10 secluded beaches in Italy

June 29, 2012 at 2:50 AM

Travelers come from around the world to experience the extraordinary beauty of the Italian coastline. Italians have been blessed with some of the Mediterranean’s best beaches, but they aren’t all crowds and colourful sunbeds. There are some secluded beaches where people can leave behind the stress of everyday life and relax in unspoilt natural beauty. Here are our favourite 10 secluded beaches in Italy.

Bidderosa Beach, Sardinia

This secluded beach is located in Orosei, Sardinia, and is part of a nature reserve. In order to go to the beach you need to buy a ticket from the Forest Station of Orosei, as daily admission is restricted. The beach here is made up of five coves where crystal clear water laps at the silver white sand. To reach Bidderosa Beach you walk down a beautiful path lined with junipers and pine trees. The 4km walk ends with possibly the most beautiful beach in Italy.

Bagni della Regina Giovanna, Campania

Beach in Campania

Located near Sorrento, in the Campania region of southern Italy, is the beautiful hidden cove of Bagni della Regina Giovanna. The rocky slopes that surround Bagni della Regina Giovanna make reaching this beautiful spot a bit tricky, but the rock pools, turquoise water and archway that joins this lagoon to the sea make it well worth the effort. The lagoon can also be reached by boat.

Laurito, Amalfi Coast

The restaurant punt by Tim Lumsdaine

Photo by Tim Lumsdaine (Flickr)

The Amalfi Coast is well known for its selection of gorgeous beaches, which are buzzing with activity during the summer months. But there are a few beaches along the Amalfi Coast that the locals like to keep secret. One of these lovely spots is Laurito. Here you can stretch out on deck chairs and watch as the turquoise water laps at the dark sand and pebbles. Although it’s a popular spot with the locals, it isn’t overrun with tourists and is a pleasant change from busier Amalfi Coast beaches. There’s a bus stop above the steep path that climbs down to Laurito, but shuttle boats that leave from Positano’s main jetty are a more popular option when it comes to reaching this secluded beach, just look for the boat with the red fish on the mast.

Cala Luna, Sardinia

Cala Luna

Cala Luna is another gorgeous secluded beach that can be found in Sardinia, on the northwestern coast near Dorgali. The crescent shaped beach is surrounded by lush green hills and overlooks the Gulf of Orosei. Cala Luna is ideal if you’re traveling with small children, as the water is shallow and crystal clear. The warm water temperature also makes Cala Luna a great sport for snorkeling and scuba diving. If you’re feeling adventurous you can explore six small caves nearby, as well as Del Bue Marino grotto, which can be reached by boat.

To reach Cala Luna, follow the footpath from Cala Fuili or Balnei, but be warned, it’s a strenuous hike, so if you’re not up to it, or if you are traveling with young children, then reaching Cala Luna by boat is a better option. Boats leave from Cala Gonone port or Marina di Orosei.

Dino Island, Praia a Mare, Calabria

Dino Island

Photo by Diluvienne (Flickr)

Approximately 100 m from the beach at Praia a Mare sits a rock outcrop called Dino Island. It’s here that you’ll find gorgeous hidden coves and impressive sea caves that are accessible by small craft and paddle boats. Scuba diving is also popular here. If you want to get your adrenalin pumping when you’re visiting Praia a Mare, you can cliff jump off Arcomagno Rock, a 22 metre (67 feet) natural bridge over a hidden bay, or go paragliding.

Tordigliano Beach, Amalfi Coast

Sorrento beach

Another one of the Amalfi Coast’s gems is Tordigliano Beach, which is located 15km from Sorrento. It is comprised of 3 pebble beaches and is one of the most beautiful, unspoilt spots along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. From the beach, you can enjoy a splendid view of the Li Galli islands. Most travelers arrive here by boat, but it is possible to reach this beach on foot. There is a rough trail that begins at SS road Amalfitana no. 163, and leads 2km down to the beach.

Cala Mariolu, Sardinia

Cala Mariolu in Sardinia

The splendid Cala Mariolu beach is located in Sardinia. Here azure blue water and pink pebbles create a beach of incomparable beauty. The shallow, calm water is ideal for families with small children. The water is also ideal for snorkeling. Although Cala Mariolus can be reached on foot, it’s an arduous trek, so the best way to reach it is by boat leaving from Cala Gonone, Arbatax or Santa Maria Navarrese.

Riserva Dello Zingaro, Sicily

Riserva Dello Zingaro in Sicily

Located in Sicily, Riserva Dello Zingaro beach is set in a beautifully rugged and protected area of the island. When you’re staying in a Sicily holiday rental you’ll have your pick of coves along the coast, with magnificent white sand and astoundingly clear water. It’s the perfect place to relax.

Macarro Beach, Basilicata

Basilicata beach

Macarro beach is a favourite with local residents. The small beach is set in a delightful little bay overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Relax in the sunshine or enjoy the warm water that is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. To get to the black sand beach, there is short hike down a steep path from the Macarro Beach car park.

Santa Croce Beach, Amalfi Coast

Santa Croce beach

Photo by Titus Plattner (Flickr)

The Amalfi Coast beach of Santa Croce may be busy during July and August, but for the rest of the year it’s one of the most beautiful little secluded spots along the Amalfi Coast. The water is a gorgeous shade of turquoise blue and there are beachside restaurants where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch. You can reach Santa Croce via boat or via a steep flight of stairs from the Amalfi Coast Road.

Menorca, the Balearic Island of Beauty

March 21, 2012 at 2:05 AM

Located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the south coast of Spain, is the island of Menorca (Minorca). It’s the second largest of the Balearic Islands, and far more tranquil and unspoilt than the neighbouring Balearic Islands of Majorca and Ibiza. Menorca has become a favourite destination for holidaymakers looking for holiday villas near beautiful beaches, good food and peaceful unspoilt countryside. It’s the ideal relaxing European beach break for families.

Menorca bay

Each corner of Menorca offers a different experience for visitors, from swimming in secluded coves and walking off the beaten track, to eating tapas at charming Spanish restaurants and shopping at lively markets in bustling resort towns.

Menorca’s Outstanding Beaches

The beaches of Menorca are one of the islands biggest draw cards. The warm azure water that laps at shores of Menorca is ideal for water sports. Swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, wreck diving, jet skiing and fishing are popular water sports here. Known for its wind, the island is also a haven for wind surfing and sailing.

Menorca beaches are not nearly as crowded as those on the party islands of Majorca and Ibiza, so it’s not hard to find a nice relaxing spot of your own. There are several beaches worth visiting when you’re staying in a villa in Menorca.

Son Bou, the longest beach that’s a favourite spot for swimming and sunbathing thanks to calm water and soft, fine sand. It’s located on the south coast of Menorca. Overlooking this gorgeous stretch of beach are Son Bou and San Jaime villas, which are popular with families with small children.

Cala Galdana is a picturesque crescent-shaped bay, surrounded by pine forests, Mediterranean villas, bars and restaurants. The soft golden sand and warm water is perfect for sunbathing and swimming and there is even a small water park and a mini-golf course in the beach resort of Cala Galdana.

Son Parc beach is located at Mercadal and has all the amenities that make it an ideal beach spot for families with children. Villas in Son Parc are a great base from which to explore the island.

Punta Prima beach is one of the busiest beaches thanks to the wide variety of water sports available, as well as the great selection of bars, restaurants and shops in Punta Prima. Just watch out for the red warning flags that indicate strong undercurrents, which are common in this part of the Menorcan coast.

Other popular beaches include Els Canutells, Cala en Porter, Sant Tomás, Cala Mitjana, Cala Macarella, Son Xoriguer and Cala’n Bosch, Arenal D’en Castell Cala Macarella, and Macarelleta.

Explore the Island

The island of Menorca was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve thanks to the wide range of wildlife and outstanding natural beauty. Menorca not only boasts stunning beaches, but there are also fascinating archaeological sites, medieval architecture and sleepy villages that are worth exploring. Highlights include Monte Toro, the highest point on the island that offers panoramic views, Xoriguer Gin Distillery, Museu de Minorca, Placa Alfons III and the 19th century La Mola Fortress.

The capital city Mahon (Maó) has a beautiful harbour, a wonderful selection of bars and restaurants, and a great mix of colonial and Menorcan architecture. From an apartment in Mahon you can visit the Arch de San Roque, the Church of Santa Maria, the Casa de Cultura and the Gobierno Militar on the Place Esplanada. When you’re not sightseeing you can explore the narrow, winding streets and find a cake shop or quaint café where you can sip on your drink and watch the world go by. There is something quite peaceful about the atmosphere in Mahon, but when the sun sets in Mahon the bars, nightclubs and cafes become a hive of activity.

The charming town of Ciutadella was the old capital of Menorca, and has a fascinating history. Attractions in the historic town include the Cathedral of Menorca and the 17th century Castell Sant Nicolas.

In Western Menorca you’ll find Cala Blanca and Cala n Bosch. These resorts are home to Menorca’s luxury villas and the marinas are filled with impressive yachts. It’s for travellers with only the most discerning taste.

Es Castell is another popular resort town in Menorca, and is well known for its lively restaurants, bars and evening entertainment.

The unspoilt countryside, quiet fishing villages and peaceful farms make the island popular with travellers who enjoy hiking, cycling and horseback riding. You can find maps with great walking routes at Menorca tourist information offices around the island. Buses on the island are regular and cheap, making it another great option for getting around.

There are so many diverse attractions in Menorca that there is sure to be something to suit everybody’s taste, whether you are looking for lazy days in the sun, or a holiday filled with history and culture. Menorca has it all.

Bermuda Breaks

March 13, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Can you think of anything more relaxing than leaving all the cares of everyday life at home and enjoying the ultimate beach holiday? Well, basking in the Bermuda sun is one way you can ensure you’ll have a relaxing holiday. The laid-back atmosphere of Bermuda is quite unlike anything you’ve experienced. You can’t help but unwind when you soak up the atmosphere and slow pace of life that the inhabitants of Bermuda enjoy.

Horseshoe Bay beach in Bermuda

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, made up of a collection of small islands that are located in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Bridges and a causeway join eight of the larger islands, creating the island paradise that is Bermuda. The islands are quite isolated from any other landmass, and have fascinating beaches of unique pink sand.

For such a small place there are a surprisingly large number of things to do and see. You can’t hire a car in Bermuda but you can hire scooters or use public transport to get around.

Beautiful Bermuda Beaches

One of Bermuda’s biggest attractions is the stunning beaches. Horseshoe Bay has got to top the list. Crystal clear water laps at the soft pink sand of this crescent shaped beach. Located in Southampton Parish, the beach is surrounded by sand dunes, palm trees and sandstone cliffs. You can’t miss visiting this beach when you’re staying in a Bermuda beach cottage.

Other popular beaches include:

  • Tobacco Bay at St. George’s, with its fascinating rock formations and shallow, warm water.

  • Church Bay in Southampton Parish, where a coral reef and colourful fish make it a popular snorkeling spot.

  • Elbow beach, which is the place to go if you enjoy kiteboarding, beach volleyball or scuba diving. There is a shipwreck within swimming distance of the beach.

  • Shelly Bay Beach, which is the number one spot to go if you have small children. The water is warm and shallow and there is a playground right next to the beach.

  • Warwick Long Bay on the South Shore, which leads to the picture-perfect Jobson’s Cove.

  • Snorkel Park Beach at Dockyards, which is where all the action takes place. You can jet ski, kayak, snorkel or just laze in the sun.

St. George’s

The historic town of St. George’s is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the capital of Bermuda for more than 200 years. The fascinating history and African and British cultural influences can be seen in the cottages, attractive lanes and alleyways, and the military, civic and religious architecture. A great place to start exploring the town is at St. Peter’s Church and Historical Society Museum. From there you can explore places like the Bermuda National Trust Museum at the Globe Hotel, Tucker’s House Museum and the Bermuda Perfumery.

Hamilton

Hamilton is the capital and the only city in Bermuda. It’s located on Main Island and is the business hub of the island. You’ll find colourful buildings, churches, shops, museums, galleries, and parks in Hamilton. Don’t miss a visit to the City Hall & Arts Centre and Fort Hamilton while you’re here.

Royal Naval Dockyard

This is Bermuda’s largest fort and is home to eight historic buildings that give you a glimpse into Bermuda’s history. The Dockyard includes the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Nearby you’ll find the Bermuda Craft Market, Bermuda Clayworks, Dockyard Glassworks & Bermuda Rum Cake Company.

Other attractions in Bermuda include the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, the Botanical Gardens, Gibbs Hill lighthouse, and the Crystal Caves.

The weather in Bermuda can be quite unpredictable. Summers sometimes bring hurricanes. The best time of year to visit is spring or autumn. British Airways offer a direct route from London Gatwick to the only airport, L. F. Wade International Airport (BDA).

Ibiza’s Other Side

February 28, 2012 at 2:15 AM

During the summer months Ibiza is the undisputed club party capital of the world, but there is so much more to this island than pulsating nightclubs and wild parties. Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands, located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the east coast of Spain. During the summer the island basks in glorious sunshine, with temperatures frequently reaching 30ºC. Ibiza has a notably warm climate even during winter, making it perfect for those who seek sun and sand.

View of Ibiza's harbour and old town

Although Ibiza’s party scene is world famous, there is a more cultured and quieter side that may surprise those who take the time to explore the island. The best way to explore is to hire a car and take a leisurely drive around the island.

Explore Historic Eivissa (Ibiza Town)

There is so much talk of the legendary night life in Ibiza that the cultural heritage of towns like Eivissa, often come as a complete surprise to visitors. The fortified town, also known as Ibiza Town, sits on the hillside that rises above the Mediterranean. The old town has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and thanks to the diverse cultural history, there are wonderful districts to explore. La Marina and Sa Penya are the seaside districts that have quaint shops to browse around, lively bars and quayside cafés. There is also a market where you can shop for fresh fruit and vegetables if you’re staying in a self-catering Ibiza Town rental.

The best part of Ibiza is the old town that is known as Dalt Vila, which appropriately means “High/Upper Town”. Put on some sensible shoes to explore the steep, narrow cobbled streets and high ramparts of Dalt Vila and enjoy the superb views from the immense 400-year old walls. The panoramic scenery is certainly worth the climb. The labyrinth of winding alleyways will lead you past Cathedral Square, and finally to the Almudaina Castle at the summit. During your exploration don’t miss the Archaeological Museum of Ibiza and Formentera, and the Puget Museum. Taking an afternoon stroll through the old town and eating a romantic evening meal at one of the fine restaurants is the perfect way to spend a day. The tourist office in Ibiza Town has walking maps in several different languages to help you plan your route.

Get Out and About

There are plenty of other historic sites and natural wonders to see across the island. The town of Santa Eulalia is home to the fortified es Puig de Missa historical monument. The coastline around Santa Eulalia has rugged cliffs, islets and small coves including Figueral, Cala Boix, Cala Llenya, Cala Nova, and Pou d’es Lleó. From Santa Eulalia you can take a picturesque route the leads to Torre de Campanitx, a tower located between Pou d’es Lleó and Cala Boix, where you can enjoy a stunning view of the Mediterranean and the islet of Tagomago. The rock of Es Vedra, which lies 3km off the coast of Cala D’Hort, is another site that should be on the itinerary, as is the fascinating Can Marça Caves. A visit to Es Canar Hippy Market (held on Wednesdays) is also a must when staying in an Ibiza holiday villa. You’ll be able to buy batik wraps, leather goods and silver jewellery at great prices. When you’re staying in an Ibiza holiday rental there are also several options for day trips, including the neighbouring island Formentera. There are regular boat trips between the islands.

When you’ve had enough sightseeing there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy on an Ibiza holiday. The clear, warm Mediterranean water is perfect for water sports like snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, jet skiing, wind surfing and swimming and there are plenty of blue flag beaches where you can soak up the sun, even in the winter months when the beaches are wonderfully deserted.

You can hire a bicycle and follow marked routes across the island, or if you are feeling adventurous and energetic you can walk along trekking paths that take you past some of the most unspoilt and magnificent island scenery.

Whether you’ve come to Ibiza to join the trendy party scene, to relax on the beautiful beaches or to enjoy the natural beauty of the island you won’t be disappointed.

Spectacular Cyprus

February 7, 2012 at 9:08 AM

At the crossroads of three continents, in the Eastern Mediterranean, lies the island of Cyprus. Cyprus has a fascinating history that has contributed to the island’s diverse cultural heritage, and while it has managed to move with the times, the island still maintains an air of ancient mystery and wonder. If you can tear yourself away from the tourist centers and explore the small villages, unspoilt beaches, breathtaking mountain trails and fields of windflowers, you’ll discover that Cyprus is quite spectacular.

Konnos bay in Protaras

Cyprus Hot Spots

Nicosia is the capital of the island and is home to some lovely old churches, museums and traditional woodworking shops. The city is surrounded by Venetian walls and has a distinct café culture, with delightful outdoor taverns and cafés that provide plenty of opportunities for people-watching. The “green line”, diving the Turkish and Greek sides of Cyprus, cuts through the centre of the city. Visitors to Cyprus holiday villas in Nicosia shouldn’t miss the Cyprus Museum, Lefkosia Jewellery Museum, Hamam Omerye spa and Selima Mosque in the old part of the city.

The coastal city of Larnaca flawlessly combines the old and new, with 9th century churches and modern shops existing side by side. Popular attractions in Larnaca include Ayios Lazaros (church), Finikoudes beach and marina, Cyclopean Walls and Mycenean Temples and the ruins at Choirokoitia, however the main reasons tourists visit Larnaca is for the fantastic scuba diving at the wreck of the Zenobia.

Sailing in Cyprus

One of the most popular destinations in Cyprus is the coastal resort of Ayia Napa, thanks to the great beaches and nightlife. It’s definitely the place to be if you want to spend your holiday sunbathing, scuba diving, sailing, swimming or partying the night away. Nissi Beach and Makronisos Beach are the most popular spots for basking in the sun and enjoying water sports. For a quieter spot that is just as beautiful try Grecian Bay or Thekla Beach. If you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous beaches the Ayia Napa Monastery is well worth a visit, and for a fun day out visit the Marine Life Museum, WaterWorld Water Park and the EMW Go Kart track.

Just east of Ayia Napa is the port town of Protaras with one of the most exquisite beaches in Cyprus. Water sports, including scuba diving, abound here and Fig Tree Bay is the perfect place to soak up the sun before taking a swim in the turquoise Mediterranean waters. There is a long promenade that is perfect for a sunset stroll and a variety of restaurants for great alfresco dining. Beyond the beach you’ll find Profitis Elias church, Agioi Anargyroi church, the Ocean Aquarium and Cavo Greco National Forest Park. A highlight of staying in a Protaras villa is the Magic Dancing Waters Show, which is a delight to see at night.

Ancient pillars in Cyprus

In the southwest part of the island you’ll find the ancient city of Paphos. Roman ruins, such as the House of Dionysos and the House of Theseus, can be found at the Paphos Archaeological Park. Other historic attractions include the mysterious Tombs of the Kings, Aphrodite Temple, Petra Tou Romiou and Paphos Fort. Nearby is Coral Bay, where you’ll find pristine sandy beaches surrounded by rolling hills – a vista worthy of postcards.

Limassol is another hot spot, with plenty to see and do. Tourists flock to Saturday markets to buy souvenirs and locally made goods like leather products and Lefkara lace. Other attractions in the area include the House of Achilles, and the Altar of Apollo and spectacular Curium Beach.

Treasures of Cyprus

There are certain vistas, unspoilt landscapes and experiences that make Cyprus truly special, such as the picturesque Kyrenia harbour, or the view from St Hilarion Castle. On the north coast you’ll find idyllic untouched coves hidden behind dunes and the crumbling ruins of Bellapais Abbey. It is experiences like hiking along nature trails in the Troodos region, enjoying the smorgasbord of culinary treats like Cypriot meze (appetizers), halloumi cheese and taramosalata, or having a picnic on the Akamas peninsula that make holidays to Cyprus something extraordinary.