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When cities sit conveniently on the coastline it seems only logical to combine your city break with some sunbathing. Skimming over the obvious in favour of the Euro nouveau, scroll on for our pick of the best city beaches this side of the Med.
1. Pirita Beach, Tallinn, Estonia
A handful of beaches surround the old Estonian city of Tallinn, meaning the city’s sands are yours for the taking. The prime spot is at Pirita, the largest and most popular, located just 6km from the city; skip the taxi and cycle along the narrow band of pine forest snaked with a bike track to your seaside destination. Best visited at sunset or early in the morning, an ice-cream pitstop (any time of day) is a rite of passage.
2. Lungomare, Trieste, Italy
More of a walk by the coast than a day at the beach, Lungomare’s 4km seafront promenade serves up good-time vibes and some delicious regional seafood. Right on the border to Slovenia, Trieste’s eclectic cool is unlike anywhere else in Italy. Stretching from the centre of town as far as the Miramare Castle, Lungomare is the daily thoroughfare for swimmers, sunbathers and picnickers.
This beautiful walled city with a coastline of tantalisingly turquoise waters makes it a shoo-in on our list of Euro city beaches. Possessing a quiet kind of beauty, Dubrovnik’s hushed half-moon bays attract a sunbathing crowd. Locals will tell you to bypass the centrally located (and most popular) Banje Beach in favour of the luxuriant Coral Beach, where perfectly sculpted sandbanks and a shore dotted with white lounge chairs await.
Bodrum is back. With non-stop nightlife, beautiful waters and Turkish kebabs galore, we couldn’t be more thankful that it’s turning its naff image on its head. Head to Kargı Beach on Bodrum’s southern flank for a guaranteed local crowd, scorching sun and a welcome breeze. Known more commonly as Camel Beach, this is a great swimming spot on the Bodrum Peninsula.
Sandwiched by gorgeous coastline, Porto has bountiful beaches (albeit with cooler waters) plus, its northern positioning means it’s likely to be less crowded than the Algarve. Our advice: head straight to Matosinhos Beach – pretty peaceful in city beach terms. It’s good to note it gets a little windy here, which makes for strong waves and prime surfing. For something a little more romantic, head to Praia do Senhor da Pedra in Miramar.
6. Playa de la Concha, San Sebastian, Spain
With a thrumming cultural scene, San Sebastian is a tapas-laden beach-brimming paradise. Settle in for a day of sun with a cocktail in hand and stay that way until night falls and local bars welcomes the foodie crowd indoors. Long summer months bring with them a fiesta vibe and Concha beach, surrounded by mountains, is seriously up there on our list.
7. Amager Beach Park, Copenhagen, Denmark
Less than four miles from Copenhagen’s city centre, you’ll find Amager Beach Park. This three-mile long artificial beach is great for swimming and one of the best spots in the city to while away lazy summer days and long evenings. Consisting of an artificial island and a big sandy beach with dunes, crowds flock here to swim, sunbathe, run, cycle, sail, snorkel – suffice to say this is one for everyone.
No European beach list would be complete without a trip to a French plage. The second-largest city in France, Marseille has mistakenly been dubbed the “black sheep” of the Provençal coastline. But spend a day at the Prado Beaches, a group of three beaches that are easily accessible from the city centre, and you’ll soon discover that Monaco isn’t necessarily where it’s at.
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