As any frequent traveler can tell you: untouched beaches that are easy to get to have become few and far between. But even so, there are still a few spots on the water where you can enjoy the complete stillness of silence, that aren’t too far off the beaten track. Here are our 5 secret beach tips, each a wonderful and unique experience.
Vlieland – Endless beach on the North Sea
On Vlieland in the Dutch Wadden Sea, the flair of the North Sea can be felt on every corner. Apart from the single village on the island, Oost-Vlieland, Vlieland is essentially just a 12 km long white sandy beach. On this stretch of beach, there’s a whole lot more to do than just dipping your toes in the sand; you can also go waterskiing or shrimp catching. You can get equipment and supplies in Oost-Vlieland, a protected heritage village dotted with cafes and restaurants. The lighthouse is open for visitors between July and October, providing a magnificent view of the green-and-white island. The best way to reach Vlieland is via the ferry from Harlingen Haven (not far from the city of Leeuwarden). Although only locals can drive cars on the island, it’s easy to get around on foot or by bicycle using the well-marked paths.
Coumeenole Beach – you can’t get more Irish than this
It’s practically impossible not to find yourself enchanted by the friendly, relaxed culture of Ireland. Nestled between green rolling hills, grazing sheep and the cottages of the Dingle peninsula, you’ll find Coumeenole Beach, one of the most beautiful places in the world according to National Geographic. Tucked away in a niche protected from the wind by steep cliffs, you’ll find yourself completely alone on this idyllic beach, staring out at the emerald-green waters. In the nearby village of Dunquin, “real” Irish is spoken, and old Irish traditions are held closely. A few kilometers down the road, you’ll find the somewhat busier town of Dingle, an ideal spot for a shopping excursion or pub crawl.
Costa Verde – Sardinia’s beaches between megadunes
At first glance, the Italian Costa Verde in the south-west of Sardinia might seem to be an impenetrable fortress, rugged and marked by steep, rocky formations. But in between, you’ll find swimming beaches along the crystal-blue water, nestled among sand dunes up to 50 meters high. These are protected for environmental reasons and serve as nesting sites for sea turtles. For this reason, Costa Verde is far less overrun with tourists than the nearby Costa Smeralda.
Jericoacoara – Hanging out at the lagoon
You’ll find two different types of beaches in the extensive dune area of Jericoacoara in north-eastern Brazil. The enormous nature conservation area, with its windy coasts, is a mecca for watersport enthusiasts, and for travellers looking for a more low-key vacation, the freshwater Lagoa do Paraíso is not to be missed. The water in the lagoon is clear and warm, and there are enough hammocks on the beach for a relaxed nap in the sun. Getting here, however, requires a taste for adventure: the best way to get to the area is either by water, or across the neighboring Jijoca, which requires you to cross 28 kilometers of unmarked sand in an all-wheel drive vehicle. In any case, the destination is worth the journey!
Whitehaven Beach – dazzling white and brilliant blue
We’ve saved the most beautiful beach on our list for last. If you want to visit Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, don’t forget to bring your sunglasses, because you won’t find whiter sand than this anywhere in the world. And here’s what makes the sand here so special: the sand is 98% fine silicon, which is very resistant to heat. Even on the hottest days, it’s still a pleasant stroll across the sand, and there’s no need to worry about burning your feet. Thanks to a ban on dogs and smoking, this beach is also one of the cleanest anywhere in Australia. You can reach the island from the Australian mainland by boat (the best departure is from Hamilton Island), or by helicopter or float plane. And an insider tip: visitors to the island typically cluster at the far north and south tips of the island, so we recommend taking a longer walk to find your own private corner of paradise.