Europe is blessed with thousands of stunning beaches but if you’re anything like me and prefer your own little sandy cove or stretch of secluded beach, instead of sharing one with hundreds of other holidaymakers, then keep reading.
With the help of our Latedeals.co.uk customers who are in the know we’ve compiled a list of the top five hidden beaches you should visit – just don’t tell everyone about them.
Where – Off the southwest coast of Zante, Greece.
Why – The main beach is a breeding ground for the Caretta Caretta Turtles giving you a great spot for wildlife watching. And with no inhabitants Marathonisi is a perfect place to escape the tourist trail.
How – You can only access this island by boat so you will either need to book with an organised tour or privately hire your own speedboat.
Things to do – Cave diving and snorkelling are popular here but this little island is not good for the adventurous, it is designed more for those who want to forget about the world.
Places to eat – There are no restaurants, snack huts or bars here, but a small speedboat circles the island offering juice, water, ice creams and sandwiches. Personally I would recommend taking a picnic with you.
Punta Molentis, Sardinia
Where – Southeast coast of Sardinia
Why – The small bay has safe swimming waters as there are no waves or currents, making it safe for young children and non-swimmers to splash about.
How – The best way to get here is by car. You can park at Spiaggia Punta Molentis and walk down to the bay which will take you about five minutes.
Things to do – The left side of the bay is distinguished by its bright white sandy shore where you can simply relax and be guaranteed peace and tranquillity. The right side of the bay has large granite stones that lead into the water and is perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving with an underwater world waiting to be explored.
Places to eat – During high season there is a restaurant that opens up and serves locally caught seafood. There is also a kiosk that sells ice creams, snacks and drinks, though this isn’t always open. Again, I would suggest you pack a picnic.
Cala Varques, Manacor, Majorca
Where – East coast of Majorca
Why – The gorgeous white sandy beach is surrounded by pine cladded hills and crystal clear waters that are ideal to swim in.
How – You can get here by boat or by car. However, if you choose to drive you will need to walk for 15 minutes on a rocky footpath to get to the beach.
Things to do – To the south of the main beach in one of the low lying cliffs is a network of underwater caves that you will be able to explore. Follow the cliffs round and you will come to a smaller beach that is very popular with nudists. The sea is ideal to swim, dive and snorkel in. Don’t forget to bring a towel to sit on as there are no sun loungers on the beach.
Places to eat – There are no shops, kiosks or restaurants so please pack plenty of water and a picnic.
Elafonisi Beach, Crete
Where – Southwest Crete
Why – Famous for its clean water and pink sand due to the millions of pink shells that, over the years have been broken into millions of tiny pieces by the waves and because of this Elafonisi is protected by a EU environmental programme.
How – You can get here by car, bus or boat. There are plenty of car parking spaces or if you’d prefer you can get a bus from Chania bus station. You can get a boat from Paleochora that takes about an hour and leaves every morning from 10am.
Things to do – From Elafonisi beach you can walk through the shallow water to Elafonisi Island where you will find a small beach. Its sand dunes are decorated with sand lilies and jupiners which similar to cedar trees. You will also find endangered turtles on the island. At the breaking point the water creates a small lagoon. The water here never exceeds one meter, which is ideal for small children to splash around in. If you walk along the south side of the peninsula you will find plenty of quiet and hidden coves, and there are some coves for naturists. Snorkelling is very popular due the clear waters, and the frequent high winds encourage people to come and practice their windsurfing skills.
Places to eat – There are a few snack bars on the beach that sell sandwiches, ice creams and drinks.
Butterfly Valley, Fethiye
Where – Southwest coast of Dalaman, Turkey
Why – This stunning valley is situated between two striking cliff faces and leads to an unspoilt beach with a backdrop of lush mountains. The area is a well preserved nature site with over 25 different species of butterfly. There is no construction or land development allowed in the valley.
How – There are two ways to reach the valley. The easiest way is to get the boat from Olu Deniz, which takes about 30 minutes and runs every two hours. There is also a speed boat that runs whenever you might need it. Alternatively take the Dolmis from Fethiye bus station and get off at the top of Butterfly Valley, then trek down to the beach which takes about 40 minutes. Be aware that this is a difficult hiking trail that is not suitable for the unfit, prams or wheelchair users.
Things to do – Swimming and snorkelling are very popular due to the clear waters. There is a hidden waterfall that you trek to and try and spot the famous Tiger Butterfly. I would advise that you wear suitable footwear as the rocks can be slippery. You can go camping in the valley and it is possible to hire tents if you didn’t bring your own.
Places to eat – There is a small kiosk in the valley that sells snacks, drinks and ice creams.
Have you visited any of the secret beaches of Europe?