January 24, 2015

Top 5 European Coastal Destinations With A Twist

ale and oysters

Top 5 European Coastal Destinations With A Twist

Now here’s a hot topic that will prompt loads of varying opinion… European coastal destinations, with a twist.

Personal preference counts for everything here, as not everyone will be seeking the same things, so let’s first define a few of the criteria that may get your favourite seaside venue included in this little list…

  • Sand or pebbles
  • Open vistas versus sheltered coves
  • Amenity central or tranquil havens
  • Readily accessible versus hidden hideaways
  • Surf’s up to sundown

One thing is for sure, time spent at the beach is good time indeed and whether it is a visit to the French Riviera or a Shetland Isles retreat no one image signifies rest and relaxation quite like a day at the seaside. Whether that is what you end up receiving though is largely up to you.

Vik Beach – Iceland

Have you ever visited a black sanded beach? If not, then check out the raw beauty of Vik Beach in Southern Iceland. Is introspection what you seek from your beach? Because this place certainly has a power all of its own. You’ll do well to catch it on a dry day though as it’s located in one of the wettest parts of the country, but whatever the weather you’ll find the foreboding cliffs and rugged terrain that surrounds will be sure to leave a lasting impression on you. Think the original Planet of the Apes meets Heathcliff, meets Hemingway and you won’t be far away when visiting this remote destination.

Vik beach iceland

Vik Beach, Iceland

Golden Sands – Bulgaria

Maybe however you are after something more picture postcard, then try the family friendly beach at Golden Sands in Bulgaria. With loads to do for all ages, you can hone your mini-golf skills before repairing to lunch at one of the numerous bars and hotels that flank the beach. This can then be followed by an energetic afternoon of water sports in the sea or fun at the close-by water parks. That’s if the reliable sunbathing of the locale doesn’t take your fancy. All before an evening at the casino where it can all be risked on one turn of pitch and toss for those who like to keep things a little unpredictable.

golden sands beach, bulgaria

Golden Sands, Bulgaria

Rabbit Beach – Sicily

Next up we have Rabbit beach in Sicily. Not a beach you can drive straight up to, which will put some off. But for those who do make the trip, this little gem will reward in spades (neither spade nor bucket is provided). Located in the southern part of Lampedusa, on the largest island of Sicily, the amenities are few, but the white sand and crystal clear blue/green waters provide a perfect backdrop to any lazy day. And if you do choose to get wet then there is some great snorkelling thanks to the variety of local marine life. If time in the water is not your thing though, a cliff top walk taking in the sights from above is certain to impress and with very low rainfall throughout the year you are sure of some great holiday snaps whether you’ve packed the waterproof camera or the regular one.

rabbit beach sicily

Rabbit Beach, Sicily

Playa de la Concha – Spain

Our fourth entry is Playa de la Concha in Spain. A city beach is a special treat at the best of times, but when this urban delight is located in San Sebastian all the better. If you choose to make your visit out of high season you will be rewarded by markedly less crowds than when heavily frequented by locals and tourists alike on hot summer days. In an area known for its fantastic Basque Tapas (Pinxtos) the combination of a stroll along the glorious promenade and a light lunch can be a delightful way to while away any day. And if a spot of people watching is your thing, then this readily accessible location in Northern Spain should do the job nicely. Coupled with the ease of returning to one’s hotel after a day of taking in the local sights this is a place you’ll return to time and again.

playa de la concha spain

Playa de la Concha, Spain

West Mersea – United Kingdom

Closer to home for our final destination is West Mersea in Essex. Not many know of the coastal delights to be had in nearby Essex. West Mersea itself is not known for its beach, although there is one. It is however quintessentially English, with sights, sounds and even smells to make your heart sing. Lacking some of the glamour of its European counterparts perhaps, as you are more likely to see local kids in dinghies in the estuary or fishing trawlers on the horizon rather than super yachts or speed boats. But this place sure has a lovely seaside town feel to it. The area is famed for its local seafood, especially the oysters, which are generally referred to as either Colchester oysters or West Mersea oysters. And you will not find a shortage of places to have a rest and catch up on the day’s events, normally with some seagulls merrily chirping away never too far from your ears. Genuine sea smells of the pleasant variety will subconsciously keep your appetite building before you may even choose to settle down to a fish and chip supper whilst enjoying one of the fine examples of real ale that are available in the many pubs that offer some splendid locally brewed alternatives. Definitely a location offering results that can be just as rejuvenating as travel further afield but with a fraction of the costs involved, home can often indeed be where the heart is.

west mersea essex

West Mersea, Essex

Brief – An article of lesser known coastal locations here and abroad, taking in West Mersea. Required key words – Colchester oysters, real ale.

Article length needed = 800+ Actual word count: 904 words.