I'm sure that everyone reading this has at some point dreamed of spending their holidays on some remote island paradise. Unfortunately, many such dreams come crashing down as soon as reality rears its ugly head. Your itinerary promised palm trees, pearly-white sand and pristine water, and what you got was a beach littered with garbage, a sea that was murky as a canal, and a barren patch of dirt where the trees used to be.
Escaping this trap is not easy, but it can be done with a little bit of research. Lesser-known destinations can frequently make for a more authentic holiday experience precisely because they attract a smaller crowd, letting everyone do their own thing in peace. So to help you find your own spot under the sun for the summer, we have prepared a list of 5 beach destinations that are yet to be spoiled by excessive tourism.
Sulamadaha Beach, North Maluku, Indonesia
The Maluku Islands are one of Indonesia's best kept secrets. Rising up from the Banda Sea between Sulawesi, New Guinea and Timor, this archipelago has much to offer to travelers that are savvy enough to reach its shores. Among Maluku's many attractions, Sulamadaha Beach stands out as being something truly special.
The beach is covered in onyx black sand, giving it a rugged, primeval look. The waters surrounding the beach are still in pristine condition, with plenty of exotic fish teeming in the shallows. Across the water lies the volcanic island of Hiri, adding to the atmosphere of prehistoric Earth. During colonial times, Sultan Muhammad Djabir Syah used Hiri as hiding place from the Dutch army. Today, people are simply content with enjoying the view from their hammocks on the beach.
Punta Rata Beach, Brela, Croatia
The small Balkan nation of Croatia has one of the world's most beautiful seacoasts, and yet it still somehow manages to fly under the radar of most tourists. Those that decide to visit these parts are in for an authentic Mediterranean experience. The best way to spend a holiday in Croatia is to take tour along the coast while making plenty of stops along the way, one of which should definitely be the Punta Rata Beach near the village of Brela.
This secluded gravel beach is nested between the warm waters of the Adriatic and the Aleppo pines of Dalmatia. The sea temperature is ideal for swimming, and there is plenty of shade to retreat to during the noontide sun. It is the perfect beach to spend an afternoon drinking quality local wine with friends, while waiting for the sun to set.
Saliara Beach, Thassos, Greece
As one of the cradles of maritime civilization, Greece has always been at the forefront of Mediterranean tourism. Its many islands and shores provide the perfect setting for a laid-back summer vacation. Thassos in particular has everything you'd want from an island destination, including one of the most eye-dazzling beaches in this part of the world, the Salinara beach.
The beach is located near a local quarry, hence the name "salinara", which stands for marble in Greek. True to its name, the beach is strewn with smooth, milky-white pebbles, giving it the appearance of a snow-covered field. The stone manages to remain cool even during summer heat, which makes the short jog to the water all the more pleasant.
Three Brothers' Beach, Alvor, Portugal
Portugal's Algarve region is quickly becoming world-famous travel destination. Algarve has been blessed with more than 200km of unspoiled beaches, spotless water, and a mild Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal place for spending your summer holiday. There are many places around the Alagarve that are worth visiting, but few are as charming as the small port town of Alvor.
Alvor's main attraction is the Praia dos Três Irmãos, or Three Brothers' Beach. The beach is sheltered by three large rock formations (hence the name), and is covered with fine golden sand. It is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon relaxing under the hot sun, followed by dinner in one of its exquisite seafood restaurants.
Tofo Beach, Tofo, Mozambique
We saved the best for last. On the south-east coast of Africa lies distant Mozambique, a place seldom visited by tourists, and yet one that has all the makings of a true traveler's gem. Mozambique's remote location keeps it well protected from ravenous tourist crowds, giving those few that make the journey the freedom to enjoy a peaceful existence by the seaside. And one of the best place to start exploring Mozambique is the beach settlement of Tofo.
Hailed as a future tourist paradise, Tofo offers long stretches of beach, a sea teeming with marine flora and fauna, and a charming nightlife scene. There is affordable accommodation to be found year round at reasonable prices, from tents and bungalows, to hotel rooms, to luxury houses. Among the many available beach-side activities on offer, we would recommend going on tour diving tour to see manta rays, whale sharks and dolphins in their natural environment.