What is it about a visit to the sea that has the power to make any man, woman or child giddy with excitement? The sea’s hold on us probably started with our first visit as a wobbly-legged toddler or child. Experiencing the biggest sandbox you’ve ever seen, followed by the largest bathtub must have had our developing brains in a state of shock and awe. The beach is that magical place where everyone is happy and all that is expected of us is that we play, relax and enjoy the sunshine. As adults, our beach holidays take on new meaning but that nostalgia of golden sands and salt water in our hair lingers. A beach holiday is the chance to escape to the stresses of ‘real life’ and indulge in the good life. It’s where some of the best memories are made. It’s where the only thing that matters is who you’re with and good weather. Nowadays, many beach holidays can be characterised not by their tranquillity, but the number of chintzy souvenir shops and coastlines punctuated by concrete eyesores. Beautiful beaches don’t remain secrets for long, and once the word is out, the tourism floodgates are thrown open. Bustling crowds and congested promenades are fine if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere that’s bursting at the seams with other tan-happy holidaymakers. Sometimes, a holiday at a popular beach resort is just what the doctor ordered. And if that’s the case, look no further than the Costa del Sol or Magaluf. However, if you’re looking for a holiday that is completely subdued and centred around sun, sand and sea, full stop. Then it’s time to carve out a new slice of beach paradise. Somewhere far away from the masses and distractions, but where to go?

Well, the good news is Europe has some of the best beaches in the world; from the black sand beaches of the Canary Islands to the alabaster coast of Crete you needn’t travel too far for a peaceful seaside escape. We’ve highlighted five beaches that even the most draconian beach purist would approve. They are removed from the typical tourist circuit, which means no battling over sun-loungers or shabby versions of a Full English breakfast. Whether they are way off-the-beaten-path or a tight-lipped secret in a popular area, these beaches promise gorgeous views and sparse crowds. If you’re looking for a holiday to recharge and devote to quality time with family, then these undeveloped European beaches will speak to you.

Borsh beach with beautiful landscape in Albania

Borsh, Albania

The Albania Riviera is no secret, this dazzling coastline is popular with shoestring travellers during the summer months. But the sprawling beach of Borsch located less than an hour from busy Sarande and is the sleepy maritime village of Borsh. The 7km long beach attracts a visitors from June to August but come September it is as deserted as can be. Borsh is ideal for adventurous couples and families who don’t mind ‘roughing’ it as blackouts are not uncommon, and it’s not unusual for 4-start hotels to lose power and heated water. On a high note, Albanian hospitality is heartwarming and a holiday here is incredibly affordable.

Photo Credit: greatlivinginportugal.com Photo Credit: greatlivinginportugal.com

Comporta, Portugal

Just over an hours drive south of Lisbon, is Comporta, a village that is on the cusp of becoming a hotbed for international holidaymakers. Huge swaths of open beach and turquoise water make Comporta a visual delight. Currently, there are only a handful of boutique hotels and guesthouses to choose from. However, with millions of Euros being poured in the area’s development, this serene stretch of beach, won’t be a secret much longer. Go to Comport for relaxed vibes, exclusive feel, breath-taking scenery and the freshest seafood on the coast, and chance are you'll return again and again.

Jurkalne, Latvia

For a remote holiday that is untouched by the heavy hand of the tourism industry, Jurkalne is the place to go. Straddling the Baltic Sea is this small, picturesque beach which offers a stunning setting for a family holiday. The sandy beach sits below dramatic cliffs and is a great place for paragliding and swimming in the summer. Around Jurkalne there are a number of small villages, towns and other wonderful beaches to explore. They include Liepaja, Ventspils and Pavilosta.

Mljet Kuste 46

Mljet, Dalmatia, Croatia

This unspoilt island is the emerald beauty in the Adriatic Sea and has been coveted by royalty for centuries. Located a mere 90-minutes from Dubrovnik by ferry, this isle remains largely undeveloped due to the lush national park on the northern end. White slithers of sandy beach are backed by towering pine trees and lapped by gentle waters. With only a few small villages and one main road, Mljet is an idyllic backdrop for some secluded R&R.

Curonian Spit

Nida, Lithuania

Nida is the largest village in the resort area of Neringa, but that said it’s still a quaint and authentic seaside village with mom and pop restaurants and shops. Nida’s biggest draw is its proximity to the impressive Curonian Split, the highest moving dunes in Europe. Both the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon embrace the windswept dunes. While not the easiest to get to, the town’s unique character and unbridled natural beauty is sure to steal your heart.


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