GOLDEN HORN, BRAC, CROATIA
The Golden Horn, or ‘Zlatni Rat’ in Croatian, is rightly one of the country’s most popular beaches. It lies about 2km west of the town of Bol and has a unique shape which can change depending on the wind and the sea levels. No matter which way the breeze is blowing, you’re assured crystal clear water and tranquil scenery.
Bonus tip: If you have enough of the sun, go to the southern side of the beach and try windsurfing or head over to nearby Vidova Gora for paragliding.
NAVAGIO, ZAKYNTHOS, GREECE
Situated on the north-west coast of the Greek island Zakynthos, you will find paradise; the beach is Navagio, or ‘Shipwreck Cove’ as it is also known, and it can only be reached by boat. The water can reach temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius, perfect for swimming, and the famous smuggler ship is a must-see.
Bonus tip: Don’t just relax on the beach; go hiking and explore the mountains. It promises a stunning view of the shimmering water.
ELAFONISI, CRETE, GREECE
Europe can lay claim to something that the Caribbean doesn’t have: a pink beach. It’s located on the small island of Elafonisi, part of the Greek island of Crete, and can be reached from there by boat in just under 2 hours. Here turquoise-white shallow waters ripple from the gentle breeze against the vast sand. You may have found yourself a small piece of heaven.
Bonus tip: This part of Crete is sparsely populated so there are plenty of isolated trails to discover close to the beach.
CHIA, SARDINIA, ITALY
You don’t have to fly to Aruba or Barbados when you can enjoy the pristine bays of Chia in Italy. The wide, pale apricot sands and turquoise waters are home to pink flamingos – guaranteed to enchant the senses.
Bonus tip: It’s a wonderful venue for surfing and promises amazing underwater exploration with its colourful reefs and sunken shipwrecks.
FONTANE BIANCHE, SICILY, ITALY
Sicily has so many beautiful beaches that it’s difficult to choose a favourite, but the coast of Fontane Bianche is a real gem with its crystalline waters, long stretch of fine sand and nearby bars selling traditional Sicilian food and drink.
Bonus tip: Once you’re done refuelling in the sun, explore the sights of the surrounding area such as the legendary Cavagrande del Cassibile.
PATARA, LYCIA, TURKEY
It’s all about the beach when it comes to the unspoilt Patara; there’s 18 km of it inviting you to walk, ride and relax in the Turkish sun. It’s also home to the protected species of Loggerhead turtles, which have been laying their eggs here for around 40 million years.
Bonus tip: The ancient ruins and its amphitheatre is just one of many magnificent sights waiting for you on this beach free of big crowds.
PONTA DA PIEDADE, ALGARVE, PORTUGAL
The Ponta da Piedade has to be one of the most beautiful shorelines on the planet. The weathered cliffs have become natural tunnels, rock pillars and concealed grottos in the midst of the calm seas. It’s easily on a par with the Caribbean for a gorgeous sight of the Atlantic.
Bonus tip: After you’ve finished exploring the caves, visit the lighthouse at sunset and marvel at the impressive cliff scene.