After what feels like an eternity, we are finally at the tail end of winter. Summer is beginning to show itself with the occasional sandal-worthy day, and the more organised of us are starting to plan our summer holidays. Of course, the decision on where to spend two weeks of your hard-earned annual leave is an important one, and there are just so many options. But not to worry, we have done the research for you and narrowed it down to eight of our favourite beach getaways.
These are the ones that belong on your Bucket List, Part of enjoying life is living for the moment, so don’t wait until you’re on your deathbed before you make a list of what you should’ve done. Life is happening now, so start ticking things off that bucket list.
LAS ISLAS CÍES, GALICIA, SPAIN
The Mediterranean may be the more popular choice when it comes to Spanish beach holidays, but the Atlantic coastline of Galicia, just north of Portugal, offers a wilder beauty and is a less populated destination. Just a 40-minute boat trip from the idyllic town of Baiona, Las Islas Cíes has white sands, turquoise oceans, and a beautifully preserved nature reserve that allows you to appreciate the area’s flora and fauna.
Wherever you are on the coast of this beautiful country, you will be spoiled with turquoise waters, fine, soft sand and picturesque rows of palm trees. All this makes the beaches of Barbados a true pleasure. Stick to the south and southwest coasts for calm waters, sunbathing and the occasional splash in the ocean, but if you’re looking for a surfing thrill, don’t miss the massive, competition-calibre waves off the south and east coasts.
Because of its status as a national park, hotel developers haven’t been able to get their paws on this one. With waves crashing on rocks, a few houses dotted along the coast, and backpackers sleeping in hammocks along the beach, Tayrona is a place of untamed gorgeousness. This is a real getaway – one that isn’t populated by sunburnt sunbathers and the smell of coconut oil.
There’s a reason that American kids choose Cancun as their spring break spot. It calls with its stunning aqua-blue waters and white-sand beaches. But despite its reputation as a spring-break paradise, travellers of any age will find plenty to do here. You can explore ancient Mayan ruins, the Xel-Ha waterpark and the thrilling Interactive Aquarium, or just enjoy beautiful beaches.
PORTO DA BARRA, BRAZIL
If you’re up for a beach vacation with a bit of a city twist, look no further. Salvador is Brazil’s oldest and third largest city, but the water at Porto da Barra is crystal clear and perfect for swimming. There’s always a lot happening along the beach – people fishing, kids swimming, and various other beach activities. Despite being in a large city, it still manages to have a quaint seaside village feel.
KOH SAMUI, THAILAND
It’s impossible to have a list of the best beach holidays without mentioning Thailand. Koh Samui’s myriad beaches present everything you could ever dream of in a tropical beach. Picture-perfect sands, coconut trees and palm fronds adorn each one, but that’s where the similarities end. Choose from busy beaches, teeming with vendors and cafes, or secluded strips with not another person in sight.
NUNGWI, ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA
You may have seen postcards of tropical island vacation spots, but this is the reality. Warm, clear water, hammocks for sun revellers and cocktails served right on the beach. The perfect place to kick back and forget about your city woes. The locals are friendly and appreciate a little effort in terms of speaking the language, Swahili – the phrases you learned from The Lion King are a good place to start.
VENICE BEACH, LOS ANGELES, USA
LA probably isn’t the first place you think of when you think “beach holiday”, but this is an option for people who like their holidays with a bit of diversity. Lying on a beach for two weeks is fine, but it’s not for everybody. In Venice Beach, you get to experience city life in between visits to the beach, where you can admire the beautiful sunsets and stroll along the boardwalk.