Whether you want to rhapsodise about the sands of Skye or a spit in Sardinia, we want to hear about your best beach experiences in Europe
Bournemouth has been ranked the UK’s best and Europe’s fifth best beach by TripAdvisor – but where is your favourite?
You might have a rosy memory of fun times on a city beach in summer, or a tiny cove on a Greek island you had all for yourself. Then there are the colder and wilder but equally beautiful beaches of the Baltic and North Atlantic. Please include details of locations, places to stay, walks and restaurants/cafes you visited where applicable.
With tickets for Eurostar’s direct service to Amsterdam on sale from 20 February, we pick some of the city’s best restaurants, parks and cultural attractions away from the tourist centre
Amsterdam’s reputation for stag dos, spliff and sex tourism belies the rich pickings beyond Dam Square. Described by locals as a village, Amsterdam has the arts, entertainment and startup scene of many larger cities but retains a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. As a resident, I love that all my favourite places are just a short journey away. The vibe is laid-back and the dress code avoids the stiff chic of more status-conscious cities: the rule is, if you can’t cycle in it, don’t wear it. From picturesque narrow streets of higgledy-piggledy houses to sweaty techno nights in converted factories, this city reveals its many faces to those willing to stray from the tourist hotspots.
The craft beer brand has revealed plans for a 26-room hotel next to its brewery in Scotland for guests looking for a hoppy holiday – and those who just want to get drunk without leaving their room
With beer taps in the bedroom and a fridge of beer in the shower, plans for BrewDog’s new hotel appear “focused” on removing the need for movement in pursuit of the next drink. Then again, for those that really love beer, this could be the proverbial in a brewery that dreams are made of.
Weak dollar and rising prices in Spain mean it can be worth going the extra mile to get good value
Flying long haul would barely enter the thinking of many families planning their annual holiday, with the perceived cost ruling out many destinations before the search had even begun. However, this year a series of colliding events, including a weak dollar, greedy Spanish hoteliers and competition for tourists in the Middle East, means it can be cheaper to go to Florida, Dubai or Thailand than to spend a traditional two weeks on the Costa del Sol.
Research from price comparison site TravelSupermarket has shown that some long-haul destinations cost significantly less to fly to and stay in than Spain, where British tourists make up the largest number of foreign visitors every year.
Enjoy ocean views from rooftop bars or just step out and get the sand between your toes. From Mazatlán to Pochutla, here are 10 charming beachside escapes
Mexico’s Pacific coast, more than 1,000 miles of it, is renowned for its beaches, as well as the resorts which have attracted Hollywood royalty. However, it’s also an area that can experience tropical storms, usually between June and December. The most recent was Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, which swept across the region at the end of October, but caused less damage than anticipated. Hotels are now operating as normal.
Well-known and deservedly popular for its jungle, coast and ancient ruins, the Yucatán peninsula can be a pricey place to stay – unless you pick one of these brilliant budget hotels and hostels
On the surface, this mid-size hotel in Cancún’s hotel zone is pretty unremarkable. The tile-floored rooms are big and clean, with terraces or balconies – though they’re not notably stylish. The restaurant is good, not gourmet. The pool is a sensible size. But set this against its glitzy, high-rise neighbours and check the rates, which are often lower than similarly appointed hotels on the mainland, 30 minutes from the water – and Beachscape starts looking pretty good. Then walk out on to the palm-shaded beach, one of the prettiest stretches in the hotel zone, and the place becomes a minor miracle.
• Doubles from $109, +52 998 891 5427, beachscape.com.mx
The Seychelles islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue may be known for their luxury resorts but there is also a great selection of family-run, more affordable guesthouses just as close to the archipelago’s famous, world-class beaches
For a room with a five-star view, Colibri is hard to beat. Nine rustic rooms – all wood and stone – ensconced amid tropical foliage that tumbles down a hillside to the turquoise waters of Baie Sainte Anne. There’s no beach but you can use the small infinity pool overlooking the bay at neighbouring B&B Chalets Cote Mer, also owned by Sylvie and Stephan, and costing about €10 more a night. You also share the waterfront creole restaurant. The owners can help with car hire but it’s a five-minute walk to a bus stop – which will take you to Praslin’s most famous beach Anse Lazio and the Unesco-protected Vallée de Mai nature reserve – and the jetty for ferries to Mahé and La Digue.
• Doubles from £112 B&B, +248 429 4200, colibrisweethome.com
From Cape Town and its peninsula to the Garden Route and the West Coast, the Western Cape is a dazzling part of South Africa, and its beachside accommodation doesn’t have to break the bank
Ringed by national parks and blessed with more than 100 beaches, the best bits of Sydney are outdoors, active and (mostly) free. Here’s how to enjoy it like a local
‘The best things about Sydney are free,” resident Russell Crowe has said. It is arguably the top metropolis on the planet for soaking up the scenery, but Sydneysiders don’t take these God-given gifts for granted. When they’re not out in the surf, swimming laps in an ocean pool, or sailing around the harbour, locals are barbecuing, picnicking, or finding other ways to enjoy the subtropical setting.
Marathon cycles meet epic swims and uplifting hikes in our guide to the best breaks that, from the Lake District to the Sahara, will get you off the sofa and into the great outdoors
Famed for ashtanga yoga, wellbeing is a way of life in this magical south Indian city – and fantastic markets, food and architecture all add to the allure
Mysuru (formerly known as Mysore; it was renamed in 2014) has hovered under the tourist radar for years and is often overlooked in favour of southern cousins such as Kochi and Puducherry. But the former royal capital of the erstwhile eponymous princely state is a slow-reveal pleasure, a place of culture, eccentricity, architecture, beauty and manners; a gently pious, highly literate and quietly arresting city, connected to nature and imbued with the sacred.
Looking for inspiration for your travels? Browse our 40 fabulous destinations around the world from capitals of culture to palm-fringed beaches, remote wildernesses to a new museum at the Pyramids
Street dishes to savour, colourful coasts to relax at and cool cities to explore, it’s been another year of exploring. Here, we pick our favourite stories of the year. Warning: contains holiday romances gone wrong!
For an experience of Portugal away from the droves of tourists that go there every summer, we headed to its central coast, where the Atlantic roars into empty beaches lined with delicious seafood restaurants.
Its street food scene is legendary and the capital George Town, one of the hottest destinations in Asia, now buzzes with nightlife – but the verdant island’s beaches and jungle are also worth exploring
This exotic tropical island off the north-west coast of Malaysia is one of the world capitals of street food, with a dazzling array of cuisines from the island’s Chinese, Malay and Indian communities. But after eating my way through everything from Hokkien black noodles, succulent giant prawns steamed in rice wine and spicy assam laksa, to roti canai dunked in a rich lamb curry, I discovered that Penang is a lot more than just a foodie paradise.
High in the Andes, Bolivia’s de facto capital is having a moment, thanks to local artists, chefs and cafe owners on a mission to breathe new life into the historic centre
There are few cities with such an extraordinary setting as lofty La Paz. At 3,640 metres above sea level, Bolivia’s de facto capital has serious altitude. Fly in and you’ll see the pancake-flat Altiplano (high plain) fall into a steep-sided bowl lined with a maze of adobe and red-brick buildings, which mix with modern skyscrapers at the base. And towering above it all is the jagged, glacier-topped Cordillera Real.