Sun, sea and sand? Yes please. Here are our favourite beaches around the world where you can sit back, relax and breathe in the fresh sea air.
Matemwe Lodge’s white-sand beach is the stuff of desert-island fantasies – I went to this laidback Tanzanian beach resort for my honeymoon in 2010, and was blown away by its bright tropical colours. We really liked chatting to friendly locals as we relaxed on the beach – fishermen on their outriggers, and women pedalling us homemade wares, whilst small boys played beach football (my husband was itching to join in, but too shy!). It made it feel more real than empty ‘postcard-perfect’ beaches. The hotel itself is utterly beautiful, and just offshore lies Mnemba reef, which offers some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world.
Kate, Head of Reservations
The beaches near Sublime Comporta, on the Lisbon Coast, are incredible: miles and miles of soft sand with only a restaurant or two dotted on the horizon. There’s plenty of space to escape other beach goers so it’s just you, the sunshine and the waves.
Ben, Rates & Channel Integrations Manager
Kendwa Beach in Zanzibar has the purest white sand, the most crystal clear (and warm) waters and offers the most spectacular sunsets I have seen. There is a smattering of beachside bars but it’s not overcrowded, and the atmosphere is very laid back and relaxed. There is also lots to do, from snorkelling and scuba diving to fishing trips.
Anna, Senior Marketing Executive
One of my favourite family holiday memories is running in and out of the waves with my husband and our 3-year-old, Finn, on a long sandy stretch just outside Tarifa in southern Spain. The beach is definitely Finn’s happy place, where he can run free, dig in the sand and splash in the waves. We watched the kite surfers and the fishermen before retreating up the hillside to the serenity (and cooling breeze) of El Cancho for some lunch in the shade with a sea view.
Melissa, Assistant Editor
One of my happiest memories is relaxing on Gili Air island, in Indonesia. Our favourite beach was backed by chilled out bars serving fresh juice, where we gazed across the water towards the cloud-shrouded peaks of Lombok. This stretch is particularly good for snorkelling and one afternoon we were lucky enough to come across an enormous turtle gliding through the water, coming up for air, then diving down towards the coral once more.
Michael, Director of Hotel Partnerships
I love Cirali Beach in Turkey, south of Antalya, where the wooden cabins of Azur Hotel sit in lush gardens. It’s over 2 miles long, with a mix of pebbles and sand, and the clearest of waters – but it’s the setting which takes your breath away: backed by majestic pine-forested mountains, the highest of which (Tahtali Dag) is snow-capped until June. Hiking trails leading enticingly along the coast in both directions – the Lycian Way passes through here. You can also catch gulet (boat) tours to neighbouring coves. At one end of the beach are the very impressive ruins of the Lycian city of Olympos; at the other are the natural flames of the Chimaera, which lick out of the ground in an alarming way. There are laid-back beachside taverns, and a few bars, but the vibe is still very chilled and family-friendly.
Marta, Bookings Consultant
My friends and I booked an amazing snorkelling and scuba diving excursion in Hội An, Vietnam. The boat picked us up from the harbour, and made plenty of stops so we could dive in and explore the marine life. Then we moored in the Chàm Islands, for a delicious seafood buffet and a few hours of rest on one of the most incredible beaches I saw during my whole trip around Asia.
Abi, Marketing Executive
I first went to the Greek island of Lindos on a family holiday when I was a teenager. The tiny town is magical; there are no cars so locals and happy holiday makers make their way through the town’s winding cobbled streets either on foot or by donkey. The main beach is sandy, huge and busy, but I loved St Paul’s Bay which is tucked away to the south of the village. Just like the village’s main beach, it is overlooked by the beautifully preserved Lindos acropolis, while on the opposite hillside there is an ancient and very pretty white church. The bay is almost completely enclosed by rocky cliffs with only a small opening out to sea. I have very happy memories of jumping off the rocks into the clear blue water. There was hardly anyone around and it felt like we had found our own private hidden beach.
Sarah, Marketing Manager
Mine has got to be Radhanagar (aka Number 7) on Havelock in the Andaman islands, one of the world’s last undeveloped tropical islands. A vast stretch of sugar-white sands flanked by 100ft-high mahua trees and verdant rainforest. Go at sunrise for deserted coastline views – and you might even spot one of the resident elephants bathing too!
Nadine, Kids Collection Editor
We had a trip of a lifetime to South America after the birth of our second child, and there were so many highlights from our 2 months in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, it is hard to single anywhere out. But when it comes to beaches, Brazil took the prize. We loved our time in picture perfect Paraty (only 4 hours south of Rio) – full of whitewashed heritage houses and cobbled streets in its historic centre – and stayed at this charming guesthouse. There are several beaches close at hand; at one we climbed rocks, and discovered a stream coming out of the Atlantic rainforest which backed the beach. One day, we took a boat trip round the corner to a deserted beach and were left to our own devices for 3 hours. Utter bliss. My daughter made her own fantasy sandcastle, complete with unicorn stables, and our 7-month-old son got to grips with the surf. We always remember that – all too brief – trip when we took time out to travel and adjust to a completely different rhythm.
Aidan, Director of Operations
It’s a toss-up between my two favourite coastal spots in the UK.
The first is Porthcurno beach in the toe of Cornwall. It’s the perfect bucket-and-spade beach with the softest sand and clear azur sea. High above the sand is the magnificent open-air Minack Theatre, which has been hewn into the rocky outcrop. The nearby Artist Residence Cornwall in Penzance is a colourful spot to lay your head and grab a relaxed dinner with a beer or two.
The other is the Caribbean-like sandy shores of Tresco, one of the Isles of Scilly, where we’ve been drawn back time and time again for over 10 years now. The island is car-free so it’s idyllic for family breaks as the kids can run free.