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6. Tyrrhenian Coast, Italy
Resembling a mini-Amalfi, Basilicata's Tyrrhenian Coast is short (about 20km) but sweet. Squeezed between Calabria and Campania's Cilento peninsula, it shares the same beguiling characteristics: hidden coves and pewter sandy beaches backed by majestic coastal cliffs. The SS18 threads a spectacular route along the mountains to the coast's star attraction, the charming seaside settlement of Maratea. The secret's out on Maratea, but short day trips to nearby hamlets or timing your trip to miss the summer rush will give you the feeling of stumbling onto a well-kept secret.

7. Kamenjak, Croatia
It is the wild rugged beauty and end-of-the-world vibe of this small peninsula just south of Pula that have earned it cult status among Croatian beach goers. An undeveloped protected nature reserve, Kamenjak showcases a carpet of heath plants, shrubs and wildflowers, criss-crossed by a maze of dirt tracks running through it all. It is fringed by a string of pebble bays and secluded rocky beaches, surrounded by crystalline blue-green sea. It gets busy in summer but there is always an empty beach to escape to, plus a fun beach bar for socialising.

8. Luštica Peninsula, Montenegro
Along the southern coastline of Montenegro's Luštica Peninsula is a string of clean beaches that are popular with day trippers from Herceg Novi and can be visited by kayak tour from Rose. Dobreč is reported to have some of the cleanest waters in Montenegro and is only accessible by sea. Another popular boat-tour stop is the Blue Grotto (Plava Špilja), so called for the mesmerising effect of the light reflecting through the water. Boats head into the 9m-high cave and usually allow you an opportunity for an iridescent swim. At the base of the peninsula, just south of the main town Radovići, is beautiful Pržno (not to be confused with the other Pržno near Sveti Stefan). This gorgeous scallop of white sand sits within a green horseshoe of scrub, pines and olive trees and is a definite candidate for Montenegro's best beach.

9. Kabak, Turkey
The remote beach community of Kabak is slowly becoming the solitude-searchers' end point and many think it even more heavenly than nearby Butterfly Valley. Regardless of how you make the steep trek downward to Kabak - by tractor (10 minutes) or on foot (20 minutes) - you will be rewarded with a spectacular and empty beach flanked by two long cliffs. Eight kilometres south of Faralya - and worlds away from everywhere else - Kabak is for the camping and trekking enthusiast, yoga devotee or any fan of quiet, untapped beauty.

10. Gökçeada, Turkey
Just north of the entrance to the Dardanelles, rugged, sparsely populated Gökçeada (Heavenly Island) is one of only two inhabited Aegean islands belonging to Turkey. Measuring 13km from north to south and just under 30km from east to west, it is by far the nation's largest island. Gökçeada is a fascinating place, with some dramatic scenery packed into a small area and a Greek feel to it throughout. It's a great place to escape to after visiting Gallipoli. The sand beach at Aydıncık is the best on the island, and is adjacent to Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake). Further west on the stunningly picturesque southeast coast, there are smaller beaches at Kapıkaya and Uğurlu.

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© 2011 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Hidden coastlines of the Mediterranean’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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