Everyone loves a beach holiday. There is absolutely nothing like sun, sand and sea to calm the nervous system and rejuvenate the spirit. However, so many beach destinations are overcrowded, eliminating some of that relaxation effect. If you’re seeking the sun and waves but want to avoid massive crowds, we have some suggestions that are a bit removed from the classic tourist trail. Here are our picks from around the globe.
Mamula Island, Montenegro
Listed by The Telegraph as one of the 25 best places to stay this year, Mamula Island is a one-hotel island that is a former 19th-century Austro-Hungarian fortress. The meticulous restoration preserved the best of the whitewashed stone structure, now enhanced with modern comforts that have a complementary palette in soothing neutral hues.
Several food and beverage options keep things exciting, and don’t miss the opportunity to have a personalized picnic on the beach. Comprising velvety sand and surrounded by calm water, it’s the perfect place to unwind.
One&Only Mandarina, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Avoid the crowded beaches of Mexico’s Tulum and the Riviera Maya at Riviera Nayarit’s One&Only Mandarina. Stunning and secluded, One&Only Mandarina’s powdery white sand beaches are a world away from the bustling waters of popular Tulum. It feels incredibly private, with a jetty offering an enclosed swimming space for the resort only.
Every aspect of a stay here feels exclusive. Comprising only villas and treehouses, each accommodation has a private plunge pool and views of the Pacific below. A comprehensive experiences menu maximizes everything this sequestered bit of the world has to offer in terms of nature, culture and more. And children are well accounted for at the Kidsonly Club.
Deplar Farm, Iceland
Despite both having black sand, the volcanic beaches of Santorini and Iceland might not have much else in common. But during summer months, Iceland won’t be as crowded.
With a stay at Deplar Farm, the volcanic beaches of the Fljót Valley are close by, as are other aspects of the otherworldly landscape, especially with the hotel’s exceptional design that brings the outside world in. During summertime, the sun doesn’t set until midnight, so make the most of extra-long days fishing, surfing, kayaking and biking in Lake Stifluvlatn and the Fljótaá River.
The Italian island of Ischia off the Amalfi Coast remains less busy than its ever-popular neighbor, Capri. It is known for its authentic Italian life and its thermal waters, including Poseidon Thermal Gardens, which has more than 20 different pools. This is a beautiful destination with small towns to explore via picturesque evening strolls.
Mezzatorre, a Pellicano Group hotel, offers a luxurious and characterful place to stay on a cliff overlooking a private bay. Direct access to the sea, a buzzy pool and a delicious restaurant make this one of the most coveted properties on the island. Book the Bellevue Suite for the best views and a dreamy whitewashed interior that feels like the idyllic vacation home.
Phuket – and Thailand as a whole – has become a tourist destination for visitors worldwide, but neighboring Vietnam has yet to reach the same level of favor. Incredible beaches featuring pale sand sit against the East Vietnam Sea, defining the country’s eastern coast.
The exquisite Bãi San Hô hotel is a property decorated in rich neutrals that blends classic Vietnamese architecture with luxurious amenities such as private pools and a large spa with a hammam and tea room. Explore everything the beach offers, with many water sports, fishing and snorkeling. Don’t miss a meal at Bà Hai, a breathtaking restaurant on stilts centering the resort and serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine, communal style.
A bold sense of adventure and biodiversity are two things that typify time spent in Costa Rica. Panama shares these qualities, and Islas Secas is the perfect place to combine jungle and beach. An archipelago of 14 islands, the resort occupies one while the other 13 remain uninhabited and ripe for exploration.
Whale watching, diving and hiking are just a few of the activities available. Book time at the spa, which incorporates local essential oils into each treatment, and the spacious casitas provide expansive views of the sea. Beachside lounging isn’t possible at the resort itself, but a short boat ride will transport you to other beaches within the archipelago ideal for all-day swimming and chilling.
The beaches of Rio de Janeiro – particularly Copacabana and Ipanema – are iconic for a reason: bustling, packed and set against a stunning landscape, they are a must-visit for any beach lover. Sexy and pulsing, these are beach destinations for a fun time, not relaxing.
If something more low-key is on your radar, visit the little town of Trancoso in Bahia State. An entirely different experience, UXUA is a resort set between the historic Quadrado and the beach, featuring a fisherman’s bar, thatched umbrellas and a serene vibe. There’s a strong sense of community and a hippie sensibility. Completely eco-friendly and full of local art, it is an ideal place to decompress and feel good about the impact you’re making while traveling.
Rightly considered one of the most impressive beach destinations in the world, the Indian Ocean’s many islands feature pinkish powder-soft sand against brilliant turquoise sea. While the Maldives and Seychelles are frequently visited and super popular, Tanzania, located off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, remains somewhat under the radar.
Mnemba Island’s &Beyond is an exclusive resort featuring just 12 individual beachside accommodations. Engage in ultimate secluded relaxation, spoiling in beachside spa treatments incorporating natural African ingredients. The all-inclusive rates mean there’s little to think about besides your cocktail and where to snorkel to next.