Life’s a beach at the right resort

Three of the best beaches from around the world

Whether you intend to sleep, swim or construct the best sand castle the world has ever seen few of us can resist the draw of the beach in summer. Here are three of the best beaches from around the world.

Best for watching the world go by

California's Venice Beach is a people watcher's dream. From yoga addicts to recovering cocaine addicts a Cocaine Anonymous group meets there every day people from all walks of life stroll along the shore line. Or for a more traditional Californian beach, head down the sands to Santa Monica, where the boardwalk is full of "blonde beauties taking baby for a power stroll; dudes on skateboards with jeans at half-mast; aged roller-bladers skating through the golden years", but sadly no David Hasselhoff, says Kate Simon in The Independent on Sunday. Those who like the easy life should take advantage of the Beach Butler service available at Perry's beach caf at Santa Monica. They will set up a beach chair, table and umbrella wherever you like on the beach.

The best place to stay in the area is Shutters on the Beach (below). It's one of only two Santa Monica hotels that are located on the beach itself. Call 001 800 334 9000, or see for more information.

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Best for quiet family fun

Families looking for "a secluded stretch of sand" should head to Tuja in Latvia, says Katie Hughes in The Daily Telegraph. The Latvian coast offers "the untapped holiday potential of the Mediterranean 50 years ago". The beach is especially family friendly, as the bay is protected by the Estonian island of Saaremaa, which means the waters are calm.

And your money will go further here than anywhere else in the Mediterranean. Hughes' three-bedroom beach house had lovely gardens, a terrace with views across to Sweden, and a plunge pool. All for £84 a night. The only inconvenience is that the supermarket is half an hour away.

Hughes booked via Baltic Country Holidays (00 371 676 17600; and Air Baltic flies to Riga 45 miles from Tuja from £118 return.

Best for a romantic getaway

For sheer beauty, Olu Deniz in Turkey is hard to beat, with its "glorious arc of buttery sand", says Annabelle Thorpe in The Observer. The water is "an uncommonly crisp blue", says Dan Eldridge in The Daily Telegraph. A lagoon at one end has "famously calm waters", so children have somewhere safe to swim. Unfortunately, a huge resort has swelled up behind the beach, complete "with neon-lit supermarkets and English-themed restaurants", says Thorpe.

But there is a way to evade the crowds. The Beyaz Yunuz hotel allows you to enjoy the beach without having to cope with the resort, says Thorpe. It was built into the rock above an undeveloped stretch of beach 20 years ago, and began life as a restaurant. Shortly after building began, new planning rules stopped anything else being built in the area, so the Beyaz stands alone as an oasis of calm. The hotel has just seven rooms, each with a private terrace, hot tub, bar, dining area and great views of the beach. As for the interior, "Turks are getting increasingly good at a particular brand of laid-back luxuriousness where everything is deliciously comfortable without being opulent", says Thorpe. Better still, the hotel retains the original restaurant, the White Dolphin one of Turkey's best fish restaurants.

A week at Beyaz Yunu Olu Deniz with Exclusive Escapes costs from £900 for two people half-board including flight. For more information call 020-8605 3500 or visit

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings accounts and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping, among many other titles both online and offline.