We’ve been on the hunt for lesser-known pockets of paradise, because there’s little worse than hearing the voice of someone from your hometown yelling down the phone on the sun lounger next to you.

1. Seychelles Beach, Ikaria Island, Greece

You’d be excused for thinking you were somewhere far more tropical than Greece – and not just thanks to the name. About 25km west of Agios Kiriko, Seychelles is a secluded cove where rock formations fall into clear waters over beaches of smooth pebbles. Check out our alternative guide to Greek islands for more inspiration.

2. Dhërmi, Albania

We’ve already tipped it to be the next Croatia and the village of Dhërmi is a must if you’re travelling to Albania. More lived-in than commercial, restaurants and guesthouses blend in with the surroundings rather than being an intrusive presence aimed at tourists.

3. Notre Dame Beach, Porquerolles, France

This under-appreciated stretch on the French Riviera is a haven of eucalyptus and pine, with wooden stairs leading the way down to the white sand offering a rare snapshot of a glamorous era gone by.

4. Porthminster Beach, St Ives, UK

An almost-hidden strip of sand, Porthminster is a true jewel on the south coast. On a clear day, you can see out from the bay towards the rocks and a lighthouse – a view in which Virginia Woolf found inspiration for “To the Lighthouse”.

5. Playa de la Tejita, Tenerife

A little-known beach in Tenerife sounds about as likely as a blue moon, but this particular stretch strikes an ideal balance between catering for travellers and staying under the radar – despite playing host to the 2015 windsurfing championships.

6. Brela Beach, Croatia

Brela Beach is one of the most idyllic in Europe, with far less people than you’d expect – surprising given Croatia’s ever-increasing popularity. On the horizon you can see the Biokovo Mountains, a nature park playing host to species including eagles and chamois, bringing added intrigue to a beach holiday.

7. Lahinch, Ireland

Ireland is often overlooked in European beach lists, but Lahinch certainly deserves a mention thanks to a crescent-shaped coastline facing the Atlantic with impressive waves attracting surfers from all over.

8. Porto Giunco, Sardinia

While more well-known than many of the beaches on this list, Porto Guinco isn’t yet bursting at the seams with crowds though does offer enough in the form of entertainment – a good choice for those looking to relax but not be totally at sea.


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