Why chose between the city and the sea? Instead take your pick from our round up of the world’s best cities with beaches

Words Helen Brown 

Choosing a holiday destination is a hard task; are you after winter sun or summer scorchers? Spectacular swimming pools or seaside retreats? For a get-a-away that encompasses a little bit of everything, go for one of these cities with beaches. Sand, sea, shops and some fantastic wining and dining scenes. Here’s our round up of the world’s best cities with beaches.

Barcelona, Spain

Layers of architectural wonder, boundless culture, cutting-edge cuisine and world-class nightlife. Barcelona would be an exemplary city even without the eight white-sand beaches that cushion its Mediterranean coastline. The sea and the sand make a perfect backdrop for a bike ride or long leisurely stroll along the seaside, followed by a refreshing dip. As darkness falls, the city is transformed with live music. Start with sunset drinks from a panoramic terrace then take your pick from one of Barcelona’s incredible nightlife venues. There are old-school 19th century taverns and boisterous cava bars, as well as plush lounges in lamplit medieval chambers to be enjoyed. 

Cape Town, South Africa

Sprawling across a peninsula that divides the icy Atlantic from the Indian Ocean, Cape Town is magnificently crowned by the Table Mountain National Park. From the brightly painted facades of the Bo-Kaap to the Afro-chic decor of it’s bars and restaurants, Cape Town is a beautiful metropolis. In 2014 it earned its title as a World Design Capital

Honolulu, Hawaii

Home to the State Capital, Honolulu is the vibrant epicentre of Hawaii. Here you’ll find everything from its historic landmarks and treasured monuments; to its world-class shopping and a flourishing arts scene. Honolulu delivers an island-style mixed plate of experiences. Take a culinary journey through the pan-Asia alleys of Chinatown and browse around the world’s largest open-air shopping centre at Ala Moana. Then poke around some of the city’s fantastic art museums. 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Majestic granite peaks jut from a jungle-covered range to create a breathtaking backdrop for this culturally rich metropolis. Famously titled Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvellous City), Rio’s is one of the world’d most vibrant cities with beaches. Enjoy the incredible music and food in the bars and samba clubs in the bohemian neighbourhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa. Then take a stroll along the boardwalk lined with palm trees; it’s the ideal place to soak up the sexy scene.

Miami Beach, Florida

Famed for its art-deco architecture and palm studded beaches, Miami offers a wealth of great experiences. First of all start your day as the locals do with morning yoga on the beach and then explore the Lincoln Road Mall. Follow with a bike tour of South Beach and then enjoy Miami’s swinging beach-side nightlife as evening falls.

Nice, France

Old-world opulence is juxtaposed against city-life grit in this stunning seaside location bathed in year-round sunshine. Nice is the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Azur and as a result has been attracting sun seekers and culture vultures since the 19th century. Soak up the Riviera vibes with its fabulous markets and enticing old town and then discover glorious architecture and plethora of fantastic restaurants.

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica is the sweet, bohemian little sister of LA that is home to an eclectic food and retail scene. Choose from sprawling outdoor cafes, chic hotel lounges, dance clubs, and casual wine bars and explore its three distinct shopping districts.  Live blues, salsa and world music feature in some capacity each night and the city’s cuisine traverses the globe with something to suit every taste and budget.

Tel Aviv, Israel

As Israel’s second-largest city, Tel Aviv is home to an abundance of contemporary art galleries and chic cafes, artisan boutiques and blissfully balmy beaches. Famed for its sun-bronzed coastlines and equally notable coffee and culinary innovations, the city’s real attraction is the local lifestyle. It’s easy to see why Tel Aviv has fast become a top tourist destination; life is lived outdoors and to the fullest.

Sydney, Australia

With its  iconic beaches, world heritage sites and acclaimed wine regions Sydney has long been a holiday hotspot. The city has an incredible variety of attractions and sights to see including the Opera House and famous Bondi beach. It’s easy to see why the largest of Australia’s cities with beaches graces many a bucket list.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

With its sublime location, overlooking the calm blue waters of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities with beaches. Visitors come here for leisure and to trawl its charming pedestrian-only old town, packed with aristocratic palazzi and elegant Baroque churches.

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