10 underrated beach vacations to rival Greece – for a fraction of the price
The Algarvian alternative
Jaz Beach, Montenegro
Although one of the longest beaches in the region surrounding Budva, the true poster child for Montenegrin tourism, Jaz Beach is distinctly understated compared to some of its hectic neighbors – particularly notable given that the beach has hosted concerts by stars including The Rolling Stones and Madonna. Despite this relative tranquility, the vast sand and pebble bay has enough beach clubs, cafes and restaurants to ensure a place on a comfortable sunbed and satisfy any craving for meaty ćevapi with bright red pepper ajvar. . A popular spot for families, Jaz Beach has quiet, child-friendly shallows and plenty of water sports opportunities – why not go kayaking or water trike? Moreover, you are only 10 minutes by car from the medieval old town of Budva.
How to do: Stay a short walk from the beach at the Poseidon Hotel (00 382 33 463 134; poseidon-jaz.com) for £35 a night, half-board.
Barbados on the Baltic
Stuck to choose between a city break or a beach getaway? Do both when you visit the Latvian capital, Riga. Half an hour by train from Riga Central Station, Jūrmala is home to 21 miles of silky white sand beach, set against a backdrop of fragrant pine forest. The resort enjoyed its heyday during the USSR, with many Soviet-era sanatoria (and a few more modern additions) providing an alternative to the sometimes refreshing (read: cold) waters of the Baltic Sea. After a dip or a moment in the sauna, take a walk to admire the charming and sometimes unusual Art Nouveau seaside villas. To extend your Latvian beach odyssey, explore the sandy stretches of Liepāja and Ventspils.
How to do: The beachfront Baltic Beach Hotel & Spa (00 371 67 771 400; balticbeach.lv) offers guests stylish rooms, four restaurants, and two pools, plus a spa and beach access. Rooms start at £97 a night.