As we head into the cooler months, our annual progression to the European Summer begins. Last year, Spain, Italy and Croatia were popular winter escapes for Aussies according to their respective tourism bodies. The flip side, is crowded beaches where you can barely find a spot to call your own for the day.
“Summer in Europe is a magical time – warm weather, long days and the perfect blend of beach and culture. But, Aussies/Kiwis aren’t fans of crowded beaches, congested towns and feeling ripped off because demand outstrips supply for things like hotels, eating out and shopping,” says Steph Millington, Regional Product Manager at Peregrine Adventures.
Coupled with this is the fact that travellers are becoming more responsible by visiting lesser known places – sharing the load and their tourist dollar with more off the beaten path locations, according to Millington.
“If travellers look slightly beyond some of Europe’s most popular beaches, they’ll find some real gems. Places that ooze character, history and still make a great day out at the beach,” said Millington.
To share his insider tips from years in the travel game, Millington has put together five lesser known European beaches you need to put on your European to do list:
Peljesac, Croatia: Just an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik, Peljesac Peninsula is home to a variety of wonderful beaches including Zuljana Bay which is one of the region’s musts. The bay is surrounded by a seaside village that is inhabited by 200 people, which means travellers will get the opportunity to have authentic experiences with locals. The crystal clear water makes this bay perfect for diving, snorkelling and spearfishing. The beach itself is quite shallow, meaning all levels of swimmers can handle these waters. Once travellers have had enough of the water there are plenty of seaside bars and restaurants that provide a great view.
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Elafonisi beach, Greece: Elafonisi is one of Crete’s prettiest beaches, in my opinion. It’s quiet and easily accessible from Chania and averages at a warm 26 degrees during July and August. Due to its clear turquoise water, dark oceanic rock and dune filled landscape, this beach regularly ranks in Trip Advisor’s travellers choice for top 25 beaches. The area is surrounded by a 20 hectare Botanical Park which is home to 150 species of fruit trees and other wildlife. Weaker swimmers are protected by a large one metre deep lagoon, meaning Elafonisi is welcoming to all!
Simena Bay, Turkey: Located on Turkey’s Southern Coast, Simena Bay’s waterfront architecture will take your breath away. Simena Bay offers clear blue Mediterranean waters to lounge by or cool off in and averages at 33 degrees during Australia’s coldest month. The bay is shadowed by Byzantine Castle, which is surrounded by a variety of bars and restaurants overlooking the ocean. Travellers can spend their day soaking up the sun while admiring the ocean or take a boat to swim at some of Turkey’s most isolated inlets. Take a stroll around the Bay’s ancient city or rent a kayak to get the best view of the town submerged in the clear water. This hidden gem is only a three and a half hour drive from major city, Antalya.
Reynisfjara black sand beach, Iceland: Whilst Iceland continues to draw crowds, a beach with a difference this European Summer is a visit to Reynisfjara. The black sand, heavy crash of the Atlantic Ocean and sporadically soaring basalt columns creates a dramatic mood that travellers will not find anywhere else. You may not be able to swim or sunbathe at this beach, but it is truly one of a kind and should not be missed! Game of Thrones fans will recognise the beach from key scenes in the series.
Atrani, Italy : Just an hour drive from Naples, Atrani is one of my favourite beaches on the Amalfi Coast. Atrani is not the first place people think of when they think of Italian beach resorts, but that’s part of its rugged charm. This coastal fishing village appears to be trapped in a time warp and provides travellers with a truly cultural experience. Soak in the sun and have few refreshing dips by day, then watch the beautiful lights of fishing boats by night when the fishermen head off to work. Atrani is a town perfect for travellers looking for a real experience on the Italian Coast.
For more information on European destinations visit www.peregrine adventures.com/en-au