Kaissara is a hostel in the fishing village of Trindade, near Paraty in Rio state. You only have to see a photo of the place to understand why you need to go. The hostel is located in the Mata Atlantic rainforest and is a short walk from seven of the finest beaches you'll find in Brazil, as well as waterfalls, rock jumps and basically one of the finest tropical environments you'll ever find yourself in.
I see Porto da Barra has once again made it onto the Best Beaches list. There’s a lot that’s fun about this beach – the communal spirit, the song of the gambas sellers, the five minutes of madness before the sun goes down – but it also has a dark side. As I watched the sun set I was accosted on this beach by a man with a blonde afro who grabbed my leg, held it under his arm in a vice-like grip and dug his fingernails in for several minutes. When he finally let me go he claimed I owed him money for reflexology. I had only the money for the deckchair on me, which the vendors don’t collect till the evening so they are not robbed. Foolhardy it might have been, but I felt the deckchair man deserved my money more than this conman and also that these deckchair men could somehow protect me. They blanched when they saw this guy. He threw some capoeira moves and asked me to take him to my apartment and give him money. I went instead to the hotel that had rented me the apartment, rang the doorbell, the hotel manager pulled me, slammed the door and said “That guy’s really dangerous. He just got out of jail for raping and beating up a girl.” When the sun goes down, which happens really suddenly and very early, the streets empty and you see the deckchair men and snack sellers literally running to safety. Though my last image of Barra was the beautiful, poignant silhouette of people throwing flowers into the sea to protest against the murder of a gay journalist, I never want to see this beach again. My 40th birthday was spent prisoner in my apartment with Mr Reflexology waiting outside and he dogged me for days.
Salvador de Bahia
Incredible beach club, wonderful atmosphere. Arriving at Singita is like going on a lost island, the sea is not clean as a Caribbean one but you can swim and the beach is white and long.
Food is good and cocktails amazing. There are four post and beds all around the beach, at sunset time they put many white towel and pillows all around. DJ set every day and gong play for sunset ceremony.
There is a nice fish restaurant too and you can have dinner on the beach or laying in the four post! The perfect place to relax and chill out.
I spent 2.5 weeks at the Santuary Retreat, which is not quite a beach house but an eco-retreat in the tropical rainforest that is a short walk to the beach. It is half-way between Townsville and Cairns and close to Mission Beach. The accommodation is either mesh-huts so you are quite literally in the rainforest or more luxury canopy cabins. There is a restaurant, bar and social area with views to the Coral Sea. During the day it is a short walk down to the beach, which you often have to yourself, in the rainforest you might see a cassowary a native Australian flightless bird, or for the more active walker it is 1.5 hour walk to Mission Beach town. Or if you didn't want to leave the Retreat, you could join a yoga class or indulge in a massage. It is an amazing place to relax and enjoy the tranquility and wonderful hospitality.
One of the most beautiful islands in Greece is Lefkada which lies in the Ionian sea.
The island has natural beauties that never end. Breath taking sandy beaches like Egremni, Porto Katsiki and Agiofili, capes, natural anchorages and harbours, like the one in Vassiliki.
There is a perfect combination between the green mountains and the turquoise waters of the sea.
Even Onassis loved this island so much that he bought the island of Skorpios which is located next to Lefkada.
Corsican wine is rarely encountered outside of Corsica, and when you do it's prohibitively expensive. The Corsicans are an insular lot, and tend to only make enough wine to serve local needs - a little is exported to France and an even smaller amount worldwide. Yet Corsica has the most incredible climate, perfect for wine production. So in itself, the opportunity to sample some of the products of the many small domains is interesting.
Add to this the dramatic Corsican landscape, a temperature which rarely dips below 25 degrees before the winter properly kicks in and the miles of unspoiled beaches where your only companions are a few wandering cows (nice brown and white ones with horns, not fellow tourists) and you've got a very pleasant adventure indeed.
Camping makes the whole thing affordable. Many camp sites have their own beaches for a quick dip before bed. They are littered along the main road that winds its way around Cap Corse and few cost more than 15 euro for the night for a couple with a tent.
There are signs along the roads advertising the different domains - the only choice you face is which one you fancy stopping off at and how much to buy (most don't take cards so you'll need to load up on cash). Each is very different, ranging from the very commercial to the ones where you ring a little bell and someone eventually saunters out and offers you some homegrown olives to go with your taster. An incredible range of wines is produced and every single place will have some unusual speciality to share with you alongside their big earners.
It's all so wonderfully relaxed: plenty of swimming in the remarkably clear sea, a little sunbathing perhaps, lunch from the excellent local market and an afternoon meandering between the domains discovering all of the wonderful wines that the Corsicans are smart enough to keep to themselves. It also makes great economic sense - even buying the wines in a Corsican supermarket will cost you upwards of 40% more than buying direct. Buying them outside Corsica becomes astronomical. At the domains you can expect to pay between 5 and 15 euro a bottle and end up with something really very special to take home with you.
Fly into Bastia (Easyjet flies on a Sunday), hire a car and set off North!
Sam's Beach Shack is great. Whether you want to have a cold drink and a snack or a full meal, you will be made welcome. There are sun beds and a wide range of food is served. Local and imported drinks are available at very reasonable prices.
There is a Beach Party every Tuesday Night, with entertainment, fireworks, music and dancing.
A great atmosphere and very friendly.
Near Holiday Inn Beach Resort,
It's a small thermal beach with (imported) white sand, sea swimming, thermal waters and hot pools. It's free to visit and has a really nice atmosphere.
Catch bus no 19 from town, or walk down the road between the Perlan and the airport.
More info: www.freecitytravel.com/event_detail.aspx?ID=81
AYO's is famous for his paella which he makes on a wood fire at the side of the eating area. If you order the paella you can return for seconds if you wish. They also have a full menu of all the usual dishes served in the Costa del Sol.
It opens in the morning and has the beach bed area were you can hire a bed for the day using the facilities up until it closes around 9pm. It opens late on a Wednesday evening for Paella and Flamenco.
The island of Rhodes has it all. I have recently returned from a wonderful holiday in Rhodes and stayed in the charming town of Lindos.
Firstly you have to visit Lindos, the people here are wonderfully friendly and welcoming, the beaches are stunning and although slightly overcrowded still very clean. The restaurants and Tavernas are top notch and my family and I spent most of our time eating in Nama and Acropolis.
If you want to do a bit of sightseeing, you have a few places to visit. Me and my wife went up to the Acropolis of Lindos; she got to ride a donkey up to the top, where as I was not allowed and had to walk or drag myself up there.
Once up to the Acropolis you can explore the ancient fortress and look through the excavations, but the views from the top of the hill are stunning.
We also went to Rodini Park, which is a strange nature reserve, typically Greek I suppose, and we also visited the valley of the butterflies which is a sight you can't miss.
The best time to visit Rhodes in my opinion would have to be in early Summer when the weather isn't too hot, or in early September. Also stick to the east side of the island, its much windier on the west side.
Lots of people think Sheringham's got a stony beach full of pebbles, but just wait till the tide goes out. It's got a long flat sandy beach which is just great for the kids to play on. The beach is brilliant for building sand castles, but with such a shallow gradient and no sudden drops the kids will be able to paddle all day long.
The town has everything you need for your day trip out, while still retaining its old world charm.
If you're looking for somewhere to stay, we'd recommend www.bookcottages.com/north-norfolk-its-coast.htm , the whole of the North Norfolk coast has so many interesting and diverse beaches you've just got to visit.
This bar/restaurant has a fantastic spot on the surf pounded beach of the same name, a short bus ride to the west of Porto city. With a large decked area strewn with sofas, loungers and tables looking out over the Atlantic it’s a really relaxing place for a sundowner. This plus the chilled house background music and churning sea dotted with relentless surfers makes for a hybrid Ibizan/Cornish vibe.
Praia da Luz, Av Brasil, Foz do Douro
Take the No.500 bus towards Matosinhos which starts outside Porto train station and follows a scenic route along the shore. Get off just after the castle.
The most blue water I have ever seen! I felt like I was in the Caribbean. The beaches, the sand, the rocky cliffs - everything is breathtaking. If you are in Italy and are looking for relaxing place to catch some sun, I definitely recommend Elba.
It is still one of the most relaxed bars in Mojacar and the most unspoilt along the Spanish coast. Run by a great Spanish family from Jaen near Granada. They all work so hard! Kiko,Luis and their wives Eva and Maria always have a big smile for you.
They offer good music, good food, excellent wines and a stunning view to boot. We have also enjoyed some of the best beach parties there. Go see for yourself and enjoy.
Cheriguito Maui (beachbar) Mojacar,
On Mojacar beach, nearly opposite Camping el Cantal, Good aparthotel opposite with reasonable prices.
Nearest airport is AlmeriaYou can call Eva at Maui on 0034 606198375. To be honest to do Spain on the cheap, just barter. Remember when you visit the tapas bars don't sit, stand at the bar and you will get charged far less.
Gavdos is a tiny island in the Lybian Sea, just an hour and half of ferry from Crete South coastal village of Hora Sfakion (or Sfakia). Apart from August, when the island can be quite crowded, you can enjoy the feeling of being away from the world (or not necessarily too far away, it's up to you).
From the port you can get a lift to Korfos, where an easy path leads to Tripiti in an hour walk. In Korfos there are a pair of good tavernas where nice and clean rooms can be rented, but my wife and I, we spent a week on the Tripiti pebbly beach with our tent, only coming back to Korfos when we need to refill our water tank or to enjoy the local food, sitting in a taverna porch. It was September, the days were very hot, but the nights were incredible: fresh with a sky full of stars, the silence complete, only the sound of the waves.
But you don't need to be so naive; staying in Korfos (where there is a nice little beach) and going sometimes to Tripiti is a good experience.
Yet, when the last daily tourist (if there were someone) has gone, the beach and the cape are your, till next day. It's a unique experience. And consider that you don't need a lot of camping gear, a sleeping bag, some water and tinned food are enough. Don't be afraid to be alone, there isn't any danger at all, apart that ones that you can provoke: don't light fires!
With a fifteen minutes walk along the beach and then on a path over the rocks, you can get the big concrete chair just over the cape: climb over it and enjoy the sight!
From Hania (where you can arrive by plane) there is a bus service to Sfakia, where the ferry sets off to Gavdos.
Looking at www.sfakia-crete.com/sfakia-crete/ferries.html you will find the ferry timetable for Gavdos as long as bus timetable for Hania-Sfakia service. Hania is the nearest international airport.
Sarakiniko is the Gavdos main hamlet, with a good choice of domata (rooms) to rent, tavernas and a wide sand beach. There is a supermarket, too.
I recommend Newton Ferrers, situated about 10 miles southeast of Plymouth for the best rockpooling in the UK.
Actually I haven't been there for years now, but my rose-tinted memories of endless summer holidays are so vivid, I hope the reality still lives up to it.
There are two beaches near the fishing port of Newton Ferrers, one is called Stoke Beach, and it had a caravan and camping site above the beach. It was a long walk down from the field/carpark and then we found a stretch of golden beach with dozens of coves, caves, rocks and pools to explore. The other beach was/is called Warren and it is found nearby, across a meadow filled with butterflies and ladybird colonies dotted all over the wildflowers and long grass. I remember a tricky scramble down over rocks and then a leap across the sand to get to the beach. It was like a secret beach as very few people made it past the obstacle course.
My tip for rockpooling is to turn over the large flat stones with the pinky markings on and you're sure to find tiny starfish clinging on. Just look and leave them there, of course! For crabs, a good root around under the knobbly seaweed will offer a cluster of the little demons. Pick them up by their two sides between your thumb and forefinger. Watch them wave their claws at you with attitude, then place them back in the salt water and watch them scuttle off. I love the little, inch-long cat fish and dog fish - if I'm correct - that inhabit the pools. I love everything about these beaches. I would still go rockpooling today, given half a chance, even though I'm 47 and my creaking knees hamper any clambering.
Devon, Plymouth, Newton Ferrers, Stoke Road
A beach bar down at Donaukanal. Nice atmosphere, DJs and delicious Israeli food. The food and drinks are very reasonably priced and it's the perfect place for a nice afternoon drink.
Achmelvich is a beautiful place north of Ullapool, with clear blue waters and exotic white beaches which can be found within many rocky coves that are host to a plethora of pools, teaming with sealife.
Achmelvich, north of Ullapool
Melinda's Garden, Boracay Island. Take yourself to this exclusive island paradise with great restaurants serving everything from Mexican to Korean cuisine, varied nightlife and the stunning mile-stretch of pristine white beach. Melinda's Garden is an upscale cluster of local-style Nipa huts tucked behind the public path that runs alongside the beach. Marble bathrooms, your own private veranda and hammock, set in a mini oasis of a lush filipino garden - you cannot get much more for £10 a night. The sound of the waves and rustling palms will lull you into the most relaxed calm you've felt in years. A steal compared with the over-priced resorts next door. Highly recommended.
Melind'a Garden, South end of White Beach, Boracay Island, Phillippines.
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