- 1 The best beaches in Spain
- 2 The best beaches in the world
- 3 The history of summer holidaying
Now that July has arrived and the temperature of the sea has risen, there is nothing to stop us from spending hours swimming or lying on the sand.
Here is our tribute to the beach and the summer, to its endless afternoons spent gazing at the horizon, and to living a life in which problems are of little importance.
The best beaches in Spain
As the heat arrives, the lists of the best beaches in Spain start to fill the media and the Internet. Magazines such as Condé Nast Traveler and National Geographic pick out the most impressive beaches to spend the summer. Now, it’s time for our own top five. These are (just) five of the beaches we like the most at Sonneil:
Figueiras, Cíes Islands, Pontevedra
The best way to discover the Atlantic paradise of the Cíes Islands is to move away from the pier and explore the vegetation. This will take you to Figueiras, a beach surrounded by large pine trees, very quiet and where you can feel as free as you want, since it is ideal for tourism. It is 400 metres long and has white sand in a corner where you can relax so much that it will make you want to stay in the islands forever.
Los Genoveses Beach, Almería
Who has never seen an image of the marvellous, pristine beaches of Almería? The beach of Los Genoveses, in the heart of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park, is the best example. No wonder it has been chosen as a setting for several films. A bay of fine golden sand dunes protected and preserved in their most natural state. And let’s not forget the typical prickly pears of Almeria. Let’s go south!
Granadella Cove, Alicante
The popular town of Jávea in Alicante has one of the most beautiful beaches on the Costa Blanca. The Granadella Cove, surrounded by the pine trees and mountains of La Granadella Forest Park, is a paradise of turquoise waters ideal for scuba diving. With 160 metres in length, this corner tucked between cliffs is a safe bet for the summer.
Calò des Mort, Formentera
The beaches of the Balearic Islands always deliver on expectations. But among them, Calò des Mort, an inlet in the bay of Migjorn, in Formentera, stands out. You will love coming here to watch the sunset, with the sun reflecting on these waters that almost look like a mirror. Unlike other beaches on the islands, this cove is quite isolated and has no services around it, so be prepared to spend the whole day there –a swimming pool in the most iconic Mediterranean!
Benijo Beach, Tenerife
It is worth catching a plane just to set foot on the shiny black sand of this beach of volcanic origin. Located in the north of Tenerife, it is one of the most impressive beaches in our country due to the colour of the sand and its wild nature. Moreover, there are very few tourists here. Come and visit it when the tide is receding for some wonderful walks.
The best beaches in the world
Can you imagine going round the world from beach to beach? Dreaming is free, and so is reading this post. Here are five of the best beaches in the world, one per continent. But there are many more… Shall we go on a trip?
Oceania. Whitsunday Islands, Australia
In 1770, Captain James Cook set foot on the sand of these paradisiacal islands in the South Pacific and was captivated by their beauty. Not surprisingly, because the Whitsundays are a true wonder of nature, located above the Great Barrier Reef. Lush vegetation, tropical forests, palm trees, fossils, migratory birds, whales, fish of all shapes and colours… It’s far away, yes, but who cares?
Asia. Ko Similan, Thailand
Nine islands make up the Similan archipelago and national park in the Andaman Sea. But the most impressive part is underwater, because below its beaches there is a wonderful seabed for divers, renowned for its biodiversity (they say it’s the best place in Thailand for diving). Ko Similan beach, in the largest island, is famous for its coral reefs and rocks.
America. Cayo Largo del Sur, Cuba
Francis Drake and Christopher Columbus were no fools, for they chose Cayo Largo to land on before setting sail across the Atlantic. Some 170 km off the coast of Cuba, the beaches of this small islet are a living representation of a Caribbean postcard, preserved almost as the navigators found them centuries ago. Palm trees that jut into the crystal-clear waters and sand that is so white it almost looks like flour. Don’t miss Los Cocos beach, Blanca beach and Lindarena beach. By the way, the sea turtles choose Tortuga beach to lay their eggs.
Africa. Matemwe Beach, Tanzania
This is the favourite beach of those who go on safari in Tanzania’s parks or visit Mount Kilimanjaro, and is proof that paradisiacal beaches are not only found in the Caribbean or on islands lost in the middle of the ocean. In the north-east of Zanzibar, Matemwe Beach is a huge stretch of fine white sand –and you can snorkel among the coral! But the most popular is the dhow, the traditional boat of the Swahili coast. Just watch out for sea urchins when you enter the water.
Europe. Shipwreck Cove, Greece
Certainly, if we were to be shipwrecked somewhere, we would ask that it be on this Greek beach on the island of Zante, in the middle of the Ionian Sea, which the Venetian navigators of the 15th century named the “flower of the East”. In 1980, a ship wrecked on its most famous beach, now known as Shipwreck Cove, and is still stranded on its sand, as though it never forgot the paradise in which it died. With steep, rocky shores in the north, sandy beaches in the south, and gulfs cutting into its coastline, this island is the picture-perfect image of Greece in its natural state.
The history of summer holidaying
By now, we are more than used to going from beach to beach, searching for the most secluded cove with the clearest waters, slathering on sun cream until we look like snowmen and choosing the swimming outfit that suits us best. But it hasn’t always been that way.
The history of summer and beach days is closely linked to health. At the end of the 19th century, hydrotherapy, the treatment of ailments with water, started to become popular and spas were the most sought-after places.
Later, the sea gained ground and, after World War I, the middle classes were already spending time on the beach. However, it was not until 1959 that sun and beach tourism gained an important place in the Spanish economy.
Moreover, Isabel II could be considered the pioneer of summer holidays, with her summer getaways to areas such as San Sebastián and Santander, which made the Cantabrian coast a favourite destination for the upper classes. Whatever the case, it’s a good thing that summer holidays were invented, because we can’t imagine life without a few days at the beach!