Archive: Favorite Undiscovered Beaches
While the French Riviera and Costa del Sol are pretty much paved over, bikini-strangled, and Nivea-creamed, there are plenty of other beaches in Europe whose little waves tickle only local toes. If I share my favorite beach hideaway, will you share yours?
The Adriatic coast and islands are lined with amazing beaches. If you
are determined beach-hunters, Croatia's most spectacular is the vast,
golden shingle sandbar, almost 580 yards long, known as the Golden Horn.
It juts out into the water at Bol on the island of Brac, the large island
opposite Makarska. The Makarska Riviera, between Split and Dubrovnik,
is one of Croatia's most beautiful stretches of coast, with endless white
pebble beaches and pine and olive trees to provide shade.
Berlin, Germany 10/14/99
Sardinia, Sardinia, Sardinia!
Pleasant Hill, CA USA 09/16/99
The nude beach in Cinque Terre is a real hideaway. I still can't decide
if it was beautiful and secluded or smarmy and dangerous. To reach it
you must find your way through an almost unlit, mile-long railway tunnel.
When I emerged on the other side, there were 5 stoned guys BBQ-ing. I
gave them 5000L and descended the long stairway down to a lovely pebble
beach. Not very crowded at all, but a bit peculiar.
NY USA 07/09/99
I'm not going to say exactly where it is, it might become too popular!
It's twenty minutes from St Tropez and my wife and I had it to ourselves
for two days! Holidaying in France in June and September is fabulous,
there are so few people about.
In Santorini, you must visit the very private Paradise and Super Paradise
beaches. Super Paradise is super nude! Happy beach hopping.
FELICE M RUTSTEIN
BOSTON, MA USA 04/20/99
The Dubrovnik area in Croatia is a well-kept secret among Europeans. In
summer, it is a sunny resort-filled riviera. Many Americans assume that
all of Croatia is being fire-bombed by Bosnia, but this is not true, it's
only on the northern borders.
Bloomington, MN USA 11/20/98
I agree with everyone about the Cinque Terre. But my latest undiscovered
is courtesy of Rick - Collioure, France. We had some of the best food
ever and the 3 small pebbly beaches were wonderful. A lighthouse, castle,
surf and sun is there for the taking. Right now mostly Europeans vacation
Duck, NC USA 11/04/98
I spent this summer in Spain and Portugal, and spent a wonderful weekend
in the Algarve in Sagres about three weeks before the "tourist season"
really comes. The area was empty, and the people were friendly! Our two-bedroom
apartment with private bath was just $20/night. And best of all — the
secluded, empty beaches surrounded by huge cliffs — right there at the
westernmost point of Europe, looking out and seeing nothing but ocean
— and because we were practically alone — we spent a lot of time celebrating
this magnificent experience in the nude — swimming, sunning, and just
Lawrence, KS USA 11/04/98
Salzburg, Austria October 1995
Try Carnon, Las Plages, Le Gran de Rio and La Grande Motte, beautiful
white beaches along the Mediterannean in Southern France. You'll find
many locals, some topless, and the annual Nordics and Germans.
Woodbridge, VA USA 09/03/98
Just got back from Le Cinque Terre in Italy. Stayed in what I thought
was the nicest of the 5 villages, Manarola. Although there is no beach
there, you can walk 30 minutes to the rocky beach in Riomaggiore (quite
popular) or walk 30 minutes to the beach on the hike to Corniglia (hardly
anyone around but the rocks here are BIG and so it's not so easy to get
into and out of the water... almost impossible!)
Ottawa, ON Canada 08/28/98
We just returned from the Cinque Terre, staying in Monterosso where beaches
are crowded. Take one of the inexpensive boats (or the train) to Manarola
(town #2) and talk north around the point. There are great sunning rocks,
few people, clean and deep water, and even a fresh water shower. Our teenage
kids loved it, even thought there wasn't a grain of sand anywhere!
Mercer Island, WA USA 08/05/98
I came from Santorini's dramatic Red Beach. It was beautiful, but well-discovered. On Paros I found Ayliki Beach, which is very quiet and peaceful. It's best to wear beach shoes because of the sea urchins.
On the road to Ayliki Beach, there is a cool snack bar with a conch
shell logo. The owners, Angela and Giorgio, are hip, friendly and sophisticated
artists and filmmakers from Athens. They make good souvlaki and great
coffee with rich, thick cream. Their kitties do amazing things and they
are bottlefeeding a little sheepdog puppy.
Austin , TX USA 06/29/98
Salema was great in March, '98. Having a car was the best. We were able
to enjoy the sunset at Sagres, nearly deserted beaches, and numerous out-of-the-way
restaurants. If you don't speak Portuguese, no matter. Try a few words.
Add a gesture or two and away you'll go! Rick is spot on; going native
is the friendliest way to travel.
JUDE&PAUL R. - HOUSTON, TX
I have to agree with Rick about Salema, Portugal. This sleepy fishing
village has a beautiful and very quiet beach. In early April this year,
we watched local fishermen preparing for and returning from their daily
trek to the sea.
Hayward, CA USA 05/21/98
The very most private beaches I've found — near the Cinque Terre on the
Italian Riviera, near Salema on the Algarve in Portugal, and on Lipsi
Island near Samos in Greece — all require a special shuttle service with
a local. In many beach towns, local boaters will ferry you for a small
fee to idyllic hideaway beaches accessible only by water. On Lipsi, pickup
trucks shuttle sun seekers to their private beach and pick them up at
a pre-agreed time. Remember, skin that's never seen the sun is really
Edmonds, WA USA 05/13/98