If you’re up for a little bit of adventuring but also keen to seek out some rest and relaxation, here are a few patches of sand that the likes of both Christopher Columbus and Kim Kardashian would approve of. Everyone has been to Bondi or wandered around Waikiki, so get out there and discover these five lesser-known beach holiday destinations.
Albanian Riviera, Albania
Look at a map of the Mediterranean and the one country you’ve probably never heard much about is Albania. Why? Who knows! The country has similar beaches to those found in Croatia, Italy and Greece but much, much lower prices.
With legendary hospitality, there are countless beaches to choose from along the Albanian Riviera, as well as a number of UNESCO World Heritage-listed towns to explore. Established by Ancient Greece, Vlore is Albania’s second biggest port city and has a range of hotels and beaches to choose from.
Smaller Saranda is another popular Albanian beachside town and is a top pick to make your base while exploring the southern coastline. If you really can’t live without the Greek Island nightlife, then Corfu is so close you can almost swim there!
Myeik Islands, Myanmar
Now that Myanmar has opened up to tourism, word is slowly getting out about Burmese beaches. Akin to what many Indonesian and Thai islands were like before mass tourism, head to the Myeik Islands in the next few years and you can still experience a scene very similar to the movie ‘The Beach’.
The trip there might not be super straightforward – flights from Australia go via Bangkok, Yangoon and Dawei – but the rewards are great, with around 800 different islands for you to choose from. Very much the most 'off the beaten track' destination on this list, when it comes to accommodation, options are slowly on the rise.
Still, don’t expect plush resorts and busy bars. The islands cater more towards independent travellers seeking a laid back eco-lodge. If you think that sounds like Bali or Phuket of yesteryear, you’re not wrong. Best not put off a trip for too long if you want to catch Myeik Islands’ beaches while they’re at their most peaceful and pristine.
Backpackers sure won’t be happy about this secret getting out! Though Goa and Kerala have for decades been favourites for beach lovers, wedged between the two, India's state of Karnataka is catching up in popularity.
Though it’ll still be a few years before multi-storey hotels replace the low-key beach shacks at the beaches surrounding holy town Gokarna, increased reputation and prices are a sign of things to come. Don’t worry though, it’s still mega cheap with most accommodation costing no more than a few dollars a night.
Of the beaches, Om Beach and Kudle Beach are the easiest to access. Hire a boat and you can visit the more secluded Half Moon and Paradise beaches as well.
With Crimea going back to Mother Russia, Odessa returns to the limelight as underrated Ukraine’s premier Black Sea resort. Political turmoil hasn’t been kind to Ukraine’s image, but don’t let it turn you off. The country has a lot going for it with cheap prices by European standards, friendly locals, fantastic beer, and, you guessed it, sandy beaches!
There are few places in the world where you can spend a day wandering between the beach and centuries-old monuments, but Odessa is one of them. Once you’ve had your dose of Vitamin D, take some time to visit the 19th century-built National Opera and Ballet Theatre, climb the impressive Potemkin Steps and explore the underground tunnels at Catacombs of Odessa.
Rio de Janeiro’s beaches might be legendary, but it’s anyone’s guess why Florianopolis’ beaches aren’t more famous outside of surf communities. Located in the south of Brazil, Santa Catarina Island has a whopping 42 beaches that all within an hour’s drive of each other.
If you want to carve up waves, join the serious surfers at Joaquina and Praia Mole beaches, or if you’re not quite up to hanging ten, learn to surf at the gentler Barra da Lagoa. On the north of the island, Jurere offers a more Rio like atmosphere and is great for sunbathing and people watching.
Elsewhere, you can have many of Florianopolis’ other beaches almost to yourself, including Galheta, Florianopolis’ nudist beach and number one gay hangout. If you want to head to Florianopolis to surf, keep in mind that between 30 April and 30 July surfing is prohibited due to it being fish breeding season.