The best vantage point to sit and watch the world go by! It's directly on the Djemaa el Fna, with several tiers of balcony, depending on your desired viewpoint. A great place to sit in the sun in the morning with a cafe latte and write your postcards, an even better place to pitch yourself around an hour before sunset and watch as the square springs to life for the evening's activities and soak up the atmosphere. If you're a woman travelling alone it's one of the (sadly) few places to sit and enjoy where you'll feel relaxed and unhassled. Prices are reasonable, the food is pretty good and you won't feel rushed to leave. Be warned though, - get there early! It gets busy and in the evening you can only have a 'front row' seat on the balcony if you are eating.
Also, if you're in Marrakech for more than a few days, escape to the coast to Essaouira. It's a few hours drive away but well worth it, fabulously laid back, with a European hippyish feel to it, this is the place to chill with a beer and watch the sunset over the Atlantic.
Restaurant Argana - on the Djemaa el fna, Marrakech
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;
The Beach is fantastic, and the water (Kattegat) probably the cleanest in Europe in a very friendly and relaxing village. Season runs from June-September.
Tisvildeleje is situated on the north coast of Denmark. Nearest train station Tisvildeleje, approx 1 1/2 hours trainride from Copenhagen airport.
Bull Island is man-made - well, formed as the result of sand building up against the (man-made) harbour wall. A stunning long sandy beach with an important bird sanctuary at one end, and a quaint wooden bridge, harbour wall, and monument at the other. If you aim for the middle section, you'll avoid the boy racers (they're not intimidating - just a bit annoying). On a windy day you'll have some impressive kitesurfing to watch, too.
Look out for the Bull Island if you come in on the plane. The northern approach often takes you directly overhead.
Bus routes 103, 104 and 130 run next to Bull Island (ask the driver), or Clontarf Rd DART (suburban rail) station followed by a 20 minute walk along the sea wall
You won't find much seclusion on this coast, but if you want easy access to restaurants, cafes and public transportation, join the crowds at the vast beaches of Caparica. They are popular and lively in the summer, even at night, when most bars stay open until late with music and dancing.
Buses depart from Lisbon's Praça de Espanha bus terminal to Caparica town, which is a five minute walk from the beach.
Vibrant part of Hamburg with interesting shops and laid-back multicultural population. In walking distance to the river Elbe with its lovely beach where you are always sure to find people BBQ-ing (weather permitting).
Get yourself a day ticket or group day ticket for public transportation, which is phenomenal. S-Bahn (underground) stop Altona is what you want.
If you're having problems, don't be afraid to ask someone! Contrary to what many believe, the Hamburgers are quite fond of the English, and almost everyone speaks English, so no worries. Have fun.
With its back drop of the Twelve Apostles mountains, and views of Lions Head, the sandy sweep of Camps Bay is very popular. It gets very crowded at weekends. Try visiting at the end of day, during the week. Find a spot in one of the seafront bars and watch the sun disappear below the horizon, with a chilled glass of South African white wine.
From central Cape Town take the M6 around the bay, or drive in the direction of Lions Head; Camps Bay is just on the other side. Follow the road down, among some of Cape Town's prime real estate
In Cape Town you're spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches, but if you're looking for something a bit different try Boulders - it has it's own colony of penguins which mingle with the beachgoers. The beach itself is nice, although the water is a little cold in winter.
Unsure of the exact address, but as the neighbouring penguin colony is a major tourist attraction it should be easy to find
Villa consisting of four apartments, family run, with fantastic grounds and own swimming pool.
Very friendly English family who embraced Italy, the culture and language and renovated an old farm house in this small village.
The apartment we stayed in was very spacious and extremely well equipped, everything we needed and more was there. The surrounding grounds were perfect for our children to explore safely. There were hammocks for relaxing quietly while admiring the amazing views across the mountains, and a badminton net (for when you're feeling more energetic) and bikes.
The girls (aged eight, 11 and 12) spent most of holiday in the pool. Our son (aged five) helped Damien the owner pick, plant and water their many vegetables and fruit (hours of entertainment) and they didn't mind the guests helping themselves.
The apartments were full, but not overcrowded and there was a great mix of people. You could take a 10-minute stroll into town from the villa. Walk up into the centro historico for beautiful buildings and views. Stop for a coffee half way up and enjoy the mountain views while soaking up the sun. Take the children to the park, play crazy golf or tennis.
The nearest beach is only 45 minutes away. We had an amazing time and would definitely suggest you check it out.
Golden Bay is a unique and gorgeous area hidden away right at the northwestern tip of the South Island, and could just be the country's most complete destination.
It is sandwiched between two national parks (Abel Tasman and Kahurangi - lots of walking and adventure options) and stretches back toward the mountains from a strip of coast with loads of different beaches: from golden sands and perfect swimming (e.g. Tata Beach, Paton's Rock) to the vast, wild, and often deserted west coast ones, such as the unmissable Wharariki. There are also mountains, rivers, springs, forests, caves, limestone cliffs etc.
Yet, not only is the scenery totally stunning and worth a visit for its own sake, but the various little settlements of the Bay (Takaka is the main town) feature a wonderfully characterful jumble of shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation ranging from old school rural to laid-back contemporary, via quirky hippie/traveller (the place has long been a magnet for alternative lifestylers).
You will be spoiled for choice for food and drink whether you want to chill out with a perfect coffee and cake and watch the world go by (or the sea - there's even a cafe based on an old (moored) boat of Jaques Cousteau's, scoff fish and chips by the water (Golden Fries in Takaka is tops, and the sea a five-minute drive away), drink a nice cold pint of award-winning beer brewed onsite at the Mussel Inn, or savour the delicious nightly set-menu at the Sans Souci Inn.
There are plenty of cheap camping and backpacking options to be had and a good selection of mid-range, although if you want to splash some cash there are also some seriously luxurious places to stay. Just make sure you book accommodation ahead during high season (December-February), as the most popular places fill up fast.
And finally, make sure you save some time (and money) for dropping into the legions of home-based studios and galleries dotted all over the area, as the natural beauty of the area has long made it irresistible to artists and craftspeople.
Listing all this, I just can't wait to go back myself!
From Nelson head to Richmond and take State Highway 60, through Motueka and then over the Takaka Hill. Follow the signs for Takaka and/or Collingwood - there is a well-stocked information centre on the left just as you arrive into Takaka which can sort you out with maps, brochures, bookings and knowledgeable advice.
Tucked away down country lanes between Concarneau and Pont-Aven. A really lovely beach - ideal for children with soft sand, sloping gently into the sea. A small Ile off-shore and small dunes and rocks for exploration and adventure.
A number of excellent campsites - the one where we camped was linked to the beach by a path through a field of poppies. Good place for the first French camping trip with a young family.
Raguenes Plage, Nevez, Brittany
A few miles south of Ilfracombe are the villages of Croyde, Saunton and Braunton. What they all have in common are huge sandy beaches and conditions that have become well known for surfing. If you don’t surf, just get an ice cream and watch – it’s quite entertaining.
Croyde, Saunton, Braunton
Newborough Warren is a nature reserve near the village of Newborough, on Anglesey, and includes two beaches: Maltraeth Bay and Llanddwyn Bay, separated by Llanddwyn Island. The beaches are a walk away from the car park, but are absolutely beautiful clear stretches of sand, backed by dunes, and with views to Snowdonia. A walk to the lighthouse and cross on Llanddwyn Island is rewarding, and there are smaller beaches here: a wonderful find.
Photo at: www.anglesey-history.co.uk/places/llanddwyn/AerialLlanddwyn.html
Coastal walk at: www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northwest/sites/walks/pages/newborough.shtml
Signposted from the A4080 in Newborough
A sweeping, swooping rollercoaster of a drive that that hugs the coast and takes you through everchanging scenery: deep valleys, rugged headlands, gentle coves and tooth-achingly pretty villages. You take in the Giant's Causeway, the swinging, swaying Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the beaches of Port Ballantrae and White Park Bay, and the Clough William-Ellis houses of Cushendun. Start at Portrush Strand, stop for lunch in the Londonderry Arms (once owned by Churchill), but turn off for Ballymena (instead of staying on the road to Larne), and plough through the deep Glens of Antrim.
A location sent from heaven. If you only ever visit one place in Scotland, then make it this one - for there is nowhere else on earth which holds such beauty. And I have no doubt then, that you will return to show family, friends and strangers the jewel that you have found, as I have done for the last 35 years. And please, remember the camera.
Far enough from the craziness and tourist haven of northern Goa but enough activities to keep you occupied. Beautiful sand and lots of secret spaces. Hike through the hills to the next beach and discover the amazing food at Home restaurant.
Take a bus from Dabolim or jump in a taxi.
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