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Deserted Beach? Coming Right Up!

By: Jes Ware

The problem with European beaches? All the Europeans. Just kidding! As a matter of fact, we love a scene-y beach, and no one does beach scenes like the Europeans (think St. Tropez or Mykonos or Ibiza). But sometimes there’s nothing better than a sunny day and a deserted beach. After all, who wants their nap interrupted by an errant soccer ball or their sunshine blocked by a parade of partiers stomping their way to the water? Here are three off-the radar-beaches in Europe for the people-averse.


It’s a fact: Portugal is trending—check out our guide to how to do it the right way. And while the Algarve, its best-known beach destination, can get overrun in places by golf bags and fanny packs (we’re looking at you, Albufeira), there are treasures to be found. If you want sun-stained cliffs, scalloped coves, quaint villages with ancient castles, and golden beaches (also with castles, but of the sand variety), head to the secluded coves of Lagoa, like Praia da Malhada and Praia de Carvoeiro. A little farther south in Quinta do Lago, Praia do Ancão has become our favorite spot on the long strip of sand that hems the southern coast.

Where to stay: The Conrad Algarve. It’s an easy 20 minutes from the Faro airport, 30 from the cork groves in São Brás de Alportel and just a five-minute shuttle to Ancão beach. If you’re up for it, of Albandeira beach (above) is a 40-minute drive (follow the signs towards Porches from Benagil). Make sure to book a room facing the sea.


Deep down on the tip of Italy’s boot heel, there’s a place where hilltops are crowned with medieval towns and limestone cliffs have been gnawed away by the Adriatic. Puglia is a mix of ancient tradition, rugged beauty and seriously good food. As you can tell from above, the beaches are pretty legit, too. Among our favorites, Torre Guaceto, half an hour north of Brindisi, is a protected marine area with a giant swath of sand and coral reef. San Pietro in Bevagna in Maruggio, another protected area, is usually deserted but within reach of civilization if you want a glass of chilled Prosecco.

Where to stay: Borgo Egnazia. The stunning hotel is in Fasano and has its own beach club (not to mention a knockout spa). But the location midway between Bari and Brindisi means day trips to other coastal spots are easy.


With over 120 beaches edging the island, Mallorca means never having to worry about sharing a patch of sand with fellow visitors. The beaches here come in all shapes and sizes: vast swaths of golden sand, tiny slivers of fine white powder, secret pebbly coves you can only get to by boat, stretches of coast that have easy access to town—take your pick. While the Bay of Palma is gorgeous, we’re bigger fans of the beaches in Serra de Tramuntana, the northwestern coast of the island. One is Cala Tuent, tucked into the coastline about an hour north of Port de Soller, its white sand surrounded by the wooded slopes of the Tramuntana mountains. Others include Cala Formentor, Port de Pollença, and our favorite, Cala Deia (above). The shingle beach may not have a mile of sand, but the water is perfectly clear and the view is unbeatable.

Where to stay: Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa. It’s perched atop a cliff overlooking the village of Port Soller, which has avoided overdevelopment. It’s Mediterranean perfection, with ancient stone buildings—the towering church was first built in the 13th century—trendy tapas bars, hidden cafés, and air scented by the surrounding orange groves.