7 European beaches off the beaten track
Hello, Europe! Summer is nearly here, with higher temperatures and sunshine that will have you craving a beach holiday. And with travel back to normal across Europe, you might want to look beyond its main beaches. For golden sands, blue waters and stunning scenery all to yourself, try heading to one of these 7 hidden beaches, where the only noise you'll hear is the sound of the waves.
Sakarun beach, Croatia
Croatia has become one of Europe’s top beach destinations and with such 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 signs 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 do not stretch only along the French Riviera, as strongly proven by the coastal town of Le Grau-du-Roi. 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 some impressive yachts. 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 but still offer magnificent scenery. Such an island is Naxos, which has been referred to as one of the most underrated Greek islands. There you can enjoy authentic Greek food, pristine beaches, mountain hikes and a little bit of ancient history, as well. Yes, it sounds like almost every other Greek island but since this one is still rather undiscovered, you can enjoy its beauty almost all by yourself.
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 kilometres 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, which is a unique, water-based boating competition aiming to keep passing the fishing and seafaring traditions down through the generations.
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 if you want to have a relaxed day by the beach, without bumping into too many tourists. The town itself has beautiful architecture that has been carefully restored and makes the day trip even more enjoyable. The beach, its main attraction of course, is the place to be during summer, with cafés and restaurants offering affordable and delicious Polish food; beach bars that are volleyball playgrounds during the day and dance stages during the night; and the famous wooden pier, which happens to be the longest one in Europe.
Situated conveniently close to Faro but still far enough to not 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 being captivated by the stunning scenery.
Want to visit all 7 beaches? Or maybe just take a refreshing dip at 1 or 2 of them? Whichever you prefer, the best way to travel across Europe is with an Eurail Global Pass. With access to 33 countries, visit as many or as few as you like!
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