We asked the team to tell us about their favourite beaches, remote or easily reached: from Scotland to Australia, Portugal to Thailand, you are bound to be inspired. Your next holiday awaits!
Julia’s Beach, Algarve, Portugal – Lynn Scrivener
The Algarve is fringed with fabulous beaches but when you holiday with a local you get to know its more secret stretches.
This is ‘Julia’s Beach’ so called for the laid-back restaurant perched above, nearby a couple more such as Izzy’s and Fins.
From their shaded platforms, take a long gentle stroll just as far as you choose in either direction: west towards the cliffs of Vale do Lobo or east towards Faro Island. Depending upon season and time of day, you may very well pass family groups enjoying their freedom but on this vast expanse of sand, it’s easy to escape into your own meditative moment.
Having absorbed your fill of this Portuguese beauty, I recommend a return to the hospitality of Julia’s for a cool beer or glass of chilled Vinho Verde and maybe a little grilled fish, fresh from the sea.
Boulder’s Beach, Simon’s Town, South Africa – Lisa McAuley
As a lover of wildlife there can be no better, and by that I mean easier and relaxed, way to see and interact with penguins than at Boulders Beach.
Located just outside Simon’s Town on the Eastern side of Cape Peninsula the picturesque bay is sheltered (by boulders!) and offers the African penguin colony all the protection it needs. With a boardwalk platform for easy viewing, the noise from the car park signals you’re approaching somewhere special.
I could spend hours just watching penguin antics, but the draw of the coastline tempts you away, so I’d then head off to my second favourite beach at Camps Bay!
Durness Beach, Highlands, Scotland – Kerry Gallagher
Scotland may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of the world’s best beaches but tucked away in the far north-west of the highlands is what I would call a true ‘hidden gem’ of a beach.
Durness Beach is a gorgeous stretch of soft golden sand with a slight pink hue making for a picture-perfect scene.
In true Scottish style the sands are edged with a dramatic coastline, while the pristine turquoise waters are safe for swimming – but be prepared for a milder water temperature than elsewhere in the world!
Anse Takamaka, Mahé island in the Seychelles – Gill Haynes
Takamaka beach is a tricolour of lush green vegetation giving onto golden sands, leading out to seas of irridescent blue.
At each end of the bay, massive granite boulders stand like timeless sentries, worn smooth by wind and waves. You have to watch out for the currents here. But that’s what makes it so special – you might be the only people there, as when we first visited twenty years ago.
Palm trees leant invitingly over the water, and at the rustic restaurant we ate our best ever lunch of seafood curry, looking out to sea. Snorkelling off the beach that afternoon, a turtle came up to greet us.
We can’t wait to go back.
Mai Khao beach, Phuket, Thailand – Carole Tidball
Stretching 11 km from Phuket airport to the northern tip of the island, Mai Khao beach offers a true slice of paradise.
At its busiest end, sunbathers duck as the incoming planes full of excited tourists almost graze the beach. Local fishermen putter gently out to sea in their longtail boats. Small gatherings of guests venture out from the low-rise high-quality hotels that dot the shoreline, screened from view behind lush trees.
But you don’t have to wander far along these fine golden sands, lapped by warm waters of the Andaman Sea, to find plenty of space to be alone.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia – Penny Worthy
Having been lucky enough to experience the pure white sand between my toes, as well as the spectacular views from a helicopter, Whitehaven beach is quite possibly the most stunning beach I have ever seen.
Whitsunday Islands’ famous beach stretches for seven kilometres and is washed by clear blue turquoise water. The sand is 98% pure white silica, which gives it a brilliant, luminescent colour.
A backdrop of rich, luscious greenery completes this outstanding location, great for taking a dip or just relaxing and admiring the gorgeous surroundings.
With very few people around, I felt like I was on an exquisite desert island.
Sandy Beach, Paleochora, Crete – Jennie Carr
The friendliest beach ever on the south-western coast of Crete! Well set up for all ages, with board walks across the sand and an array of sunbeds and parasols.
This is just the place for sunbathing and swimming, with family-run restaurants close by, offering a beach service so you don’t even need to move. Gently sloping sand into the calm, clear sea makes for safe swimming, watched by lifeguards in the summer. Water sports are available: SUPS, kayaks, jet skis and ringo rides.
It’s on the edge of the pretty town of Paleochora, which is relaxed and welcoming, spot on for a post-beach day drink or dinner.