When you picture your perfect holiday location, nine times out of ten it will include a pristine white beach next to an azure ocean with maybe a few palm trees thrown in. But beaches are not enough any more: what people really want are beaches that no one else knows about. Although it may be impossible to discover a beach for yourself, you can still avoid the busier beaches in Europe by finding the ones which are still something of a secret, or at least more difficult to get to. But remember, secrets never last long once they are out in the open, so check out these beaches as soon as possible if you are looking for your own spot of paradise.
1. Zlatni Rât Beach, Croatia
Croatia is becoming increasingly popular for visitors looking for beautiful secret beach paradises, and the Adriatic islands have a lot of these to offer. But for the best one of all, head to Brac which is located about an hour from Split, and from here make a trip to nearby Bol, the oldest town on the island. Here you will find the idyllic Zlatni Rât Beach backed up by a stunning mountain range which can also be explored. Also known as the Golden Horn Beach, it is a very distinctive triangular-shaped beach with pine trees growing in the middle. Just make sure you are aware that a section of the beach is popular with naturists.
2. Paradise Bay, Malta
The name says it all with this one. Located right on the tip of the north coast of Malta, this stunning bay is beautiful in itself, but the scenery surrounding the beach with the picturesque cliffs nearby makes it even more special. It’s a bit of a trek to reach Paradise Bay, but this means you’ll have more of it to yourself. There is also the option to go scuba diving if you want to head below the surface of the crystal-clear waters.
3. Smuggler’s Cove, Greece
OK, this one’s not the biggest secret of all, but Smuggler’s Cove on the island of Zakynthos is still on the list because it is only accessible by boat which makes it harder to reach. And of course it is absolutely stunning. A unique feature of the beach is that it comes with its own shipwreck, and you can also climb to the top of the overlooking cliffs for some amazing views.
4. Salema, Portugal
The Algarve is not exactly a secret for beach lovers, but there are still a few hidden coves waiting to be explored. In the south-west of the Algarve, between Sagres and Lagos, you should go hunting for the sandy beach at the sleepy fishing village of Salema. If you want to escape the crowds then you won’t have any problems doing so here, and there are also a number of quaint villages to explore nearby.
5. Dhërmi, Albania
The Ionian coast of southern Albania is a stunning region to explore, and if you are looking for a beautiful secret beach then head to Drymades, (near Himare) which has five kilometres of peaceful beaches to explore. But for the best one of all, head to nearby Dhërmi which has a stunning, isolated beach. Interestingly, you will also find a number of concrete bunkers dating back to communist times but surprisingly these don’t detract from the beauty of the beach.
Discover them All
There are plenty of lesser-known beach paradises to explore in Europe if you are prepared to make a bit more effort to get to them. So if you are keen to avoid the Costa-del-Sol and find something a bit more isolated, check out a few of the above delights.