Often the beaches are so crowded that you feel like a sardine in a can. The usual summer haunts are usually very over-priced and you don’t get value for your money. The locals have become spoiled in these popular resorts and don’t treat tourists with any kind of respect. Why not try something completely different and spend some real quality time with the people you have chosen to travel with? Once you experience one of our beautiful hidden resorts there will be no going back. These areas are still unspoiled with clean beaches, sometimes all to yourself and are far from the maddening crowds you encounter in the more over-rated, fashionable resorts.
We have created a list of ten destinations that you would never have thought about or perhaps even heard of. Get your luggage ready!
Why not stand out from the crowd and choose a virtually unknown resort where you will be treated kindly by hospital locals and be able to relax in a tranquil setting to return home truly refreshed.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Here are the best ten locations we have found for your consideration:
Palagruza, Dalmatia, Croatia
Palagruza is a tiny island in the Adriatic between Croatia and Italy. It is almost a mile long and 4,950 ft or 1399 metres wide. The terrain is rocky and arid and has a lighthouse dating back to 1875 perched on its highest point (295 ft or 89.9M), which offers spectacular sea views. You can actually stay in the lighthouse which is equipped with two comfortable self-catering apartments.
Local fisherman will deliver freshly caught fish or seafood to supplement the supplies you bring with you. Ceramic relics have been found on the islet dating back to the 6th-2nd century BC left by ancient Greeks or others drawn to its beautiful isolation. You will have the island to yourself apart from the lighthouse keeper.
There are two pebbled beaches with clear turquoise shallow waters. This is the perfect getaway where you can do as you please with no-one to bother you.
Rent a four bedroom apartment from £422 or €523/week.
Mljet, Dalmatia, Croatia
This undeveloped island is covered with pine trees and has two saltwater lakes connecting to each other in Mljet National Park. Here you can rent kayaks or a bicycle and explore the Big Lake which has a 7.5 mile or 12 km border. You can hike up to Montokuc (830 ft or 252m) for superb views or visit the 12th century Benedictine monastery on an islet in the Big Lake. There are day trips coming from Dubrovnik but once they leave Mljet is calm and peaceful.
The only tourists left are from the yachts that anchor offshore. There is even an aquatic scuba diving club where you can explore sea caves and wrecks in safety. Hotel Odisej is the sole hotel on the island and it provides comfortable accommodation and a small spa.
Double rooms cost from £55 or €68 per night.
Discover the beautiful (7.5 mile or 12 km) long white sandy beach of Iskele which sees very few foreigners. There is a medieval castle and Roman city close by and the town of Anamur is just 1.5 miles or 2.4 km inland.
You can really mix with the locals here. Iskele has become a resort for Turkish families, so there are plenty of tea gardens and prices in restaurants are dirt cheap.
There are quite a few family style hotels and pensions, as well as restaurants close to the beach. You can see the seaside ruins of Anamurium, a Roman and then Byzantine town. There are plenty of banana plants, strawberries, peppers, maize and peanuts. Prices are reasonable and it is a totally unspoiled and relaxing location.
A double room will cost about £33 or €40.
Koufonisia is in the Cyclades Islands between Naxos and Amorgos. It is composed of two small islets separated by a sea channel. The lower islet of Kato Koufonisia is uninhabited.
The upper part called Ano Koufonisia or Hollow Island, so called because pirates who viewed it from a distance could see the vast caves making the island appear hollow. It has a small community of about 300 people who survive mostly from the sea and fishing. Most people walk or cycle as there are no proper roads and few cars.
The glorious white sands of Pori and the sparkling turquoise waters are clean and unspoiled. It is a paradise for those who seek to relax and unwind. There is a beach bar for refreshments. You can stay in the windmill above the port which dates back to 1830 and sleeps four. It is tastefully decorated with antiques and has a sea-view terrace.
Price is from £119 or €150 per night for four.
Paleochora, South-West Crete, Greece
Paleochora (old village) faces Libya on Crete’s S.E. coastline 48 miles or 76 km south of Hania. It is a fishing village where Greeks go to escape the crowds. The beach covers half a mile and there is a nudist area right at the end. You can find hidden beaches beyond the village for more privacy.
Excursion boats leave the village for Elafonissi (Deer Island) or take the ferry boat to Agia Roumeli and Sougia. Hike up the rocky gorge to the village of Anydri (3 miles or less than 5 km) for lunch in a typical Greek taverna. You can stay at Manto Studios, a B&B close to the main beach.
A two person studio including breakfast costs from £39 or €49.
Although Thessaloniki is a city and therefore hardly a hidden spot, if you choose to stay here you have the benefits of a city plus the superb beaches of Halkidiki only an hour and a half away. It is a highly sophisticated city and there is much to see and do including the famous 15th century White Tower. The Tower was used as a prison in the 18th century and many were massacred here at the bloody tower as it came to be known. The castle is in the Turkish quarter and there are of course many museums and churches of interest.
Halkidiki is full of endless coves and forests – you can find hidden treasures at Sithonia as well as some unique archaeological sites: Ancient Olynthus, Stageira where Aristotle was born and Mount Athos, standing within the beauty of untouched nature. There are mountains and crystal clear springs, it is perfect for hiking or mountain biking. You can stay at one of the guesthouses at Holomontas and other areas on the mountain. There are also many activities such as windsurfing, kite surfing, diving and water-skiing.
Although it is a well-known place many areas are still undiscovered.
Viveiro, Galicia, Spain
Most of the popular beaches are on the northern coast but only about an hour’s drive from Viveiro so that you can easily visit them if desired. However, in Viveiro you will mix with the locals and not masses of tourists. There is a long sandy beach just a few miles away which is totally unspoiled. There are two hotels here and a youth hostel.
At the Ego Hotel double rooms are from £71 or €89 including breakfast.
Nito’s restaurant located here is one of the best in the area.
Cies Islands, Spain
Located in the north west of Spain, Cies is part of the three islands in Galicia. The beach extends for more than a mile of white sand between Monteagudo and the Faro Atlantic Islands National Park. Most of the protected area is actually underwater. Only 2,200 visitors are permitted daily, no bikes or cars.
There is only a camping site here but you can stay in Pazo los Escudos, a Galician mansion set in a stone palace close to the beach.
This is a 5 star hotel and prices range from €200 or £160 per double room but it is well worth the cost.
Comporta, Troia, Portugal
Discover the white sands stretching along the coastline at Comporta just 90 minutes from Lisbon. Princess Caroline of Hanover and other famous people have summered here in this haven of secluded villas. Envision turquoise water and blanched sands as far as the eye can see.
This area is known as the rice bowl of Portugal and you can ride through the paddy fields. Stop for a lunch of freshly caught fish at the Comporta Cafe on the beach and take in the beauty.
You can stay at the Sublime, a boutique style hotel from £136 or €170 for a double room.
Notre Dame, Porquerolles, France
Porquerolles is an island off the Giens peninsula and town of Hyeres. The beautiful island has remained untouched by the crowds of the French Riviera. No cars are allowed here, Porquerolles abounds with olive trees, vines, forests and sandy beaches. Notre Dame beach is the most stunning – it is a 40 minute walk or 20 minute bike ride from the village. Even in the height of summer it is largely deserted and as you lie on the golden sand, you inhale the scents of pine, eucalyptus and oregano. Crystal clear waters, this is the Mediterranean at its best before it was ruined by tourism.
You can stay in the village at Villa Sainte-Anne, a half-board double room starts at £125 or €156.