06/19/2013 05:24 pm ET Updated Aug 19, 2013

Europe's Secret Beaches

You've donned oversize sunglasses and slathered on sunscreen for a blissed-out day of sunbathing along the French Riviera -- you and about a million other pasty tourists. Finding your own little slice of sand in Europe can be as challenging as finding a local boutique open in August.

"You have to be prepared to make that extra effort: a drive down a dirt track, a hike down and around a hill, or a boat ride around a headland," Kirsty Hathaway, editor of Beach Tomato, says. "There's a direct correlation between just how amazing a beach is and the difficulty in getting there."

Read on for more off-the-beaten-path beach escapes. And don't worry -- you can still rock those shades.

--Colleen Clark

More from Travel + Leisure:
Best Secret Beaches on Earth
America's Best Little Beach Towns
Best Travel Gadgets
World's Weirdest Superstitions
America's Most Iconic Drives

Europe's Secret Beaches (PHOTOS)