It's a beach at the northern tip of the island of Formentera. White sand and clear water reminiscent of the Caribbean. Quieter in September and the water temperature is perfect! Was voted best beach in Spain in 2010.
40 minutes by boat from the island of Ibiza.
This beach on Spain's north coast has amazing sand dunes and great coastal walks with sandy beaches and dramatic outcrops of rock. A great starting place for a beautiful walk along the coast.
Frequent buses go to Liencres from Santander or its about a 10km drive west from Santander.
Google map: bit.ly/fdYOTs
Aiguablava is one of the small and incredibly beautiful covey beaches that nestles between the hills and cliffs leading down to the Mediterranean in the northern Costa Brava. Two shabby but wonderful fish restaurants sit right on the beach and there is no greater pleasure than sitting outside eating a plate of freshly caught squid or paella with cold sangria while watching the sea and the action on the beach. Its sheltered position ensures the aqua water is always warm and it is possible to see many small fish when snorkelling. Small yachts bob on the horizon as you doze off under an umbrella after lunch. A Parador hotel overlooks the beach from the cliff above for those who require more elegant dining or want to spend the night.
From Girona head east through La Bisbal and continue to the sea at Begur. Aiguablava is signposted south - it's only a few kilometers from there.
Google map: bit.ly/i4oxtZ
From Marseille the seacliffs around the coast - Les Calanques - are easily reached by metro and bus and some minutes of walking. Here you can go for long walks and you will find some of the best sports climbing in all of Europe. The routes are generally very well protected. During midsummer walking and climbing is forbidden, but during spring and in the autumn the Calanques are open. The scenery is beautiful with white cliffs and a clear blue sea. The young Joseph Conrad left the old port of Marseille on his first ship.
Google map: bit.ly/edF0al
This is a small fishermen village, famous for the ancient fishing method called "almadraba" (net), which offers stunning beaches, natural surroundings and world-class gastronomy. If you fancy a laid-back, off the beaten track place, chosen mostly by locals, this is where to go. The beach is wide, clean and endless. You can stroll the seaside up to Atlanterra, a more developed holiday spot. It's suitable for families and young people alike. Away from the village you can even find nudist beaches. I recommend staying at Camping Bahia de la Plata, a camping site just one km from town, where you can rent wooden bungalows or parcels for the caravan/tent, overlooking the sea. The place is very clean, offers a supermarket, hot water showers, laundry service and it has a nice restaurant where you can get budget breakfasts and enjoy a superb "mojama" (salt-cured tuna) with a chilled beer after a day in the beach. Or if you prefer, just relax in one of the many rustic "chiringuitos" on the beach.
Zahara is half way from Cadiz to Tarifa. The easiest way to reach it is taking a bus to Barbate from Cadiz (www.tgcomes.es) which stops in all the small coastal beaches. You can also reach the place from Jerez de la Frontera, Seville and Gibraltar. For budget accommodation www.campingbahiadelaplata.com/servicios.htm.
It has lovely beaches, orange groves, good restaurants and very good for walking. It also has lovely scenery and mountains.
One hours drive north from Valencia in the region of Castellon-de -le- Plana.
Google map: bit.ly/eSqouV
The picturesque town of Sitges is 35km south west of Barcelona, and easily reached by train. As well as being chock full of culture and carnivals, the area boasts 17 clean sandy beaches - so there’s one to suit everyone! The town beaches are the busiest, but to the east lies Les Botigues, a peaceful beach with open air bars, and the long beaches of Castelldefels.
The beach at Garraf is family-friendly and popular with the locals. There are no beach bars, but lots of great restaurants overlooking the beautiful bay. The village also has a restaurant housed in a charming winery - Celler Guell - built by Gaudi.
Frequent RENFE trains from Barcelona - from Sants and Passeig de Gracia stations.
Google map: bit.ly/hgvHxa
Strand Pauli is one of several beach clubs in Hamburg with a great view of the River Elbe. Near Landungsbrueken just 15 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof, Hamburg's central train station. Here you will find good music, German beer and food direct from the barbecue. Relax on comfortable beach furniture under palm trees with your toes in the sand, which is brought each summer from the North Sea coast.
Many of us have been fortunate enough to take a trip to Thailand and tragic though it is after a few months of gallivanting around, sight-seeing and eating enough pad Thai to sink a long-tail, you can become a little uninspired on arrival to yet another beautiful beachut on yet another beautiful island. But when you arrive at Porn's bungalow you will feel a spark of magic and calmness surrounds it allowing you to explore the delights of Koh Chang without the boom boom of a techno sound system in earshot.
The bungalows owned and run by the Porn family are beautifully located on a golden beach where the water is almost like a lagoon allowing you to walk or snorkel until your hearts content. They are very affordable starting at just 500 bhat each and your hosts can't do enough to make your stay just perfect.
A recommendation to fill your time, should you get board of lying in a hammock reading your favourite book, is to relax with a turmeric face mask at the Bailan Herbal Sauna in Ao Bai Lan (086 252 4744 Opening time: Daily 4–8pm).
An hour boat ride from the tourist-heavy Koh Chang is this amazing tiny little island. Here you will find the postcard beach scene you have always had in your head when you have sat at your work desk and dreamed of your own tropical paradise - white sand, emerald and turquoise water, green jungle and bright blue sky. The best thing? Once the (small number) of daytrippers leave the island the crystal clear water is pretty much yours alone to explore. The only shame is that with snorkel masks you can't open your mouth to say "wow". For somebody who has always wanted to have a go at snorkelling and pretend they are in a David Attenborough documentary it doesn't get any more perfect. A word of warning though - your blood pressure may drop dangerously low.
In the middle of the Gulf of Thailand, off Koh Chang. Boats leave Koh Chang daily and there are rustic beachfront huts on arrival.
Google map: bit.ly/f4E4Ml
Cute rustic wooden cabins overlooking the beach on Perhentian Kecil, an island with no roads, no cars and no stress! The only traffic is a speedboat which drops off and picks up the few visitors straight onto the beach twice a day - that and the disco-coloured fish which teem round the bay. What's more, our own wooden cabin was around £15 a night - which left our meagre wallets just enough for the ridiculously fresh BBQ fish banquets each night on the beach. The huts also run a diving and snorkelling school. Perfect - still dream of it now when stuck in a florescently lit office in rainy Manchester.
Agonda Beach is a three kilometre stretch of beautiful white sand and if you are in search of a relaxing escape watching the sun go down while lounging in a hammock, or a romantic getaway the Om Sai beach huts will not disappoint. The six, simple yet spacious huts are located in a secluded, picturesque area of the beach and the friendly staff ensure you have everything you need to enjoy your exotic Indian retreat. The busiest season is over the New Year period so book early if you are looking to welcome 2012 in style.
Ko Lipe is a tiny island in the Andaman sea and is one of the 51 islands of the Taratoa National Marine Park. It is a paradise to experience with long stretches of white sand that each morning are strewn with flowers - lifted by the night breeze from trees that fringe the sand. The Coco Bungalow beach huts are simple and perfect, and literally nestle in front of the sea. A real Robinson Crusoe experience. A simple mat on the floor is your comfy bed, but even the cheapest (only a few pounds) come with toilet and shower.
It is a family owned resort and feels intimate and safe. We were left to ourselves to get up with the sunrise and sit on our balcony and brew coffee (we'd brought a kettle and the tiny local shop supplied us with coffee and bananas for breakfast.) The rest of the day might be spent with dreamy long walks seeking shells along the beach, snorkelling in the clear, blue and lusciously warm waters, or trying to chat and play with the kids of the island. The Chao Ley are the indigenous inhabitants; a nomadic tribe that I watched for hours as they painstakingly and skillfully created long tail boats on the waters edge, under the shelter of Casuarina trees which flowed gently in the warm breeze.
Coco Bungalows, Sunrise Beach,
Thai Bhat 400-2200.
Access via speedboat/ferry from Pak Barra on mainland, southern Thailand. 1.5-2 hours. They run between November and May. Then longtail boat from ferry to the beach as there are no piers.
Google map: bit.ly/eijczG
The image of Vinales is one of verdant fields of tobacco and deep red soil, but a journey of just one hour takes you to one of Cuba’s finest beaches. Cayo Jutias is easily reached on a day trip from Vinales, and is well worth it. A white sandy beach, clear blue water, mangroves, and very few other visitors make for a relaxing time. The Cubanacan package includes transport and lunch at the only restaurant on the beach.
Klong Nin is a quiet idyllic beach resort on Ko Lanta with the most beautiful sunset to be seen in Thailand. I stayed in unnamed beach huts with double bed and bathroom costing just $1 a night, including the use of a pool (the only problem was I occassionaly had to share with some of the local wildlife including a 3ft monitor lizard). Fresh fruit and breakfast banquets were also on offer in the resort beachfront restaurant. I doubt these prices can be found online but are easy to find once there. However they where right by the luxurious and 'green' Sri Lanta boutique resort. Surrounded by unspoiled tranquil beaches by day and fresh seafood restaurants by night. Also for a fun night out Ibark nightclub is a short stroll away - with an open air bar perched on a cliff top it's the perfect way to end the day either with a Singha beer in the lounge or dancing the night away to quality music with new friends.
Bottle beach is beautiful and just the right combination of isolated and yet convenient.
Beautiful white sands, palm trees, clear water that is perfect for swimming. It's only accessible by boat or dirt track (though I think a road is planned) which means that it's just hard enough to get to to put off the crowds who would flock here otherwise.
There are several bungalows/cafe/bar places right on the beach and even a resort now with a pool. This means you can have a choice of places to eat and chill out (although the menus are all pretty similar). However, to sleep, you should choose the bungalowss which are at the far right of the beach as you stand with the sea behind you. I think these were called 'Friendly bungaloew' or something like that. The staff are lovely and will make you feel like part of the family immediately. They have a number of long-term residents who are always on the look out for new people to play chess/backgammon/cards with. The internet is decent (intermittently when there is electricity), they do a book-swap, you can hire snorkels, and they will arrange taxis/boats and dispense travel advice quite happily. The huts themselves are also lovely - they back right onto the jungle and are so peaceful. Each one is different and they keep them immaculately clean.
We stayed for five days but I didn't want to leave and we had already met so many people on the beach that we felt like a little village.
Its very family-friendly if that is important to you although families were in the minority and most of the people here were chilling out as part of a longer backpacking trip or working holiday.
Bottle Beach (Haad Khuat), Koh Phangan
The best place I have stayed in my entire life. These bungalows are on the remote Thai island of Phayam, which I discovered after the Guardian recommended it. These bungalows are based on buffalo bay, a deserted and beautiful beach(my 'The Beach.') The owner "Archanpan" is the secret ingredient. He is honestly one of the most amazing people I have ever met, considerate, interesting and spiritual. Highlights of this place include, amazing hospitality, cheap prices and also his pet crocodile that lives under his home. Staying here was magical, I recommend it to everyone.
79 moo 1 , Koh phayam , Ranong ,Thailand.
Mobile : (66) 08-7278-3245
Google map: bit.ly/fxjMI9
Although these are more beach bungalows than beach huts, their price is very reasonable and compares to the price of beach huts elsewhere. They have 32 bungalows set in 67 acres of jungle right on the edge of the Andaman Sea. I have never felt so close to nature. We had a hornbill feeding it's young less than 10 metres from our balcony, we could see dolphins out at sea and we even had a morning visit from two monkeys who somehow got into our room! Treat yourself and stay in a 'luxury' beach hut.
P.O Box 199, Jalan Pantai Kok, Teluk Nibong, 07100, Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman,
+604 952 0222
Hot water beach is the only place I've ever been where you can dig your own jacuzzi! A stunningly beautiful beach in it's own right, at low tide you'll see people head down to a section in the middle of the beach armed with spades and a bottle of wine. A few minutes digging and you'll have a personal little bath which draws from the hot spring below. It gets so hot it can burn your little bottom, but position your pool in just the right spot and you'll get the occasional input from the sea to maintain the perfect bathing temperature. An amazing spot to sit and watch the sun go down with a little tipple in hand.
Hot Water Beach is in the Corromandel Penninsular in New Zealand's North Island. It's just off Route 25, approx 12k south east of Whitianga.
Google map: bit.ly/hMQtHc
Much as I really liked Salvador, I really wanted to chill out for a bit after a few days there. We were going to head up to Recife and Porto da Galinhas but the company we went with recommended going a little way south to Itacare instead, and I'm really glad we did. It had a totally different vibe, really calm and with some amazing scenery to boot, as the Atlantic rainforest falls down into the ocean. Absolutely beautiful!
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