Don’t think it has to be a toss-up between city or beach. With a bit of cunning you can enjoy the best of both worlds in the UK and overseas…
Delving into my beach bag, I pull out my book. I flick the lid on the suncream bottle and smooth on some Factor 30. And then I settle back for some serious R&R… Thing is, though, I’m nowhere near the coast. I am, in fact, in the middle of Paris.
Every year, a bona fide beach pops up along the banks of the Seine. It’s all part of the ‘Paris Plages’ programme, which sees a staggering 2,000 tonnes of golden granules shipped into the city each summer. You can literally be locking eyes with the Mona Lisa in the morning and sifting sand between your fingers come afternoon.
But metropolitan beaches aren’t just the preserve of the Parisians. Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels and even London are just some of the on-trend urbanites bringing the seaside inland. Of course, you could just take the easy route and plump for a city that already comes with a side-order of sand. Here’s where to head for a 2-for-1 beach getaway and city break…
The beach in Nice starts pretty much at the airport and runs for about 3 miles. The pebbly stretch is made up of private and public areas, and each one is clearly marked out.
The beach at Ca’n Pere Antoni starts just past the cathedral. It’s fairly small, and really popular with locals, so make sure you get there early to bag a spot in the summer months.
You can be checking out Gaudi’s famous architecture one minute, and lazing on the beach the next in Barcelona – the city’s golden stretch is just 10 minutes from the centre.
Even this canal-locked city has its own sandy strip – the chi-chi Venice Lido. This 7-mile sandbar also plays host to The Venice Film Festival every September.
And if you can’t get away…
Cardiff Bay beach stays open until 31st August, so there’s still time to visit. It’s all geared up for kids, with a paddling pool, fairground rides, and an all-important blanket of sand.
Londoners only have a couple of days to make the most of Camden’s urban beach at the Roundhouse – it closes on 23rd August. Highlights include live music, pop-up restaurants and an 11pm closing time.