The blue cave on the small island of Bisevo, not far from Vis. At midday, sunlight enters the cave through a submarine opening and makes the water glow the most beautiful shade of blue.
Part naturist on the other side of Lopud, it’s idyllic and has good facilities in a sheltered, shallow bay - safe for swimming and the sea is clean and turquoise. It warms quickly and there's only the occasional jelly fish to vex.
Lopud is reached via a one hour ferry crossing from Dubrovnik. Unusually for Croatia, it has sandy beaches; that was part of the appeal to us. The other was that the island is completely car free. Indeed there is little traffic at all aside from some little tractors and buggies carting people and luggage about. Each morning, locals cluster round the port to unload produce and supplies from the ferrys - everything comes to the island from the mainland and everyone living there seems to know each other!
The now infamous Jet Apartments on Playa D'en Bossa's main beach are very basic accommodation. However the location cannot be beaten. The complex houses the famous Bora Bora beach bar and is across the road from Space Nightclub, the Waterpark and a €6 taxi ride to Ibiza town. Location location location.
A much better choice on the island of Vis than the (slightly) larger Vis Town. Pleasant beach and good restaurants. Very reasonable apartments too - ask for the poet Pepe in the travel agencies (everyone knows him!)- he will put you up very comfortably!
If you get the ferry into Vis from Split, rather than stay there, take the bus that meets the ferry to Komiza. It is worth it if you want a more laid back village and a better beach.
From its stunning beaches (one of them being the famous Zlatni Rat) to its great, laid-back nightlife, this was our favourite place in Croatia. We camped in the grounds of the monastry, a beautiful building that overlooked the sea on both sides. It was exceptionally cheap (accommodation in Croatia on the cheap is limited if you don't have a tent) and we woke every morning with a dip in the turquoise sea that was a 1 min walk away. Heaven!
Get a ferry from Split to Supetar on the island of Brac. From there, get a bus to the other side of the island where you'll find Bol.
To get out of the city (though not necessarily away from the crowds on a hot day!), head to Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside. The sandy beach, with a promenade, is about a mile long, clean, and reasonably wide when the tide is out. The bustling High Street has various cafes and pubs, and the Dalriada pub on the prom has a beer garden looking out to sea.
The High Street is served by bus no. 26 from city centre, then head for the shore;
Dalriada: 77 The Promenade, Portobello;
tel: 0131 454 4500;
It is a short drive from San Francisco. A place of serene beauty. Sit on the beach, listen to the roar of the surf (if you have a board catch some waves), chill, watch the sun set over the bay. Then retire to a B&B or enjoy the drive back to the bright lights of the city.
Half Moon Bay is 30 miles from the city.
The north coast of the Dingle peninsula is a golden necklace of beaches reached by those narrow lanes that get narrower and narrower and have grass growing down the middle and potholes which threaten exhaust systems.
Walk the strand for an hour at Castlegregory on a hot July afternoon and work off a lunch of seafood chowder from a little bar in the village. The only other sign of life is a pair of squabbling gulls which follow hopefully.
Four tunnels carved through the cliffs lead to a secluded beach and tidal pool. Very safe for children and bliss for adults over the crowded summer. Snacks available from the cafe so you can make a whole day of it.
Open all year. July and August, 9am-7pm; the rest of year, 10am-5pm or 6pm;
Entrance fee: £1.75 for adults and £1.25 for children.
Not the prettiest part of Dorset's Jurassic coastline, but you're not here for the photo album; you want dinosaurs. You'll find tips on fossil collecting at the Heritage Coast Centre next to the beach: there's a short film on what to look for, or ask one of the wardens what to do. Alternatively, there are regular guided walks. Best check for tides before you go and rest assured: you WILL find fossils.
tel: 01297 560772; www.charmouth.org
The best secret cafe of the island is on Campos beach. Excellent sandwiches, salads and pasta, well groomed cocktails, and the must have - enormous cheesecake pieces (surely the best I've ever tasted).
After your swim, relax by playing backgammon or reading a book listening to nice world music. Before you leave, don't forget to buy a trendy George's Place souvenir t-shirt!
On the far left of Campos beach, 5.5 km from the port of Skala. When you get to the beach, You have to walk through the sand to reach it; tel. 22470 31881
I follow a group of Aussies up a rocky, uneven path between shops. Here’s the beach. It must be over 20 Celsius. Like a massacre, bodies litter the first section of sand. To my right the sand becomes rocks in a few hundred feet. To my left a meandering golden path finally curves on the horizon. Sea takes over.
It’s a walk of hidden corners and curves. I unpeel my sweaty trainers and sweatier shirt and sink with each hot step. Halfway to the horizon I lose most sunbathers. The warm air is odourless. The sea brushes the sand to my right, which gleams under the sun. I stop.
There’s nobody around, just the idyllic sea. Walking in the constant heat of the Noosa sun placates me. A browse of the website showed the maximum temperature all year is between 20 and 30 Celsius - an average of 19 in winter. Each corner provides a treat to the intrepid walker. A hidden cove for a young brother and sister to fish from; a tiny crescent of shaded sand for an old man to read in; a collection of dangerously slanted rocks for intrepid walkers to slip off.
To avoid the crowds in Brighton, head further west along the coast to Shoreham-by-Sea. Shoreham beach is lovely and rarely crowded. The Seafood Experience, just back from the beach, is great for tapas and seafood platters.
Regular buses and trains from Brighton to Shoreham-by-Sea. Journey time is around 10 minutes;
The Seafood Experience: 29 Ferry Road, Shoreham Beach;
tel: 01273 464768;
Walk away from Brighton towards Hove along the seafront, the Meeting Place Cafe is on the border between the two. Great on a Sunday morning for watching everyone bike, blade and walk by and much better breakfasts than most of the overpriced fish restaurants along the front between here and the Pier. It's not that sophisticated (not a bad thing in Brighton) but the location's perfect.
Brighton & Hove Boundary, Kings Road, Brighton;
tel: 01273 206417;
Every evening around dusk thousands of starlings congregate and swarm in an amazing display over what was once the West Pier. Simply an incredible natural phenomenon. Best seen at sunset with a cold pint.
West Pier - the burnt out one on the beach;
Great hotel located on the front with a good view out to sea. Friendly staff, nice cocktails, comfortable beds and nice touches in the rooms.
Close proximity to the centre, Lanes, etc.
44 Marine Parade, Brighton;
tel: 01273 696934;
Best pub in Brighton. Perched on the end of the pier with portholes for windows, all manner of life is here: hardened drinkers and shell-suited daytrippers mingle with pale-ale drinking OAPs, fashion students and clubbers who haven't made it home yet. For sheer entertainment value (it's Brighton's only karaoke bar) it can't be beaten.
At the end of the Palace Pier.
The highlight of this trip is travelling on a wooden river boat through a reed filled waterway where loggerhead turtles live. You may or may not spot one in the water. Also on view are ancient rock tombs of the Lycian age at Kaunos. These resemble small temples carved out of sheer rock which housed the nobility and their belongings after death to await reincarnation. The lower orders were buried in less impressive surroundings below them.
Also worth doing - taking a mud bath, followed by a shower and a dip in a thermal bath afterwards.
And finally by boat again to Iztuzu or 'Turtle' beach, a beautiful expanse of white sand. You can dive into the Mediterranean on one side of the beach and swim in fresh water on the other. The beach is closed to public access at night to allow the turtles to breed there.
You can get there easily from the bigger centres such as Marmaris or Fethiye on an organised trip or from Dalyan itself. Most agencies offer it.
Likely to be one of the more popular festival options for the Glastonbury exiles heading overseas this year.
A combination of four-day festival, campsites practically on the beach plus after-show party on the beach on the fifth day, diverse European crowd, Spanish sunshine, numerous stages, a broad range of music genres, plus other contemporary arts such as film, theatre and fashion also represented, oh and did I mention the beach?!
Headliners for Summer 2006 include The Pixies, Depeche Mode, Morrissey, Scissor Sisters, however the big names seem to be in the minority, with the festival more in favour of championing more alternative artists to cater across the musical spectrum. With some quality bands and DJ talent performing, this year is guaranteed to be a stormer.
Benicassim is located on the Costa Azahar, one of Spain's less-developed Costas. About an hour north of Valencia and a couple of hours south of Barcelona, flight options are plentiful.
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