Best Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
When you think of the Mediterranean, you think of the beaches, and the Mediterranean is filled with so many gorgeous beaches. But sometimes you’d love the insider’s scoop as to where to find the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path.
They do exist, and I am usually in search of the best beaches where I can have a bit of ‘me’ time. Beaches where I can go and know I will always get a spot on the sand, or get a lounger, and enjoy the amazing views and the sounds of the lapping Mediterranean waters. Places where you can go and not have to listen to loud music, jacked up high just to create an atmosphere, or parents shouting over one another to get the attention of their children.
I’ve collaborated with a number of colleagues to bring you the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. To be honest, I’m not sure I really want to share these with you because then everyone will be there. They are all wonderful and will surely offer you a more authentic beach experience.
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Albania’s Mediterranean Beach Coast
- 1 Albania’s Mediterranean Beach Coast
- 2 Croatia’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
- 3 Cyprus’ Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
- 4 France’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
- 5 Greece’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
- 5.1 Simos Beach on Elafonisos Island Greece
- 5.2 Best secluded Mediterranean beach on Corfu – Logas Beach
- 5.3 Paradise Beach – Kos, Greece
- 5.4 Fokos Beach in Mykonos
- 5.5 Valmas Beach on the Island of Ios Greece
- 6 Italy’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
- 6.1 Coccorocci Beach in Sardinia Italy
- 6.2 Eraclea Minoa – a secluded beach in Sicily
- 6.3 Parco Naturale Regionale Isola di Sant’Andrea, near Gallipoli, Puglia, Italy
- 6.4 San Fruttuoso Beach in Liguria
- 6.5 Nerano Beach between Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
- 6.6 Fornillo Beach on the Amalfi Coast Italy
- 7 Best Mediterranean beach off the beaten path in Montenegro
- 8 Portugal’s Best Beaches Off the Beaten Path
- 9 Spain’s Best Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
- 9.1 Es Caló Mort, Formentera, Spain
- 9.2 Cala Estreta, Palamós in Costa Brava Spain.
- 9.3 Roses Beach in Spain
- 9.4 Oliva Beach in Spain
- 9.5 Cala Escorxada Beach in Menorca
- 9.6 Cala Mitjana on the southern coast of Menorca
- 9.7 Castelldefels beach in Spain
- 9.8 Barronal Beach in Spain
Albania has about 300 miles of coastline along the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, and you’ll find the quietest beaches in southern Albania. But as I’ve discovered, Albania is not a mecca for mass tourism as yet, so that means there’s sparse information and few Albanian travel guides. Yes, you’ll find info on the most popular beaches that the locals, or in-the-know Greeks and Italians know about, but there’s still quite a bit of mystery surrounding Albania. Here’s a good beach to check out:
Livadhi Beach on the Albanian Riviera
If you haven’t already heard about the fabulous Albanian Riviera, then here’s a quick peek at one if it’s best beaches and to show you why Albania should be your next travel destination.
The town of Himare is quite a popular beach spot, but if you drive a mere 5km North, you will find the stunning Livadhi Beach. Brilliant white sand, shimmering turquoise waters and an array of beach chairs catering to all tastes, from ultra-luxurious cabanas to simple wooden reclining beds.
Fabulous restaurants abound with fresh seafood, traditional Albanian food and a strong Greek influence. Accommodation is limited but Livadhi is a quick bus, taxi or bicycle ride from Himare. There are also 3 campsites right on the beach, so a great location for campers and campervanners.
The beach is sandy, but there are pebbles in the water, so swimming shoes make entering and exiting a more ladylike experience. The beach bars on the North side have the party vibes going, so if your after a quieter, more relaxed environment, then head to the south end.
Pop your snorkeling mask on or slather yourself in sunscreen. Whichever way you choose to spend your day, you will fall in love this simple gorgeous beach.
Croatia’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
Did you know that Croatia has more than 400 beaches? Croatia benefits from having a long stretch of terrain along the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas. Plus, there are more than 1200 islands with some of the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path. For inside information grab this guide here. A few beached to consider are:
Saplunara Beach, Mljet island, Croatia
Submitted by Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Mljet is one of the lesser known Croatian islands, and its beaches are a delight if you’re looking for peace and quiet. Crowds prefer renowned Hvar and Brač, so if you make it to Mljet you’ll have a much more relaxed vibe.
Half the island is a National Park, and the other is a stunning series of dramatic cliffs occasionally opening to little valleys hiding superb beaches. My personal favorite is Saplunara, a world class sandy beach, that’s part of a protected natural park. You can sunbath in this untouched paradise surrounded by pine trees, while contemplating the incredible shades of blue that the Adriatic features. Close by in a sheltered bay there’s a beautiful pebble beach known as Limuni (although its name is Blaca beach).
There’re no big hotels or loud clubs in the island. The only options for accommodation are renting a room or an apartment, or camping.
You’ll find some small restaurants in the villages, and some basic grocery stores. Come prepared to disconnect and chill!
From Dubrovnik or Split you’ll have about an hour and a half drive to Prapratno, from where there’re car ferries departing several times a day all year around.
Proizd Island beaches in Korcula, Croatia
The stunning beaches of the islet of Proizd will not be as crowded as other Croatian gems since it takes two ferries plus to get there from the mainland.
You can only reach these islands by boat, which takes approximately 30 minutes. Boats depart several times a day from Vela Luka on the Croatian island of Korcula.
This corner of the Dalmatian coast has several beaches and coves that you can visit in a day starting perhaps with Bili Boci.
In any case, if you decide to visit them, bring everything you need with you (especially water, food, and sunscreen) because there may not be anywhere to buy it on the island since the beach bar is not always open.
Also, if you want to visit more beaches on top of Bili Boci, wear appropriate footwear because you will have to cross the island on foot to get to them. And finally, keep in mind what time the last ferry leaves!
Cyprus’ Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
Cyprus is the third largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia, and they have around 50 Blue Flag beaches. Below you’ll find one of the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path in Cyprus.
Ayia Napa Beach in Cyprus
Ayia Napa is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Many awards confirm it, as it has won several for its beauty and the cleanliness of its waters.
It’s located in southeast Cyprus, and this place enchants with its turquoise sea and good vibes, even though the country is going through a civil war.
The beaches of Ayia Napa are a mixture of sand and rock, and it will change depending on where you go. Here you can rest as a family, go party at night (and also during the day in high season), do sports like jet ski rides along the coast, and whatever you can think of.
There are several beach options here within a few miles from one another, and a local bus connects them all 24 hours a day. There are also several nearby towns with all the necessary services for your stay, as well as restaurants by the sea.
This is a great beach for couples and a perfect Cyprus vacation destination for families with small babies. The waters are calm and there are many silent sectors where you can enjoy both the sun and your company.
Ayia Napa is 30 minutes from the main city of Larnaca. From there, either take a coastal bus or rent a car based on whether you want to move between different places, or just want to get to your hotel and enjoy the beach in front of it.
France’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
Mainland France has 375 miles of coast along the Mediterranean, and the island of Corsica, France’s Mediterranean island, adds an additional 620 miles.
The Cote d’Azur is well known for some of the most beautiful beach resorts in mainland Europe, but finding a good beach off the beaten path is difficult to come by.
Corsica, on the other hand, has some rough and rugged terrain, and if you are willing to walk a bit, you’ll find amazing coves off the beaten path all to yourself.
The Calanques of Marseille in Cassis
The Calanques of Marseille are secluded beaches bathed by the Mediterranean sea. They are located in Park National des Calanques Marseille – Cassis, in the French region of Provence – Alps – Côte d’Azur.
The Calanques are rocky/sandy beaches (depending on where you are) with turquoise waters. Because they are not that easy to reach, they are the perfect place to escape the crowds.
The Calanques’ downside (for some) is the lack of facilities like a small bar or a changing area. In the Calanques, you are closer to Paradise than to Civilization!
The best way to reach the Calanques is on foot. The Calanques National Park offers visitors many beautiful hikes of several lengths and difficulty which link the different creeks.
Another popular option is to reach the Calanques from the sea, by renting a catamaran or sailboat. In Marseille, there are a few companies offering Calanques sea tours which usually include a picnic type lunch and a bottle of good wine.
Carataggio Beach on Corsica Island
Carataggio Beach is a cove that you find in the south of Corsica near Porto Vecchio. You really need to know where to go to find this beach, and it’s also referred to as Tahiti Beach on many maps.
Drive south just past the town of Piccovaggia where you’ll find a marker for a trail called the, Foce Incesa. Find someplace to park around here and then take the trail for 20-30 minute until you emerge on this pristine, quiet beach.
It’s also next to the busier beach area of Palombaggia Beach, but you’ll welcome the quiet of this beach. The trail is easy to walk, but be sure to bring everything you need for the day as you’ll find no services there.
Greece’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
Greece has almost 9000 miles of coastline, the most of any of the Mediterranean countries. I read somewhere they have more than 1200 beaches, and 400 of them have been awarded Blue Flag Status, along with 9 marinas. Blue flags are awarded to beaches and marina that have high environmental and quality standards. It usually means it’s a clean, safe beach. There are so many beautiful Greek islands to visit where you’ll find many secluded beaches. Check these out below:
Simos Beach on Elafonisos Island Greece
One of the best things about living in Greece is that we have a fair amount of spectacular beaches to choose from. Even so, some beaches are more impressive than others and, sometimes, we come across a beach which is literally incredible.
Simos Beach on Elafonisos Island is one of those beaches that took our breath away from the very first moment we dipped our toes in its golden sand.
Elafonisos is a tiny island at the southern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. Driving to the port of Pounta and then taking the ferry for a less than 10’ journey is the best way to get to Elafonisos.
Simos Beach is in fact not one but two beaches separated by a narrow piece of land. They are called Megalos (Large) and Mikros (Small) Simos respectively. Both beaches boast crystal clear turquoise waters with golden and pink sand.
What’s great about Simos Beach is that, although quite popular during peak season, it is also very large, so it never feels frustratingly crowded. There are sunbeds and umbrellas for hire but the largest part of the beach is free and untouched.
Moreover, if you feel hungry, you can grab snacks or a proper meal from either the camping site at Megalos Simos or the bar restaurant at Mikros Simos. The beach is ideal for families, couples and groups of friends alike and is stunning during sunset. We are in love with Simos Beach as it represents the very essence of the Greek summer at its best.
Best secluded Mediterranean beach on Corfu – Logas Beach
Submitted by Corina from Another Milestone
Left in the shadow of Corfu’s best-known attraction, Canal d’Amour, Logas beach is only 4 kilometers beyond this one. It is a very narrow beach, with less sand than the others and hardly accessible.
It’s bordered by a steep cliff and surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of Corfu; Logas beach offers a view not easy to forget. And its major plus: being on the west side of the island, it is a perfect point to enjoy the sunset. It is also called “the sunset beach”.
To get to Logas beach you must drive until you get to Peroulades villages and follow the “to the beach” sign. Once you get to the beach, you can descend the stairs or just admire the amazing landscape from the restaurant on the cliff.
For some extreme sensations, go on the glass balcony. If you can do all this at the sunset, it’s even better. If not, you will still have something beautiful to see.
Paradise Beach – Kos, Greece
Kos is a lovely Greek island just off the coast of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. The island has been attracting tourists for a bit now since there are direct flights to their international airport.
Kos Island is a big destination for UK bachelor and bachelorette parties. They call them, ‘stag do’s’. But the groups are there for a long weekend and stick pretty close to Kos Town where all the action is.
The rest of the island of Kos is really a paradise to discover. And speaking of paradise, Paradise Beach is the one of the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path in Kos, Greece. Rent a car and head to the western part of the island where you find this lovely spot.
You find a beautiful, sandy beach with lounge chairs to rent for the day at $10 per lounge bed. The water is quite shallow for a distance so it’s a great beach for kids and families. There are some simple snack shacks, and you can also enjoy some water sports, like jet skis and pedalos. There’s even an inflatable water park to play around on.
In high season, you might not be alone, but it will be less crowded than other beaches near Kos town and the harbor. It’s a great place to spend time with your partner or family. Heaven on earth!
Fokos Beach in Mykonos
I spent a lot of time reading about the most untouched beaches in Mykonos, to find the perfect ones during my trip there. Mykonos has a reputation of being a bit of an expensive place to go, so after spending the first day at a beach where sun loungers cost more than a meal, I was excited to find some hidden gems.
Fokos beach is located in the northeastern part of the island. To get here, you drive along a dam on a dirt road. So if you get a scooter like we did, be sure not to drive too close to the person in front as you will be covered in dust.
Once you are there, Fokos beach is a beautiful small stretch of white sandy beach, with a small restaurant set back from the beach nearer to the road. The beach has no services apart from a massage man that came around! It was very quiet all day here; even during high season there was plenty of space on the beach. It has some of the warmest water I experienced on the island and is also nudist friendly.
Valmas Beach on the Island of Ios Greece
Valmas Beach is one of the amazing beaches of Ios, Greece. You cannot drive to Valmas beach or walk an easy path. You have to hike there on a slightly hidden trail.
To get to the beach, you have to walk to the church of Agia Irini, which is the white church at the entrance of the port. The path starts to the left of the gate. Then the adventure begins to find the right path. It takes about 20 minutes to walk there, depending on how many times you choose the wrong path. However, the views are spectacular on the way.
Eventually, you spot the beach from the path. Once you see it, you are not far off.
The beach is small and somewhat rocky. But there are few people on this beach and the water is deep for good swimming. You can also see the ferry coming and going from this spot. There are no services on the beach, so you will want to bring water, snacks and something to sit on.
It is a great place to relax and read in quiet. Because of the hike, it is best for adults only.
Italy’s Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
Italy has more than 4700 miles of coastline, second to Greece in terms of the length of coastline on the Mediterranean. There are beaches on the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas, plus there are numerous beaches on the islands off Sicily and Sardinia. Italy’s a beach lover’s paradise and there are loads of Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path, including:
Coccorocci Beach in Sardinia Italy
Sardinia beaches tend to get crowded with tourists and locals in the summer, so finding something that is virtually empty and completely quiet is a blessing. Coccorrocci is one of these gems – the kind of place you end up at on a local’s tip.
Coccorrocci is the longest pebbles beach in Sardinia – a whopping 4 km of smooth pebbles and incredibly clear, immediately deep waters. There is a beautiful forest of Mediterranean bushes and pine trees behind, where you can go in search of shade and fresh air.
It’s close to Marina di Gairo, and you need a car to get there, and you need to carefully follow the directions.
You can get to Coccorrocci from Cardedu: drive along Viale Buoncammino, and then turn right towards Museddu. Once at the roundabout, take the first exit towards Tatacciu and continue following the directions towards Coccorrocci.
Until a few years ago Coccorrocci was virtually unknown and you’d find nobody there even on what were meant to be the busiest summer days. Make sure to visit before it gets discovered by mass tourism!
Eraclea Minoa – a secluded beach in Sicily
Eraclea Minoa beach is located on the south coast of Sicily between the towns of Agrigento and Sciacca. The sandy beach is on the edge of a nature reserve, backed by eucalyptus trees and white chalky cliffs.
Eraclea Minoa is perfect for anyone looking for a more natural stretch of coast: unlike traditional Italian beaches, it is not packed with sunbeds and umbrellas although there is a restaurant at one end of the beach.
There are some shady spots under the trees if you’re visiting in high summer although the best time to visit is late spring or early autumn if you’d like to make the most of this relatively remote spot. I visited in September one year and had the place to myself.
If you’re a fan of ancient history, there are some 6th century BC ruins of the same name located above the beach while the impressive temples of Agrigento are under an hour away.
Eraclea Minoa beach is best reached by car. There is a small area for parking a short distance from the beach.
Parco Naturale Regionale Isola di Sant’Andrea, near Gallipoli, Puglia, Italy
Contributed by Michele Peterson at A Taste for Travel
While partygoers might flock to the Samsara Beach, known for its late night dance parties or Gallipoli’s popular city beach, those looking for seclusion should head to the Parco Naturale Regionale Isola di Sant’Andrea, south of Gallipoli. These still-wild beaches at this regional park on the Ionian Sea are generally free of crowds. These are great Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path. They are flanked by fragrant Aleppo pine groves and blessed with crystalline clear waters.
This regional park is located south of Gallipoli just off provincial road SP239 near Taviano and Racale, two of the best small towns on the Salento Peninsula of Puglia. To get to the park, you need to take a taxi, rent a car or ride a bike, and then walk the trails to the beach by foot. You could also access the beaches of the park by boat.
What you find here are hiking trails, sandy beaches, rocky outcroppings, and Mediterranean vegetation, such as myrtle, Aleppo Pine and thorny evergreen shrubs. There are beautiful clean waters for swimming.
Although parking is available, there are no restaurants, changing rooms or other facilities within the protected zone of Parco Naturale Regionale Isola di Sant’Andrea. Beach lidos with visitor facilities and loungers are available during the summer season, but the rest of the year you need to head further afield.
Octopus Trattoria and Solatio restaurant are a short drive away, near Terre Suda and both offer fresh, expertly prepared seafood and regional dishes featuring ingredients of the Salento Peninsula.
A campground is available for those with tents or a camping vehicle, the best place to stay would be in one of the small inns or AirBnB rentals in Taviano, Racale or Gallipoli.
San Fruttuoso Beach in Liguria
San Fruttuoso beach on the Italian Riviera is nestled in a tiny cove at the bottom of a steep forested hill. This is one of the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path in Liguria. The beach is pebbly, but there are deck chairs and umbrellas for rent.
The water is cool, but a clear emerald green and wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer day. The bay is small.
There is a small casual cafe that sells sandwiches and drinks and a couple of seafood restaurants for a more relaxing meal. One of them also offers basic accommodations if you want to stay overnight.
The only other thing there is a gorgeous 10th century abbey. There is a small museum inside and you can climb the tower for views over the bay.
San Fruttuoso can only be reached by boat or on foot. Boats leave from Rapallo and go via Santa Margherita and Portofino; Cinque Terre and Camogli. The two-hour hike from Portofino to San Fruttuoso (read the details here) is a great way to get there and makes for truly wonderful day trip.
Nerano Beach between Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
We weren’t expecting to find too many quiet beaches on the coastline from Sorrento and along the Amalfi Coast but couldn’t believe our luck when we stumbled on Nerano.
The tiny fishing village has been a secret swimming spot since Roman times and there are in fact several beaches to explore, each with its own charm.
At Marina del Cantone there are a couple of small beach clubs were you can rent an umbrella or sun lounger. It’s a wide pebbled beach and the water is crystal clear, perfect for snorkelling. You can also take advantage of a wide stretch of free beach access if clubs are not your thing.
For a secluded swim, take a 10 minute walk to Recommone Bay where there is a sandier beach and two caves or grottoes to explore.
When you get hungry try the local specialties – spaghetti all Nerano with zucchini and mozarella cheese and refreshing lemon granita from the seaside cafes.
To get to Nerano take the Via Dei Campi from Sant’Agata sui due Golfi on the main route from Sorrento to Positano. The steep winding roads to the sea are narrow and slightly hair rising but it’s well worth the effort.
Fornillo Beach on the Amalfi Coast Italy
Submitted by Leanne at The Globetrotter GP
The Amalfi Coast is not short of beautiful beaches. Albeit not the soft white sandy type that may spring to mind when you think about the Mediterranean. But the Amalfi Coast is teeming with beautiful pebble beaches with warm azure seas, framed by the cliffs which rise steeply from the coastline.
Traditionally a playground for the rich and famous, the Amalfi Coast in Italy is a beautiful place to spend a few days enjoying the scenery, the colourful villages and towns and enjoying the beach culture. One of the best places to stay is in Positano.
You’re bound to recognise the Spiaggia Grande beach from postcards and travel brochures. But the lesser-known Fornillo Beach is the true gem in this town. Tucked away, a 10-minute coastal walk from the main beach, you’ll find this beautiful beach frequented mostly by locals.
You’ll find colourful day beds dotting the pebble beach, a few beach bars and kayaks for rent. But you won’t find hordes of tourists. If you want a more peaceful beach experience on the Amalfi Coast, this is where to go! You should definitely add a day relaxing here to your Amalfi Coast itinerary.
Best Mediterranean beach off the beaten path in Montenegro
Even though Montenegro has only 185 miles of coastline, it doesn’t mean they don’t have some beautifully quiet and secluded beaches. Tourism in Montenegro is on the rise, and once you are done visiting Kotor Old Town, one of the most impressive beaches in Montenegro is at:
One of the most exclusive beaches in Montenegro, as well as the most secluded, is Queen’s Beach or Kraljičina plaza. The reason why it’s so private is the fact that it belongs to the ultra lux Montenegro landmark, Aman Sveti Stefan.
While all beaches in the country are public, this slice of heaven is the only one that is private and available to guests only. It’s right in front of the spa, so it’s best to combine a massage with a dip in the ocean.
What you get is a small bay that is surrounded by cliffs and greenery, perfectly clear blue waters and basically no one else around. It’s the best off-the-beaten-path Mediterranean beach to feel like a celebrity or part of the 1%, even in peak Summer months.
Although small fishing boats pass by, there is a line of buoys that allows for utter protection from peaking Toms, maintaining that old time fishing village feel. The beach is a mix of pebbles, gravel and sand, like most of those in the country.
The only way to get to the beach is on foot through Sveti Stefan which takes about 10mins or Przno in about 5mins. But fear not, if you can’t get a room on the island, the public can visit nearby King’s beach at Sveti Stefan for a $130 umbrella and sunbed rental!
Check Przno’s Hotel Prices here if you want to discover this secluded beach in Montenegro.
Portugal’s Best Beaches Off the Beaten Path
Portugal has more than 1100 miles of coastline and no shortage of beaches. Yes, we know that Portugal is not physically on the Mediterranean, but much of the landscape, culture and beaches are very similar.
Some of the most popular top sights to see in the Algarve, are in the southern most part of Portugal. These are mainly large, powdery sand beaches. But where are some beaches off the beaten path in Portugal? Check out these below.
Praia de Odeceix
On our recent trip to Portugal, we walked the Rota Vicentina, a coastal route in the south of the country that crosses the Alentejo and Algarve regions.
On the fourth day, we came across Praia de Odeceixe a stunning wide sandy beach surrounded by rugged cliffs. There is a small settlement at the beach with a couple of hotels/guesthouses, restaurants and a surf school where you can take surf lessons, rent a board or a SUP.
Apparently, Odeceixe beach is a very good spot for learning how to surf and for the beginners. There are several hiking routes near the beach, the trails follow the coastline and offer some incredible sea views and a chance to spot birds including storks that make their nests on the cliffs. Odeciexe beach is a great spot for families and for people who love outdoor activities.
The easiest way of getting here is by car, it’s about 5 minutes drive from the nearest town Odeceixe which has many accommodation options as well.
There are no public buses that go all the way to the beach but it’s possible to get to Odeceixe by bus from Lisbon and walk the remaining 3 km to the beach.
Cacela Velha Beach, Portugal
Contributed by Two Find a Way
Algarve, in the South of Portugal, is a region filled with stunning beaches and jaw-dropping ocean views. The region is visited by thousands of tourists every year, but Cacela Velha Beach is one of those places you’ll only believe exists when you’re actually there.
This sandy beach is also known as Fábrica Beach and it has been named one of the most beautiful in the world. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing time sunbathing by the sea. It’s great for couples, families, and groups of friends in search of tranquility.
There are two ways to access Cacela Velha: you can catch a small boat from Sítio da Fábrica, a small village in Vila Real de Santo António, or you can walk down from the Cacela Velha Fortress. However, this second option is only possible when the tide is low.
What makes this beach so unique is the fact that due to the action of the winds, the sea, and the nearby Ria Formosa lagoon, the beach itself is in constant change.
At times, the sea meets the lagoon, and parts of the sand beach disappear. This movement provides for one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Portugal. Because it is indeed such a hidden gem, there are no services on site or lifeguards available.
Costa da Caparica Beach in Portugal
Costa da Caparica is a 11 mile stretch of sandy beach about 9 miles from Lisbon, on the other side of the Tagus River. It’s popular among locals but virtually unknown by foreigners, and the beach is long enough that it doesn’t feel very crowded, even in summer.
A series of red cliffs, known as the Arriba Fóssil, follows the coastline for several miles, and behind the cliffs is a shady green forest. Hiking enthusiasts can do a loop walk that encompasses the forest, the cliffs and the beach.
Some parts of the beach are completely undeveloped, while others have some low-key bars and restaurants. Bambu restaurant is a good option and serves seafood as well as three different kinds of veggie burgers, making it one of a growing number of vegan-friendly restaurants in and around Lisbon.
Keep in mind that one section of the Costa da Caparica beach is clothing optional.
The easiest way to get here is with your own car, or by Uber. There are a few local buses that pass by, but nothing direct from Lisbon.
Check out these hotels near Costa da Caparica Beach
Spain’s Best Mediterranean Beaches off the Beaten Path
Spain has more than 3100 miles of coast in the Mediterranean with long stretches of beach areas. You find Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, and Costa del Sol among the most popular. And popular beach areas they are.
People from all over Europe flock to Spain for their clean wide beaches, cheap accommodation and food, and the cold cervesas and tapas. But where do you go if you want to avoid the crowds? Check these out below:
Es Caló Mort, Formentera, Spain
No one questions that the beaches on Formentera Island (the smallest of the Balearic Islands) are amongst the most beautiful in the whole Mediterranean. The trademark beach of the island is the Ses Illetes Beach, but there are also some hidden gems.
Our favorite beach on the island is Es Caló Mort, situated on the Southern coast. It’s a tiny sandy beach found in a small cove. In order to get there you had to leave your car in the parking lot near Es Copinyar Beach, and walk for around 20 minutes following a rocky trail. The views are amazing along the whole trail and your effort will be compensated when you get to the cove.
The cove has no services at all (bring food and water, if you plan to spend the day there) and the way down to the beach is quite steep, not very recommended for small children or people with reduced mobility.
Although it’s off the beaten path, in high season you need to get early, if you want a place for your towel in the tiny beach.
Cala Estreta, Palamós in Costa Brava Spain.
Hidden behind a 30 minute walk along the cliffs of the Costa Brava in Palamós, you find one of the most beautiful beaches the Costa Brava has to offer: Cala Estreta. And for this reason, it’s one of the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path in Costa Brava.
With its crystal clear water, you could almost think you were in the Caribbean. With no services, restrooms or food offered at this beach, it’s clearly an off-the-beaten-path experience.
The closest beach from here (Platja de Castell) which is located right next to the parking lot, offers different kinds of water sports equipment, a bar, and restrooms.
Cala Estreta is surrounded by cliffs but also has some stony sand to lay down on. The best part about Cala Estreta, besides its tranquility, is snorkeling. Due to the clear water, you are able to explore different kinds of fish and simply have a cool and refreshing swim in the Mediterranean Sea.
Just make sure to bring some swimming shoes as the shore can be a little bit rocky. It’s a great place to spend time here as a couple or with friends.
If you are traveling with little children, you might want to visit Platja de Castell instead, as the way to Cala Estreta can be quite steep at some parts. You can reach Palamós by car from Barcelona and Girona in about 1 ½ – 2 hours.
Check more than 9000 hotels options along the Costa Brava here.
Roses Beach in Spain
The beaches of Southern Spain are known throughout the world. White sand and year-round warm temperatures make them very popular tourist destinations.
But not all the best Spanish beaches are in the south of Spain. About 90 miles to the north of Barcelona is the seaside town of Roses. Day trippers from Barcelona as well as from nearby France visit Roses from late May to October.
Located along Spain’s Costa Brava, the beach in Roses is one of the best in the region. While most beaches in the Costa Brava consist of stone or small pebbles, the beach in Roses is soft sand.
The water in the Bay of Roses is crystal clear and relatively calm. Watersports like sailing and kayaking are popular activities for travelers. On shore, a two mile long pedestrian promenade along the bay allows for jogging, cycling, or a casual evening stroll.
With its location on the sea, visitors can experience traditional Catalan food and some of the freshest seafood in Spain. Roses is also one of the main fishing ports along the Costa Brava, known for its mouth watering prawns, and is best reached by car as there is no train service to Roses. You can reach Roses by bus from Barcelona, Girona, and nearby Figueres.
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Oliva Beach in Spain
Until we booked a house sit in Oliva, Spain we’d never heard of the area! We found ourselves an hour and a half south of Valencia, walking distance from a 10 mile stretch of golden sand largely backed by protected sand dunes.
The beach stretches from Oliva in the north all the way to the town of Denia, separated by the occasional river. Generally quiet, it does get busy on holidays, but you won’t find the massive resorts of other parts of Spain.
The wide expanse of fine sand and calm, shallow water is perfect for families, but what caught our attention is that it is an excellent kitesurfing spot. In the summer, afternoon winds are a near daily occurrence and the sky fills with kites. Unlike some other beaches in Spain, it doesn’t get too crowded. We never had a problem finding an open space to launch a kite.
In the summer, services such as lifeguards, toilets and beach bars pop up at regular intervals and the occasional campground has a bar/restaurant, but we would definitely recommend arriving prepared. Driving is the best option, but public buses run to Oliva and Denia from either Valencia or Alicante.
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Cala Escorxada Beach in Menorca
One of the most remote beaches in Menorca, Cala Escorxada is not the kind of beach you’re going to accidentally stumble across – unless you find yourself lost! This is one of the best Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path in Menorca.
But once you get there, it’s more than worth the effort. A serene cove of pearl coloured sand meets the calm turquoise water. High cliffs on either side shelter the beach and add to the sense of intimacy.
There are no facilities, and it’s not family-friendly (unless you have adventurous kids!) but it’s perfect for those looking for tranquillity.
To reach the beach, you’ll walk the coastal path from either Cala Mitjana or Platja de Binigaus. Choose the former if you want to visit the idyllic coves of Cala de Trebalúger and Cala Fustam on the way, or the latter if you want a slightly smoother journey.
Either way, the track takes you precariously close to the cliff edge and involves a little scrambling! Another option would be to kayak around the bays from Cala Galdana, or for those less physically able, you can avail of a tour or hire a boat to visit this spectacular beach.
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Cala Mitjana on the southern coast of Menorca
Submitted by Philipp at Capturing Wanderlust
From the designated carpark, a 25 minute stroll down a dusty forest trail opens into a brilliant blue cove with white sand beaches and tall cliffs on three sides. You will find Cala Mitjana on the southern coast of Menorca between Cala Trebalúger and Cala Galdana.
The cove’s usually calm waters offer the perfect spot for swimming, snorkelling or simply drifting on an inflatable. Forest trails surrounding the beach lead to gorgeous cliff-side vistas over Cala Mitjana and the deep water below provides some perfect spots for thrill seekers to take a plunge.
Generally speaking, Cala Mitjana is one of the more secluded beaches on the island, offering plenty of space for a couple or small group to spread out towels on the sand and soak up the sun.
The height of peak season however, can get quite busy, so mornings and evenings are ideal if you prefer a quieter experience. Given the walk, this beach isn’t recommended for families with younger children, as there is no stroller access.
Make sure to pack some supplies, especially water, as the beach doesn’t have any facilities. That being said, there are often vendors selling fresh fruit and chilled refreshments from a wheelbarrow if you’re lucky enough to catch them. The cove is a hidden Gem, and shouldn’t be missed if you love stumbling upon Mediterranean beaches off the beaten path.
Castelldefels beach in Spain
Contributed by Sinjana, at Backpack & Explore
Castelldefels beach is not a name that pops up when we talk of beaches in Spain, does it? It is but a serene 5-km long sandy beach located about 20 km from the touristy Barcelona.
Castelldefels is a perfect beach to include in your Barcelona itinerary if you want to rewind after a busy day. Even in the peak travel season when you will find queues everywhere in Barcelona, Casteldefells is peaceful.
While there are many pop-up bars and parties here, it’s never too crowded for a romantic walk in the sunset.
It is the home to the big football stars of Barcelona FC, including Messi, so it’s certainly an upbeat neighborhood.
The beach has shower cubicles, sunshades, children’s play area and wooden planks leading to the sand. There is free Wi-Fi along the whole beach.
This is a great beach for families, couples as well as party animals. Near the beach, you can find the Olympic canal and a few kilometers walk will lead you to the castle of Castelldefels.
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Barronal Beach in Spain
Barronal Beach in Cabo de Gata is one of the absolute best off the beaten path beaches in Spain. It’s situated in Cabo de Gata Níjar nature reserve. Just before the more famous Monsul beach, there is a path to the left, taking you across boiling desert sand. After about 10-15 minutes you meet the beach. Fine sand meets the Mediterranean.
There are no facilities on the beach and you will need to bring your own parasol as there is no shade on the beach. Like most beaches in Cabo de Gata, the beach is never really busy.
Peak season is August when most Spanish take their holidays. Clothes are optional, though. It is said to be a nudist beach, but there are just as many people with their swimwear on.
The beach is perfect for anyone who wants an excluded beach surrounded by nature. There is one other way to get to Barronal beach; by hiking from San Jose. San Jose is about a 40 minute drive from Almeria.
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