax on the wide beaches, where waiters bring inventive cocktails and fresh Mediterranean cuisine right to your lounge chair.
Where: Hacienda White, North Coast, Egypt
Designed to resemble the care-free vibe of a luxury yacht, the Nammos party complex, which consists of cabanas, spa, restaurant, and event spaces, comes with its own private beach for swimming, sunbathing, partying, and smoking shisha (hookah) under shaded pergolas. The beach-side bar includes one of the most lengthy and exclusive Champagne lists on the island, as well as cocktails, beer, and wine; the bartenders can even whip up something special just for you. This is truly where the jet-set come out to play: Beach bottle service is par for the course, and you’ll probably see some uber-fancy yachts anchored off-shore. Nammos even offers yacht service, so if you’re lucky enough to be on one, you can get food and drinks delivered yacht-side right to you.
Where: Psarou Beach, 84600 Mykonos, Kikladhes, Greece