The best alternative beaches in Europe for crowd-free shores

Where to stay: Inside a meticulously restored 16th-century stone building encircled by Dubrovnik’s characterful old town, St. Joseph’s is much-loved by discerning travellers who want to embrace romance, privacy and authenticity with longest name during their stay. There is definite style here, though none of it pretentious, and each suite has its own kitchenette to offer freedom to all who stay.

Where to eat: With reimagined traditional Croatian dishes and classic cocktails, Lucin Kantun, with its open (uncannily homelike) kitchen, chic outdoor terrace and tucked away location in Dubrovnik old town, is a must-dine.

Sithonia Cape, HalkidikiGetty Images

Sithonia Cape, Halkidiki, Greece

With sea lungs flanking either side of this open beach, the wild Sithonia Cape juts out of the southern end of Sithonia Peninsula and culminates in a gorse-covered islet. Removed from the resorts of Halkidiki is this stretch of shore, solace is to be found here in abundance.

Where to stay: There isn’t an abundance of accommodation close to the cape, though around 50 minutes drive away you’ll find Ekies All Senses Resort. Think: barefoot luxury, an all-natural method and hammocks – perfect for sipping ouzo – stretched out on the bleached sands.

Where to eat: Panorama Kalamitsi, a short drive from Sithonia Cape, is authentic, well-loved by locals and rustic in an idyllic sense. There’s no website but if you turn up, the welcoming staff can often slide in an extra table during peak hours.

Plage d’Hatainville, NormandyAlamy

Plage d’Hatainville, Normandy, France

France is a veritable smorgasbord of high-end beaches, from the glamorous shores of the Côte D’Azur to the seemingly unending sandy stretches of Brittany; it’s unlikely though, that many tourists will have Plage d’Hatainville – one of the largest and yet quietest beaches around the town of Barneville-Carteret – in their sights when travelling. An easy meander from the town, the beach is more suited to a ‘wander and explore’ type of visit, rather than a stay all day-style shore, which makes it all the more special.

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