If you are looking for an amazing beach to spend a Christmas Day with a difference on you won’t be disappointed if you pick any of these 5 (Christmas) crackers!
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Where: Possibly the world’s most famous beach, Bondi is located in the suburb of Bondi, Sydney. It is only a short journey from downtown Sydney and there are buses and trains that run regularly to Bondi Junction. From here it’s a short walk through the town before you turn the corner and see the spectacular horseshoe shaped Bondi Beach stretched out before you in all its glory. The beach is about 1 kilometre long and there is no chance you can miss it!
Nearby Bars/Restaurants: Bondi is full of places to eat and drink. Being a surfing hotspot many of the places along Campbell Parade that lines the beach are pretty chilled out and a few of the places have a ‘bring your own’ alcohol policy which makes dining out cheap and cheerful. If you like meat head to Hurricane’s Grill on Roscoe Street and they also have Christmas menus starting from around $65 AUS per head if you fancy tucking into a rack of ribs on Christmas Day! The Bondi Social is also great for food, especially tasty breakfasts. They have happy hours every day too so head down there for a few drinks after hitting the beach.
Special Features: Where do we start! Bondi Beach is just amazing. The beach has shower, changing and locker facilities in the Pavilion building just opposite the centre of the beach. There are always lots of lifeguards on patrol and any warnings about swimming are always made very clear. If you want to try out surfing you can enquire about lessons in the Pavilion, this is a surfing mecca! You can take a walk along the coastal path to nearby Bronte Beach, or keep going to get to the backpackers paradise, Coogee. If you don’t fancy swimming in the choppy waters why not head to Icebergs Club which is just at the start of the coastal walk where you can swim in the amazing 50 metre Olympic pool for just $5.50 and watch the waves crashing over Bondi below you. The club also has a gym, bar and restaurants and offers stunning views of the beach. There are no sun loungers on the beach for hire so take a deck chair or be prepared to get sandy.
Go there if: You want to experience one of the world’s most famous beaches for yourself. Bondi lives up to the hype. The sea is rugged here, the people are beautiful, the atmosphere is amazing and the locals are friendly.
Avoid if: You are not a strong swimmer. The currents here are fierce and the waters are not great for kids (unless they are Aussies who have grown up in the water.) Even paddling can get a bit hairy so if you like nice calm waters don’t hit Bondi.
Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
Where: Chaweng Beach is located on the East coast of Koh Samui Island in Thailand. You can get flights to Koh Samui via Bangkok from the UK and Chaweng is located just south of the airport. The beach is 6km in length so you won’t have any trouble finding it.
Nearby Bars/Restaurants: There are hundreds of bars and restaurants to choose from in Chaweng serving everything from Thai food to cheeseburgers. Food and drink is very reasonably priced and the food sold by street hawkers is absolutely delicious so don’t be afraid to give it a try. In the evenings most of the bars that line the beach put out cushions and tables on the beach were you can relax and enjoy a few cocktails or a cold beer. The resort also has a very lively nightlife so you can literally still be sat on the beach at dawn!
Special Features: Chaweng beach is action packed. There are beach vendors selling everything from ice creams to sarongs; lots of places offering watersports, from jet skiing to scuba diving courses; and beachside massage areas where you can lie in the shade and get a relaxing massage while you listen to the waves. There are hundreds of sun loungers and parasols for hire along the sand as well.
Go there if: You want to be in the centre of the action. Chaweng is not Thailand’s most beautiful beach but it is one of its liveliest. Many of the crowd here are backpackers or tourists aged between 18-35 years that like to party.
Avoid if: You want a tranquil beach where you can lie and read a book or sunbathe in peace.
Playa Blanca Beach, Lanzarote
Where: Playa Blanca Beach is located funnily enough in Playa Blanca in Lanzarote. It is situated on the south of the island and is just a 20 minute drive from Lanzarote Airport (Arrecife).
Nearby Bars/Restaurants: Playa Blanca Beach is bordered by a superbly presented promenade where you will find a host of excellent Bars and Restaurants. You can hire sun loungers on the fine white sandy beach that are offered by the local restaurants who will service you with food and drink. A meal at Sebastyn’s Greek restaurant is not to be missed with friendly service, fun atmosphere, amazing cuisine and lots to drink you won’t be disappointed. If you like your meat thick and chunky then El Argentino’s Steak House is the place to be.
Special Features: Lovely sandy beach that gently slopes down to the sea which is perfect for swimming in. Playa Blanca beach is centrally located on the main promenade and is close to the main shopping centre of Limones where you will find all you need from food to clothes to souvenirs. If you want to keep fit then a free exercise area is located between Playa Blanca and Playa Dorada.
If you want to live it up a little then further down the promenade from Playa Blanca is the Marina Rubimar where you can admire the fantastic yachts and visit designer shops as well as the islands popular market which is held twice a week.
You are also close to the Tourist Information Office at Playa Blanca so you can find out all you need about the area
Go there if: You want variety. There are lots of places to eat and drink right on Playa Blanca Beach but if you want a change of scenery or a new culinary delight then Playa Blanca puts you close to the two sandy beaches of Playa Flamingo and Playa Dorada. These are both sheltered beaches and are extremely family friendly as the sea gently shelves into a manmade bay area created by a breakwater wall with a small entrance/exit to the sea beyond.
Avoid if: water sports are your thing then due to the sheltered nature of these beaches then further round the coast will suit you better.
Kuta Beach, Bali
Where: Kuta Beach is set on the Western side of Bali’s beautiful Island. Kuta Beach is a 15 minute drive North up from the Ngurah Rai (Aka Denpasar) International Airport. It is easy to get taxis or to hire a moped and head straight up to the beach.
Nearby Bars/Restaurants: The key phrase here is ‘Take Your Pick’. You can choose to buy direct from the beach vendors or head back to the promenade and lose yourself in the myriad of back streets and sample some true Balinese food such as Nasi Goreng the National dish of Indonesia, Pecel Iele (fried catfish!) or babi Guling (Roast Suckling Pig) which the Balinese love. If, however, all this is just too much then western taste buds can be satisfied at the Bali Hard Rock Café with view directly over Kuta Beach.
Special Features: Kuta Beach has come a long way since its humble fishing village beginning. Kuta beach is now the most popular beach in Bali. It’s long and wide sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing whilst its surf attracts surfers of all talents. A surfing lesson can be picked up for a few thousand Rupee although the standard of instructor varies from organised classes to a kid with a spare board.
There are life guards on Kuta Beach and make sure you stick to the flagged areas if you are going swimming.
The Balinese take their religion seriously and you will often see Hindu celebrations and festivals taking place on the beach itself.
The best part has to be the end of the day as the sun starts to set offering one of the best skylines in the world.
Go there if: You are looking for a fast pace of life to the point of being completely chaotic. There is fun and adventure to be had in abundance with the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.
Avoid if: You are looking for a nice quiet place to relax on your sun lounger and peacefully read your book.
Cottesloe Beach, Perth in Western Australia
Where: Cottesloe Beach is just 15 minutes outside Perth and easily reached along the coast road heading North from Fremantle. The Beach is on Marine Parade where you will find plenty of parking.
Nearby Bars/Restaurants: All along Marine Parade which runs parallel with the Indian Ocean and its beautiful Cottesloe Beach coastline you will find bars and restaurants to satisfy every taste and wallet. If you are looking for something a little higher end then the iconic building of the Restaurant Indiana is just for you. If fun, adventure and a who cares approach is more your style then the Ocean Beach Hotel (OBH) is a must. Here you will find an array of backpackers who are here to have a good time. There is a large beer garden and three bars so drink is never in short supply. Sunday is the day that it really all happens and everyone lets loose. Enjoy good food including BBQ’s at reasonable prices.
Enjoy fantastic water sports, if you are a kayaker or kite surfer then this is the place. Cottesloe Beach is large so you are never crowded and if you don’t want to get sand in your hair but want the beach lifestyle then the lawned raised terraces give you the best of both worlds. The drive through alcohol cash and carry is also not to be missed.
Go there if: You want warm sunshine, a clean beach with lifeguards, good food and drink and the experience of a lifetime.
Avoid if: You don’t like having fun.