Is there anything worse than a crowded beach? In some of the most popular summer hot spots, seemingly hour-long waits for the toilet, bursting restaurants, and gelato lines that wrap around the block are all common sights. To combat these irritating predicaments, we’re taking you on a tour to some of the more “hidden” beaches in the Mediterranean — all largely inaccessible by ferries, cars, or cruise ships. You’ll find these sunny stunners via hikes, unmarked trails, and perhaps a local fisherman’s boat (with a small fee).
Platja de Castell, Spain: In the early ‘90s, residents of Palamós successfully protested and prevented development on Castell Beach. Because of this, the sight remains one of the last unspoiled stretches on the Costa Brava. Backed against woods, crops, and riverbeds, the crescent-shaped beach probably looks exactly as it did one hundred years ago.
Baie de Briande, France: Baie de Briande sits between the ultra popular Provence and the French Riviera — yet, here, there’s not a single building in sight. The wealthy elites, from both the past and present, sunbathe in Saint-Tropez, located north of the bay, leaving Baie de Briande and its beaches like Cap Taillat surprisingly ignored. Interestingly enough, the Allied naval forces invaded the Bay Briande shores during WWII, so there’s a commemorative museum nearby if you want to soak up a bit of culture along with rays of sunshine.
Isola Budelli, Sardinia: Reachable only by boat, Isola Budelli is actually a privately owned island that’s part of the Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park, just off the northern coast of Sardinia. The island’s most well-known beach is Spiaggia Rosa (pink beach), one of the prettiest in the Mediterranean. It’s no longer open to the public, but you can still visit as a part of a park tour. Otherwise, the beautiful beaches of Cala Piatto, Cala Cisternone, Cala di Trana, and Cala del Cavaliere offer a completely natural surrounding to the deep blue waters, too.
Kelebekler Vadisi: Famously known as Butterfly Valley, this area is only accessible by boat — and is as grand a beach as it is an ecotourism spot, with no permanent structures. The valley protects roughly 100 species of butterflies and the natural fauna, and the beach fits a mere 250 campers allowed at one time. Hardly any electricity is even used here. No wonder this landscape is filled with pristine waterfall-crested hikes, fruity vegetation and, of course, butterflies.
Massif des Calanques, France: Escape the boozy southern French crowds with a boat from Cassis or Marseille to the Calanques, where you’ll be rewarded with unspoiled inlets with crystal clear water, imposing hikes, and not a single gelato stand. The most well-known inlet here is probably Calanque d’En Vau, which admittedly does get its fair share of summer crowds. If you need more elbow room, there are numerous, less-crowded calanques like Sugiton and Morgiou that are ready for exploration.