Winter is almost upon us here in the states, and if the thought of snow and ice makes your toes curl in disgust, you probably want to escape to a beach somewhere. I hear the Mediterranean is nice this time of year—but town from Cyprus to the Canary Islands boasts the best beaches in the world. Best is such a subjective term, and finding the right beach for what you want to do can be tough. Here are a few of our favorite, lesser-known places to soak up the sun and curl our toes in the sand.
El Golfo, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
This black sand beach can be a welcome change from the white sands of the Riviera and the pebbled shores of northern Italy. Nestled amongst the jagged volcanic peaks of the Canary Island’s northern-most island, this beach can be a little bit of a jaunt to get to, but worth it for the artfully striking contrast of a light bathing suit against the dark sands.
This beach’s near a tiny fishing village on the opposite side of the island from the most popular resorts and beaches. A motorcycle ride would probably be the best way to get there, but once you’ve arrived, you won’t be fighting any other tourists for a spot on sand. If the journey worked up an appetite, grab a snack from the lone shop off the beach where they serve only seafood caught that morning.
Since the 60’s this charming coastal town has been hosting celebrities and beach bums alike. The likes of Brigitte Bardot and Humphrey Bogart have stayed here and once you’ve glimpsed the clear green waters, you’ll understand why. Bring your oversized sunglasses and pretend you’re an old Hollywood movie star while you dine on the local cuisine.
Majanicho, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Surfing is the name of the game at this northern beach. The windy island is known for some of the best waves and rides in the world and this more remote beach is a special favorite of kite surfers. If you don’t know how to surf, the island has dozens of schools happy to help you get wet.
When you think of Greece, no doubt you think of white washed buildings, lining the cliffs above sparkling waters. This iconic rustic town is dotted with blue domes and overlooks sprawling natural beaches. Come here to escape the crowded buzz of more civilized resorts.
Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan, Turkey
You’ll have to take a water taxi to get to this three-mile wide beach that sits on a delta and offers the unique opportunity to choose between freshwater and seawater swimming. Make sure you bring sunscreen though, because there isn’t any shade except at the prized far ends of the sands.
The perfect beach is out there. Spend some time with Google and ask around. With a little research and a sense of adventure you can find your world’s best beach.
Photo credit: 12.Roques de Salmor.Valle de El Golfo.El Hierro by Jose Mesa/flickr; img_2716 by Leonid Mamchenkov/flickr; the beach at Portofino Resort, Mactan by dbgg1979/flickr; The beaches between by Alistair Young/flickr; Kamari Beach by zolakoma/flickr; Olu Deniz beach by Ross Hawkes/flickr