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Balkans Travel Guide: Best Beaches in the Balkans
While many tourists focus on the classic beach destinations in southern Europe, such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece, the beaches in the Balkans are often overlooked. That is not to say that they don’t receive any visitors, though.
Many of the best beaches in the Balkans, which are listed below in this article, do get their fair share of holiday-makers. Those visitors, however, are mainly locals and people from other countries in the region, as well as a small number of foreign tourists. Because of the lack of huge hordes of international tourists, these beaches remain among the very best in southern Europe.
The Balkan countries are known for their immense natural beauty. From rugged mountain ranges to gorgeous waterfalls and spectacular beaches, this region is the place to go for both exciting outdoor adventures and peaceful sunbathing. Oftentimes, the best beaches in the Balkans are located in or at least near a beautiful historic coastal town, which only adds to their appeal.
Banje Beach, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Perhaps the most well-known and most visited of all cities in the Balkans, Dubrovnik in Croatia is one of the world’s most breathtaking historic towns. With an Old Town that is UNESCO World Heritage and a setting in between the blue Adriatic Sea and the Dinaric Mountains, this should be one of your absolute priorities when traveling around the Balkans. There are several wonderful beaches in Dubrovnik, but Banje Beach, just to the south of the Old Town, might just be the most photogenic one.
Makarska Riviera, Croatia
The Makarska Riviera is one of the lesser-known beach destinations on the Dalmatian coast. A small-town alternative to places such as Split and Dubrovnik, this town is home to the so-called Makarska Riviera. Featuring exceptional white beaches, pine forests, a wonderful seafront promenade and lively nightlife such as in Brela. Makarska is a superb off-the-beaten-track destination on the Adriatic coast.
Zlatni Rat, Bol, Croatia
Situated just west of the harbor town of Bol on the island of Brač, Zlatni Rat Beach might just be the most remarkable beach in Croatia. The beach is often referred to as the Golden Horn or Golden Cape, after its narrow triangular shape. It is regularly mentioned in lists featuring the best beaches in the Balkans, in Europe and even in the entire world. If you’re looking for an extraordinary place to spend your summer holiday, this would be a good bet.
Queens Beach Nin, Croatia
Queens Beach in Nin, is one of the top beaches on the northern coast of Croatia. This part of the country tends to get slightly overlooked, overshadowed by the Dalmatian coast and its amazing islands and towns. This makes this region all the more desirable if you’re looking for a quiet beach holiday. The beaches of Nin lie an easy car or bus ride outside of Zadar. Awarded Blue Flag status, these sandy shores are great for both sunbathing and watersports.
Sveti Stefan Beach, Montenegro
One of the Balkans’ most photogenic coastal towns, Sveti Stefan is set on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The entire old village on the peninsula is now a luxury resort—you can literally stay in a centuries-old building—but you can admire it from the mainland beach. A pleasant coastal walk offers additional astonishing views of this most picturesque of towns. This is a mandatory stop on any itinerary along the coast of the western Balkans.
Murici Beach, Lake Skadar, Montenegro
Murici Beach on the shore of Lake Skadar is the only beach on this list that’s not located on the coast. Lake Skadar is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling across Montenegro, a region characterized by historic monasteries, great vineyards and beautiful nature. This beach is an ideal spot to relax at after kayaking on the lake, hiking in the surrounding hills or exploring the old, authentic lakeside villages.
Saranda Beach, Albania
The unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera, Saranda is an unassuming coastal city in southern Albania during most of the year. Come summer, however, the place transforms into a charming yet vibrant beach destination. Attracting large crowds of vacationers, Saranda has plenty to offer, from a busy and beautiful beach to a seaside promenade and plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs.
Dhermi Beach, Albania
Dhermi is often named as Albania’s best beach destination. It’s easy to see why, the town being home to some of the best beaches in the Balkans. Many spectacular beaches line the coast in this gorgeous region. Here, you’ll find pebble and sand beaches, rocky coastlines, azure-blue waters and abundant sunshine.
Borshi Beach, Albania
Measuring seven kilometers (about 3.4 miles) in length, Borshi Beach is one of the few Albanian beaches that continue to be unspoiled by tourism and untouched by development. This is the longest beach on the Ionian Sea coast, a peaceful place surrounded by mountain ranges, olive groves, wineries and goat farms.
Mesecev Zaliv Beach, Slovenia
Slovenia may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about the best beaches in the Balkans, but it does have a couple of excellent ones. One of them is Mesečev Zaliv Beach. Its name meaning Moon Bay Beach, this wonderful beach lies within the Stranjun Nature Park and is only accessible on foot. The hike is absolutely worth it, though, because of the beach’s amazing setting underneath tall coastal cliffs. There’s plenty of wildlife to be spotted around this beach while the sunsets aren’t too shabby either.
Other Photo Credits: Pixabay & Bram