We have just returned from a 10 day holiday at this park. Firstly some couples and families were arriving, without hiring a car, after flying over. You need a car for this one. Excellent site though. Lovely clean pool with water slides, unheated. Also a heated pool on the other side of the camp. Staff were all friendly, especially the Canvas staff (Rochin and Rocco) helped us out whenever we asked.
The on camp shop can be a little expensive so make sure you are stocked up although it is handy for the fresh baguettes and croissants every morning. The on site bar and restaurant is ok if you can't be bothered cooking one night. Again you need a car to explore the local area. Biarritz is fab for beaches and surfing. It can be a little more expensive to eat out there so take supplies onto the beach if you’re there all day for the sun and surf. St Jean de Luz is also a lovely town to visit. Lots of old architecture, golden beaches and restaurants to explore.
An outstanding looking castle of fairy tale grandeur. It's free to get in the grounds and roam about them, free to park and only £10 to get into the castle itself. On our day, there was a wizard in the castle in full costume, which added to the fairy tale atmosphere. Just down the road from Lulworth Cove as well. Perfect day out!
This was a highlight of my trip – €18 for a four-hour trip to the marvellous island of Spinalonga on board the MV Venus from Agios Nikolaos, including a swimming stop.
Excellent introduction on board ship and then left to wander the evocative island. You must read The Island by Victoria Hislop before entering the lepers tunnel – the book is an account of life on Spinalonga.
Prices for drinks on board was actually cheaper than in Agios shops. A must for a trip to eastern Crete.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2v4qv35
Agios Nikolaos is at the Eastern end of Crete. It would be wrong to say it is not busy or touristy but there is a mixture of real people and tourists. The several excellent local beaches are very cosmopolitan and in August, English is in the significant minority. The response in all tavernas and bars is a warm welcome.
To eat I recommend Pelagos restaurant for high quality, Christofyllis for the Greek experience and the Dolphin taverna on Ammoudi beach for the Shirley valentine experience.
The sea is wonderful.
Google map: tinyurl.com/32j7lvj
The most beautiful beach in the whole area, worth the short bus ride from Pipa town (take a local bus for R$2.50). The surf here is the best of the town's beaches with many surf schools for any beginners wanting to pick it up. There is also a nearby nature sanctuary which is well worth a look. The beach itself has beautiful sand, is resplendent with dolphins and has incredible cliffs jutting out of the ocean as its beautiful backdrop. At low tide the town can be reached with difficulty by climbing around the rocks to Dolphin bay, which is also definitely worth a visit.
Ask a collectivo (local bus) driver for Praia do Madeiro and he'll drop you outside a hotel. Walk through a gate in the wall and there are steps down the cliff to the beach.
Google map: tinyurl.com/3yhhn9w
This for me is the best place to sit back and relax, lie in a hammock drinking coconut shakes while looking out at the ocean. Paradise, is set in a idyllic location with a laid back atmosphere, welcoming and friendly staff, great food and cocktails.
Get away from the crowds in Thailand and enjoy lazy days on the island once filmed for South Pacific. You can flashpack to the island these days on a Berjaya Air flight instead of getting the ferry, but you still need to clamber onto a local boat to reach Salang Bay on the palm-fringed east coast. A handful of eateries and a beach bar are all you need when there is white sand and clear waters with coral and turtles accessible from the beach. Join in the evening campfire singsongs or make friends at the B&J diving school. Either way you'll find this an idyllic spot without any neon lights.
Om beach is a low key backpacker paradise, which has managed to remain undeveloped so far. Avoid the crowds with a beautiful quiet beach fringed by woodland, turquoise sea and great shack restaurants all along the shore. Yet, you can walk to the holy, buzzing town of Gokarna in 45 minutes over the stunning cliffs. Great people watching opportunities, before returning to laid back Om Beach to watch the sunset with a Kingfisher, and chat to new friends whilst eating delicious curry!
Om Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka, India
Google map: tinyurl.com/25jjyln
Ibiza isn't short of blissed-out bars or beaches. But Blue Bar on the neighbouring island of Formentera is both. Hire a bike and drift along quiet lanes to this chilled-out shack. Come for sunset, sip something long and cool and meet fellow drifters (just don't let their self-consciously wacky website put you off.)
From the slightly too image concerned surfer hangout town, San Juan Del Sur on the South West coast of Nicaragua, you can catch a shuttle bus (an enormous zebra-striped all terrain shuttle bus at that) over some pretty bumpy roads and tracks to one of the best waves in Nicaragua at Playa Maderas. Don’t stop here - if you walk about half a mile north over beautiful sands and a rocky outcrop you come to the beach dubbed Playa Matilda, after the fantastic beachside accommodation. You can choose simple but comfortable cabanas or the ‘dog kennels’ that just fit in a mattress and your bag or even set up a tent (or just a hammock) in their camping area at the back – all right on one of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches in Central America. There are kitchen facilities but better is to go to Maria’s shack tucked around the back where you can mix and match different seafood, fish and meat with her three different sauces, all served of course with gallo pinto (rice and beans). That is of course if you’re not barbequing the fish caught by one of the eclectic mix of travelers that tend to stay a while here. A backpacker hangout that attracts a slightly more mature crowd – expect nights round the fire sippinging the delicious but cheap Flor de Cana rum and keeping an eye out for turtles crawling up the beach to lay their eggs. Swimming, surfing, rock pool discovering and a lovely vibe will ensure your two-day stay could turn into weeks.
Nearest town - San Juan del Sur. Get shuttle bus from one of the big backpackers to Playa Maderas - then walk! Or get a taxi all the way there.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2u5znwc
Calling Smile Bungalows a basic beach resort doesn't even begin to do it justice. The bungalows are rustic, with each having a bed, bathroom, balcony and fan, but the resort sits in beautiful lush gardens on Bottle Beach, which can only be reached by boat.
It lies on a beautiful secluded beach, which has great swimming and is perfect for gazing at the stars at night. However the place is really made by the incredibly friendly and helpful staff, and the relaxed bar/ restaurant which sserves a wide range of amazing food and drinks. And at 400 Thai Baht a night (approx £8) you can't get much better than that.
Aqua is quite possibly the best backpacker-style beach haunt I have ever come across. It is located on a small island in the group called Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast of Panama. Easily accessible from the mainland by small taxi boat, the hostel/bar has been built above the water with a swimming pool area cut out of the decking. The vibe is chilled out Caribbean with a characterful collection of international staff. Key attractions: cheap accommodation ($10 a night), amazing surfing and snorkelling opportunities accessible by boat, swimming literally off the decking, hammocks to relax in by day, a sea trampoline, AMAZING parties twice a week and easy access to the main island (a $1 taxi or 15 minute swim!) where there are cheap club nights every night. Also, on ladies' night, girls drink for free!
Cinsta is a small town stop along the coastal route of South Africa heading towards Durban. This place, and the warm and friendly people at the Bucanneers Backpackers, was a true highlight of a stay a few years ago. Wide expansive views of the beach from the room at Bucanneers, many kilometres of unspoit white sandy shoreline and the most serene and idylic sunrise and sunsets are just some of the reasons why this place is a must see. Away from the hustle, noise and bustle of the more urban beachfront attractions, like Jeffrey's Bay, or other stops on the Garden Route. A place that is genuinely off the beaten track, as many I think would drive on towards Durban or the Drakensberg. If you are looking for a place to hang out, chill, walk, hike, read, swim, surf, but without the tourist commercial bubble, then this is it. Some amazing beach photgraphy to be done, and breathtaking early and late horizon gazing. Happy Memories.
PO Box 13092, Vincent, 5217, East London, Cintsa
To be found two hours on from East London in the Eastern Cape by car. If you are a newbie traveller and taking the Baz Bus, the bus will stop there!
+27 (0)43 734 3012
Google map: tinyurl.com/2uynhe3
The most beatiful and relaxing beach on my year round trip back in 2004/2005. It will stick in my memory for a long time. White sand beaches, blue waters and great bars that spread onto the beach. In the evenings the town comes alive with street bars (amazing cocktails for nothing at all) and guys jumping around everywhere practicing capoeira. We stayed there for three weeks but could have easily stayed longer. Great little pousadas tucked away in the small town. HIGHLY reccommend a visit!
The nearest main town is Porto Seguro (where the Brazilians holiday) and from here you can get to Arraial d'Ajuda by a very short ferry ride. We caught a (long) coach trip up from Rio to Porto Seguro.
Google map: tinyurl.com/39fh7v8
For my money, it’s Dali in Yunnan Province in China. Yunnan is landlocked, but Dali is on the edge of the massive Erhai Lake and it therefore feels like a beach location. Activities on the lake include visiting the nearby island temple and surrounding fishing villages and watching the ancient practice of cormorant fishing. Inland there are plenty of pagodas and markets to visit, pony trekking in the Cangshan mountains or just watching the world go by in Dali’s cafes.
Dali City, Yunnan, China
Google map: tinyurl.com/2uvg37y
Backpackers have been going to Dahab on the Sinai for years and although the town has grown now it is still a great place to meet people and really chill out by the sea.
Diver's House is a really friendly pension that is in the southern part of the town which is far quieter than the northern end which is starting to get "touristy". You can get a double room, but many are triples or sleep four people. The acommodation is basic but you're not there to spend time in your room as you can just walk out onto their sun terrace or that of the Jasmine Restaurant (and Pension) which is opposite. Both have stunning views of the Gulf of Acqaba and the staff there will get your drinks and keep the tab going all day without hassling you to buy more or move on. The bedouine cushion seating there makes it very easy to stay all day!
If you do manage to prise yourself from this laid back cafe the diving instructors and guides with Diver's House are well qualified and friendly. You can though just rent a mask, snorkle and some fins cheaply from any of the stalls along the road and snorkle on the coral reef which runs directly infront of the cafe.
Mashraba Street - Dahab - South Sinai
+20 69 3640885
Google map: tinyurl.com/2wbo993
Mashraba St.- Dahab - South Sinai- Egypt
+20 69 3640 852
From Sharm El Sheik or Cairo there is an East Delta Bus Service that runs regularly during the day and overnight (Cairo to Dahab is 50LE per person).
Langkawi is probably better known for upmarket beach resorts, but there are cheaper options. Laid back Pantai Cenang is situated on a long sandy beach which never gets crowded. There is a good choice of places to eat, drink and stay, some right on the beach. The AB motel has clean rooms with a/c, fridge and TV. We stayed in the (most expensive) room at only £24 a night.
07000 Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia, Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Google map: tinyurl.com/2wpet3h
Discover somewhere exotic at Cambodia's ultimate beach hangout, Sihanoukville. It definitely ticks all the boxes as far as backpacker beach hangouts go. Serendipity Beach is bursting with budget accommodation - try Monkey Republic Bungalows as it's cheap, clean and comfortable and has a great bar with good-value meals.
Come nightfall you will notice the huge stretch of bars on the beach front where you can pick up a cheap feed at the fresh seafood barbeques. I'd recommend Dolphin Shack, as it's reliable and always buzzing with fellow backpackers. It's all day happy hour, beer's very cheap, so you can dance the night away under the stars right by the ocean.
Spend your days relaxing on the beach. Or if you are after something more, I'd recommend taking a trip out to the nearby islands where you will stumble upon unspoilt paradise, with squeaky pure white sand, lush palm tree's and sublime waters with endless snorkelling opportunities. You can stay in beach bungalows on Bamboo Island for an unforgettable experience.
A quiet and calm holiday retreat with fantastic seafood in local restaurants and supermarkets and local markets(La Tremblade). Worth the nine hour drive from Calais with weather that always breaks through even on cloudy days. Mostly clear blue skies but not oppressing heat due to constant gentle winds from the Atlantic. Near to Cognac, La Rochelle, Royen, and not that far from Bordeaux.
There's a variety of accommodation from campsites with mobile homes available for hire (air conditioning and all mod cons available), touring, camping and apartments. The estuary by Ronce Les Bains beach gives access to oyster and muscle farms when the tide goes out. Then there is 3ft of warm sea water to swim in when the tide comes in.
Around the corner and down the Atlantic coast you will find more exciting bathing and surfing. St Palais Sur Mare provides a larger seaside town and a challenging golf course. If you like a quiet, relaxing holiday with wine, seafood and cheese and bread you really couldn't ask for more. I have holidayed with children from three to 18 and they all love the experience.
It's definitely worth the extra three hours south of the Vendee.
Ronce Les Baines is near La Tremblade, 35 miles south of La Rochelle.
Google map: tinyurl.com/38k5hjz
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