A very long stretch of pure white sand and sparkling, azure sea make this beach a great place to relax while in Trinidad. Being fairly flat, the tide hardly goes in and out, so there is never a walk of more than a few paces from your towel to the sea. The sea is very calm – few or no waves, and very safe for kids as you have to wade out quite a way to get out of your depth – there are also lifeguards on the beach. You can rent paddle boats and canoes from Hotel Ancon.
There are only three or four hotels sharing the beach – and these are very spaced out, so you can find a spot to yourself quite easily. If you walk down to the bottom end of the beach there are very few people around – this is the where the locals come for their days out.
Note – there are no general facilities at this beach and all the hotels are inclusive, though it is easy to get talking to the beach guards, who will let you use their loungers for the day and fetch you drinks from the bar for a small fee (negotiate down from their first offer!). One of the hotels will let you eat from their lunch buffet, depending on which guard you ask. One of the hotels also has a shop, though it sells little more than ice-cream, crisps, biscuits and drinks.
Get a taxi from the centre of town, or wait for the beach bus which goes backwards and forwards several times a day (though not to a specific timetable!). There are always plenty of taxis waiting at the beach to take you back to town at the end of the day.
Because it's totally buzzing at this time of year (August) and a really fun place to be (and cooler with the sea breeze). But even in the winter it's great to have a 'blustery' walk along the front, certainly blows away those cobwebs!
Southsea seafront, Portsmouth
To get out of the city (though not necessarily away from the crowds on a hot day!), head to Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside. The sandy beach, with a promenade, is about a mile long, clean, and reasonably wide when the tide is out. The bustling High Street has various cafes and pubs, and the Dalriada pub on the prom has a beer garden looking out to sea.
The High Street is served by bus no. 26 from city centre, then head for the shore;
Dalriada: 77 The Promenade, Portobello;
tel: 0131 454 4500;
The highlight of this trip is travelling on a wooden river boat through a reed filled waterway where loggerhead turtles live. You may or may not spot one in the water. Also on view are ancient rock tombs of the Lycian age at Kaunos. These resemble small temples carved out of sheer rock which housed the nobility and their belongings after death to await reincarnation. The lower orders were buried in less impressive surroundings below them.
Also worth doing - taking a mud bath, followed by a shower and a dip in a thermal bath afterwards.
And finally by boat again to Iztuzu or 'Turtle' beach, a beautiful expanse of white sand. You can dive into the Mediterranean on one side of the beach and swim in fresh water on the other. The beach is closed to public access at night to allow the turtles to breed there.
You can get there easily from the bigger centres such as Marmaris or Fethiye on an organised trip or from Dalyan itself. Most agencies offer it.
Likely to be one of the more popular festival options for the Glastonbury exiles heading overseas this year.
A combination of four-day festival, campsites practically on the beach plus after-show party on the beach on the fifth day, diverse European crowd, Spanish sunshine, numerous stages, a broad range of music genres, plus other contemporary arts such as film, theatre and fashion also represented, oh and did I mention the beach?!
Headliners for Summer 2006 include The Pixies, Depeche Mode, Morrissey, Scissor Sisters, however the big names seem to be in the minority, with the festival more in favour of championing more alternative artists to cater across the musical spectrum. With some quality bands and DJ talent performing, this year is guaranteed to be a stormer.
Benicassim is located on the Costa Azahar, one of Spain's less-developed Costas. About an hour north of Valencia and a couple of hours south of Barcelona, flight options are plentiful.
The few tourist who come this way go to the more famous Sandwood bay, but this is even better. Some of the best golden sand in Europe and you should feel agrieved if you can't find 10 acres of empty space to put your beach towel on.
There's no less than three months of great beach weather in this spa town tucked between historic Gdansk and modern Gdynia.
It should only set you back around £40 for a return ticket fom London Luton or Stansted.
Around 20km from Gdansk Airport.
This place is superb. In a prime waterfront location in the village of Orhaniye, this hotel/motel/restaurant/beach club has been run by the Dinc family for many years. I have been going there for the last 8 years.
Orhaniye is a peaceful, quiet, typically Turkish village in the equivalent of a national park that is almost completely undiscovered by mass tourism (Sunsail use it as a base but they are at sea 6 days out of 7).
Discuss your requirements with the Dinc family, they will pick you up and return you to Dalaman airport; this is about a two hour journey and you will go through Turkey's Blackpool - Marmaris - but rest assured Orhaniye is light years distant rather than just 30 minutes!
As of 2007 the family will be taking bookings directly.
Tel: 90 252 487 1074/1398
Fax: 90 252 487 1070
Villefranche is a 15-minute ride on the No 100 bus from the Gare Routier.
The views as you leave Nice and curve around the Cap de Nice into the Rade de Villefranche are spectacular.
Loads to do when you get there whatever your tastes. Sightseeing: the Citadel, Rue Obscure, the old Port; culture: four museums/galleries, all free entry; relaxing: two beaches, one coarse sand, the other stony; and loads of bars and restaurants.
There's a food market with local produce on Saturdays, antiques (well bric-a-brac) on Sundays, and above all it's a nice, relaxing, cosy place after the brashness of Nice.
PS don't take a car!
The uncrowded beach is shaded by tamarisk trees and there is a taverna and a restaurant a short distance from the water's edge.
The monastery, which can be reached on foot by way of an ancient pilgrim's way, is a functioning spiritual centre of the Greek Orthodox church. Its collection of treasures, well worth seeing.
In the Dodecanese islands by boat from Kos, Leros or the north.
Great hippy vibe, some cool laidback bars, quieter beaches, wonderful seafood restaurants and amazing green mountains to climb round the back. A brilliant day out. Try to find the crazy old man with a yellow beard selling second hand books, or try the curry at the cafe next to Diesel's bar.
Star Ferry pier 3 (used to be) - couple of quid, a half hour ferry ride and bingo.
Take the MTR (rail system) to Choi Hung station, then get a 1A bus to Sai Kung all the way to the bus terminus at the seafront. The restaurants are right there and all of them are good. Someone on the staff usually speaks English.
For coffee, wander along the front away from the terminus to where it meets the road, turn up the road and you'll come to a big square, where all the action happens. There are several cafes there where you can sit out. Jaspa’s coffee is the best.
Another way to spend the time (you could combine the two) is to take a taxi from Sai Kung (it costs very little) to Pak Sha Wan. Tell the driver you want to go to the pier.
On the pier, boat people will approach you. For HK$10, you can jump on one of the kaidos (little boats) and they'll take you five minutes to Trio beach. It's a government run one, which means it's shark-netted and has a loo and a very basic cafe. Walk along the beach from where the boat drops you to the second little beach – it’s always emptier. There's a kids playground up the steps beside it. The boats keep coming back and forth all day. Just keep an eye on which flag yours was carrying, as a way of identifying it.
It’s a lovely spot to watch the big sail boats and the tycoons’ yachts from.
Note: there are no places to stay in Sai Kung, but if you get stuck out late you're only a $200 taxi ride via the Eastern Tunnel from Central.
Avoid the crowds found in Manly and travel on the bus 15 mins up the coast to find one of the best beaches and surf in Sydney.
Uncrowded family beach and great open air fresh water swimming pool.
Loads of restaurants and bars are on the beach front as well as what I think is the best fish and chip shop in Sydney (forget Doyles!) - you can eat them on the grass park in front of the beach underneath large trees.
Take the bus from Manly pier direct to the beach front at Dee Why - takes about 15 mins.
• Bohemian San Tropez atmosphere in Cadaqués, former artistic refuge to Dali and Picasso
• Calella de Palafrugell for its postcard prettiness and the havanera (sea shanty) concerts every July, without forgetting the Costa Brava Jazz festival perched on top of a cliff in a botanical garden
• Medes Islands by kayak with a tutor-guide where you’ll be able to check out the local fauna. Just as long as you want to (you don’t have to know how to) row and don’t mind falling out (you do have to know how to swim!)
• Little gems of sheltered and untouched coves in Pas, Moll Grec and the my favourite la Fosca in Palamós
• La Cerdyana, pijolàndia (yuppyville) or area of outstanding beauty, you decide
• Vall d’Aran, beautiful landscape, Romanesque churches, great skiing and extremely cold
The Zingaro Nature Reserve Sicily is only a short bus journey from the idyllic coastal village Scopello. You have to pay a small fee to enter the reserve, but once you are in, you are free to explore some Italy's most unspoiled beaches.
The beaches are stunning small coves with crystal clear water and stunning views of the surrounding nature reserve. The clear water is fantastic for snorkelling, and diving around the national park is thought to be excellent due to the nature reserve status of the area.
The best time to go is early in the morning. You'll have a cove all to yourself. Paradise! The beaches of Zingaro are the most beautiful I have ever seen. Cars are not allowed within the reserve, but the nearest cove is only fifteen-twenty mins by foot. The park stretches for seven km, so you're spoilt for choice to discover beautiful beaches. If you want to escape the crowds of Sicily's resorts, head to Zingaro!
The reserve stretches between San Vito Lo Capo and Scopello. Palermo is only an hour away by car, but you can rent villas in the vicinity and the beautiful village of Scopello is a short journey away. Scopello has a number of B&Bs and hotels, and some great restaurants. It has a family atmosphere, but the gorgeous location makes for a great romantic trip away, too.
Madeira is a really fun destination and not all twin-set and pearls at all. However, it lacks sandy beaches, so if you have little ones who want to paddle and build sand castles, catch the ferry from Funchal to the tiny island of Porto Santo. There's not much to do on the island except swim, eat and watch Christiano Ronaldo's massive hotel being constructed(purchased along with Figo, I believe), but it's a great day trip and the ferries are the old Isle of Man boats.
For some peace and quiet take the ferry to Toronto Island. You can hire a bike and cycle around the island in about two hours. Stop at the delightful Wards Island where you'll find a collection of truly unique houses and the board walk. The are beaches too. The view of the City from the ferry is stunning.
Take the ferry from Queens Quay at the bottom of Bay Street.
The smooth southern curve of Bridlington Bay and the glistening white cliffs of Flamborough Head to the north provide the perfect backdrop to a clean and sandy beach which is sheltered by chilly northern winds. It has recently won a Blue Flag for its cleaniness.
Bridlington has frequent train connections to Hull, Scarborough and Filey from its own mainline train station. Buses also connect it with Hull and Scarborough.
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