European Beach Hideaways

Skip Europe’s most famous beach scenes and instead opt for one of these lesser-known coastal destinations.

From the outside, San Giorgio looks like one of Greece’s ubiquitous whitewashed homes. Inside, traditional Greek textiles and locally made furniture adorn the 33 unfussy rooms. Most feature rough-hewn wooden dressers, large circular jute rugs, and beds canopied with mosquito netting. Some have terraces with views of the Aegean Sea. Guests can relax during the day in cocoonlike hanging swings near the pool or take a 10-minute walk to the popular beaches Paradise and Paranga. In the evenings, it’s not uncommon for DJs such as Bob Sinclar or David Guetta to make guest appearances in the hotel’s open-air lounge.
Plaça Atlàntic, 2, 17210 Palafrugell, Girona, Spain
I realize that this is a highlight that may not even need words, since the image is so very convincing. If you find yourself exploring the Costa Brava (‘Rugged Coast’) of Spain, be sure not to miss the beach town of Calella and have lunch at the Hotel St. Roc to sample the local specialties and witness this view. Once you descend on foot from the Hotel St. Roc, you’ll start to see footpaths and stairs headed down to a few, beautifully quiet beaches. The water is clear, the swimming great, and siesta seems to never really end in that glorious sunshine.
Rua de Baixo – Casa da Pedralva, 8650-401 Vila do Bpo., Portugal
Aldeia da Pedralva is more than just a hotel. It’s an actual village hidden away among the wildflowers and beaches of Portugal’s Vicentina Coast. The owner Antonio Ferreira was looking for a career change and when he stumbled upon Pedralva village (at the time no more than a pizza place and abandoned, dilapidated houses) he began to buy them up and rebuild them. It took Ferreira and his wife Filipa more than two years to find the original owners and get permission to buy their homes. Today, Ferreira has turned a former ghost town into a destination eco hotel with a restaurant and grocery shop stocked with produce from the on-site vegetable garden. Each of the 31 restored homes has a rustic charm and was furnished by a designer friend of Ferreira. The best part of staying at Aldeia da Pedralva is that you feel like part of a community. Ferreira’s Newfoundland dog Urso often greets guests. Dinner often features fresh seafood caught that day and plenty of Portuguese wine. A stay here is a lesson in how satisfying simplicity can be.
Stylish, secluded Likya Gardens is a hideaway amid the cliffs of Kalkan, a humble old fishing town on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. Each of the seven suites has its own pool and a patio set on stilts, offering views of a crystal-blue bay and brightly colored fishing boats. Guests can sun on nearby beaches such as Patara or Kaputaş, or enjoy the privacy of the hotel’s beach club, where Moroccan-style cabanas are tricked out with minibars, laptops, and Wi-Fi. Personal butlers can deliver breakfast and book tables at the town’s rooftop restaurants; they’ll even arrange day trips to the Hidden Canyon, with its Indiana Jones–style swinging bridge. From $450. This appeared in the June/July 2014 issue.
6, Ul. Don. Pavla Poše 1, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
A former 18th-century bishop’s palace in Korčula Old Town, this Relais & Châteaux property has been meticulously restored into an all-suite luxury hotel. Each of the five rooms is decorated along a different theme inspired by the Silk Road and the explorer Marco Polo, who is rumored to have been born on Korčula. The two-bedroom China Suite features low-slung furniture, red pillows, and a scene-stealer of a terrace with views across the town and coastline, while the one-bedroom Arabia Suite includes an all-white color scheme and intricately carved wood screens.

The hotel’s LD Spa specializes in Thai and Ayurvedic treatments, and the restaurant serves fresh, local seafood on a long terrace above the Old Town wall. The restaurant also produces three different olive oils from the groves around Korčula, and works with local partners to serve wines made from indigenous grapes like grk and pošip.
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