Ahhh, the Mediterranean... With its picturesque villages, laid-back lifestyle and world-famous cuisine, it's no wonder that the region has been a go-to destination for summertime travelers for years. As often happens, however, the popularity has come with a price, with once-sleepy fishing villages transformed into glitzy celebrity retreats or garish toursist traps.
However, the Med still boasts some of the world's most incredible beaches, many of which are tucked away in secluded corners and closely guarded by locals. We've combed through recommendations from thousands of travelers and locals on minube to bring you this list of the Mediterranean's top hidden beaches, all of which are just a short trip from the great capitals of Europe.
Isola dei Conigli, Italy - Just off the coast of Italy's Lampedusa Island, Isola dei Conigli (Rabbit Island, literally) is a Mediterranean jewel, which is said to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Given its relative isolation, and its protected status as a sanctuary for loggerhead turtles, Isola dei Conigli has escaped the rampant tourism associated with many of Italy's mainland coasts and offers stunning beaches for travelers. (Photo by Lucio Sassi)
Calanque d'En Vau, France - Aside from its glitzy resorts and film festivals, the French Riviera is home to one of the Mediterranean's most spectacular hidden beaches: En Vau. Located between Cassis and Marseille, this paradisiacal cove of white sand and turquoise waters is sheltered by towering granite cliffs, which adventurous travelers can hike to enjoy unbeatable views of the French coast. (Photo by Paulinette)
Tsigrado Cove, Greece - First off, it should be said that it's not easy getting to Tsigrado: it's surrounded by steep cliffs and a shallow bay, which makes access by boat a bit tricky. But, intrepid travelers who dare to descend the cliff-side rope ladder will be rewarded with an unspoiled Mediterranean paradise with tranquil emerald waters and plenty of peace and quiet. (Photo by Naxos)
Cala Macarelleta, Spain - While it's still off the tourist map, Menorca's Cala Macarelleta has a reputation among the island's locals as being one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. While many travelers stop at its larger (and more crowded) sibling, Cala Macarella, minube users suggest a short hike through the pine forests to the more secluded and charming Cala Macarelleta. (Photo by Nacho Miravalles)
Maddalena Archipelago, Italy - The Maddalena Archipelago is a small string of islands on Sardinia's northern coast, which have been designated as a protected marine park. The regulations don't just protect the sea life, however; they also keep many of the islands' pristine beaches free of development and summer crowds. The main town of Maddalena is a good starting to point to grab a moped or charter boat and head out to discover the pristine beaches and world-class diving found on the islands' coasts. (Photo by Naxos)
Cabo de Gata, Spain - While Spain's dry southeastern province of Almeria is famous for being the backdrop for classic spaghetti westerns, it's also home to one of the country's most interesting and remote national parks: Cabo de Gata. Our users recommend starting at the sleepy beach town of San Jose and setting out to explore the countless miles of untouched coastline and crystal waters that Cabo de Gata has to offer. (Photo by Lola Pic S)
Mali Bok Beach, Croatia - While Croatia boasts hundreds of beaches and islands, Mali Bok on the island of Cres, is one of the few that remains unblemished by development, beach bars and summer crowds. Our users recommend coming well-stocked, as Mali Bok is miles away from the nearest snack bar, and, of course, bringing a pair of goggles to enjoy the starfish-filled reefs surrounding the beach. (Photo by Simone Rossi)
Scala dei Turchi, Italy - Surrounded by sparkling white cliffs, and deep emerald waters, Scala dei Turchi is definitely one of the Mediterranean's most stunning beaches, as well as one of Italy's best-kept secrets. Not only is Scala dei Turchi gorgeous to behold, but the nutrient-rich limestone mud is also said to have beneficial effects for bathers. (Photo by Elena C. Burgueño)
Li Cossa Beach, Italy - Tucked away in Sardinia's aptly-named Costa Paradiso, Li Cossa Beach is a secluded wonderland for snorkelers and beachgoers looking to get away from it all. While there is a housing complex where travelers can park, access to this privileged cove is still a 300-yard hike from civilization. (Photo by Noe_Bc)
Cala Luna, Italy - Italy's Golfi di Orosei boasts some of Europe's most amazing beaches, not least of which is the crescent-shaped Cala Luna, a small, idyllic beach surrounded by cliffs, caves, grottoes, and, of course, the Mediterranean's crystal-blue waters. There is one catch: the beach is only accessible by boat, but thankfully travelers can find affordable rides from the nearby town of La Caletta. (Photo by Simone Cammili)