If you’re looking forward to enjoying the summer lounging beneath the sizzling sun on a warm – but not sardine-packed – beach, then look no further. We’ve rounded up the five most spectacular secret seaside resorts across Europe so you can enjoy all the beauty, without the crowds.
Ploumanac’h, Brittany, northern France
Not the easiest to spell, but this beautiful beach is perfect for families with children or lovers of rugged landscapes. Based at the village of Ploumanac’h, there’s plenty to see and do, from coastal walks to bird watching, and The Pink Granite Coast (as it’s nicknamed) has been shaped over time into some truly spectacular rock formations. One of the most unusual things about this beach is its “rockscape” – picture glistening rose-tinted crags and rugged cliffs, and there’s a working lighthouse, too.
Marettimo, off the coast of Sicily
This particular Italian island is the perfect beach break for couples looking to relax, unwind and enjoy a laid-back day by the sea. You’ll hardly see a car here, and this pretty, lush green island is perfect if you’re looking for unspoiled shores and perfect scuba diving, within easy reach.
Based on the north-west coast of Spain, in Galicia, this is ideal for families or groups of friends. Viveiro Bay is a teardrop-shaped inlet framed by hills covered in pine and eucalyptus trees. Meanwhile, Covas, the main town beach, curves for more than a mile around the bay.
Praia do Martinhal, near Sagres, Algarve
Timeshare owners already know and love Albufeira, but for somewhere quieter, less than an hour’s drive west you’ll find the ideal beach for swimming or exploring the beautiful Costa Vicentina Natural Park. The long beach at Martinhal is also great for families as the waves are more gentle than further north (past the tip of nearby Sagres, the last village on the Algarve heading west, the western coastline turns into Atlantic territory). Meanwhile, the dominating 18th-century fortress built atop the cliff has to be seen to be believed – it was built by the site of Henry the Navigator’s famous school of navigation, Vila do Infante and there is now a museum in Sagres dedicated to telling the history of Portugal’s famous seafaring explorers. Sagres itself has a lot of stunning beaches, so it’s worth the short drive to explore it further.
Situated on Greece’s north-west coast, 14 miles (21km) north-west of Párga, adventurers will love this sandy stretch of beach. While here, expect to do plenty of body-surfing, while culture lovers will enjoy visiting old ruins in the cooler morning, before spending the afternoon out on the golden sands. The 500m stretch of beach here is cradled between two headlands and makes way to a rich blue sea. At the southern end, you may even catch a glimpse of Corfu on the horizon.