Seaside resorts will attract sun seekers until the end of time. And every high season, it's the same story: glorious beaches around the world become victims of their own success and are overrun with tourists sitting elbow to elbow. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, take a look at our list of beaches to avoid if you aren't a fan of the crowds.
As you count down the days until vacation, you may find yourself daydreaming of swimsuits, flip flops, white sand and cool ocean breezes. But reality can turn that fantasy into a nightmare if you find yourself in the middle of a noisy crowd with sunbeds crammed in one after the other and beach towels spread out in the tiny spaces in between. To prevent your delicate dreams of a peaceful holiday from being crushed, stay away from these 20 beaches. From Cyprus to Brazil, some are so crowded you can barely see the colour of the sand!
Ipanema Beach, Brazil
Three kilometres of hot sand isn't enough to accommodate all the tourists and residents who want to swim during high season from December to March. February is particularly crowded due to Carnaval, as are weekends, but there is hope. Visiting this iconic beach and neighboring Copacabana between October and November is sure to offer a more pleasant and quiet experience, as there are no major festivals and no major holidays during these months.
Romania has a sea coast that opens out onto the Black Sea, and this strip of land can get quite claustrophobic during the high season. Costinesti is a large beach south of Constanta, the largest city on Romania's Black Sea Coast and second largest city in Romania. It can be almost unbearable in July and August thanks to an abundance of teenagers and university students looking for a cheap and cheerful getaway. Thankfully, renting a car and heading to Vadu 25 miles north of Constanta is sure to offer undisturbed swaths of white sand, and you can even camp on the beach. Alternatively, head even further north to Tulcea and take the ferry to the Danube Delta. The villages of Sulina and Sfantul Gheorghe rarely get crowded and are just as beautiful.
As it's almost entirely surrounded by water, Spain is the perfect seaside destination for many holidaymakers. Through July and August, hordes of sun-seekers descend on the country's Mediterranean Coast and lay their towels on the sand, and Salou is one of the hardest hit. Although at times less glamorous than Costas, Spain's Atlantic Coast offers a much more relaxing holiday with fewer crowds, breezier weather and charming small towns.
Gydynia's city beach gets overwhelmed in the summer due to its proximity to the city center. Poland's Baltic Sea Coast is best admired elsewhere, such as inside Wolin National Park. Not only is the park is full of rugged cliffs, rolling sand dunes, and tranquil sea, but it's also home to a European bison reserve! There are also plenty of opportunities for cycling, hiking and camping.