As summer arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, many indie travellers are getting excited thinking about soaking up those rays. With a little research, we found six places where you can get away from the crowds and join the “in” crowd for some fun in the sun.
Lastovo Island, Croatia
Croatia is an up-and-coming hot-spot in Eastern Europe, with hordes of tourists descending on the cities of Split and Dubrovnik along with the arrival of mainstream low-cost carriers. While these cities are great for exploration and sampling the Croatian lifestyle, try getting some fresh air by heading out to Lastovo Island. Only the hearty make it out to this tiny paradise in the Mediterranean — a five-hour ferry journey from Split. You’ll be rewarded with lush forest, gorgeous shorelines, and solitude. You can also sample some of the Lastovo MaraÅ¡tina, a white wine from here that is popular across the country. Be sure to book your lodging before you hop on the ferry — there are no hotels on Lastovo but there’s plenty of private accommodation.
Phu Qhoc Island, Vietnam
With an easy one-hour direct flight from Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll land in Phu Qhoc and wonder why the island isn’t overrun with tourists. Far out on the very southern coast of Vietnam and close to the Cambodian coast — it was disputed territory until as recently as the late 1980s — Phu Qhoc is just as gorgeous as Halong Bay, but far more off the beaten path. Unspoilt beaches, waterfalls, war memorials, pearls, and rare dogs are just some of the bizarre array of sights on display. Spend your nights in one of the adorable guesthouses that are dotted across the island.
Aqueduct Beach, Israel
This beach takes its name from an ancient Roman aqueduct gracing its harbour — built in the first century AD — which offers endless photo opportunities and a unique environment to just relax. In stark contrast to the people-watching activity on other Israeli beaches, here things are quite casual and decidedly low key. The waters are safe for swimming if the tides are not too rough, but there are also several historical attractions to explore should the sun’s ray get a little too hot. Shore-side amenities are limited so be sure to bring everything you need with you.
Port Shoreham, Canada
Port Shoreham, on the east coast of Nova Scotia, is one of those places where you could spend days endlessly walking the beach, picking up stones and shells and watching the surf gently roll in. You’ll have first choice on one of the many picnic tables where you can gaze out across gorgeous blue waters of Chedabucto Bay. There are minimal facilities here but you can camp in the nearby town of Boylston (June-September), where an interpretive display awaits you, describing the medieval tale of a Scottish earl who made his way from Orkney and landed here in Nova Scotia.
Imperial Beach, United States
Although not completely desolate territory, Imperial Beach sits 20 miles south of San Diego and just north of the Mexican border, making it America’s most south-western destination. In contrast to the rest of California’s hip and trendy coastline, Imperial Beach is somewhat of a kitsch and quirky hippy community. In the 70s the town was infamous as a rough biker enclave; today the atmosphere is much more welcoming but retains a unique character and some scars of its past — some areas of town are still dilapidated. This is a very family-friendly stop, especially during the annual sand castle competition, but check with lifeguards regarding swimming — at times pollution makes the water unsafe for swimming.
The Azores are a tiny cluster of islands are nearly 1,000 miles from the Portuguese coast. Despite direct, regular air service from Portugal, the atmosphere here has remained quiet and rural. The scenic vistas available are indescribable and hardly believable — pools of clear green waters, blinding pink sunsets, and soothing volcanic sand are just some of the highlights. You’ll have lots of opportunity for swimming, either in the sea or man-made salt-water pools. Don’t miss the hiking trails for some of those great views, or dolphin and whale watching when not relaxing under the sunny Portuguese skies.
So, if you’re keen on the idea of beautiful clear water for swimming, and empty beaches for sunbathing, take your pick of a beach mentioned above, and enjoy the sun!