Aching for a peaceful summer getaway? Skip the overrun Mediterranean resorts and instead look to the hidden treasures of these Eastern Europe beaches. From the turquoise waters of the Adriatic to Black Sea’s stunning coastline, this round-up of secluded beaches and secret islands will feel like a breath of fresh coastal air. Make your serene summer retreat a reality and unlock these lowkey gems before they soon become yesterday’s news.
Gipje Beach, Albania
Nestled between the resort beaches of Drymades and Himara, Gipje Beach shares its stretch of coastline with some of the Albanian Riviera’s most popular beaches. Despite this, Gipje remains blissfully untouched by rampant development. Maybe it’s because the beach is hidden by a mountainous canyon, and requires a hike to get to, making it pretty peaceful even in peak summer. Despite its seclusion, you can still find basic facilities like sun loungers and parasols, as well as a wagon selling snacks and drinks. With warm crystal-clear waters, fine white pebbles, and impressive rock formations soaring up to 70 meters high, head to Gipje Beach for an idyllic slice of the Albanian Riviera.
If your car is 2WD, then you’ll have to park about 2.5km away and walk the rest of the way, which’ll take 30-45 minutes. Make sure to bring cash for the parking fee. If you have a 4×4, you can drive all the way down to the beach but be careful, the dirt path can get narrow and has no guardrails.
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Grama Bay, Albania
Just a bit further north on Albania’s Ionian coast is Grama Bay, a semi-secret cove surrounded by high, rocky cliffs. Unspoiled and untouched by mass tourism, this hidden beach offers crystal clear azure waters that rival Greece’s best. Set within Llogara National Park and the Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park, the bay showcases a protected environment that serves as a haven for wildlife, including one of the rarest species of seal on Earth: the Mediterranean monk seal.
Getting to the Bay is part of the reason why it’s so untouched: it is only reachable by either boat or a difficult hike, with no roads directly leading to the beach. We recommend getting a boat from Dhermi. Trust us, you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts to reach this exclusive gem.
Mogren Beach, Montenegro
Going up the coastline we’ll arrive to the captivating Budva Riviera. Here, near the Old Town, you’ll find Mogren beach, named after a Spanish sailor who supposedly washed up here after a shipwreck. We think he must have felt pleasantly surprised by the golden sand and lush Mediterranean vegetation that greeted him. Mogren beach is actually two twin beaches, Mogren 1 and Mogren 2, both connected by a cave-like tunnel through the rocks. Mogren feels like a secret cove, despite being a stone’s throw away from the bustling resort town of Budva. Lay on the beach and enjoy the snack bars and sun loungers for hire. If you look up to just beyond Mogren 2 you’ll see people taking a 15-meter leap off popular jump spot Shark’s Rock cliff.
This is an easy 150 meter walk from Budva’s Old Town. You’ll take a scenic route on a narrow path past the Avala Hotel and then onto a concrete walkway alongside the steep cliffs. You’ll know you’ve arrived to Mogren when you see the famous statue of the dancing girl. There are more facilities on Mogren 1, while Mogren 2 (accessed through the tunnel) is quieter and gets less packed. Note, the tunnel is not very accessibility-friendly and may be difficult to use.
Pasjaca Beach, Croatia
Further up the same coastline still, and nestled beneath Croatia’s characteristic steep cliffs, Pasjaca Beach is a delightful little beach tucked tightly against the rocks. Although lacking facilities and shade, this pebbly beach has a wild and undiscovered charm, not to mention the idyllic turquoise waters of the Adriatic. A short distance from the charming resort of Cavtat, Pasjaca Beach is a fantastic option for something more rustic, wild, and undiscovered.
You’ll drive to a small car park and then access Pasjaca via steep steps. We’d again recommend caution for those with accessibility requirements.
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You can find this beautiful bay on one of the secret islands in Zadar’s archipelago. Okay, it’s not quite so secret, but it really feels like it when you compare it to the overrun resorts to the southeast in Greece. Boasting crystal-clear glass-like waters, this secluded beach charms visitors with its Caribbean-like allure, inviting you to soak in the beauty of its white pebbles shining under the cloudless sky. Just look up a few more pictures of Saharun and you’ll find yourself automatically looking up the next flights to Zadar.
Accessible via an 80-minute boat ride from Zadar to the island of Dugi Otok, Saharun’s remote location ensures an uncrowded oasis to unwind and embrace the summer sun.
Bolata Beach, Bulgaria
Located in a picturesque enclave, Bolata Beach remains one of Northern Bulgaria’s best-kept secrets. Loved by locals and rarely touched by tourists, you’ll find a truly authentic getaway in this quiet cove, which harmoniously blends incredible nature with a laid-back beach vibe. Nestled within the Kaliakra Nature Reserve, Bolata is also great for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers. Protected by breakwaters, this semi-circle of sand offers a unique coastal experience, and stands as one of Eastern Europe’s most unique beaches. Make sure to pack plenty of snacks and water – there may be snack vendors there but facilities are generally quite limited.
You can drive straight to Bolata Beach and park along the road, though some people park on the beach itself.
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Discover Eastern Europe’s beaches for a summer to remember
Take the path less traveled and explore these beautiful beaches in Eastern Europe. You’ll not only bypass the hordes of crowds in more well-known hotspots, but you’ll also find it far easier on your wallet. Not to mention you’ll support burgeoning tourism economies as opposed to major investors like in popular resorts. Plus, isn’t it nice to be in-the-know and experience beautiful places before they’re “discovered” and in the global spotlight?