Beach holidays are some of the most popular summer breaks for Britons, but if you’re looking to escape the crowds, sands packed with sunbathers can be a nightmare. Here are the top beaches in the world… that tourists don’t know about.
A new study from overseas travel site, Internationalliving.com has unveiled five of the best secret beaches on the planet, from Portugal’s Algarve to Mexico.
Not to be confused with Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos is a town in southern Portugal’s Algarve region just an hour from Faro.
Beautiful, pristine beaches can be found all along the coast, as well as amazing fresh seafood and beguiling, centuries-old buildings jostling along winding cobblestoned streets.
Highly recommended is a walk along the giant 4km curve of sand on Meia Prais at Lagos. It’s the longest beach in the Algarve, so there’s plenty of room for windsurfing and jet-skiing.
Praia da Batata (Potato Beach) is a 15-minute stroll along the city’s main street – Avenida dos Descobrimentos – and boasts a stunning backdrop of a 17th-century fortress. The beach snack of choice is abola de Berlim (a cream-filled donut).
Europe’s 10 best secret beaches have also recently been revealed in a study, for those hoping to stay on the continent this year.
Soliman Bay, Mexico
The sand is just as fine and white at Soliman Bay on the Riviera Maya as the beaches at tourist-popular Tulum, although they’re not as wide. Kayaking and snorkelling are popular as the water is calm thanks to the extensive outer reef break; tropical fish, rays and other sea creatures are abundant.
Chamico’s is a simple outdoor restaurant right on the sand and offers some of the freshest seafood tacos in the area. Buying there entitles you to a table and/or beach lounger. If you want more upscale dining with good views, try Sahara Café at Hotel Jashita on the northern end of the beach.
It’s easy to miss the turn off to Soliman Bay along the straight coastal highway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, as the bay is accessed down a narrow dirt road. Hang a right and keep going past a strip of large beach villas to find public access at the end of the road. Don’t be deterred by the secure entrance.
Montezuma, Costa Rica
On the far tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, the fishing village of Montezuma is great for those looking for a laid-back destination. There’s no major development and the town centre has just a few restaurants, hotels, and shops.
The beach is an easy walk from town, where you’ll find a unique freshwater waterfall right on the sand, with pools for soaking and swimming. You’re also never far from the ever-audible jungle.
Make sure you visit at the right time, though, the roads on the way to this part of Costa Rica can be rough, especially in rainy season from May to November.
In many ways, the quiet fishing village of Olón is the best of two worlds. Located on the southern shores of the Pacific Ocean in Ecuador, you’ll find wide, sandy beaches on one side of the main road through town and lush, green hills on the other.
Most tourists stop at the flashy, party town of Montañita and never realise that beautiful Olón is just on the other side of a bluff.
The east side of Olón is a place where bamboo forest and fruit trees grow on the rolling hills. It is not unusual to see horses or cattle slowly grazing their way across fields where tropical flowers like Bird of Paradise grow wild.
On the west side, there is an incredible seven-mile stretch of beach where you can swim, surf or just relax in a beachfront restaurant with your toes in the sand, enjoying a fresh seafood meal and incredibly colourful sunsets.
Penang is historically significant, architecturally jaw dropping and there is always an inviting pool or deserted beach nearby to recharge the batteries before setting out to explore more.
Tanjung Bungah Beach is one of the longest on the island and is popular with expats and locals alike but there are many hidden coves and beaches.
Head to the south of the island and you will find deserted beaches, where life runs much slower. The south of the island is much less developed than the north but it’s only a leisurely 35-minute drive from the capital, George Town. It’s the perfect place to go to get some quiet time. This area is largely Malay and there are traditional kampongs (villages) scattered everywhere.
Many of the hidden coves here don’t have a name, which may be why they are such a well-kept secret. When you’re done relaxing on the white-sand beach while listening to the waves lap the sand, you can check out one of the many local restaurants along this coast.