2 years, 10 months ago
A beach can make or break a holiday and we all know how easy it is to be seduced by pics of ‘azure’ seas and bendy palm trees. So in the interests of avoiding any disappointment, we’ve gone further than mere looks for our best beach guide and come up with a few surprises for this summer. It goes without saying, clean and gorgeous were minimum requirements.
From Croatia to Cape Town, Sicily to Spain a guide to the best holiday beaches worldwide.
Split’s pole position on the Adriatic made it a big favourite with ancient invaders. So if you like your beaches beautiful but healthily trimmed with historic art and architecture and a broad mix of cultures, we think Bačvice is one of Europe’s great urban beaches. Just 20 minutes walk from the centre of Split in a sheltered, sandy bay, Bačvice is lively fun for families, big on water sports and if you want to stay all day, everything you need is within easy paddling distance.
The Makarska Riviera is like its French namesake might have been if it had laid off the late nights and eaten more leafy, green vegetables. This is a stunning stretch of the Adriatic coast punctuated by pristine beaches. But the one to beat is always Punta Rata in Brela. Against a backdrop of huge pine forests, Punta Rata is a flawless, white pebble beach with well-deserved blue flag status. There are always plenty of activities here and quite a few good beach bars. So arrive early, pick your spot and stay until they light up the famous diving rock in the evening.
A beach with a natural phenomena gets us every time and Scala dei Turchi on the west coast of Sicily is truly astonishing. The beach itself is all soft sand and clear, island water. But it’s the mighty, ridged white cliffs flowing up from sea that make this place the stuff of legend. Scala dei Turchi (Staircase of the Turks) is irresistible to climb, so do it. Then find a spot to bask and simply look around, we probably don’t need to tell you the views are incredible.
Even if it hadn’t bothered with the excellent beach bars and restaurants, water sports, safe swimming and long standing blue flag status, Camps Bay Beach could just have said ‘check out the mountains’ and we’d have been sold. Sitting against a backdrop of The Twelve Apostles, right on the edge of Table Mountain National Park, grandeur doesn’t even begin to describe this beach’s location. And remember, this is Cape Town, so competition in terms of grand is pretty stiff.
Don’t get us wrong, we love JBR beach for a pure, untainted hit of outsize-everything-Dubai. Palace Beach is a different story altogether. You still get a fine view of the iconic Burj Al Arab and the Palm Jumeirah but this beautiful beach is often completely deserted because you have to walk a tiny bit to reach it. Well worth the effort in our opinion. The sand and sea are immaculate, it’s very calm for swimming and if you pack a picnic you can play all day in perfect peace – a rare treat in Dubai.
Hapuna Beach is on Hawaii’s Kohala Coast so it has more than a little hint of palm tree, crystal water, coral sand paradise in the mix. It’s one of Big Island’s best loved family beaches, has bits for body boarding and quieter waters for swimming and there’s plenty to explore in the afternoon when it gets cloudy – as it does in Hawaii. The sunsets here are spectacular so plan to stay for at least one.
Mauritius does beaches and they’re pretty much amazing as standard. Trou aux Biches isn’t the biggest, but its pretty horseshoe shape, lush backdrop of Filao trees, sweet little tropical sun shelters and even a Hindu Temple nudge it up top for us. The water’s shallow with gentle currents so this is a popular family beach, divers like it because some of Mauritius’ best sites are here and it’s a good place to try the island’s famously delicious fresh fish.
Kite, wind or wave, Spain’s Costa de la Luz is surfer heaven and home to some of Europe’s greatest beaches. Playa Bolonia is one we like a lot. Often called the loveliest beach in Andalusia, Playa Bolonia is just far enough off the beaten track to avoid high summer crowds, so its spectacular white sands and gorgeous views are completely unspoiled even at its busiest – not busy at all. There are a couple of cute beach bars, fantastic Roman ruins to explore, the water’s well marked for surfing and swimming and if you feel really energetic you can climb the huge dunes (they claim to be Europe’s biggest, but we’ve hiked up Dune du Pilat and we beg to differ).
La Concha is another of beautiful San Sebastian’s very unfair advantages. Yes, as if it wasn’t enough to have the Michelin Stars, ownership of Pinxtos, endless historic architecture, a great indie film festival and be marvellous and Basque at the same time, San Sebastian also gets to have one of world’s best city beaches too. With nearly two kilometres of immaculate white sand, stunning views and a crystalline sea, if La Concha doesn’t steal a little bit of your heart forever we’ll be very surprised.
Geger is the prettiest and best beach for swimming on Bali as far as we’re concerned. It’s on the southernmost tip of the island and has all Bali’s palm fringed, soft sand, blue sea loveliness. There are good beach bars and restaurants (it’s popular with locals for Sunday brunch). The sea is surf-unfriendly so calm for lazing around in. And if you’re around at the right time of day you can watch the seaweed farmers working near the Geger Temple. The only thing missing here is a crowd but you can find that anywhere.
And there you have our 10 dream beaches. Get in touch and let us know what sands you’re thinking of playing on this summer.