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Hidden and remote British bay named one of the best beaches in Europe


The greatest joy in travelling is stumbling upon relatively unknown hidden gem and coming back to tell all your friends about it.

This morning that person, or company, was Lonely Planet.

The leader in travel guides released its Best in Europe 2015 guide and featured what it believes to be the best beaches in the continent for this year.

Somewhat unexpectedly, a breathtaking British spot you may not have heard of beat the white sands of Spain's Cala Macarella and the vibrant blue waters of Greece's Voutoumi beach. 

The remote Sandwood Bay in Scotland, which is a four-mile walk from the nearest road, was praised for it's "dramatic meeting point of land and water".

The path to the mile-long beach winds through moorland and grassy sand dunes and when you finally reach the stunning shoreline, "it feels like ample reward" writes Lonely Planet.

"This sweep of sand has cliffs around it, a freshwater loch at its back and faces on to waters that stretch to the Arctic. Tall tales of ghosts, shipwrecks and mermaids add garnish, but most people find a tramp around this beautiful place poetic enough."

The sun sets at Sandwood Bay

The sun sets at Sandwood Bay

A second British beach also made the top 10 list and that's Bantham Beach in South Devon. This region of England is spoiled for some of the country's best beaches - famously Woolacombe and Croyde Bay - but Bantham is described as a true all-rounder: "Surfers love its reliable waves; families come for the winning combination of sand, dunes and rock pools; and walkers admire its drama as they pass by along the South West Coast Path"

Take a look at Lonely Planet's top ten beaches in Europe below.

1. Jaz Beach, Montenegro

Image by ollirg / Shutterstock

Image by ollirg / Shutterstock

"If you like your beach holidays to come with a little adventure, a spot of culture and plenty of partying, broad and sandy Jaz Beach on Montenegro’s gorgeous Adriatic coast is the place to be....Jaz is just outside Budva, a mini-Dubrovnik with a charming Old Town and a citadel that turns into a stage for the Theatre City open-air performances throughout July (gradteatar.com)...For adrenaline junkies, there’s more fun to be had: day-trip options from Budva range from rafting the Tara Canyon to paragliding over Mt Lovćen"

2. Peniche, Portugal

Image by Francisco Caravana / iStock / Getty Images

Image by Francisco Caravana / iStock / Getty Images

"The port of Peniche and its eponymous beach is renowned among surfers – and this year it hosts one of only two European stops of the World Surfing League...(but) it's worth a visit even if you’re not bringing a board...the sheltered bays of neighbouring Baleal are ideal for beginners, families and general lounging around. History buffs will love Peniche's old town centre (which includes historic churches and Peniche Fort, built in the 16th and 17th centuries, used in the 20th century to detain political prisoners, and now a museum), while divers can catch a boat to the clear waters around the Ilhas Berlengas nature reserve just off the coast."

3. Rondinara Beach, Corsica, France

Image by photovideostock / iStock / Getty Images

Image by photovideostock / iStock / Getty Images

"Corsica guards its gorgeous beaches jealously, though – and rightly so. Rondinara, which lies at the end of a nondescript road off the N198 midway between glamorous Porto Vecchio and historic Bonifacio, is no exception...it’s free of all but the most child-friendly waves, another boon for families staying at the well-organised campsite nearby (camping-rondinara.com). The beach has plenty of parking for day-trippers and a restaurant on the sand serves up food and drink between May and September."

4. Cale Goloritzé, Sardinia, Italy

Image by elisalocci / iStock / Getty Images

Image by elisalocci / iStock / Getty Images

"Beach perfection comes in many forms in Sardinia. But for sheer drop-dead beauty, few places can rival Cala Goloritzé; a tiny inlet of bone-white pebbles overshadowed by towering, macchia-clad rocks, it's one of a series of beaches on the Golfo di Orosei's dramatic coastline.

"There are only two ways to reach it: by boat or on foot. Most people cruise in from Cala Gonone, but for a truly memorable experience, you can trek down an old mule tack from the Golgo plateau some 400m above. And if that's not climb enough, once you make it down you can join the local climbers and pit yourself against the beach's rock spire, the 148m-high Aguglia."

 5. Vik Beach, Iceland

Image by marchello74 / Shutterstock

Image by marchello74 / Shutterstock

"With black sands, mists and tales of trolls and sea monsters, Vik Beach (Reynisfjara in Icelandic) is the antithesis of its Caribbean counterparts. Found at Iceland’s southernmost point – the wettest place in the country – this wind-beaten volcanic beach has a gothic, other-worldly feel, underpinned by local folklore."

 6. Bantham Beach, England, UK

Image by Ann Taylor-Hughes / iStock / Getty Images

Image by Ann Taylor-Hughes / iStock / Getty Images

7. Sandwood Bay, Scotland, UK

Image by richsouthwales / Shutterstock

Image by richsouthwales / Shutterstock

8. Cala Macarella, Menorca, Spain

Image by tagstiles.com - S.Gruene / Shutterstock

Image by tagstiles.com - S.Gruene / Shutterstock

"Menorca – the shy little sister of Mallorca – is not only a cracking deal for families, with its gently shelving beaches, low-key resorts and waters made for snorkelling, it also hides some of Europe's finest beaches...One such secret is Cala Macarella, a horseshoe-shaped cove in the island's south-western crook, where cliffs draped in pines and holm oaks enclose flour-white sands. Get there bright and early, or linger to see day fade into a pink-tinged sunset, to experience it at its silent best."

9. Voutoumi, Antipaxi, Greece

Image by Netfalls - Remy Musser / Shutterstock

Image by Netfalls - Remy Musser / Shutterstock

"Dangling just south of Corfu and easily reached by hydrofoil to Paxi then taxi boat, this tiny island is a walkable four-by-three kilometres and home to a year-round population of... 20. But what a beauty it is: cloaked in vines, olives, orchards and wildflowers, scalloped with pearly beaches, and lapped by a sea that fades from turquoise to indigo."

10. Curonian Spit, Lithuania

10. Curonian Spit, Lithuania

Image by Tatiana Rodionova / iStock / Getty Images

"Dividing the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon that stretches from Lithuania into Russia, this sliver of land is one endless expanse of beach. Mile upon mile of fine white sand awaits those looking for a real escape."


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