One of my favourite beaches is South Beach in Studland, the last stretch of sand before the chalk cliffs, where you can get a real mug of tea from Joe's cafe and take it down to the beach.
Head further west along the Isle of Purbeck to the Square and Compass pub in the village of Worth Matravers, an old whitewashed beer and table skittles pub, where you can enjoy a homemade pasty and views to the sea between the East and West Man.
Once described in Penguin's 1949 guide to Wilts and Dorset as having 'some reputation for providing a bit of local colour', it is full of character and charm not least provided by the free roaming hens clucking around your feet.
This beach is just outside the main central street of Pipa and it is beautiful. The surf is amazing, the people are stunning and there is even a chance of seeing dolphins!
You can hitchhike to get there or jump on one of the minibuses that pass regularly.
Small ecological island reserve 40 minutes off Zanzibar. Only 14 tourists at any time, staying in romantic beach bandas stylishly constructed from natural materials.
One of the finest beaches on Zanzibar, the best food I sampled and superlative nature trails in the mangrove forest and over best coral in east Africa. Relatively expensive but a must for any holiday, particularly a honeymoon.
Me and some friends went to Rio last week and we had such a great time there. We really liked the people down there, very warm and kind. The beaches were simply amazing, it was just awesome to get up and walk a few blocks… and bam! You’re in the middle of a beautiful beach! We had the guts to also try the very popular samba, In a place called Casa Rosa Cultural. It’s a hidden place, I guess, but one of the greatest spots there. Plenty of samba lessons, and also some ‘circles’ of it, many great people to know. This trip was the best ever!
Rua Alice, 550
A good old fashioned seaside day out! Fish and chips and loads of fairground rides. Never mind your Costa del Sol!
The rides are all good fun, especially 'The Big One', and all cost around £1-2 each. Or you can get a £30 day pass.
The nearest train station is Blackpool North. You can get special promotions on buses and trams - www.nationalrail.co.uk/promotions/e05830eec35ce741007a2e79203d5296.html
There's even an airport: www.ukairportinformation.com/APT-16-Blackpool_Airport.htm
Spectacular clifftop walk with dips into beachy coves and links to local buses. Very scenic but also windy, with several swimming spots along the way, but you need to bring your own picnic. There is a museum at Porthcurno, too.
Porthcurno to Penzance is a long enough walk that you might want to arrange overnight accomodation along the way, for example at Lamorna.
The Land's End commercial complex is out of place but can be easily ignored, though it is a pity the National Trust have not bought it.
Small village set on a bay on the Budva riviera. Not too over-developed and with a range of different types of restaurants from western-style cool and chic with 'Blanche' to local fresh and simple seafood with 'Konova More'.
A really pleasant little beach lapped by clean, clear aquamarine waves. Friendly and low-key. Perfect for a couple wanting to get off the beaten track and do a little exploring. Easy access by seashore path to King's Beach, Queen's Beach and the famous and extremely pretty Sveti Stefan.
20 minutes south of Budva by taxi or bus along the coast road.
This is the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. A palm tree lined, white sandy beach with beach huts overlooking. A spectacular sunset every evening. Beach shared with fishermen with small boats, crabs, pigs, monkeys and dolphins!
Take train (amazing journey) from Mumbai to Goa. Then by taxi (about £8) or bus (20p) to Palolem. Find a beach hut on arrival (about £5 a night)
Barril 1800 is almost an institution in Rio de Janeiro. Because of its localization, in the front of Ipanema beach, or maybe because it's been there for decades receiving everybody with great food and beer and lots of courtesy.
People go there straight from the beach, creating a casual environment. They serve traditional Brazilian dishes in huge amounts of food for great prices. And, last but not least, the sight of Ipanema beach is breathtaking. Don't miss it!
Avenida Vieira Souto, 110
Ipanema - Zona Sul - 2523-0085
All of a sudden there has been a craze in the market to travel to Croatia’s coastline. It is absolutely no wonder, considering Croatia boasts some of the most stunning coasts in Europe. I came across this beauty a couple of years ago and loved it so much I went again this year.
What I loved most about the islands (especially the first time) is the serenity and lack of built up resort style beachfronts that can be found everywhere else in the world. No matter how spectacular a place is, if its panorama is filled with man-made constructions and obstructions that I could also find on the Gold Coast, Ibiza, Cancun etc., then it has lost the unique splendour and appeal that I love about Hvar, Mljet or The Elaphite Islands.
With the Croatian islands still being relatively untouched like this, my travel tip is to see this place yourself. Don’t pay a tour guide or company to show you around! You don’t need to! With fresh fruit markets and ample accommodation in the townships (no matter how small) you save yourself a fortune, compared to paying for your stock standard tour group, which hardly compares to exploring these islands using your own aptitude. The islands are small enough to see on your own and the transport between islands is common, cheap and only a short distance!
You can get a ferry in the morning and be at the next place well before lunch. Hire a moped or bicycle and see more of the islands then any tour could show you. On many occasions I found myself on a beach that was not only magical but I was the only person there. Travel this seaside paradise with no time limits, stay on the islands you love and move on from the locations that you don’t. Explore these islands, use only a small amount of effort and less money than you would spend on the weekend in London - and you can find so much more than you bargained for!
Michael Palin's recent TV series might have whetted the appetite but as someone who has been to Gdansk four times already this year I can tell you Michael only touched the surface.
Gdansk is part of a three-city conurbation including Sopot and Gdynia. All three cities have their own identities and all have something to offer.
I flew with WizzAir from Liverpool to Gdansk airport.
Gdansk's Old Town is like a smaller version of Krakow's but with a maritime flavour. It's also the best place to buy amber in Poland.
Twenty minutes drive away is the seaside resort of Sopot. Very fashionable in the 1920s, the town still has a rather sophisticated image (nothing like Blackpool, no amusement arcades here!). Sopot is famous for it's enormous wooden pier which really is just used by holiday makers to enjoy a daily promenade on. Watch out for the seagulls though!
A few minutes drive away is the third coastal resort of Gdynia. Only created in the 20th century, this town has a more modern feel about it and is located sandwiched between the Baltic Ocean and a National Park. I visited Orlowo beach with its own famous pier (they seem to be big on piers over there).
The highlight of my trip was a drive to the Hel Peninsula, 45mins drive away. It's a 35km finger of land that curls into the Baltic Ocean. At its narrowest base it's just one road wide (although they still fit a railway track alongside it). Further down the peninsula widens out to reveal fishing villages and exclusive holiday resorts with the Northern side boasting long, white, sandy beaches - almost Floridian in style.
We booked our hotels through www.ilovepoland.co.uk
The best time to visit is between November and March as the temperature will be between 27* - 35* and sunny so it’s the perfect winter sun destination. What also makes it so worthwhile is that it’s incredibly cheap; you can go there for as little as £250 and the most you’re going to pay is £350/400.
You can either stay in the tourist resorts along the coast or the capital, Banjul, but either way, as the country is so small, to get to either place shouldn’t take any more than 20 minutes to get to by taxi. They have specific tourist taxis, which the tour operators recommend, however I caught numerous ‘normal’ taxis and these are completely fine (and cheaper).
The tour operators also recommend that you do all of their activities through them, and while I would certainly recommend some of these, especially the roots tour, which travels up the Gambia river by boat and goes to where the slaves were captured and held before being shipped of to the Americas - I would befriend the locals and get them to take you out; this is what my friends and I did, as there are licensed juice sellers on the beach by the hotel.
After buying juice from them we decided the best way to get to know the Gambia is by letting people that live there show us so we arranged for two locals to take four of us out to dinner in a place they recommended. We also wanted to go on a safari so we got them to organise a Jeep trip to a safari park. We obviously paid for transportation and food and anything else but this would still be cheaper than doing it through the tour operator and it is helping out the local economy.
People in the Gambia are some of the friendliest you would ever meet, in fact an expression I often heard was ‘it’s nice to be nice’, and at no point did I ever feel remotely threatened, even at police stops everyone was extremely courteous.
As an example of how safe it is my friends and I decided to go to a bar about three miles away from our hotel so we decided to go there by foot alone along the beach, by the time we got there it was pitch black so walking along the beach was quite an adventure and when we got to the bar the owner gave us a free lift home.
When you go to the markets you would obviously have to haggle with the price but this is to be expected and is part of the experience but the market sellers are never overly forceful or aggressive.
I had the lucky experience of being on the beach on my last night when the president threw a party to celebrate him being re-elected, so there were local tribes dancing and playing music with lasers and fireworks, it was such a great parting experience. To sum up my experience and the Gambia itself, in order to go into the cordoned-off arena where the President and performers were, I merely asked a soldier if I could go into the area and the solider allowed me to, that is how nice and friendly the people of the Gambia are.
First get yourself to Hervey Bay on the Queensland coast. Just off the coast is Fraser Island, a sandy, 90-mile long island covered with rain forests and dotted with paradisal lakes.
There are a number of rental places on the main drag on the edge of town on the mainland where you can rent a four-wheel drive car complete with full camping kit. You will usually be shown a short video about off-road driving - pay attention, as the island is crossed by narrow tracks composed of very soft sand which take some getting used to.
A short ferry ride later and you are there. Cross the island to the east side, where you'll find 70-mile Beach. As the name suggests, this is a long beach; at low tide, it becomes a 100-metre wide road along which you can drive the length of the island, stopping off at various points to explore the rain forest or lakes.
In the evening, you can pull off the beach through a break in the dunes to camp under the stars, miles from anyone else and as close to nature as you can get (but still with the security blanket of a four-wheel drive, tent, cooker and whatever provisions you picked up from the supermarket in Hervey Bay).
We spent several weeks in Australia a couple of years ago and, although we are relatively seasoned travellers, Fraser Island is one of our favourite memories and places in the world.
Get to Hervey Bay, Queensland -it's three hours north of Brisbane off the Bruce highway. Head to the point to catch the ferry to the island.
Google map: tinyurl.com/n6uw2q
Rarotonga is absolutely beautiful, with amazing white sand beaches, and the Rarotongan Beach Resort is set right on the edge of Aroa beach. The resort offers free snorkel hire so you can explore the lagoon where you might find giant clams and blue starfish as well as thousands of colourful fish.
The beds are huge and comfy, cocktails are highly recommended (although beware - you can put all your food and drink costs on your room bill so be careful or it'll take you by surprise when you check out!) and you can dine on fresh coconut and starfruit for breakfast.
Aroa beach, Rarotonga, www.therarotongan.com
Stunningly beautiful beach with sand as soft as dust and as golden as any postcard you've seen or any dream you've ever had.
The surfing's great, the beach is safe for kids, there's an island you can walk to at low tide with its own private beach and marine eco-system. It is paradise on Earth.
On the south-east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, North Island.
Between Tenby and Saundersfoot lies the village of New Hedges. The beach at Monkstone can be found just besides Trevayne campsite. The way down is steep but the beach itself is worth it. Beautiful sands, beautiful rocks and best of all, lots of mussels to pick for tea!
New Hedges, Pembrokeshire
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