When you think of sun, sea, sand and sailing, your mind tends to wander to France, Italy, and even the Netherlands. But some of the most beautiful waters to enjoy are based in Eastern Europe.
Hungary itself is landlocked, but its neighbouring countries offer some attractive water sports and sailing options, making these countries the perfect spot to borrow a boat.
If you want to have your mind blown by beauty, then Croatia is one of the most luxurious looking coastal countries. In recent years it has become more popular with travellers who wish to enjoy great (and often surprising) prices, and coast that rivals some of Europe’s most visited coast countries.
The Adriatic paradise was a much-loved resort during the 1970s and 1980s. Then, during the war of secession from Yugoslavia, its tourism industry, like the rest of the country, took a significant hit. But, just over a decade after the conflict ended, Croatia is entirely safe, stable, and bustling with tourists.
And Croatia is only the start. Within a short distance of Croatia’s borders are appealing spots with their particular charms that stark contrast to the country’s sleepy beaches.
This western part of the former Yugoslavia — or, as locals prefer, the “Eastern Adriatic” — is one of Europe’s most pleasant areas.
Croatia’s coastline is its biggest draw, with 3,600 kilometres of shoreline and over 1,100 islands. Its pebbly beaches and consistently warm summer weather are famous among European vacationers. It’s also historically significant, with ruins of Roman arenas and Byzantine mosaics, as well as Venetian bell towers and Habsburg residences, all along the coast.
While much of Slovenia is inland, you can head to Koper, Izola and Piran to enjoy a slice of paradise. Slovenia only has 47km of coastline of the Adriatic sea – but what a coastline! The beaches are stunningly clean, and they are surrounded by Slovenia Gothic architecture, which is unlike anything you may have seen before.
The best way to really take in the 47km that it does offer is by boat. As the boat moves away from the shore, you notice that rocks surround many beaches with very little in the way of sandy beach.
It makes for an incredible view and is certainly worth taking a trip to see it.
If you want to say that you have been to one of the smallest beaches to face the Adriatic water, then Bosnia-Herzegovina takes the crown. The Bosnia-Herzegovina coastal city Neum is sandwiched between Ploče and Dubrovnik.
It boasts about 22km of beach, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but this place is known as one of the hidden gems of Eastern Europe.
Bosnia and Herzegovina may appear to be landlocked at first glance, but it does have its own chunk of the magnificent Adriatic.
If you still don’t believe that Bosnia has beaches, you’ll need to zoom in on a map, and you’ll see the tiny sliver of coast called the Bosnian Riviera. The Adriatic Sea between Split and Dubrovnik, notably the beaches at Neum, are extraordinarily clean, and the water is sparkling.
Neum developed a coastal retreat and a tourist industry in the last 1960s – and has enjoyed the label of Hidden Gem ever since.
The bay is so clean and well-maintained because it is closed and enjoys protection from the strong Pelješac Peninsula winds.
Making Neum the perfect hot spot for parasailing, jet-skiing, scuba-diving – or simply enjoying the sight by boat rental for a few hours.
If you are hoping to find one of the most photogenic locations to spend a few days, then Montenegro is the only place you should be going. A few beaches are worth visiting, including Sveti Stefan, Murici Beach, and Mala Plaža.
Starting with Sveti Stefan.
One of the most attractive coastal towns in the Balkans, Sveti Stefan is situated on a peninsula separated from the mainland by a tiny strip of land.
The entire old village on the peninsula has been transformed into a luxurious hotel resort so you can practically stay in a centuries-old building. However, you can also just admire it from the shore.
A beach that is not on the coast is Murici Beach, which is located on the shores of Lake Skadar. Lake Skadar is a must-see for anybody going through Montenegro, an area known for its old monasteries, superb wineries, and stunning natural beauty. This beach is a great place to unwind after kayaking on the lake, trekking in the nearby hills, or touring the old, authentic lakeside villages.
Mala Plaža is the marker for the most southern point of Montenegro. It is an old seaport on the outskirts of Ulcinj that has been occupied and operating ever since the Bronze Age.
With beautiful white sand and plenty of space, this beach is a lovely way to spend a day lounging or exploring the unusual town of Ulcinj, where the area is infused with distinct Eastern influences thanks to a substantial Muslim community.
The abundance of stunning mosques and Middle Eastern cuisine to explore will appeal to design and culture enthusiasts.
There is no end to the beauty experienced at these stunning coastlines, from the expansive Croatian coastline to the small but perfectly proportioned Neum. So the next time you are thinking about jetting off on holiday, make these locations the top of your list.