1. Tossa De Mar, Costa Brava, Spain
For some of the best secret beaches in Europe just a short flight from the UK, head to Costa Brava, Spain. While most people flock to the Costa Del Sol, the beaches along the Costa Brava are much quieter and less touristy. You can’t beat the main stretch of beach in Tossa De Mar, flanked by high cliffs that form the Costa Brava Coastal Path and looked down on by the gorgeous Castillo De Tossa fort. The beach is perfect for couple or families with young kids, and there’s a brilliant selection of watersports, adventure activities and boat trips to other beaches along the Brava Coast. Spend the days soaking up the sun and spend your evenings sipping Spanish wine and enjoying some of the best black rice paella in the world!
How to get here: The closest airport to the Costa Brava is Girona and there are direct flights from airports all over the UK including Belfast, Edinburgh, Manchester and London. Once you arrive in Girona, pick up your car hire and it’s less than a one hour drive to beautiful Tossa De Mar.Find cheap flights to Girona
2. Murder Hole Beach, Donegal, Ireland
While Ireland might not be the first place you would go for a beach holiday, the Emerald Isle is experiencing a particularly hot summer and there’s no shortage of hidden beaches to be found. Murder Hole Beach in County Donegal, along the rugged coastline of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, is probably one of the most spectacular. This is the kind of beach to travel to if you love having the entire place to yourself, watching the wild waves of the Atlantic crashing onto the shore, and involves taking a long walk along the cliffs to get there.
How to get there: Believe it or not, Donegal actually has its own regional airport, even if the one runway almost looks like a strip of tarmac in a golf course! You can fly direct from Glasgow or else fly to Dublin from a selection of UK cities, hire a car and then drive the scenic cross country route to Donegal.Find cheap flights to Donegal
3. Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece
Have you ever been to a beach with pink sand? The interlinking beaches of Elafonisi on the island of Crete in Greece are famous for just this. The super fine sand that makes up this unique beach was created by red organisms that grow on the dead coral reefs, and shells that have washed up from the ocean floor. While popular with those visiting Crete, the beach is so large and has so many hidden pockets within the sand dunes, that you can always find a secret space just for you. There’s also a great cafe overlooking the beach called Taverna Kochilas which has a large outdoor terrace with spectacular views and delicious seafood lunches.Find cheap flights to Crete
4. Sarande, Albania
Looking for a seriously cheap beach getaway? Serene Sarande, a beachside city in Albania, is quickly becoming a firm favourite with intrepid travellers. Despite sharing the same stretch of coastline as Croatia and Greece, with blindingly white sand and crystal clear waters, it remains one of the least visited countries in Europe.
Meals out cost just a few pounds, hotels are cheap and cheerful, and a beer will set you back less than £1. While the main stretch of beach in town can get busy in summer, there are plenty of hidden beaches to the north and south where you can have the entire coastline all to yourself.Find cheap flights to Tirana
5. Elaphiti Islands, Croatia
While Dubrovnik is the jewel of Croatia, attracting tens of thousands of tourists each day, the beaches of the Elaphiti Islands remain some of Croatia’s best-kept secrets. The chain of three islands are most popular with day trippers, but booking into a hotel here and spending a week relaxing in secret coves, sipping wine from the island winery, or renting a kayak and circumnavigating one of the smaller islands, is highly recommended. The boat trip alone from Dubrovnik to the islands is worth the trip, as they serve up a fresh seafood feast for all on board and hand out free cocktails!
How to get there: Fly direct to Dubrovnik then take a ferry or organised boat tour out to the islands.Find cheap flights to Dubrovnik
6. Rhossili Bay, Rhossili, Swansea
If you want to make the most of one of the sunniest summers on record, why not pick a beach a little closer to home. Rhossili Bay near Swansea in Wales is one of the UK’s top beaches, and you don’t need to get on a plane to get there! While it’s probably not that “secret” considering it was voted the best beach in Wales this year, we still think it’s worth a visit. No matter how many people show up to enjoy the sunshine, there will always be space to escape the crowds on this 3-mile long stretch of golden sand. It’s also a top spot for adventure lovers, with great waves for surfers and consistent wind for paragliders. Expect green fields, spectacular viewpoints, and some of the best coastal walking spots in the country.
How to get there: Pack up your car and head on a road trip to Swansea, or if you don’t fancy driving, book a train ticket and take the scenic route to the coast.Find cheap train tickets
7. Praia da Marinha, Lagos, Portugal
The Algarve in the south of Portugal has a certain allure that not many destinations in Europe have. Everything feels more secluded and untouched, and most beaches here can be a mission to get to, either involving boat trips or long walks along rocky cliffs. If you believe getting there is half the adventure, then Praia da Marinha should be top of your list. This iconic beach, which has won many awards for being one of the world’s most beautiful, will take your breath away. The super fine sand, which is almost pink in colour, and turquoise waters, are surrounded by impossibly steep cliffs, sea stacks and sea arches, making it one of the most unique beaches on this list.Find cheap flights to Faro
8. Coral Bay, Paphos, Cyprus
Cyprus is a diverse destination known for its historical significance and stunning coastline. One must-visit beach is Coral Bay, located about 15 minutes outside the resort town of Paphos. By far the best beach in the region, great for water sports enthusiasts, families with young kids, or any sun worshippers who merely want to spend a week laying on the beach with a good book. If you have a car, you can also venture slightly further south where you’ll find hidden beaches, shipwrecks and the famous Blue Lagoon, which is a turquoise dream to swim in!Find cheap flights to Cyprus