Some of Europe’s lesser-known beaches are being converted into a quiet retreat for the eco-conscious traveler. Whether you’re interested in an exciting beach getaway or you just want to enjoy a peaceful swim in a clean environment, the following European beaches will be hard to resist.
Gerakas, Greece. Photo courtesy of smoxx via Shutterstock
1. Gerakas, Greece
Located at the southern tip of the Greek island of Zakynthos, the stunning beach of Gerakas remains largely untouched.
Gerakas forms part of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, which was established in 1999 to protect the area’s fauna and flora, including the loggerhead sea turtle. In fact, there is limited use of the beach to protect turtle nests, and visitors are encouraged to volunteer in regular beach clean-ups and turtle monitoring sessions.
The loggerhead turtles are a major tourist attraction in Zakynthos, giving rise to a conflict of interest between conservationists and those who want to develop the area for commercial tourism.
The beach is guarded by local conservationist Yannis Vardakastanis, who runs a wildlife information centre in Gerakes and rents eco-friendly villas in the village.
Duboka Bay, Croatia. Photo courtesy of Dario Sabljak via Shutterstock
2. Duboka Bay, Croatia
A well-hidden resort on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast, Duboka Bay boasts clear blue waters bordered by lush green hills.
The resort pairs luxury with sustainability. Accommodation along Duboka Bay is restricted to a few solar-powered villas nestled in the nearby pine forest.
Porto Palermo, Albania. Photo courtesy of RossHelen via Shutterstock
3. Agave Village, Albania
This sheltered, natural harbor on the coastline of the Ionian Sea is one of Albania’s first eco-friendly villages.
Agave Village hosts tourists in sustainable cabins overlooking the unspoiled beach of Porto Palermo. The village makes the best use of natural resources, relying on solar panels as the main source of energy and implementing rainwater harvesting systems.
Despite its turquoise waters, the bay of Porto Palermo remains well off the tourist radar.
Bibione, Italy. Photo courtesy of Sergey Olegovich via Shutterstock
4. Bibione, Italy
The seaside resort of Bibione in the province of Venice holds the title of the first smoke-free beach in Italy. This smoking ban was enacted in a bid to reduce the amount of waste collected from the beach and generate a cleaner air for visitors.
Bibione uses environmentally-friendly measures to increase beach accessibility. The resort has recently introduced a free charging service for tourists traveling in electric vehicles. However, what makes Bibione stand out from nearby seaside resorts is its dog-friendly beach, which is fully equipped with canine facilities, including a dog ambulance service.
Las Islas Cies, Spain. Photo courtesy of arousa via Shutterstock
5. Las Islas Cies, Spain
The pristine bay of Las Islas Cies in Galicia is a picture-perfect paradise. Declared a Nature Reserve in 1980, Las Islas Cies remain uninhabited, while the number of visitors is limited to 2,200 per day.
This gorgeous lagoon is only accessible in summer. Cars are prohibited and hotels are nonexistent, but it is possible to take your own tent and camp there overnight.
Castiglione della Pescaia, Italy. Photo courtesy of Arkadiusz Stachowski via Shutterstock
6. Castiglione della Pescaia, Italy
This ancient seaside town in Tuscany has been voted the eco-friendliest beach resort in Italy by the Blue Guide 2015. Castiglione della Pescaia has received the prestigious “Cinque Vele” (Five Sails) award for the resort’s continuous preservation of its coastal dunes and the surrounding pine forest. A lot of effort has been invested in educating visitors on eco-friendly tourism in the area.
Castiglione also has a network of hiking trails and bicycle tracks through nature reserves and along the coast.
What’s your favorite of the eco-friendly beach resorts in Europe?
By Daniela Frendo