Spending days on the beach soaking up the rays, enjoying swimming and water sports, or taking leisurely strolls in the evening to admire the coastal views, is bliss for many holidaymakers. But rather than following the crowds to the tourist-filled beaches, how about discovering a lesser-known one on your next getaway?

Florida is blessed with gorgeous beaches, but Anna Maria Island has some of the best.

Florida is blessed with gorgeous beaches and Anna Maria Island has some of the best.

A beach that ticks all the boxes, but without the crowds of people spoiling the view and vibe, sounds good, right? Well there are so many undiscovered beaches all over the world that are just waiting to be explored, so check out these recommendations to inspire you for your next holiday.

Sandhammaren Beach, Sweden

If you have never thought of Sweden as a beach holiday destination, you really should consider it for your next getaway. There are some lovely beaches on the Stockholm Archipelago - skärgård to the locals - but for the mainland, the southern shores are well worth a visit for their spectacular vistas.

One of the most delightful beaches is Sandhammaren, in Skåne. Framed by dunes, it has a long stretch of fine white sand, which is perfect for relaxing on a warm day - though swimmers should take care of the strong currents. There are four lighthouses along the beach dating back to the 1860s and Sweden’s oldest lifeboat is based there too. It retired in 1945 but it can still be seen in the old boat house. Tours are available in the summer months if you want to know more about the local history.

Sweden might not be the first beach holiday destination you would think of, but it has some really pretty beaches that are just waiting to be explored.

Sweden might not be the first beach holiday destination you would think of, but it has some really pretty beaches that are just waiting to be explored, like the one pictured in Sandhammaren.

Anna Maria Island beaches, Florida

Often overshadowed by lively beaches in the likes of Miami and Daytona, Anna Maria Island in Florida boasts seven miles of glorious coastline, and has a charming seaside town atmosphere, so it is difficult to choose just one beach to recommend.

Anna Maria Beach is quiet, with plenty of space to unfurl your towel, or even throw a ball around in the warm Floridian sunshine. Coquina Beach is a little livelier and is one of the best beaches for collecting seashells, so make sure you pick up one to take home as a souvenir. Anna Maria Island beaches are also home to visiting loggerhead turtles who lay their eggs in the sand, so look out for them.

Anna Maria Island has an ‘old Florida’ vibe, full of quaint little shops and some great seafront restaurants. It really does make a good destination for a relaxing holiday, away from the famous theme parks in Orlando.

The beaches at Anna Maria Island are rarely overcrowded, so it gives everyone plenty of room to get some well-deserved relaxing in.

The beaches at Anna Maria Island are rarely overcrowded, so everyone has plenty of room to spread out and get some well-deserved relaxation in.

Galgibaga Beach, Goa

Well known for its many beautiful beaches, Goa has more than its fair share of paradise-like shores. Among some of the famous sands - such as the ‘Queen of Beaches' - Calangute Beach, or Baga Beach, known for its famous party atmosphere - there are some that slip under the tourist radar. Galgibaga Beach is perfect for those looking for a chilled out place to soak up the sun.

The long sweeping stretch of silver sand is often completely empty of tourists and it is known for being one of the cleanest beaches in India. There are strict building regulations on and around Galgibaga, as it is a breeding site for Olive Ridley turtles which gives it the nickname of ‘Turtle Beach’ - so you are guaranteed some peace and quiet. Calm, clean and, with the chance of seeing baby turtles, all this combines to take Galgibaga onto your must-visit beaches list.

Goa's Galgibaga Beach is one of the cleanest in India, and one of the quietest, so should be on your must-visit beaches list.

Goa's Galgibaga Beach is one of the cleanest in India, and one of the quietest, so it deserves to be on your must-visit beaches list.

St Andrews West Sands Beach, Scotland

Scotland has some of the prettiest beaches in the UK, but is often overlooked in favour of England’s warmer south coast. However, the Scottish coastline is gorgeous and one of the best beaches is St Andrews West Sands Beach, which is famous for being the location where the opening scene of the Oscar winning film, 'Chariots of Fire', was filmed.

West Sands Beach is popular with runners and is also the best beach in Scotland for kite fliers and water sports enthusiasts, so there is always something colourful to look at on the horizon. The two miles of sandy shores are framed by dunes which protect the world famous St Andrews Links golf course. So once you’ve had your fun splashing around at the beach, perfect your swing on one of the best courses in the world. As a bonus, these sands are also just a short 15-minute walk from St Andrews' town centre.

Scotland has some beautiful beaches that are sometimes overlooked in favour of England's south coast, but you're missing out if you don't visit West Sands Beach.

Scotland has some beautiful beaches that are sometimes overlooked in favour of England's south coast, but you're missing out if you don't visit St Andrews West Sands Beach.

Lake Balaton, Hungary

Lake Balaton is the largest freshwater lake in Europe, and probably wouldn’t be the first place you would consider for a beach holiday. Despite being a lake - hence the name - Lake Balaton makes a great alternative to a seaside holiday as it has several beaches on its shores. During the summer months, you can build sandcastles and splash around on the lakeside, which is a great way to cool down on a warm day. The lake is also brilliant for sailing and rowing, so if you want to get out on the water, it is a great activity to enjoy with the family.

Close to Lake Balaton is Lake Hévíz, which is the largest thermal lake in the world. Soak your aches and pains away in the naturally warm waters, which are said to be helpful for those with rheumatic conditions, before ending the day with a relaxing massage in the spa. Bliss.

Lake Balaton might not be a conventional beach holiday destination, but it makes a brilliant alternative.

Lake Balaton might not be a conventional beach holiday destination, but it makes a brilliant alternative sun and sand escape.

If you want to book a beach holiday, it is easy using the Holiday Types search facility on the online RCI Resort Directory. You can select 'Beach Holiday' from the scrolling menu and it will bring up all the resorts close to beaches. Searching for a beach holiday this way means you can find new destinations you might never have considered before. Click the RCI Resort Directory button below to start searching.

Click here to visit the Resort Directory

If you own timeshare but are not an RCI member, what are you waiting for? To become part of the RCI Holiday Exchange community, click Join RCI below and sign up in just a few simple steps.

Click here to join RCI