This Hidden Beach In Southeastern Europe Is A Gorgeous Hotspot Among Locals

With the northern hemisphere dealing with snow, freezing rain, chilly temperatures, and icy roads, many of us are dreaming about or even planning a beach vacation. The idea brings to mind your typical places. Perhaps you're thinking of the Italian or French Riviera or the Caribbean. Maybe it's a beach in Mexico or the warm breezes of the Hawai'ian islands. Wherever your flights of fancy take you, we bet it's not a shore in the country of Croatia.

Perhaps it should be. First, you're far less likely to be swarmed with the usual tourists who may not consider Croatia a beach spot (which it actually is, with more than 100 beaches). Second, this particular area has a hidden gem that you absolutely cannot miss. It's got some stunningly clear blue water and a lovely ritual that happens on the hill above the beach. Plus, unlike most beaches, you can dive here. This beautiful place is Danče Beach near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Let's take a look at what makes this beach so unique and what you need to know before you go.

All about Danče Beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Danče Beach (pronounced "dan-che") is an area that locals are very familiar with but it isn't overrun with tourists. It sits below Gradac Park, from which you take a path to the shore. It's actually only about five minutes away from Old Town Dubrovnik, and it's one of the oldest beaches in the area.

The beach itself is mostly rock, so don't expect to dig your toes into the sand. However, the rock has plenty of platforms and railings to get in and out of the water, which is clear blue and deep. That makes it perfect for diving. Do note that this little area is not in a protected cove and it faces the open ocean, so the water here is going to be cooler than other beaches. There can also be a strong current. Swimming is best left to those who have some experience rather than new swimmers and children.

The beach doesn't have a lot in the way of facilities, but you can find free bathrooms and showers, as well as a small cafe that sells drinks and snacks. If you're traveling with your pooch, be aware that no dogs are allowed here. You also need to keep in mind that you shouldn't swim if there is a red flag, and that the rocks can be slippery. That said, it's pretty much perfect if you love diving and relaxing without hordes of other people. (It's least busy in the early morning if you really want to be unbothered.)

The lovely ritual on the hill

Above Danče Beach on the cliff is Sv. Marija, or St. Mary's, also called Our Lady of Danče or Gasp od Danača, which you'll pass when you take the path from Gradac Park. This church dates back to 1457 C.E. and houses Franciscan nuns. In the 15th century, it housed plague victims, and it's home to the stunning 1517 "Madonna with Child" polyptych altarpiece from Nikola Božidarević. When you visit the beach, you may see and hear a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. As ships pass in the distance, the nuns wave, wish them safe passage, and ring the bells of the church.

Finally, Danče Beach was the training area for the Jug Water Polo Club, which has racked up lots of victories. In fact, this team has been a European champion more than 20 times. Send us a postcard if you pay this place a visit.