7 European Beach Destinations That You've Never Heard of Before

Bell   |   18 October 23

Europe has plenty of beaches, however with “European Summer” as the new hot trend and  millions of people flocking to the most Instagrammed spots, many have become overrun and overpriced. Here are some of Europe’s best hidden gems that will make your beach vacation one of a kind.

From the Amalfi Coast to Santorini to Mallorca,  we have all seen countless of social media posts documenting the heart of European Summer. They are famous for good reason – stunning beaches with gorgeous coastal towns, delicious food and lots of things to explore. 

Unfortunately, the popularity comes at a price – literally and figuratively. You pay for beach access, only to lie neck on neck with the person next to you. Accommodation is overpriced and booked out months in advance. Restaurants and locals struggle to keep up with the demand, meaning new rules have to be put in place to protect the area.

In this article, I’ve summarised some of Europe’s best underrated beach destinations. They are just as beautiful (some arguably even more), less busy and an incredible alternative to consider for your next European Summer vacation. 

Vlorë in Albania

The Ultimate Guide to Spending a Hot Day in Vlore, Albania - Share Image

Albania should be at the very top of your list for your next European Beach getaway. Pristine beaches, delicious food, friendly locals and most important of all, still massively underrated as a travel destination. 

2023 was the first year Albania entered main stream media and it is only set to explode as a summer vacation spot over the coming years. Vlore especially is still a hidden gem as you can only access it via Tirana Airport or Corfu Airport (though this is very easy – guides on how to can be found here)  and hence not as many travellers make the journey. 

From Vlore, you can also visit one of the most stunning beaches along the Albanian Riviera, Dhërmi. It is only a 1 hour drive away and well worth the journey.

County Kerry in Ireland

Photo by Mark Lawson on Unsplash
Photo by Mark Lawson on Unsplash

 From the breathtaking views of Ring of Kerry to the sandy planes of the Ballybunion Beaches, County Kerry in South-West Ireland is a seriously underrated summer vacation spot. 

This area is perfect for any adventure lovers, offering activities like cliff hikes, surfing, kayaking and Mountain biking on top of the usual beach relaxation. 

Book your flights to Ireland:

Aveiro in Portugal

Aveiro Portugal - traveloffscript

Aveiro is a beautiful city along the Portuguese Coast, about an hour from Porto. It is easily accessible by train and not as well known as other cities in this area. 

The town is often referred to as the Venice of Portugal, with picturesque canals running through the center. Nearby are the beautiful Praia da Barra and Praia da Costa Nova, idyllic sandy beaches with lots of amazing bars and restaurants nearby. 

The Costa Nova neighbourhood is also known for its colourful, striped houses lining the main street, giving it the ultimate beach vibes. Almost like a Barbie beach house come to life. 

Sylt in Germany

Sylt is often known for the iconic beach chairs and beautiful sand dunes, but the destinations is so much more than that.

The water is beautiful and reaches temperatures of up to 20° in August. The island is a true haven for families and couples, as well as nature lovers and those looking for pure relaxation.

Sylt also features many wellness retreats and is a true sanctuary for those looking for a holistic experience. I would highly recommend coming here for a whole different “European Summer” and to reconnect with yourself as well as nature.

Montpellier in France

Montpellier is one of the least known beach destinations in France, yet one of my absolute favourites. I went in September and the water was mild, the weather was amazing and the atmosphere of the city is so relaxed and fun, especially in the evenings.

The beach is pristine, but there are also tons of day trip options and historic/cultural places to visit for those who eventually get bored of relaxing on the beach. 

In the evenings, bars open and restaurants move their chairs outside, meaning the streets are filled with laughter, amazing smells and live music. It is everything you’d hope of the perfect summer destination.

Ikaria in Greece

Ikaria makes every “Quietest Islands in Greece” list you will find on Google. It is also one of the few “blue zones” worldwide, meaning residents live much longer and healthier than the average human. It is said to be due to a combination of diet, lifestyle, geography and their approach to life.

If you are looking for relaxing summer vacation experience, Ikaria is hence the perfect destination. The Seychelles Beach shown above is truly stunning, but there are many more just as beautiful spots across the Island. 

While there, why not experience part of the famous Ikarian lifestyle:

Vis Island in Croatia

Vis Island Croatia
Photo by Pero Vojkovic on Unsplash

Vis Island was long untouched by tourism, making it one of Croatia’s hidden gems. They describe themselves as having an “authentic Mediterranean environment and way of life“, a rare occurrence in many of the places experiencing overtourism. 

From tranquil hidden beaches to friendly locals to a slower and more purposeful lifestyle, Vis truly takes the crown for the perfect beach destination

Top Tip

Make sure to visit the Blue Cave while on Vis Island, a short boat ride from the town Komiža. It is so crystal clear that you can see all the way to the bottom of the 12 meters deep pool and a bright blue colour. 

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Hi, I'm Bell

Bell from Travel Off Script

My blog is here to show you that there isn’t one correct way to travel the world. Together, we can figure out what that means for you. Learn more about me here!

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