Fly direct from Edinburgh Airport to these spectacular beaches this summer.
The Greek island of Zakynthos has numerous beaches, and boasts what many deem to be the best beach in Greece – Navagio Bay (or Shipwreck Cove). The ship was wrecked in 1983, and has become a permanent fixture in the sand, making the beach one of the most photographed in the world. You can get a boat to see the beach, but due to recent landslides, even this is restricted and so the only way to view is from the cliffs above. A less famous beach at Stenitis Bay on the west coast of the island is secluded with caves and crystal clear waters to explore.
Barcelona, the thriving hub of Catalonia, stretches right down to the coastline where locals and tourists alike can enjoy the sea air on the many beaches there. They can be busy, and many of the best located restaurants and bars are expensive. There has been an electronic music festival held annually here since 2014, and this year (13 July), acts include David Guetta and Alesso. During the holiday season, lifeguards operate across many of the beaches, and there are police and first aid stations too. Expect to find all sorts of activities on offer, from table tennis and beach volleyball to paragliding and water skiing. The Nova Icaria beach offers assisted bathing services for the disabled. This includes a wooden walkway and hoists to enable swimmers to gain access to the water.
Not one for sunbathing on, the black volcanic Vik beach in Iceland is probably one of the most striking in the world. The geometric basalt rock stacks that make up the caves are similar to those at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. The beach has even been used as a location in Star Wars Rogue One and also in season seven of Game of Thrones. According to folklore, the rock stacks are actually trolls turned to stone by the rising sun.
Dubai has a number of public beaches, and all are pristinely kept and safe. The Jumeirah Public Beach is one of the newest, with white sand and a superb view of the iconic Burj Al Arab sail hotel. You can rent a parasol, but there are palm trees for shade, and toilet facilities. The calm waters are great for families with young children, and you are never far from a café or restaurant. As always with middle eastern countries, follow the laws here on modesty on the beach – so on a public beach shorts and shirts are acceptable.
Here’s a beach you don’t even need a passport to visit! Loganair recently began regular seasonal flights to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Pembroke Bay, situated in the north of the island, is one of the longest stretches of sand on Guernsey, and is popular with kayakers, surfers, windsurfers and sailors. The water quality is very good, and there is a café nearby. If you prefer something a bit more secluded, you could try Saints Bay, a cove in the south of the island, which is perfect for picnics.
Reputed by many to be the wine-making capital of the world, the French city of Bordeaux is also close to many incredible beaches. The Atlantic Ocean laps miles of sandy coastline, and the water temperature can be chilly, even in the summer months, but the beaches are incredible, if a bit wild. One of the most popular spots is Cap Ferret, on the peninsula shielding the lagoon known as the Bassin d’Arcachon, where sailing boats and dinghies tack their way around the bay. You can catch a ferry from Arcachon to Belisaire on the peninsula, and then catch the narrow gauge railway from there to the beach. It’s a really fun way to get there, especially if you are travelling with children.