Given the choice between a beach holiday or city break - which would you go for? Well we think the best thing is to combine both. Heading to an amazing city with a beach combines the urban lifestyle with the laid back vibe you can only get by the coast. By day you can swim or sunbathe (weather permitting) or go sightseeing round the city - that's what's great, the choice. So we've pulled together our top ten cities with beaches to give you some inspiration for your next city break.
A world-class city of Barcelona offers cutting edge cuisines, 7 sandy beaches, architectural wonders and a great nightlife. All the beaches in Barcelona are man-made from Mar Bella, Bogatell, Ocata Beach, Barceloneta to Nova Icaria. Yet, this is one of the finest beach cities across the globe. Barceloneta beach is the most famous, accessible by metro and stretching across 1.6km. At the beach centre, you can rent a bicycle, umbrella or chairs.
Longing for the blue seas of Athens you see on magazines? Worry not because the crystal clear waters could be closer than you think. Featuring the longest coastline in Europe, Athens has 16 beaches that have been accredited for high standards with a Blue Flag status. The beaches (including Astir Vouliagmeni, EDEM, KAPE, Kavouri, Yabanaki - Varkiza and the beach of Sounio) cater to every taste from swimming, empty sand stretches and luxurious options. To avoid high traffic, head to Athens on a weekday.
Nice offers 30 beaches stretching along the Bay of Angels from Mont Boron to Nice Airport- a distance of 10km. Like in most cities with a beach some beaches are private while others are public. In private beaches you'll find parasols, eateries, changing cubicles, showers and mattresses. The most common features in the beaches are galets (large pebbles). Also along the sea is the beachside promenade which runs 5km long. The best swimming spots include the Blue Beach, Plage Beau Rivage, Castel Plage, Neptune Plage and Opera Plage.
If you are looking for the top cities near the beach along the Atlantic and Indian coastlines, Cape Town should be in your shortlist. Visit the African capital preferably during summer and enjoy a backdrop of scenic mountains as you watch the sunset in Clifton beaches. Sunbathe at Camps Bay, Llandudno and Boulders beaches or take your recreational sport to the next level in Milnerton and Blouberg. There are tot-friendly tidal pools in the eastern False Bay coast.
Speaking of the best beach cities, Sydney has over 100 finest spots. Some are very close to the city e.g. Bondi which is 20 minutes away from downtown. Bondi has a crescent of golden sand, synonymous with a laid-back Aussie life. Visit the beach for booming surf or watch the migrating whales between May and October. Other popular beaches in Sydney are Coogee, Queenscliff, Manly and Balmoral.
If you have never stepped on the cool sand pathway with a sprinkler system, a city beach break in Rio is worth taking. There is a 25-mile shoreline with several beaches including Copacabana where the water is a bit fierce but brings on the drama if you watch it from Sugarloaf Mountain. You can jog, surf, paddle board, skate or cycle at Rio Beaches.
Tourists flock the small old town of Dubrovnik in summer but several beaches go undiscovered. For a surprising seaside escape, move beyond the obvious. Walk outside the city to get a sweet spot. Being one of the top cities with beaches in the Croatian Adriatic, Dubrovnik has the conducive climate for swimming and sunbathing. A centrally located beach within the city is Banje. Others include Bellevue, Srebreno, Buza, Dance, Mlini etc.
Los Angeles is among the most coveted beach cities in Southern California. From Malibu to South Bay, L.A beaches draw thousands of tourists every day. Take your family to bask in the sun, build sand castles or play at the waters' edge. Diverse options are found near the Malibu shore and Palos Verdes Peninsula. Find a romantic experience in El Matador and Leo Carrillo State Beach. Get your surfboard and head to Malibu Surfrider Beach or Santa Monica Beach to catch perfect waves of a sea breeze.
In Dubai, you'll find the best beaches in UAE, most of which are associated with hotels. Showers, changing rooms, lifeguards and clean sands are ever present in Al Mamzar Park and Jumeirah beaches. These two bear the Blue Flag status. Take caution when swimming as strong currents are a common phenomenon. To snap a picture in front of the world's tallest building (Burj Al Arab), go to Kite beach and jump into the crystal clear water. Sunset beach, JBR, La Mer and Black Palace beaches are just to mention a few places for a perfect family day out.
Lisbon is surrounded by Portugal's finest beaches. Extending along 4 different coastlines (Costa da Caparica, Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais, Serra da Arrábida and the Serra de Sintra), Lisbon beaches are ideal for family-oriented activities and surfing. Many are accessible through public transport hence are great for day trips. Children and adults of all ages love the clean waters, sandy beaches and excellent facilities.