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The world’s best beach cities

13th January 2014 Print

Unlike the A-listers, we mere mortals can only jet off on holiday a couple of times a year, and deciding which type of holiday to choose can be tough. Do you spend your hard-earned time off visiting some of the world’s top museums and galleries, or get away from it all and relax on a warm sandy beach? We say do both! Combine sightseeing and sunbathing all on one holiday in some of the world’s best beach cities.

Barcelona, Spain

Most people know Barcelona as a city of top museums, a vibrant culture and architectural wonders, but its beaches are world-class too. There are eight white-sand beaches along the city’s Mediterranean coastline, the best of which is probably Barceloneta Beach. If the lively nightlife and numerous attractions in the city centre get too much for you, jump on the metro and you’ll be well on your way to some sun, sea and sand. Best of all, Barcelona is just a couple of hours away from the UK by plane.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Famous for its carnivals, the beaches of Rio de Janeiro are every bit as lively as you’d expect. Don your skimpiest swimsuit, get bronzed at Copacabana and sunbathe under the watchful eye of Christ the Redeemer, or head to Ipanema for a more upmarket beach experience set against the Rio skyline and the rocky peaks of Dois Irmãos. With 25 miles of glittering coastline at your disposal, a tanning opportunity is never too far away in Rio!

Nice, France

Attracting the world’s rich and famous, Nice offers the perfect balance between city break and beach retreat, with a glorious stretch of coastline between the Rauba Capeu Quay and the airport. For a real taste of luxury, sunbathe at one of the city’s private beaches, where a day’s access costs around 16 euros including a chaise lounge. The food and wine isn’t included, but you can save money on your holiday at


Dubrovnik is nicknamed ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’ and one glimpse at its stunning Old Town is enough to show you why. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you could dedicate days to exploring its walls and charming medieval cobbled streets. But if all that exploring starts to wear you out, there are myriad beaches offering pristine white beaches to take your pick from. From places to let the kids run wild to secluded romantic spots and even nudist beaches, Dubrovnik might not be known as a beach destination, but it offers some of the cleanest and the best in Croatia!

Brighton, United Kingdom

You probably weren’t expecting to see a UK city on this list, but though you can’t always rely on the weather, beach resorts don’t come much more vibrant than Brighton! Just an hour away from London, the city is home to the UK’s biggest gay community as well as a dynamic student population, making it the ideal place to enjoy a great night out. The beach here is made up of pebbles rather than sand, but no matter what time of year there are always people here relaxing in the midday sun or enjoying a midnight party.