Picture a day at the beach and certain words come to mind. Serenity. Silence. Peace. Relaxation.
Reality paints a grimmer picture. All too often, prime seaside territory comes with congested crowds and nightclub-worthy noise levels. So much for serenity.
If solitude is what you seek, a secluded beach is a must. Cerulean waves and vanilla-white sand await on the world’s best secret beaches – without the sunburnt hordes and screaming children. Below are eight of the best found around the globe. While not all entirely unknown, these beaches offer a blissful escape from the madding crowd.
Finding untouched sand in a country famed for its beaches is no easy feat, but the Brazilian state of Alagoas delivers. Its lengthy stretch of tropical coastline is packed with palm trees, pristine beaches, clear lagoons, and near-shore coral reefs waiting to be explored. Try the desert beach of Carro Quebrado, which is nearly impossible to locate without the help of a guide from a nearby town.
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Off the coast of southwestern Vietnam lies Phu Quoc, the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand. Despite its size, it remains relatively off the radar for most visitors. Try the local fish sauce, considered by many to be the country’s best, when you’re not stretched out in the sun or kayking in one of the sleepy bays. Act fast – recent hotel openings are a sure sign Phu Quoc won’t remain a secret for long.
Ko Adang, Thailand
Most tourists head to Ko Lipe when visiting the Adang-Rawi Archipelago of the Andaman Sea, leaving the beaches of neighbouring Ko Adang unusually empty. The island is a favourite for hikers and naturalists. Challenging trails and dense jungle welcome the water-shy, while close coral reefs beckon scuba divers and snorklers. Be sure to visit the black sand beach to the north of the island.
Playa del Amor, Mexico
A gaping hole in the surface of a lush green island reveals an Instagram-favourite beach. Playa Del Amor, more commonly known as the Hidden Beach, is rumoured to be the result of bomb tests conducted by the Mexican military. The beach is invisible from the outside and only accessible by swimming or kayaking through a rocky tunnel, keeping all but the intrepid out.
Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles
Though La Digue is the third most populated island of the Seychelles, seclusion can be found away from the glitzy resorts that occupy much of the archipelago. The schlep required to reach the beach of Anse Source d’Argent keeps many tourists away, but visitors who brave the journey are rewarded with towering granite boulders and pink sand begging to be photographed.
Rocktail Bay, South Africa
South Africa’s Rocktail Bay is rugged and untamed, with endless deserted beaches along 40 kilometres of immaculate coastline. Travelling to the bay requires a complex series of flights, including a final trek via single-engine aircraft to KwaZulu-Natal, and accommodations are limited upon arrival. But if you can cope with all that, you’ll find yourself amidst the peace and world-class diving of one of the planet’s finest waterfronts.
Es Trenc, Mallorca, Spain
All of Mallorca is a paradise for beach-goers, but the crown jewel in its collection of gems is Es Trenc. As a Natural Area of Special Interest, the beach, dunes, shrubland, and salt lakes are protected areas. Add to that the fact that Es Trenc is not attached to any resort and there’s no other construction in sight, and you have a wild and welcoming refuge from the pressures of urban life.
Tsigrado Cove, Greece
This small cove off Milos’ southern coast is one of the most beautiful in the entire Cyclades – and perhaps in all of photo-friendly Greece. Tsigrado Cove is home to perfect sand and water so turquoise it looks like it’s been Photoshopped. The catch? Getting there by boat is tricky, as the cove is shallow, and the only other option is to descend the towering cliffs via a precarious rope.