GoTimeshare’s guide to some best-kept secrets and world-famous favourites
Venice Beach, LA
You probably wouldn’t come here for the beach itself, nice enough though it is (Malibu is nicer), you’d come to see the characters. From the easy, breezy bikini-clad rollerbladers to the serious bodybuilders at Muscle Beach Gym, there’s no other beach in the world like this one. There are spontaneous drumming sessions, fire eaters and jugglers, and plenty of T-shirt and jewellery stalls where you can pick up a quirky souvenir. The highlights are the sunsets, always beautiful but best in winter. Venice is southern California’s number one tourist attraction.
Bondi Beach, Sydney
Like Venice, Bondi is always busy with surfers, “after-worker” crowd and the bikini brigade; it’s the ultimate urban beach and one of Australia’s highlights.
Es Trenc, Mallorca
Mallorca is not all late night clubbing and Magaluf…there’s much more to explore (such as arty Denia or relaxed Soller, famous for its orange groves). Then there’s Es Trenc on the south of the island, where Mallorca’s gourmet sea salt Flor de Sal is harvested. Packed in pretty white mini-cylinders and mixed with local herbs or olives or hibiscus, any of the many varieties would make a lovely souvenir to bring home until it’s time to return next year.
Es Trenc is an easy drive from Palma Airport as there’s no need to cross the island. It can get busy in parts but there are quieter sections and if you’ve just jetted in and want to get straight to the beach, then Es Trenc would be a pretty good bet.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Formerly a small fishing town, tourist interest Playa del Carmen (or “Playa”) was kickstarted with the ferry service to and from Cozumel, a small island which is a scuba diver’s favourite. The beaches are excellent, far from the crowds of nearby Cancun, complete with picture postcard turquoise water and white sandy beaches.
With ten miles of coastline along the shimmering Caribbean, a pedestrianised high street and fun neighbourhoods like Little Italy, Playa del Carmen is a great choice for a relaxed week by the sea.
Barleycove Beach, West Cork,Ireland
Dubbed “Ireland’s Sandiest Beach” Barleycove is a cracker! Vast, and filled with dunes, it lies near the Mizen peninsula. The dunes were created by a large tidal wave that swept Europe after the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755. The coastline is a special conservation area but when the weather’s good, the beach can get busy.
Turtle Bay, Kenya
If fresh grilled fish on a powder sand beach sounds like your idea of the perfect holiday, Turtle Bay in Mombasa is one to note. It’s a national Marine Conservation area with four beautiful miles of beach, fringed by a coral reef which makes it a snorkeller’s paradise.
Reachable by air or ferry (Greek island Rhodes is sixty miles away), Oludeniz lies on the southwest coast of Turkey. There’s no marina on the beach itself but there’s one at Fethiye, twenty miles away, with Gocek and Marmaris also within easy reach.
In summer there are daily ferryboat services from Rhodes to Oludeniz (the name means “Sea of the Dead”, but it’s more like paradise) so if you happen to be in Rhodes this is a worthwhile excursion. Oludeniz Beach makes a frequent appearance in Top 10 Beach lists – it’s a travel editor favourite.
The Blue Lagoon there has calm, crystal clear waters which make it a brilliant choice for water sports and a lovely place for the little ones to learn to swim. It’s part of a national park, a real Turkish treasure.
Sagres, Algarve, Portugal
Less crowded than the Costa del Sol and with more varied beaches to choose from, Sagres is a southern Portuguese gem. It’s the most southwesterly area of the Algarve, which centuries ago was believed to be the end of the world, and legend has it that people used to think that when the sun set “in the water” it heated the sea. Flanked by rugged orange cliffs and boasting some great wave action, Sagres’ beach is a great spot to spend a day away from the crowds.
Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue, Seychelles
Pale pink sands sparklilng against a backdrop of tall granite boulders, this beach on La Digue is magical. The turquoise water is quite shallow, protected from the force of the ocean by a reef.
Bora Bora, Tahiti
Just 18 miles long, this lush strip of land lies in a protected lagoon, rimmed by a white sand shore. Bora Bora is one of the French Polynesian islands in South Pacific, and like the movie of the same name, the island itself is a legend. Romantic and isolated in parts, it’s the ultimate exotic escape.