St. Kitts 2012 919Name the best beaches in Europe. Bet any money you’re thinking of ones in Spain, Greece, Portugal or Italy, or even all four, aren’t you? Fair play, to deny that there are some excellent beaches in these countries would be foolish, but Eastern Europe has some lesser-known gems that have a wild charm all of their own. On a holiday in Bulgaria or Croatia you can relax on your own private pieces of paradise on some of the continent’s cleanest, truly deserted beaches.


The Black Sea coast is renowned for its long beaches with sand-side developments ranging from luxury resorts to quaint seaside villages. Bulgaria’s coast gives any of the best Mediterranean beaches a run for their money, and you can book yourself a luxury break there for less. Many of Bulgaria’s beaches retain their own wild charm and after days of lounging on the golden sands you can explore the country’s cultural heritage.

Three-kilometer-long Irakli beach is one of Europe’s few remaining wild beaches, situated in a protected area where the Chaya River forms a magical lagoon. The view makes the beach ideal for setting down your towel and getting down to some serious relaxation under the Bulgarian sun. Postcard pictures don’t do this glorious beach justice.

Bulgaria’s Golden Sands beach has been named one of the best beaches in Europe by Time Out and certainly lives up to its namesake. The beach’s efforts to stay as clean as it is beautiful haven’t been in vain either, having earned itself several awards for its efforts. With the days of the Iron Curtain long gone, this is a great Eastern European holiday location.


The Dalmatian Coast is the place to head for some of Europe’s last truly deserted beaches and coves.  Not just mainland offerings, the Dalmatian Coast offers several small islands and, more than that, the chance to have a piece of paradise all to yourself. The wild terrain that surrounds Croatian beaches makes them particularly distinctive in their attraction. You can only reach many of them by boat or by hiking trails, which gives them that “secret” feel that makes getting there all the more the effort.

Baska Voda is of particular note. If you’re looking for extra seclusion, visit one of the islands. Olive groves are fringed by undeveloped sandy coves on Brac, which has a rustic, timeless charm. Lovrecina Bay is one of Brac’s best beach hangouts.

Susak Island is another fine secluded option… so secluded in fact that you’ll need to take a ferry to get there and then walk to arrive at Bok Bay, one of its most splendid beaches. Finding your own private batch won’t be issue as the island is mostly beach anyway. If you’re looking for further options, Hvar Island and Lopud Island will also make the cut.

So if you fancy some sun and sea, you don’t necessarily have to settle for the busy beaches of the Mediterranean and end up feeling all hot and bothered. Silence is golden and if you hit these buried treasures of Bulgaria or Croatia you’re sure to reap handsome rewards in relaxation.

Image by Ava Roxanne Stritt