The Cabo de Gata Natural Park contains some of Spain's most beautiful, wild and unspoilt beaches and Rodalquilar is a gem of a place to base yourself while there. An old mining town might not sound the most appealing of places to stay but with its stylish Moorish houses, a couple of boutique hotels,some fantastically good tapas bars and a very friendly laid back atmosphere you'll feel you've stumbled upon somewhere very special indeed.
Rodalquilar, Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata
04115 Níjar, Spain
+34950 389 836
Google map: bit.ly/iMbVOE
Tristram Campsite, Polzeath sits nestled on the lowering cliff tops down towards the village, on the majestic North Cornish Coastal path.
The sun rises over the village itself bathing the site with sunshine all day long. Lazing on your pitch, after a fun day in surf (five minutes walk away) or a day's exploring, watching the evening surfers, the sun sets, almost always with style every evening. A perfect accompaniment to that well deserved chilled beer or wine and bbq! Priceless!
A carefully positioned tent at Nash Point will be flicked by the reassuring red-beam from the adjacent Trinity-lighthouse every 10 seconds, all night. Just 100m off shore, the historic bell on the buoy warns of the start of the treacherous Nash Sands and tolls sleepily with the change of tides as the rip between the sands and the shore speeds and slows. Such magic tent-nights. Below the cliffs are limestone pavements as old as creation, studded with myriad fossils, notably ammonites filled with star-sparkling quartz crystals. Steps in the pavements are lined with smooth, grey, stone balls, rolled by the perfect waves of history, while the cliffs above are layered limestone blocks as neat as a bricklayer’s. An Iron Age hill-fort guards the easy path from campsite to the beach. To the West stretches a clean, yellow-sanded beach with gentle water for swimming but no crowds. Cliff walks run West and East and are wildflower heaven.
The grassed campsite is a courtesy of the local farmer, and arranged by the local villagers serving strong tea and home-made Welsh cakes in the entrance to the clifftop car park. There are no facilities, but with the lighthouse and the bell for company, and fossils for entertainment, what else do you need?
Nash Point is on the Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Coast, near Marcross and Monknash, between Barry and Dunraven, CF61 1ZH, Wales
Google map: bit.ly/m4NoHo
The ultimate lodge/hostel/posh backpackers, in the ultimate year round surf capital for all levels from beginner to expert: sea view, free pool, free internet, sunset views, amazing vibe, indo board etc ... The local area is almost as amazing, from Obidos to Peniche to Berlenga island etc
The beautiful and peaceful Island of Ithaca can be reached via Kefalonia for a day trip but better to spend a night or two (or longer). Travel up into the cool of the mountains and view the capital Vathi and it's horse-shoe shaped harbour from way up above. Then cool off on one of the island's quiet pebble beaches - the crystal clear waters make up for the lack of sand. Maybe head to the pretty village of Frikes which is about as touristy as it gets on Ithaca- then back to Vathi for dinner at one of the many tavernas on the harbour front where you can indulge in a spot of yacht envy. If travelling back via Kefalonia get the late evening ferry and watch the sun set over the Kefalonian mountains which is just breathtaking.
On a weekend head to the Winking Prawn cafe on North Sands, Salcombe. It's right on the beach with great views rain or shine and a fantastic big breakfast buffet - served from 8.45 am for the early birds. We usually scrape in at 10.30 so it can be more like brunch ... There's even the chance to read the paper as the kids can busy themselves with the wonderful wacky selection in the dressing up box. Nicely full then head onto the sands for a game of footie, rockpooling, chasing waves, digging in the sand or whatever takes your fancy till you're too cold too cope. Next head to Overbecks National Trust property just up the hill. It's a remarkable and intriguing little Edwardian gem with enough for the kids to love too. Unfortunately the house is not open in the winter but the warm and yummy tea room is and after warming up there it's well worth exploring the exotic garden (it looks so tropical its almost enough to convince yourself it's not winter), with its hidden paths and many levels, stunning views across the estuary and even giant Jenga to play on the lawn.
The Paradise Bungalows in Cambodia are exactly that, bungalows in paradise. Situated right on the heavenly white beaches of the sparsley populated island of Koh Rong 40km off the coast of SihanoukVille. There are various beach huts from $15 and even dorms available from $3. You really feel you have the island to yourself if you visit in the off-peak season. If you fancy combining diving the coral reefs around the island with idyllic hammock swinging and swimming with phosphorescence in the sea just like in The Beach, you can book your dives and nights accommodation through The Dive Shop located at SihanoukVille. You can then miss the masses that dive Thailand. The authorities have big plans for the island so best to visit before it gets over developed.
The place was extremely accommodating with a parking lot and all. The crew at the Merlin Beach Resort offered exceptional aid to our needs. The resort presented a wonderful stay. The restroom was trendy. We feel gratified to know we got what we paid for
Probably the best beach area in Dubrovnik.
As with most beaches in Croatia, very little if any sand with pebbles the order of the day.
However views are great and water is clean and clear.
Loungers and sun umbrellas can be hired.
No 4 or No 6 bus from Pile Gate will take you near the beach.
Beach is located at bottom of Kralja Zvonmira.
Google map: bit.ly/cMYVSl
The city centre beach Banje is just a short walk from the Ploce Gate. As with most beaches in Croatia, the water is clean & clear but the beach itself is pebbly rather than sandy. Most of this beach has been sold off to the East - West bar / restaurant. Sun loungers & umbrellas are available for hire at 120KN for two loungers and one umbrella.
The locals tend to congregate in the half that still is under municipal control.
Banje beach outside Ploce gate
Google map: bit.ly/bdjbOy
City beach in Split. As with most beaches in Croatia, very little sand but water is clean.
Water is shallow for about 100m.
Bars and sun loungers for hire so a good way to spend the day.
Only a short walk from city centre. Walk past the bus and train stations, then cross the bridge over the railway.
Google map: bit.ly/aOAPNo
My husband and I stayed at Villa Kamenica for a week and loved every minute of it! We were in the garden apartment which came with its own private patio, stone oven and beautiful views of the amazing gardens. Tomislav, Zeljka, Duje (their cute puppy) made us feel welcomed, showed us all the best beaches, and gave us great wine! Tomislav showed us the fish market and cooked an superb dinner every evening. By the end of the week we felt like family and were very sad to leave our paradise.
Villa Kamenica and Komiza are true gems! It was the BEST place we have ever stayed!
This is a 9.5-acre luxury eco-resort that is 450 feet up a volcano overlooking the Caribbean Sea. 10 mins from the town of Portsmouth and 5 mins from the beach.
A fresh water river runs along one side that has amazing swim holes and mini waterfalls. You can walk all the way up the river to its source.
The London couple that own it have built the most incredibly stylish and elegant wooden houses from trees from the land. The best time to be there is at sunset when the glow hits the Red Cedar of the houses and set them on visual fire.
The 320 degree views from the decks take in Morne Aux Diables to the French Islands of Les Saintes and Guadeloupe. The furniture that has not been made on site is super chic Roche-Bobois. This resort is unspoiled with only one access road and foot paths through the layers of woodland, from sub-tropical to mini forest higher up.
The houses are cool and very spacious with full kitchens and private bathrooms. They have huge extra-king sized water beds that add to the nature experience.
They are just opened so have a really good cheap deal at the moment. The cheapest in the area and best value on the island.
The resort is off grid & uses filtered rainwater.
The main reason people visit Airlie Beach is as a gateway to the remarkable Whitsunday Islands. The port at Airlie Beach offers every conceivable way to see the islands and allows even novice sailors the chance to sail around. The Whitsunday Islands are characterised by turquoise blue waters, lush islands and sandy beaches. The most popular and scenic beaches in the Whitsundays is Whitehaven beach which offers powdery sand and crystal clear blue waters.
When John Milton sat down, pen in hand, ready to put the final touches to Paradise Lost, he clearly hadn't made it here. Pulau Perhentian Kecil might prove a mouthful to pronounce and a mission to get to, but it'll prove worth every bit of effort you put in to find it.
That South East Asia is littered with beautiful islands is unquestionable, but many are well en route to being trashed by the carnage their economy depends upon. However, few that register on the backpacker's radar, remain as untouched and in rude health as this pint-sized paradise, located 50km off the Eastern Coast of northern Malaysia, a stone's through from the Thai border.
Though Malaysia is far from synonymous with beach life, whip out your weary-limbed backpacker's checklist upon arrival and you'll be able to tick off translucent, turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and abundant palm trees. There are shacks aplenty to house you, few of which it is even possible to find evidence of, let alone book, online. These range from the rather basic mattress in a beach hut to the more opulent mattress in a beach hut, with air con, electricity and an en suite bathroom. For an added luxury, the island folk have mastered the art of the flushing toilet, so you won't find yourself staring at your own emissions as you desperately try to sink them with a bucket like you will in Thailand. Prices range from around 20RM (£4) to 80RM (£16) a night making these eminently affordable and worth every penny thanks to the surrounding beauty.
Well-priced and friendly options include Panorama Huts, located centrally on Long Beach, and Moonlight Chalets, tucked away at the periphery, among the palm trees at the beach's edge. Both house their own restaurants, serving up sizeable portions of pan-Asian and western cuisine at great prices and offer a host of options when it comes to entertainment.
Rather unique to Kecil is the complete absence of roads linking the backpackers' paradise of Long Beach with anywhere else on the island. The only way to circumnavigate this drop in the ocean and its various enclaves is by boat or on foot. With some of the best priced and most stunning diving you'll find anywhere in the world ... or so the divers in my midst assured me, you'll be able to plunge to coral-addled depths, offering twenty-metre visibility, for as little as 60RM. For the uninitiated, the snorkelling trips offered around the island also prove mind-blowing in themselves. The prevalence of incredibly vibrant coral, makes for a psychedelic underwater experience for all, without the need to team up, tank up and drop to new depths. With sea turtles, sharks and sting-ray among the marine life promised to the average day tripper, these certainly prove a rewarding experience. But it doesn't end there. If you haven't heard one of more considered and more erudite of your party yelling “awww, look it's Nemo” before the end of the day, then your trip will not have been complete.
Kecil, as stated, means small, thus it should come as little surprise that the island is also rather quiet. Those seeking the kind of intensity of nightlife a full moon party can serve up need not apply. Neon pink body paint, glow sticks, Samsong buckets and hoards of beered up geezers grappling you in sweaty hugs couldn't be further your mind as you negotiate Long Beach's four bars, none of which ever seem to fill up. If a dancefloor does emerge, it invariably boasts little more than a few bar tenders busting a groove, a barely cognisant European guy or two with far more confidence than their ape-being-elecricuted-esque dance moves deserve and a couple of ladies who defences will inevitably be broken down by either/or before the night is out. For most, however, candlelight and a shisha become the order of the evening, accompanied by the odd slug on a bottle of the local rum. With relaxation the ambient vibe, it isn't long before most of the island's visitors slip away for a relatively early night in order to make the most of the next day on one of the continent's most stunning destinations. And whether they'll be found soaking up the sun, lost in a book, kicking a ball over a net with some uber-flexible locals or several metres under the ocean chasing a shark around a wreck, there can be little doubt they'll be having the time of their life. Perhentian Kecil is a mission to get to, it was even harder to get away from, but I for one will definitely be heading back.
Check out: www.perhentian.com.my
Go to: Putra bus station, Kuala Lumpur a short walk from the Putra World Trade Centre stop on Kuala Lumpur's efficient LRT network.
Here you can book a ticket to Kuala Besut, for a paltry sum.
The final leg: book yourself onto a speedboat at Kuala Best jetty for 70RM, open return.
Do go: between March and September.
Don't go: between October and February, when you'll find little other than some tropical storms, monsoon rain and the tiny collection of locals that brave them during the off-season.
Google map: tinyurl.com/355hvlk
It’s got to be Bottle Beach on Koh Phangan in Thailand. It's got all the qualities – isolated (access to the beach is only possible by boat), superb beaches, good food, jungle to explore, very hospitable hosts, great swimming and snorkelling opportunities. Enough said.
This gem of a resort has something for the young and not-so-young alike. Arriving by bus or train, saunter up to the West Pier and Whitby Sands for a dip in the sea, or take a boat trip round the harbour. A fish-and-chip lunch is a must - try the famous Magpie Cafe, a Whitby culinary landmark! Cross over the swing bridge to the old town and wander along the cobbled streets, taking in the Captain Cook Museum, until you eventually reach the 199 steps leading up to the clifftop St Mary's Church and awe-inspiring Whitby Abbey. 'Dracula' would never have been written otherwise!
This public outdoor swimming pool complex is set below a raised promenade off Beach Road in Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa. Situated between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean it comprises an Olympic sized, filtered seawater pool, two splash pools and a diving pool.
Above and alongside the sea, the spray from breaking waves that occasionally land over the boundary railing reminded us of our location, at the southern end of the African continent.
The sound of seagulls overhead, the visual pleasure of seemingly limitless open ocean as you cool off on a hot Cape summer's day and the imposing yet restful backdrop of Table Mountain make this outdoor pool quite special.
The aromas from BBQs on the adjacent grassed area encourage locals and tourists from all walks of life and is the ideal spot to relax after a refreshing dip beneath blue skies.
Whatever your swimming level it is an affordable day out and costs adults around R9,50 while children pay R6,00. Die-hard swimmers meet in the winter months as it is open all year round from mid-April to mid-October (08:30 -17:00) and in the more popular summer season from mid-October to mid-April (07:00 -19:00) when swimming just prior to sunset and the onset of the evening precede a lazy stroll along the paved coastal path, ice-cream in hand.
Sea Point Pavilion, Cape Town
Address: Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa
Phone: (+ 27) 021 434 3341
Google map: tinyurl.com/32momns
For resident Stockholmers, Langholmsbadet is a well-known summer haven for dropping a bike and spreading a towel. But for first-timers like us, it's a guaranteed breathtaker of a beautiful surprise. With all the buses, cars and urban bustle firmly behind you, you make down a wooded path, the branches part and behold - a strip of tree-fringed, golden sand and a piece of perfect, swimmable water for cooling off after a day's sightseeing. As if one's needs weren't already beautifully met, bang beside the beach is a cottage garden filled with runner beans and sweat peas and a little tea room with tablecloths, cake and coffee. Pleasure indeed ...
Langholmsbadet is situated on Stockholm's southern island of Sodermalm. Walkable from the city centre or take the T-bana to Hornstull and follow signs to the youth hostel.
With a prime location on one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan, the Rasananda is pure class. The rooms all have private gardens with outside showers, the food is amazing and there's a nice spa. Intimate enough for a honeymoon, but it's not cut off from the rest of the island. You can wander next door or up the road to find cool bars and cheap eats. Getting there is a bit of a nightmare if you have to take the minibus across the island's interior, but the hotel has its own speedboat which can do transfers from Samui. Classy way to arrive!
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