1. Barcelona, Spain
With layers of architectural wonders, cutting-edge cuisine, and buzzing nightlife, Barcelona would be a world-class city even without the eight white-sand beaches that rim its Mediterranean coastline. Accessible by metro, the nearly mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) Barceloneta Beach—revitalized in the massive waterfront makeover for the 1992 Olympics—is one of the most popular. Hit the Beach Centre to rent a beach umbrella, chairs, or a bicycle.