Kolocep Island [Adriatic Sea]
Kolocep is one of the Elafiti islands which lie along the Adriatic coastline, opposite Dubrovnik at the southern end of the country. It has some of the loveliest, secluded beaches in Europe. The most famous beach in Croatia is Zlatni Rat [Golden Horn] beach on the Dalmatian island of Brac.
The down side: the standard of facilities are not as high as western resorts, and despite the area's rich fishing industry [shellfish of the Adriatic are said to be some of the best in the world], the cuisine does not have a high reputation. Best May-Sept, though July-August can be crowded and swimming in the sea is only comfortable from mid-June to late September.
Sidi Abdel Rahman or Mersa Matrouh
Long stretches of white sand beaches along the Mediterranean coast from Alexandria and around Mersa Matrouh are still undeveloped and uncrowded. The atmosphere is relaxed and people are fun and friendly. Good selection of small hotels.
Best May-Oct. Avoid winter time and Ramadan [Oct 15 - Nov 14 '04, Oct 5 - Nov 4 '05] and beware the Khamseen [desert wind] around April.
Cornwall [not the Med, but close...]
If you don't mind cold, rough water and erratic weather then Whipsiderry, at Porth is one of England's best beach contenders. Huge amounts of hard and soft sand, scenic cliffs and plenty of rock pools and caves for kids to explore. Just north of Newquay's famous surf beach. Best May-Sept
This French island is sophisticated, flashy and one of the best places for water sports in the Mediterranean. Corsica's 600 miles of coastline has numerous deserted shores and secluded coves.
St Restitude, near Calvi [North West]: St Restitude is the place for a peaceful hideaway. A secluded small beach backed by pine woods, with soft sand and clean water.
Palombaggia Beach, Santa-Giulia Beach, Golfe di Sogno Beach, near Porto-Vecchio [South East]:
Port Vecchio is an upmarket resort town spread over a rocky hill with its own beach, a yacht marina, lively streets, and good range of accommodation, cafes, and restaurants.
The best beach is Palombaggia Beach, southeast of the town, a perfect crescent of white sand sandwiched between an azure sea and a cluster of dunes, with an excellent beach restaurant; other pristine beaches are Santa Giulia Beach [good for watersports] a few miles to south, and around Golfe di Sogno to the north.
For more isolation take a boat or have a very long walk from St Florent across to either Saleccia Beach or Loto Beach. Neither have facilities or many visitors, just lots of soft yellow sand - including a mini-desert - and clear water. Saleccia has a camp site beside the desert.
Best May-June, & Sept. OK July-Aug , though hot and crowded like the rest of Europe.
This small island is more African than European. It has clear sea and superb shores, and it offers some of the best swimming and skin-diving in the Mediterranean. Most of hotels are within a short walk of the beaches ; there are campsites as well. It's essential to book ahead in July-Aug.
Getting there: by ferry from Port Empedocle, or by air from Palermo. In summer time you can fly directly from Milan. Best May-Sept, but avoid July-Aug if possible.
La Costa Verde, Sardinia island [Tyrrhenian Sea]
Sardinia is quite wild and less developed than many islands, and has a lovely coastline. One of the prettiest stretches in the Meditterranean is the Costa Smeralda, the island's best-known resort area with 5 star development.
If you want to get away from the crowds, La Costa Verde is a superb beach area. Also Santa Teresa di Gallura [ a daily ferry service goes there from Palau] has stunning coves and beaches.
Best May-June, & Sept. OK July-Aug , though hot and crowded.
Abruzzo [Adriatic Sea]
Fine sand, clear water and classic Italian hospitality in Silvi Marina, with lots of after-beach sightseeing in Abruzzo's mountains and medieval villages.
Costa Brava [far north-east coast]
Cap de Begur is a charming area about 40 mins from Girona offering plenty of Spanish culture old and new [Dali's weirdness lurks nearby at Figueres or Cadaques], but also a collection of superb little beaches, ranging from Aiguablava to nudist L'Illa Roja or family-oriented Llanfranc and Platja de Raco.
Murcia [south-east coast]
Calblanque is an isolated 1.5km long, unspoiled, uncrowded nudist beach with calm, clear water and firm yellow sand backed by hills. Facilities are very limited.
Costa de la Luz [south-west coast]
800 metres of fine, white sand and low key developement make Agua Amarga village - embedded in the Cabo de Gata National Park - a classic, relaxing beach resort, with excellent wild walks in the Park too
Tarifa is another popular, attractive, low-key beach area with few hotels but lots of activities. Due to it's location on the most southerly tip of Europe winds are usually pretty strong which is great for wind/kite surfers but can be irritating for swimmers or tanners.
Bolonia beach, near Tarifa, is a 3 km long nudist beach, unspoilt and unsophisticated but a little breezy and coarse sand, with all major services are provided. If it's too busy for you try towards Cadiz, there are even less visited beaches along the road...
Benirras, NW Ibiza, is a small, gorgeous, sandy beach in a bay surrounded by rocks and pine trees. There are a couple of good, low cost restaurants on the beach, but no hotels in the area, just a few villas. Access Benirras via Sant Joan by car or bike. Best May-June, & Sept. OK July-Aug , though hot and crowded.
Es Cavallet, in south Ibiza, 10km from Ibiza town or 6km from Playa d'en Bossa, is 1km long, 30 metres wide, with soft sand backed by dunes. The beach has character and is well provided with services including music bars. Nudity is permitted and the dunes provide a gay hunting ground in the summer. Best May-June, & Sept. OK July-Aug , though hot and crowded.
Salinas beach, next to Es Cavallet, also offers good size, soft sand, clear water and full services, but in addition a pine border and adjacent Wildlife Conservation Area for those who can't handle 8 hour tanning/drinking. Salinas caters for a wealthier, more fashion-conscious clientele. Best May-June, & Sept. OK July-Aug , though hot and crowded.
Relatively quiet, 15m from Palma, Portals Vells is a pretty little cove with soft sand and clear, shallow water.There are no hotels nearby, but there is an excellent beach café. Best May-June, & Sept. OK July-Aug , though hot and crowded.Es Trenc, a 3km long nudist beach offers white sand, dunes, trees and clear, calm water, but can get very crowded. facilities are limited.