If you can't make it to any of the edges of the Continent, perhaps seek out some of its best urban beaches.
PHOTO © PHOTOLIBRARY
6 CITY BEACHES
FOR THE SUN-LOVING HOLIDAY-MAKER WHO WANTS IT ALL
Not best known for its lively beachlife, the Norwegian capital does have sandy spots that would put a smile on even the grumpiest of Viking faces. And for approximately 23 minutes on the single warmest day in August, some of these waters may even be swimmable. Locals love the Bygdoy peninsula, but nudies are more likely to flock to the clothes-optional Huk beach. The scoundrels.
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No visit to this much-loved Irish city would be complete without a bracing skip along the coast – a habit that the Victorians really started when they carved up the coastline into a network of private and public beaches. There are 24 to choose from, and Dollymount Strand on North Bull Island is the best if you’re into kite-surfing. Or just like wind.
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Few in their right mind would think of this bustling southern French port when dreaming of places to go for a swim. Yet the cosmopolitan, football-mad city is gateway to some of the most spectacular hidden beaches on the Med. To its south and east lie a range of cliffs known as the Calanques, and for more than 20km where this craggy mass of limestone meets the sea, boat-owners find coves to die for.
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The capital of Latvia has been built cleverly with one foot in the sea. Not only does this mean the very best shopping, nightlife and infrastructure – a word we don’t get to use nearly enough – in the whole of the country, but easy access to the wondrous Jurmala beach. This 33km of fine white sand is where Russian soldiers nursed their wounds after Napoleon’s invasion in 1812.
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Cheating a bit, but Paris – inland to the tune of at least 120km – is transformed into a beach resort once a year when the banks of the Seine are sprinkled with sand and “Paris-Plages” open. Summer can be hot as hell in the French capital, and these pseudo beaches – blessedly free of jellyfish, badly aimed Frisbees and lager louts – bring an extra dimension to any visit. See them from 20 July to 20 August.
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A trip to this handsome Italian city on the shores of the Adriatic is like a whole handful of city breaks rolled into one. With a beach on one side, a magnificent old city in the centre, and entirely different countries and cultures nearby – 20 minutes away to the south in the shape of Croatia and two miles east in Slovenia – it’s got the lot.
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