Paros Heaven is set on the Greek island Paros in the Aegean Sea.
We stayed there for two weeks in June and felt really part of the Greek Nature and Culture. It has amazing views over Anti-Paros and Angeliki made us feel really at home.
This tiny secluded and perfect beach has clear turquoise water and beautiful multi-coloured pebbles. The climb down was steep but worth the effort and the fact it was a little out of the way meant it was almost deserted.
2 miles east of Potami on the north coast of Samos
The Great Ocean Road, or the B100 to give it its official and less romantic name, is a 151-mile stretch of coastal highway between Torquay and Warnambool in Victoria, Australia. Hire your preferred mode of road trip transport in Melbourne and allow at least three days to do it justice.
The vividly picturesque route snakes around sheer cliffs and bypasses sandy beaches, including Bells Beach made famous in the film Point Break (although the Bells Beach scenes were actually shot in Hawaii). If you want to surf, Bells’ neighbour, the fabulously named Winkipop Beach, has better waves according to a local in a wetsuit.
The Great Ocean Road does exactly what it says on the tin; but don’t be fooled by the name – it’s not all sea views, beaches and cute seaside towns (of which Lorne is the nicest, so base yourself there if you’re looking for a place to stay), parts of the route head inland where you’ll drive through rainforests, past waterfalls and over green hills covered in sheep.
The main tourist spots on the route are situated at Port Campbell National Park – home to the majestic Twelve Apostles and other rock formations formed by years of sea erosion. You can also take the Gibson Steps down to a secluded beach and visit the graveyard at Loch Ard Gorge, which houses the victims of a 19th Century shipwreck. All well worth a pitstop.
Another highlight is the straight-out-of-a-storybook lighthouse at Aireys Inlet where 1980s kids’ TV series Round The Twist was set. Don’t let the resident cockatoos pilfer your cream tea though!
But the real magic of the B100 is its population of non-human inhabitants. It’s the perfect setting to spot some of Australia’s native wildlife, without having to go to a zoo. If you head to the Golf Club in Anglesea in the late afternoon/early evening, you’ll be privy to the sight of hundreds of kangaroos feeding on the greens. But don’t get too near, unless you want to be growled at! Koalas can be found in the Great Otway National Park forest area. Your best bet is to take a quiet side road and look up – you’ll see lots of white, fluffy bottoms in the gumtrees. If birds of paradise are your thing, stop for tea at the café in Blackwood Gully where you’ll be treated to raibow-coloured parrots flit ting around the gorgeous landscaped garden. Whale watching is also possible between June and October.
Great Ocean Road (B100)
btwn Torquay and Warnambool
But what a countryside. Trust me, if you are willing and able to make the effort, an amazing array of beaches, flora and fauna await you at Wilson's Promontory.
We travelled from Melbourne by coach to a small town called Foster where we stayed in a nice little hostel. The lady that ran the place was kind enough to drive us to the 'base camp' which is where we got the necessary permits to access the Prom.
We stocked up with as much as we could carry and set off. You must do your homework before you even get there. Know where you're heading and don't stretch yourself too much. When you find a nice campsite, pitch your tent and explore the locale.
The chances are, you may even have an entire beach to yourself overnight if you catch it in the right season and it's not too busy. We once spent an entire evening in one of the places called Oberon Bay with a beach about five times the size of Bondi all to ourselves. Truly magical but as I said before, it's a lot of effort because everywhere can only really be accessed by foot and you must carry everything with you.
The facilities at most the campsite are basic so you need to take water with you and also water purification tablets for any top-ups you get while you're exploring.
We followed a circuit around the coastline which took us about three days which I think was enough. It meant we had access to all of the bays and beaches that were on offer.
Wilson's Prom is a very remote part of Australia but is very lush and green which is an amazing contrast to the red dust and rocks of other less accessible parts of Oz. Even though the Great Ocean Road is in itself a very nice place to head to, make the effort to head towards Wilson's Prom and you will not be disappointed.
Possibly one of the greatest beaches in Australia. One of the only beaches I have been on where you have to wear sunglasses to look down as well as up! The white silica sand stretching along the coast makes for an awesome sight. Of course, unlike some places, you won't be alone but the beach is big enough to find your own quiet spot. There is no shade of any kind so make sure you dress appropriately and take lots of sun block!
The beach can be reached either from nearby Hamilton Island or even from Airlie Beach on the mainland. Both of these places are a little bit too swamped by tourism in my opinion so you should really only go for the Whitehaven experience.
Remember to make sure you take only photos and leave only footprints as this place is truly unspoilt by the modern world.
Google map: tinyurl.com/npam7x
Two summers ago I went with my partner to the Isle of Mull in Scotland
for our summer holiday. We camped on a wildly beautiful beach for a
week (I feel guilty to say where - to spoil the secret - but there are
plenty to choose from) and then we treated ourselves to two nights in
a little luxurious hotel. There are also loads of beautiful bed and
breakfasts and little hotels and we have never eaten so well in our
lives - always fresh local produce, lots of fish and home grown
We had such an amazing time that last Summer we decided to
go to Scotland again - this time to the Isle of Skye and then across
to Harris. Again I feel guilty to tell the secrets of this place but
the beaches on Harris in particular are mindblowingly beautiful. When
we show people our holiday pictures, they don't believe it is Scotland
- white white sand beach - all to ourselves, with turquoise blue sea
and the most serene mountain backdrop.
We had two days of horrible
rain but the rest of the time it was blazing sun- we both came home
with deep tans after 10 days. On the 2 days that it rained we went sea
Glenelg Beach is a pretty beachfront suburb, about 20 minutes from the centre of Adelaide, popular with locals who want to escape at the weekend. The golden sandy beach, quaint jetty and side-walk cafes are paired with coastal reserves, nature trails and boats off on dolphin cruises.
The Glenelg Beach Hostel is like much of Glenelg beach, modern and funky with a kitsch seaside feel. The hostel is housed in Alexander Terrace, a Victorian house that has been converted into dormitories and private rooms. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and refreshingly bunk-bed free. You also get a free breakfast served alongside brilliant beach views, and with a brand-spanking new lounge bar and beer garden (complete with DJs!), you can return home to a pint of Pale Ale after a day's sightseeing.
I spent two weeks in Asha Cottage and I can confirm it's really an incredibly beautiful place owned by a very nice family. John, Dominique and Anthony Owen, their cute little boy, are the type of people who are not easy to find. I spent days snorkelling (the reef is wonderful with a lot of incredible fish) having massages, drinking fresh fruit juices on the nice beach terrace watching the beach. The food is good and the location is wonderful, very romantic during the night with candle light. In Diani the beach is white and very long and wide, and I was able to take long walks every day.
A bus from the centre of Marseille will take you to the head of the trails (through some unsalubrious bainlieues) that lead over craggy limestone peaks to one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful coastal features, the calanques. A little under an hour's walk will lead you to beautiful Sormiou and Morgiou, with pint sized beaches and tiny hamlets sandwiched between dramatic cliffs strewn with shrubs, cedars and maritime pines. The water is crystal clear and sheltered so that it is calmer and warmer than the open sea. On summer weekends, the calanques can get busy with daytrippers, but the rest of the time they are a picturesque treat to enjoy with only a few other people. There are other calanques more easily accessed by boat or from the neighbouring town of Cassis.
Calanque de Sormiou and Calanque de Morgiou, south of Marseille. You can drive the whole way along winding, precipitous, unpaved roads, but as the weather is usually good, it's best to walk - though remember to bring lots of water in summer time! Buses no22 & 23 run to Morgiou and Sormiou respectively from the Rond Point du Prado metro stop.
Coco Loco is nearly five years old and is one of the best backpacker hangouts in Canoa. Owned by a friendly Alaskan woman and her Mexican partner (and his georgeous son mini-Mao), this is the friendliest hostel we encountered in Ecuador.
With a happy hour every night, small snacks restaurant and palm-fringed hammock garden, the Coco is a communal, friendly place that seems to be the hub of activity in this otherwise quiet surfing beach 70 km south of the Equator.
Beds from US$5, awesome breakfast, 24 hour hot water, great staff, hammocks, book club, trip organisation including an awesome totally organic eco-farm/school nearby, happy hour and overall atmosphere make this the place to be!
One of the larger guest houses, set in the hills above Amanzintoti, with glorious views of the Indian Ocean. On a clear day, the ripples in the sea are dolphins swimming up and down the coast.
The accomodation is split over several houses/bungalows each with their own character. All the rooms are very comfortable.
Due to the steps down to the lower levels, the infirm need to be careful.
The laundry services is a bit on the pricey side compared to other guest houses
The quiet town of Amanzintoi springs to life on a Friday and Saturday night as all the young seem to congragate around this club. During the week the place shuts at 9PM, but its party, party at the town's only night club.
Don't let FMG put you off this otherwise sleepy resort, known for its beaches, the location is near the N2 away for the residencial areas
Follow the Ne south from Durban to Amanzintoti, and turn onto Kingsway, the clubs is by the main shopping centre.
Asha is a family owned and run boutique hotel with a socially responsible heart in Diani Beach, Kenya. It’s an incredibly beautiful place, where you totally relax in an intimate setting (only five rooms), eat great food, read loads of books, and pamper yourself. But of course if you really must do something more active snorkelling, diving and safari are also very close at hand.
Mesmear is a farm with a number of barns which have been converted to the highest standard. It is tucked away down a little lane close to Polzeath, Rock and Padstow so an ideal location if you love walking, the sea and great food!
We stayed at The Barn and it truly was a home away from home. So much thought has gone into this property that every detail if not forgotten - the decor is very comtemporary and luxurious and here are some nice touches such as local produce waiting for you for your first breakfast, an honesty bar, yummy toiletries and underfloor heating.
Mesmear also runs cookery courses which you can do in your property which was a lot of fun!
My husband and I found it was the perfect couple retreat, whether it be in the winter when you can stay in and enjoy the wood burner, or in the summer when you can make the most of the location...but it would also be great for families or groups of friends. Try it!
This must be the best I have stayed in. I walked up from the nearby beach looking for a cheap lunch. I stumbled over this place with views over the bay to the front and an ancient greek ruined temple to athena on a mountain to the left. The owner - 'el capitan' - is the son of a converted oxthodox monk who escaped to mount athos after the death of his wife. El Capitan offered me a free lunch if I would transcribe the lyrics of his daughter's song so he could read them - his spoken English is not so good.
I went back to the beach and suggested to my friend that we might stay at El Capitan's that evening for dinner, some drinks and a bed. We could not afford his rooms so we slept in his small-holding, underneath an olive tree and surrounded by tomatoes on two double beds he keeps out there for such occasions. We showered in his outdoor shower - a hose head held aloft by wire and surrounded by vines for privacy.
That cost us €5.00 a piece.
A great guy with a fascinating mistress and wife. All three of whom are full of stories, anecdotes and souvenirs. His wife keeps a collection of ancient miscellany from the neighbouring temple that she finds on her walks.
After three weeks in Rio we'd seen all the museums, the beaches, the nightclubs and all. I wasn’t bored or anything but the girls were restless and I love new adventures. I went for Marlin Yacht Charters. I was impressed at how attentive the crew was. They had a great infrastructure and the boat was comfortable. The only thing that was a true bummer was that the visibility was horrible due to the polluted waters. But that’s just a whole other issue.
Av. Infante Dom Henrique, s/n - Marina da Glória - Loja. A1 - Glória, Rio de Janeiro/RJ - CEP 20021-140
One of the best things about Perth is you’re only ever a train ride from the beach. If you can’t be bothered to make the day trip to the wine regions of the Swan Valley and Margaret River, spend a morning stretching out on this secluded patch of sand, and take a dip in the Indian Ocean. There’s a free shuttle bus that runs between the city and the sea, but it’s only a fifteen minute walk from the train station if you want to soak up the scenery.
Google map: tinyurl.com/qgf5g9
Idyllic Elafonisi is the sort of beach that dreams are made of. Soft, white sand; warm, shallow waters; a little islet that can be swum or waded to. Thankfully, it's also very isolated. People do know about it, but as the only ways to get here are by a lengthy drive along windy low-grade roads through the hills, or a relaxing boat ride (far preferable), numbers are limited. You won't have the beach to yourself but neither should it be overrun. The perfect place to relax in the warm Mediterranean sun.
Elafonisi is at the far south-western tip of Crete. There are regular boats from nearby Paleohora.
We joined a family gulet cruise with an onboard archaeologist. We were a little uncertain how much 'history' there would be and how the children were going to like the cultural site visits, but it turned out to be a great mix. The kids swam and swam, jumping off the gulet into the crystal waters, and were fascinated by all the Greek and Roman sites. They turned into historical detectives, young Indiana Jones's, exploring 2000 year old temples and putting on plays in ancient Greek theatres.
When we were thinking of booking, we found the fact that our guide would be taking his own family and gives his name to the company very reassuring, and it turned out to be well organised and truly inspirational. I only wish I were back on the boat being cooked for and enjoying the sunshine!
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