Whether your idea of the perfect beach holiday is just lying back and soaking up the sun, or if you're into something more energetic, like water sports or beach volleyball, spending some time at the beach is an essential part of summer.
With the growing trend towards longer-distance holidays, it can be easy to forget that some of the longer-established European locations can also offer good value for money (and involve much shorter flights). Croatia joins the EU on 1st July 2013, meaning not only that EU passport holders can visit the country without restriction, but also that holders of Schengen visas can add Croatia to their list of countries to visit. This is great news for people who want a beach holiday on a budget as Croatia not only has a coastline filled with stunning beaches, but is also very affordable. It's an especially good choice for those interested in water-sports in general and sailing in particular.
People might be very surprised to hear the UK named as a beach destination, but Cornwall in the south of England is actually famous for outstanding beaches. It has become one of the UK's key locations both for scuba diving and surfing. One of the great advantages of Cornwall is that not only are there excellent beaches, but there are plenty of other attractions in the area. As well as being home to some of the best restaurants in the UK, there is a wide variety of leisure activities on offer, as well as clubs and shows. Cornwall is also the home of the Arthurian legends and so an iconic destination for lovers of history or fantasy literature. Harry Potter fans will remember it as being the location of Shell Cottage in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Worth the price
Since very few people can afford their own private island, the next-best option is to stay on one owned by someone else. Argironisos (Silver Island) in the Aegean is privately-owned, but is opened to guests during the summer season (April to October). It is run as a yoga retreat and the yoga is run by professional instructors, but the emphasis is on the word retreat. Classes are in the mornings and evenings, meaning that holidaymakers have the day free to enjoy the island and all of its tranquil beaches and hidden coves. This is a place to come to be far from the madding crowd and recharge in a welcoming, homely environment. Although there are obviously no restaurants on the island, guests can rest assured that they will eat well and much of the food served is actually grown on the island (which was formerly an olive farm).
One of the great attractions of a beach holiday is that beaches really do have options for everyone. Whether you want to pull on a wet-suit for some windsurfing or slip into Zalando's new collection of summer dresses for a casual barbecue or more formal beach-dining, a beach holiday is exactly what you want it to be.