Formentera, Spain

Ibiza gets three million tourists a year, 250 times the 12,000 people who live on Formentera, an idyllic island just a 30-minute ferry away from the beating heart of the Balearics. Here, there isn't a whole lot more to do than eat, sleep and soak up the rays, which – funnily enough – makes it an absolute paradise for sun worshippers. Aaand… relax.

Stay: Gecko Hotel and Beach Club. From £170.

Getting there: Thomas Cook Airlines offers return flights to Ibiza from £111; Trasmapi offers return ferries from Ibiza to Formentera from £34.50.

 

Imagine that Greek island holiday: the beautiful coastline, the characterful harbour towns, the top-notch waterside restaurants. Now imagine it without the crowds. You're thinking about Spetses, a small (and almost car-free) island less than a two-hour ferry west of Piraeus, which somehow manages to balance old-town charm and rustic 'Greekness' with bags of beaches in walking distance and an unbeatable food and drink offering.

Stay: Poseidonion Grand. From £141.35.

Getting there: Aegean flies from Heathrow to Athens from £147 return. Hellenic Seaways offers ferries from Piraeus to Spetses from £72 return. 

People visiting Italy for the coast often don't get much further than the Amalfi. More fool them. In Puglia, the heel of the boot, you'll find dramatic coastline, near-guaranteed sunshine and three gorgeous cities to explore by way of Bari, Lecce and Brindisi. That's if you ever want to drag yourself away from those beaches.

Stay: Villa Plus offers villas in Puglia from £549 per week.

Getting there: Ryanair flies from Stansted to Bari from £52 return. 

Malta gets 300 days or more of sunshine every year. Not enough to get you hunting for flights? OK, well its capital city, Valletta, is European Capital of Culture for 2018, too. Beyond that, there's tons to explore across the country's three islands, from the iconic St Peter's Pool on Malta, to Blue Lagoon in Comino as well as lots (and lots) of sand. Dive in.

Stay: Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour. From £171.

Getting there: Air Malta offers return flights from Heathrow to Malta from £137. 

The following three things are true: Provence is gorgeous, the French Riviera is expensive, and rosé tastes better in summer. Luckily, by setting up camp in Cassis, a small town east of Marseille on the southern French coast, you'll be able to get the best of both rosé and Provence without spending an absolute packet. As well as absolutely gorgeous beaches, you'll also have easy access to the calanques, a series of mountainous coastal creeks that are great for days out by boat or afternoons of rock climbing. Take your pick.

Stay: There are plenty of homes in the area available to rent on Airbnb

Getting there: Easyjet flies from Gatwick to Marseille from £46 return.