Europe is filled with beautiful beaches and bays, gorgeous stretches of sand and the sea going as far as the eye can see. But the problem is that people know this, and so the beaches are filled to maximum capacity during summer months. You can barely see the white sand beneath the sea of bodies, and the desired tranquility is replaced with noise and voices. But we’ll let you in on a secret, the 7 best undiscovered beach destinations in Europe. These 7 beaches will allow you to escape from the hustle and unwind in peace, enjoying the peace and self-reflection that a good beach should allow.
#1 Elafonissi - Crete, Greece
Elafonissi is a small island approximately 150 metres from the coast of Crete. Crete is renowned for beautiful beaches, both on the mainland and this tiny island. But the reason Elafonissi trumps others in our eyes for the privacy it offers. The rolling dunes and rocks provide shade and shelter from the eyes of others. It is an oblong peninsula and a Natura 2000 protected area. Several rare animals and plants find shelter on the island, including the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. It is one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in Europe, with hints of pink in many places. There are many sites to visit here as well, including the Easter of 1824 monument, commemorate a tragic massacre that occurred on the island, as well as the gorgeous lighthouse on the edge of the island.
#2 Cala Mariolu - Sardinia, Italy
The breathtaking island of Sardinia has a lot to offer, from Bronze Age towers to eccentric festivals to picturesque villages. Sardinia is renowned for its outdoor beauties, with amazing hiking trails on coastal paths or through holm oak forests. But the true wonder of Sardinia are the amazing coastal beaches, or Cala Mariolu beach in particular. The limestone rocks surrounding it provide more than shade in the afternoons, it provides the perfect hidden paradise. The sea is an insanely bright turquoise and ideal for diving and snorkeling. The beach can only be accessed by boat, which contributes to its secret status. It is considered by all who visit to be one of the best beach holiday destinations in Europe, and the most untouched one they found on their travels.
#3 Praia Dona Ana - Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve is one of the most famous beach holiday destinations in Europe, attracting hundreds of thousands each year. This results in a lot of crowded beaches, loud beach bars and litter. So not quite a tranquil getaway. But within Algarve, you can stumble across Praia Dona Ana, the most picturesque beach of the region. It is walking distance from the centre of Lagos, but hidden away by steep colourful strata cliffs. The golden sands and turquoise waters make it truly beautiful, and it tends to only attracts visitors on weekends. There are small rock formations dotted around, containing common sea life and which are fun to snorkel in. This is also a great site to explore from, as there are numerous walking trails to enjoy.
#4 Sveti Stefan - Budva, Montenegro
Just off the coast of Montenegro, you’ll find the small island of Sveti Stefan. It is connected to the mainland by a dyke, and was previously a fishing village. This fortified island village is undoubtedly photogenic, the result of 15th century stone villas, an impeccable pink sand beach and deliciously blue waters. The beach itself is pink and pebbled, so be sure to bring good shoes! A great deal of the beach is taken up by a resort, but the rest is free and the cooling waters eagerly welcome visitors. Make this a stop on your trip of this gorgeous area, and combine it with a walk through Kotor, the medieval old town and crossing the Millennium Bridge.
#5 Isola dei Conigli - Lampedusa, Italy
A taste of the Caribbean in Europe, Lampedusa will take you to the rich colours and crystal-clear sea of the Caribbean. The island is better known as Rabbit Island, and their white sand beaches are renowned in Europe. There is lush vegetation, which attracts wildlife including loggerhead turtles who lay their eggs here. Lampedusa is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The main attractions of Lampedusa are their gorgeous beaches, such as the Rabbit beach and Cala Pulcino, which are excellent for scuba diving. It is also a great spot for hiking, so make sure to take your boots and enjoy!
#6 Ӧlüdeniz - Muğla, Turkey
The name Ӧlüdeniz translates to ‘Dead Sea’, and this is one of the more unusual beach holiday destinations in Europe. The beach owes its name to the tranquil sea, with serene turquoise waters and a pearl white beach. Outside of the absolute heat of peak season, this beach is empty and yours to enjoy. Whilst here, try to explore this gorgeous town and visit nearby sites. One in particular are the Lycian Tombs, which were carved into rock in 350 B.C., and are a breathtaking site. The town is also known for its sarcophagi from 450 B.C. which can be found everywhere, even in the middle of streets or gardens, as the town was built around them.
#7 Luskentyre Beach - Isle of Harris, Scotland
Scotland isn’t where you think of when you consider beaches in Europe, but we’re looking for undiscovered beaches, not warm ones! Located on the west coast of the island of Harris, off the west coast of Scotland. While this isn’t the beach for getting a tan, it is hauntingly beautiful. This beach is ideal for memorable long walks overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean, and this lonely beach will let you forget anyone else exists in the world. The sheep living there enjoy it immensely, and may wander over to you. We recommend staying a few nights on the Isle of Harris, to enjoy the tranquility and beauty it has to offer. Travel the Golden Road through Bays for a tour of the rich history that shaped the island’s identity, and keep an eye out for the Norse and Gaelic influences. Visit the popular village of Tarbert, where you can try on Hebridean heritage in Harris Tweed Shop and stop at the Isle of Harris Distillery for some local amber.
These beaches range in location, weather conditions and sand colour, but they are all the best beach destinations in Europe for the tranquil traveller. They’ll give you time away from the bustle of humanity, and allow you to enjoy the beautiful views uninterrupted. Go explore these hidden wonders and cherish every moment.