Outdoors

9 Hidden Coastal Towns in Europe Worth Seeking Out

Already dreaming about your next trip to the beach? Europe has so many gorgeous coastal towns, you could spend a lifetime exploring them all—but these nine have remained blissfully under the radar.

Whether you prefer the whitewashed Greek islands, the glittering Mediterranean, or the pristine shores of France or the U.K., these underrated villages are sure to spark your wanderlust.

Rovinj, Croatia

Dubrovnik seems to command all the attention, but Rovinj is a stunner of a seaside town on Croatia’s Istrian coast. Fun fact: the city was actually an island until 1763, when it was joined to the mainland. Its architecture is reminiscent of Venice, with pastel-colored buildings, narrow streets, and rocky coves.

Carvoeiro, Portugal

european coastal towns
Benagil Beach. (Photo: Getty Images)

This town in the Algarve lies along the Seven Hanging Valleys, a hiking trail that offers spectacular views from the top of the area’s high rocky cliffs. At the bottom, you’ll find secluded coves and majestic cave formations, including one at Benagil Beach that appears to have a skylight.

Ebeltoft, Denmark

Denmark’s region of Jutland has a raw, untamed beauty, with sandy beaches surrounded by forests that seem like something out of a fairytale. In the heart of Jutland, the town of Ebeltoft sits on the Bay of Aarhus, a body of water rich in Viking lore.

The town’s population swells during the summer (many Danes have a summer home here), and it’s worth stopping by for lunch at Restaurant Moment. Its interior is the epitome of Danish hygge (its rustic décor includes unglazed ceramics and wooden chairs draped in sheepskin throws), while the menu spotlights vegetarian dishes made from ingredients grown in the property’s gardens and greenhouse.

Naoussa; Paros, Greece

european coastal towns
Dine on the water in Paros. (Photo: Getty Images)

Forget Mykonos and Santorini—to experience Greece’s more authentic side, you need to get off the beaten path and explore the other islands of the Cyclades. Whitewashed Paros is a great place to start.

Naoussa, its main port city, comes alive in summer with outdoor restaurants, quaint local bars, and plenty of shops where you can buy white linen clothes and other beach essentials.

Sant Josep de sa Talaia, Ibiza, Spain

Most visitors to Ibiza tend to stay in Ibiza town and the resorts on the isle’s more developed eastern coast, but the western side of the island has some of the best under-the-radar beaches.

Gaze out at Es Vedra, the mystical island believed to be the home of the sirens who tried to lure Odysseus from his ship. Try to seek out Cala Codolar, a small hidden cove with sparkling turquoise water and a tiny beach shack that rents out lounge chairs.

Lacco Ameno; Ischia, Italy

european coastal towns
Ischia’s dramatic vistas. (Photo: Getty Images)

Capri’s sister island Ischia has for years remained largely under the radar, but that’s about to change with the debut of HBO’s new show, “My Brilliant Friend,” based on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels.

Ischia is known more for its thermal hot springs with healing properties than the glitz and glamor you’ll find in nearby Capri—and that’s a good thing. Instead, the island has retained its down-to-earth vibe, with weathered churches, beautiful botanic gardens, and casual trattorias.

Saint-Malo, France

The beaches of the French Riviera may be more glamorous, but Brittany’s coastline in northwestern France is picturesque in a more low-key way. The historic village of Saint Malo was once a home for pirates and sailors including Jacques Cartier, the explorer who sailed to Canada in 1534 and claimed it for France.

The town is like its own little island, connected to mainland France by man-made causeways and with sandy beaches and a charming historic center that was restored after WWII. From here, you’re just an hour from Mont-Saint-Michel, a must-see monastery on an island in neighboring Normandy.

Rhossili Bay, Wales

european coastal towns
Rhossili Bay. (Photo: Getty Images)

With glittering aquamarine water, three miles of pristine sand, and green hills just beyond, Rhossili Bay could almost be mistaken for the Caribbean. It certainly won’t be as warm (this is Wales, after all), but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a lovely windswept walk along the beach.

According to the Independent, it “lies within the first designated Area of Natural Beauty in the U.K.,” and the surrounding landscape certainly attests to it: the bay is surrounded by quaint Welsh towns and rolling marshlands where wild horses graze.

Punta Ala, Italy

With show-stopping villages on the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre, it can be easy to forget that Tuscany has a beautiful coastline, too. The Maremma, which stretches from southwestern Tuscany to northern Lazio, is a favorite among Romans and Tuscans, who flock here for the crowd-free sandy beaches and calm water.

This article was published through a partnership with Jetsetter magazine. Read the original story: 9 Hidden Coastal Towns in Europe Worth Seeking Out by Laura Itzkowitz, a regular contributor to Jetsetter.

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