You’ve seen the sights, explored the museums and ticked off all your must-eat restaurants. Now it’s time to relax. Lizzie Frainier has her deckchair ready to show you the way to the beach.
The harder a beach is to access, the more we love it. As a Unesco-listed site with sand on its doorstep, the old town of Dubrovnik has plenty to o er. Hire a kayak and nd your way to Betina Cave beach. This secluded spot can only be accessed by the water, giving a real sense of adventure to those who discover it. The crystal-clear waters are warm enough for swimming and calm enough for novices to feel comfortable kayaking in. If you prefer keeping your feet on terra rma, follow the tree-lined coastal path to the east until you nd Sveti Jakov. You’ll be sunning yourself next to locals and, come dusk, you can follow them back to town for fried squid and sh at no-frills and reasonably priced stalwart Kamenice.
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Think French Riviera and think the height of European glamour. Once the lm luvvies have departed in May, leaving air kisses and empty champagne bottles in their wake, you’re left with some of the best beaches in France. Sneak o to little-known Les Rochers for the best snorkelling in town. Take bread and you’ll have sh eating out of your hand as you dive. Or try Plage du Midi in front of the Vieux Port, it’s truly gorgeous and doesn’t get as crowded as the famed La Croisette. Later, climb the steep, narrow streets of Le Suquet, stopping o at Mantel for lobster ravioli in shell sh bisque. When you nish your ascent up the hill, you’ll be rewarded with a view worthy of a Palme d’Or.
It’s the original beach city. With a mix of cobbled streets, top museums, whimsical landmarks and kilometres of sand, you can’t ask for more. Come summer, Barceloneta is filled with chiringuitos (beach bars) serving cocktails and tapas as close to the sea as you can get. Try La Guingueta de la Barceloneta for salty anchovies and hearty tortilla. Further down the coast, Mar Bella is quieter and offers activities such as diving and sailing. After a day in the sun, you’ll be craving something salty and satisfying. The simple sandwiches stuffed with spicy chorizo or juicy pork loin from the open grill at Can Paixano are just the ticket.
In term of seasons, Finland is a country of dichotomies. Winters are freezing and dark, while summer brings warm temperatures and white nights. When the sun comes out of hibernation in Helsinki, locals make the most of public spaces and the around-the-clock daylight. Hietaniemi Beach is the popular choice as it’s so close to the city centre. There are a further 30 public beaches along the sea and the banks of the Vantaa river. Check out Aurinkolahti for a quick swim or get the three-minute ferry to Pihlajasaari. The island has an urban feel with self-serviced saunas and ocean vistas from its very own restaurant serving up freshly smoked salmon
More than 300 days of sunshine and year-round temperatures in the mid-20s: need we say more? In Valencia, you’ll find a historic old town, the trendy City of Arts and Sciences, quality dishes by the bucket-load and countless beaches to explore. Spend your morning on La Malvarrosa’s fine white sand that stretches 135m to the water. If you’re there around lunchtime, visit La Pepica. Enter this century-old restaurant from the street side and you’ll get to walk through the kitchen and past dozens of chefs juggling comically large pans. King Juan Carlos and Ernest Hemingway raved about the arroz marinera (seafood paella) here.
The Polish capital is up there with the most unlikely beach destinations in the world but spend your afternoon following the Vistula river and allow the city to prove you wrong. The natural riverbanks create a beautiful space for beaches and you can hop on the free ferry that darts back and forth. Start o on Poniatówka beach for city skyline views but stay for the barbecue racks that attracts revellers until dark. It’s also worth visiting Plyta Desantu beach for its paddleboarding school and the food trucks that gather there. Cross your fingers that Szerdelek stops off so you can try excellent Polish comfort food such as goose breast and kaszanka (blood sausage).
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The Danes are offcially the happiest people in the world and for good reason: the quality of living is sky-high. Copenhagen has a burgeoning food scene, thriving city life and sandy beaches. Summer brings the fifth Hundested Sand Sculpture Festival (5 May-18 September), so expect sand beauties in all manner of guises from international sand sculptors (a great career, if you ask us). Then it’s just a quick hop to Amager Strand station, where you’ll nd a 2km stretch of beach. Visit the northern section for gentle dunes and sea grass, while in the south there’s a promenade, kite-surfing and volleyball courts. Stop off at Fleisch in the meatpacking district for sausages and burgers.
August brings highs of 33C, 14 hours of sunshine and next to no rain to Antalaya. It’s also the largest city on the Turkish Mediterranean, meaning you can combine beach and city in the best possible way. Sitting between Antalya’s cliffs and the Beydağlari Mountains, Konyaati beach couldn’t have a more dramatic backdrop if it tried. Begin with a swim in the gentle sea; you’ll need to see the water to believe the colour, this is the heart of the Turquoise Coast, after all. Then rent a deckchair to dry off, as it’s rough sand and pebbles here. Real sand devotees can grab a bus (the LC-07) to Lara Beach just outside the city limits for 8km of the stu . Say şerefe (cheers) with an anise- avoured raki cocktail at nearby Seraser.
Small in stature, Budva more than holds its own with heavyweight beach cities. Stroll through the old town’s piazzas for open-air stages with live performances. As for beaches, there’s a menu to suit all tastes. Mogren, hidden underneath Spas hill, is the most beautiful. Bordered by the city’s walls, Pizana is easy to access. Expect an open-air swimming pool and dock stretching into the Adriatic. From here, spy the island of Sveti Nikola. Less than 1km away, legend says it used to be connected to Budva via a long sandbar. Today you can take a quick boat ride to explore the hidden coves and spot deer, rabbits and badgers. Hang around for the extraordinary sunsets before heading back to the mainland for octopus ragu at Konoba Stari Grad.
Berlin beach break. The words may trip off the tongue but it’s a far cry from what the German capital conjures to mind. This city is 200km from the nearest ocean but don’t be swayed by stereotypes: the outskirts are home to more than 80 lakes so you’ll be sure to find one right for you. We love Krumme Lanke for its location and design. It’s easy to access with its own U Bahn station and the curved shores offer plenty of secluded spots for sunbathing. For a more active day, head to Tegeler See. Swim around its seven islands before taking a steamboat ride or turning your hand to surfing. You might struggle to fit a deckchair in your bag, so make like the Germans and hire a strandkorbe (beach chairs that also protect you from the wind). Round off your city beach break with a seafood feast at Fisherman’s.
This article was published on 9th August 2016 so certain details may not be up to date.