Life is simply too short to put up with overcrowded seashores. Instead of wasting precious hours of sun-bathing time trying to find a patch of sand to plant your umbrella, venture to these underrated coastlines. In lieu of hordes of tourists, these beaches offer peace, quiet and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
Somehow or other, Albania has managed to remain under the global tourist radar for years. Few travellers realise that the Albanian riviera looks almost exactly like Italy’s most sought-after beaches. Dhermi Beach is achingly lovely, yet lacks the crowds or sky-high prices of its more famous counterparts in other countries.
Dune du Pilat, France
Europe’s highest sand dune is a marvel to behold. Climbing up the mighty Dune du Pilat feels almost like channeling Lawrence of Arabia—except instead of trekking through the desert, you’re steps from sparkling, pristine waves.
Cala Xarraca, Ibiza
Despite its well-deserved reputation for debauchery, Ibiza harbours a peaceful side. As you wander the shores of this serene beach on the northern part of the island, it’s easy to imagine what the Balearics must have been like before DJs and party-goers invaded.
Plage de Saleccia, Corsica
Inhale deeply on this white-sand stretch and you’ll smell the fragrance of Corsican pines mingling with the saline scent of the ocean. The beach’s slightly out-of-the-way location not far from St-Florent means that it remains blissfully underdeveloped.
Koh Mai Phai, Thailand
When the movie The Beach hit theatres starring young heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio, tourists flocked to its filming location in droves. Unfortunately, that means the idyllic vision of Koh Phi Phi depicted in the film is a thing of the past. If you’re seeking a less overrun tropical island, consider heading to nearby Koh Mai Phai, often nicknamed Bamboo Island.
Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
You won’t find big-brand resorts on this palm-fringed oasis in the Rakhine State. Instead, expect to see humble eateries serving the freshest seafood you’ll ever eat. Order the catch of the day with a Burmese-style tomato and avocado salad on the side.
While the city of La Paz, the capital of the Mexican state Baja California Sur, may not be much to look at, nearby Balandra beach is a knockout, complete with powder-soft sands and calm, shallow waters perfect for splashing around during the afternoon heat.
Praia de Benagil, Portugal
Framed by dramatic cliffs rising from the turquoise sea, Algarve’s most popular beach is undeniably stunning. Its most famous feature is the Algar de Benagil, a natural cave with a hole in the ceiling. The striking rock formation makes frequent appearances on Instagram accounts all over the world.
Treasure Beach, Jamaica
The name says it all: this sandy strip on the island’s southeastern coast is a gem. Although Treasure Beach is no longer the low-key, bohemian hangout that it once was, it’s still beautiful. The large sports park nearby has drawn international A-list athletes like Venus and Serena Williams over the years.
Cala Deià, Mallorca
Nestled in a secluded cove in the Tramuntana mountains on the northwestern part of the island, this pebble beach has glass-clear waters and a laid-back vibe. At just 70 metres long, it’s much smaller than Mallorca’s heavily frequented shorelines and still feels like a local secret. If you find yourself feeling hungry after a swim, there are two restaurants serving Spanish staples like saffron-tinted seafood paella.