If you’re dreaming of a Robinson Crusoe lifestyle and wonder what it must be like to be a beachcomber, spending your days looking for hidden treasures between boat trips and snorkelling – here’s where to go barefoot in the sand, but without the crowds.
Along with the bare-essentials, remember to pack sunscreen, a hat, underwater camera and aqua shoes if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t want to slip on any rocks.
1. Alonissos, Greece
We all love the Greek islands and two of the best known are Skiathos and Skopelos – the latter for the wedding scene in the movie Mamma Mia! But for an island that’s escaped the Hollywood camera crews, visit Alonissos. Joining Skiathos and Skopelos in the Sporades group of islands, it has pine forests and olive groves to explore, along with a medieval castle in the old town of Hora, which offers breath-taking views of the sea and picturesque harbour.
2. Porquerolles, France
While we may love the glamour of the French Riviera, many of the rich and famous prefer to escape the limelight and head to this exclusive hideaway. A 10 minute boat trip from Hyeres (a sleepy village nestled in between Marseille and Nice), and the largest of the three Iles d’Hyeres (golden islands) where you can enjoy a magnificent sunset from across the marina from one of the harbourside restaurants.
3. Bozcaada, Turkey
Located off the western coast of Turkey, take an early morning ferry to this idyllic island where you can relax on the uncrowded beaches, walk among the blossom bedecked cobbled streets or rent a bike and see more of the island’s natural beauty, hidden swimming holes, famous vineyards and climb to the top of Bozcaada castle. Plan the journey ahead as it takes several hours to get there, and check into one of the pretty boutique hotels.
4. Cies islands, Galicia, Spain
Reach beyond the rugged mountains and lush green valleys of Galicia and head to the remote Cies islands for a day-trip where you can picnic on one of its white sandy beaches, swim in the clear Galician waters and snorkel in the coves. The three Cies islands may be small but they boast nine sandbanks, a bird observatory, hiking trails and panoramic views from Mount Faro.
5. San Domino, Puglia, Italy
Why head to the Caribbean when you can go diving and marvel at the seabed, coral reefs and subterranean caves in San Domino, off Puglia’s coast? With crystal clear waters, unspoilt beaches and shady pine woods to shelter from the midday sun, this peaceful island is a dead cert if you want to get away from it all. Most of the island’s coastline is made up of isolated coves so there’s no fear of fighting over a sunbed, just remember to bring your own beach towels.