European Beaches off the Tourist Radar
With temperatures rising, it's easy to dream of walking along a beach, enjoying the peaceful scenery and taking a refreshing swim in the sea. But when all your fellow travellers are also hitting the sand, sometimes, the reality isn't so sunny. If you want to avoid the crowds and really relax, head to one of Europe's hidden beaches, where the only sound you hear is the ripple of the waves. Are you ready for our top picks?
Sakarun Beach - Croatia
Croatia has become one of Europe’s top beach destinations, and with its stunning coastlines, it comes as no surprise. While Dubrovnik and Split receive the most attention from tourists, the northern part of the Dalmatian coast offers beautiful beaches without being too crowded. Sakarun beach is truly an example of how stunning they can be, with its white sand and turquoise water. Located on the Dugi Otok island, just outside of Zadar, where you can find picturesque landscapes with almost no sign of human activity. There’s also a lighthouse which provides a panoramic view of the whole coast.
Le Grou-du-Roi - France
France’s beautiful beaches don't only stretch along the French Riviera. The coastal town of Le Grau-du-Roi, with its picturesque scenery and turquoise water, is a great example of a hidden paradise just a little further to the west. In fact, even Ernest Hemingway was captivated by it, describing it as a “fine place with a long beach and fine fishing spots”. Nowadays, you can spend plenty of time in the town itself, walking through the narrow streets or heading to Port Camargue to see the impressive yachts. And, of course, the dune beaches are the highlight of the area with their wilderness and serenity.
Naxos Island - Greece
The Greek Islands are certainly a beach paradise in Europe, with so many places featuring crystal-clear turquoise waters. While it’s true that they receive a lot of tourists, some islands tend to be less popular than Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes, while still offering magnificent scenery. Naxos, for example, has been referred to as one of the most underrated Greek islands. With authentic Greek food, pristine beaches, mountain hikes and a little bit of ancient history, there's magic on every corner.
Porto Cesareo - Italy
This little resort located on the heel of the Italian Peninsula has earned the reputation of being the ''European Maldives'' - and it surely deserves it. It has 17 kilometers of beautiful beaches facing an archipelago of islands that form a protected bay, where you can find various interesting flora and fauna species. Underwater activities, therefore, are truly a must here if you want to see different coral formations, turtles, sea horses, and many more. Porto Cesario town itself has plenty of culture to offer visitors, including the annual Palio event: a unique, water-based boating competition aiming to pass ancient fishing and seafaring traditions down through the generations.
Sopot - Poland
Poland might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of a beach, and that’s only one of the reasons why you need to go to Sopot. The town itself has beautiful, carefully-restored architecture, which makes a day trip here even more enjoyable. And, of course, the beach is the place to be during summer, with cafés and restaurants offering affordable and delicious Polish food. It also boasts beach bars that switch between volleyball playgrounds in the day and dance stages at night, as well as the longest wooden pier in Europe.
Carvoeiro - Portugal
Situated conveniently close to Faro but still far enough not to attract too many tourists, Carvoeiro on the Algarve coast has everything good about Portugal – picturesque beaches, divine food, interesting architecture and amazing wine. The coastline itself has a lot of rock formations, with small pristine beaches and many caves to be explored. If that doesn't satisfy your adventurous spirit, there are many opportunities to try your surfing skills. Still not enough? Carvoeiro's 3000 sunshine hours per year should seal the deal for you, no matter what season it is.
Playa de Mónsul - Spain
Mónsul, on the Andalusian coast, was named “the best beach in Spain” by Steven Spielberg himself when he was looking for a place to shoot the Indiana Jones scene when Henry Jones Sr. brings down a German plane with just his umbrella and a flock of birds! Beautiful rocks, many caves, crystal clear water and many opportunities for snorkelling – it's easy to understand why the famous filmmaker fell in love with this place. There are barely any signs of human activity, making it the perfect place to relax with your own thoughts while still being captivated by the stunning scenery.
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