Top 10 best destinations to visit this summer
1.La Maddalena Archipelago, Sardinia
Few places say glamour, glitz, and privilege quite as loudly as the northeast coast of Sardinia, where the Aga Khan and his friends created a swanky enclave of uber-luxe resort "villages" overlooking the white beaches and luminous green waters they dubbed the Costa Smeralda, Emerald Coast.
The best beaches here are the private property of hotels, but even better ones are free for everyone, on the offshore Maddalena Islands, a quick ferry ride from Santa Teresa Gallura. Protected from the over development of the Costa Smeralda, the islands are a national park, its seemingly endless and almost deserted beaches surrounded by some of the world's best sailing waters.
These low islands just off shore are ringed by pink and white sand beaches that slope gently into brilliantly clear water. Beaches vary-some are tiny coves surrounded by wind-shaped rocks, some long strands. Cala Granara, on Isola di Spargi, is among the most idyllic, with white sands surrounded by palms and tropical foliage.
You can walk to beaches from the ferry landing, or local boats will take you to your own private island and pick you up later. Bring your own towels, umbrella, sun protection, and refreshments, because most of these beaches are undeveloped.
2. Puglia Beaches and Torre Guaceto
Italy's hottest "just discovered" beach resort area is Puglia, the heel of the country's familiar boot shape. Surrounded by sea, the peninsula alternates between scenic rock headlands and white-sand beaches.
Although these are not nearly as crowded as those farther north on the Adriatic coast, you can find even more solitude in the nature reserve of Torre Guaceto. Backed by dunes, maquis shrubland, and olive groves, the reserve's beaches stretch for miles. Those near the carpark can be crowded, but walk a little farther, and the crowd thins quickly.
There are loungers to rent, but they don't cover the prime spots as they so often do at Italian beaches. For dining, you'll need to head north or south outside the reserve, but there is a beach snack bar.
The visitor center has nature walks, bicycle excursions, and snorkeling tours (bikes and snorkel gear are included) and there are trails to walk or cycle through the reserve, where you can see flamingos and migratory birds. Other programs can include star-gazing talks.
The clean, warm waters offshore are part of the marine reserve and are ideal for snorkeling and popular with kite-surfers. There are plenty of other beaches along the coast, as well as seaside towns filled with beautiful Baroque architecture.
Where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea at the tip of the heel, a largely pristine coast of rocky headlands hides deep coves with tiny beaches, protected by the Parco Naturale Regionale Costa Otranto. West of the very tip of the heel are mile after mile of glorious golden beaches.
3. Nerja, Costa del Sol
It's time to rethink the old stereotypes of Andalucía's overcrowded beaches backed by cookie-cutter hotels. There's no question that this stretch of Mediterranean coast was overdeveloped initially and served as the poster child for what could go wrong with a coastline.
But in recent years, the Andalusian government has stopped development, torn down the worst examples, and returned entire coastal stretches to natural landscapes with tasteful new buildings. Without losing the good-time holiday atmosphere, the Costa del Sol now provides Spanish experiences with an international twist.
If you like your sand in smaller stretches backed by scenic, rocky cliffs and dotted with small villages, head east from MÃ¡laga to the point where the mountains drop dramatically to the sea, hiding beaches beneath their cliffs.
The quiet resort town of Nerja has the best views of this coast, from the Balcon de Europa terrace, which overlooks three of its several beaches: Calahonda, Chorrillo, and Carabeo. Although small and reached only by a footpath, these natural coves are close to the town center and separated by picturesque cliffs and rock formations. The crystal-clear, tranquil water makes them especially attractive for snorkeling and scuba diving.
West of Balcon de Europa, in the center of town and easier to access, La Caletilla's clear, blue waters are also defined by rock outcrops, and you'll find sun chairs, umbrellas, parking, and cafés here. The longest is 1.8-kilometer El Playazo, west of the center, a Blue Flag beach with lounge chairs, showers, and beachside restaurants.
Almost all beaches have chiringuitos, kiosks selling tapas, snacks, and cool drinks. For things to do off the beach, head for Cueva de Nerja, a five-kilometer series of caverns; one of the chambers forms a natural theater where frequent concerts are held.
4. Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps
In the summer, the alpine villages, soaring peaks, and spectacular vistas of the Bernese Oberland draw hikers and climbers, and the cable cars and rack railways carry tourists to the best viewpoints. Brown Swiss cows graze among the wildflowers on land so steep it's hard to imagine how they find a foothold, and glaciers feed waterfalls that drop in silver ribbons from the cliffs.
You don't need to be an intrepid mountaineer to enjoy hiking among these peaks, for many trails are reached by cable cars and are fairly level as they wind along ridges and terraces.
Lauterbrunnen is a good base for the Jungfrau, set in a high Alpine valley between vertical rock walls where waterfalls drop spectacularly-one in a 300-meter drop straight into the village itself. Not only are there beautiful walks and climbs in all skill levels, but a rack railroad runs from here up to Jungfraujoch, Europe's highest railway station.
An Ice Palace carved from the glacier is here, and an elevator takes you even higher for glacier and mountain views. Nearby, a 6,967-meter cableway climbs to the Schilthorn, where the revolving restaurant Piz Gloria was the setting for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
From picturesque Grindelwald, below the dramatic ledges of the Eiger, you can walk to two glaciers, one with an ice cave and the other reached through the Lütschine Gorge, where glacial potholes have been carved by meltwaters.
An even more spectacular glacial phenomenon near Lauterbrunnen is Trümmelbach Falls, swirling in five stages through a vertical corkscrew carved in the rock by melting glacial water. More walks and climbs in the mountains and Alpine meadows begin from the postcard-pretty towns of Wengen and Murren, the former reached only on foot or by cable car from Lauterbrunnen, below.
5. Biarritz, France
For the history and high-society grandeur of the French Riviera resorts, with better beaches, refreshing summer breezes, and fewer traffic jams, look to France's Basque Coast. On the Bay of Biscay, near the Spanish border, Biarritz was the Belle Epoch watering hole for royalty and Europe's upper crust.
Napoleon III and his wife Empress Eugénie built their summer palace above the beautiful wide beach, the Grande Plage, and you can stay here to enjoy the same view from your window. Now the luxury HÃŽtel du Palais, their palace is still the place to be seen, overlooking the broad, sandy beach with its lines of brightly colored, striped beach cabanas.
A lighthouse on the point and craggy offshore islets give the adjacent Plage du Miramar postcard views. Behind the Grande Plage, the Quai de la Plage promenade is the place for a sedate stroll, and seaside restaurants have terraces where you can enjoy the view, along with superb Basque seafood dishes.
This rugged coast, for all its beauty and the generous expanse of its beaches, is subject to the Atlantic Ocean's powerful waves. Of course this makes some of its more open beaches especially popular with surfers, but swimmers should always be sure to go into the water only where there are lifeguards on duty.
6 Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia
I only spent three days in Sydney, but I loved the vibe and beaches so much that I’ve been considering moving there since I visited.
The view of the Bondi Icebergs Club pool overlooking Bondi beach is one of the most iconic and photographed views in Sydney.
What I loved about it was that despite being a huge beach in a big city, it still had those chill vibes that small surfer towns have.
There are lots of great cafes and local shops in the streets around Bondi Beach, where you can grab food after a morning surf!
From Bondi Beach you can also do the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, and explore some of the nearby beaches.
Just remember that during European summer it’s winter in Australia, so if you want to enjoy it at its best you have to visit during Australian summer!
7.Weligama, Sri Lanka
The water in Weligama beach might not be as clear as some of the other destinations in this list, but it’s still one of my favourite beaches in the world.
The beach has a super relax vibe, with plenty of surf kiosks and restaurants all along it.
The waves here are also super long and easy to surf, perfect for beginner surfers. From Weligama you can also easily visit the nearby town of Mirissa, where you can snorkel with turtles.
8. British Virgin Islands
You can thank conservationist Laurance Rockefeller for putting the British Virgin Islands on the beach holiday map back in 1964 when he opened the Little Dix Bay resort on a serene crescent of Virgin Gorda sand. Soon, it was attracting well-heeled sunseekers like Queen Elizabeth II herself, and the recently renovated property (now a Rosewood) regularly ranks among your favorite resorts in the world. Elsewhere in the archipelago, you can snorkel off of White Bay Beach on Jost Van Dyke, sail away to remote and uninhabited Sandy Spit, or follow the crowds to The Baths National Park, where enormous boulders—some as big as 40 feet in diameter—set the boundaries for calm natural pools.
There are certainly more secluded and relaxing spots in the Greek Isles, but if you’re coming to the party capital of the Cyclades, chances are you’re looking for more stimuli than simply sun, sand, and surf. Psarou Beach is the place to see and be seen, as the international elite moors their yachts offshore to lounge on Loro Piana mattress–topped mahogany sun beds, under striped Tucci umbrellas. Come nightfall, the flashily named Super Paradise Beach transforms into a thrumming nightclub in the sand, where the motto is “music’s loud, Champagne’s cold.” We never said Mykonos was subtle.
Lined with dense thickets of palm trees, including six species only found here, the beaches of this Indian Ocean archipelago are impossibly scenic. On some islands in the chain, you’ll be sharing the space with the Aldabra giant tortoise, a species as impressively gargantuan as its cousins in the Galápagos. On others, you might find yourself rubbing shoulders with the glitterati: The Clooneys, the Beckhams, and Prince William and Kate Middleton all honeymooned on the uber-exclusive North Island. If you don’t have private island money, consider the stunning Anse Source d’Argent, which requires a small access fee to enter through a former coconut and vanilla plantation. It’s reportedly among the most photographed beaches in the world, and when you see the elephant-like granite boulders strewn about the sand, you’ll understand why.
Top 10 best destinations to visit this summer
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