City break, or beach break? It's a common choice that we have to make when choosing our next holiday destination. Do we want fun in the sun, or would we prefer to discover the wonders of a new city? Well, in some cases, we don't actually have to choose between the two thanks to a selection of coastal cities and their urban beaches. So grab your camera and your sunscreen, here are the best of the bunch!
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
When you first read the title of this post there's a strong chance that the first beach to come to mind was the famous Copacabana. Flanked by a stretch of buildings on the edge of Rio, Copacabana also offers superlative views of Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Copacabana Fort on either side. There's also plenty there to help you get more comfortable with offerings of refreshing coconuts or even something a little stronger if your heart desires. Of course, Rio is also home of the upmarket Ipanema, where you could end up joining the locals in a game of keepy uppys on the sand. That's a pretty authentic Brazilian experience!
Another city, another famous beach to accompany it. Miami's South Beach is the place to be, a fun and trendy place with loads going on at any one time. The local 'nightlife' is an eye-opener, mostly because much of it actually happens during the day as well. Although it is mostly associated with the young, rich and famous, there's something here for everyone, whether it's for a deluxe beach escape, or if you just fancy a paddle in-between discovering the fabulous art scene awaiting you here.
Lining the coast of a traditional coastal neighbourhood, Barceloneta is one of the city's most treasured beaches and is the spot of choice for local fishermen. As a result, this is one of the finest urban beaches around when it comes to grabbing a bite to eat, with seafood, fish and tapas all readily available for your post sunbathing snack. Search slightly further afoot and you'll be treated to samosas and beer too, you'll find it all if you look hard enough. After, take a soothing stroll along the Passeig Maritim and enjoy the sights along the way, including the eye-catching 'Homenatge a la Barceloneta' monument.
A city with a unique atmosphere, Sydney enjoys the best of both worlds - a bustling city which maintains a laid-back beach attitude. Perfect for some surfing, your choice of beach here almost rivals your choice of restaurant for dinner (which provide excellent vantage points for coastal views themselves). Bondi Beach is probably the standout option, with luxurious golden sand meeting clear waters and housing a string of excellent bars and restaurants which remain local favourites. Cronulla offers a more relaxed experience, perfect for calming walks along the shore (especially rewarding in the evening). Each beach offers a different experience and it may take some exploring to find the perfect one for you, but that's part of the fun. Better yet, they serve as the ideal way to break up your holiday!