Paris Plages, Paris
Best for: Parisian chic
What began in 2002 as a single, short beach on the Right Bank of the Seine has turned into one of the biggest pop-up beaches in Europe.
More than 2,000 tons of sand are loaded onto various Paris waterside locations: this year it's across from the Georges Pompidou exhibition center and at the Bassin de la Villette artificial lake.
Visitors can sit on a deck chair under a palm tree, borrow books free of charge, join in tai chi and ballroom dance classes or ride a new 150-meter-long zip line across the Bassin de la Villette.
Oddly enough, swimming in the Seine is forbidden -- there are row boats and kayaks for rent instead.
Paris Plages?, open until August 2013
Žluté Lázn?, Prague
Best for: Sporty types
On the banks of the River Vltava, this venerable city beach turns 103 this summer.
The expanse of imported sand provides plenty of spots for horizontal relaxation.
Games include beach volleyball, slack-lining, petanque, netball and giant chess.
There are several bars and restaurants, a children's play area and -- this being a common requirement for European urban beach-goers -- a "no-clothes" beach.
Evening beach parties feature DJs and young, attractive crowds.
Žluté Lázn?; 80Kc ($4) adults, 40Kc children
Best for: Urban surfing
After a morning in Lisbon's medieval Alfama quarter, its cathedrals and cubbyhole cafes, a trip to this long beach below the cliffs near Cascais, a 20-minute bus ride from Lisbon proper, makes a great change of scene.
Many consider Guincho the most beautiful beach around Lisbon, but whether you come for the scenery or not, you're almost guaranteed a decent swell.
The beach is renowned for its strong waves and chill surfing vibe -- whatever day of the week you can expect plenty of kite- and windsurfers in the water.
Surf rental shops and schools are nearby, but the beach is also fine for bodysurfing.
For more about Lisbon visit the official Lisbon tourism website.