Who says that you can’t combine a beach break with a city break? Every summer, cities across Europe ship in tons of sand to create urban beaches alongside their rivers, meaning you don’t even have to book a twin-centre holiday to enjoy the best of both worlds.
With space to lounge whilst soaking up the sun, riverside bars and cafés and an atmosphere that brings people from all walks of life together, a city centre oasis is created for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of our favourite spots in which to cool off throughout the warm summer months.
Paris Plages, Paris
Paris is well-known for its cultural activities and fantastic restaurants, but if you find yourself just wanting to relax for a few hours, head to the banks of the River Seine. For two months every year (7th July until 2nd September 2018), a stretch between the Louvre and Pont Alexandre III is transformed with deck chairs, parasols, water misters and picnic tables. There will also be stalls selling ice cream and drinks so you don’t have to move far for any refreshments.
As well as the activities along Voie Georges Pompidou and in Solférino harbour, there is also a festival due to be held outside of City Hall and a running track has been installed to help with Paris’s bid for the 2024 Olympics. Finally, three swimming baths will be available in Bassin de la Villette where you can swim for free between 11 am and 9 pm.
Danube Island, Vienna
The Danube Island that stretches for 26 miles through Vienna was originally created to protect the city from flooding but it has since turned into a lively venue in the summer. Perfect for families, it has walking and cycling paths, a nature reserve and water sports – as well as the sand and deck chairs, of course. Locals and tourists head here on hot days for BBQs and to generally relax and escape the main city centre.
City Beach, Frankfurt
Not many beaches come with excellent views over the top of a city’s skyline but that is exactly what you can expect from this one in Frankfurt. Situated at the top of a multi-storey car park, Citybeach looks out across ‘Mainhattan’ (an affectionate nickname given to Frankfurt’s skyscrapers) and offers a fun but relaxed atmosphere. There are two swimming pools, a bar serving cocktails and comfort food, and plenty of places to sit down under shade or in the sun. If you’re looking to be a bit more active, there’s also a beach volleyball court.
Many urban beaches are located on riverbanks, but often it is not possible to swim because of the state of the water. That is not the case with Berlin’s Badeschiff as a manmade swimming pool has been created from an old barge and partly submerged in the River Spree. Out of the water, people gather for a social drink in the evenings and the Badeschiff Sessions provide regular live music. Elsewhere in the German capital, the Strandbar Mitte bar is another cool spot, offering live DJs, pizza and deck chairs.
Magio Beach, Bratislava
Bratislava’s urban beach can be found between the famous UFO Bridge and the Old Bridge, on the banks of the Danube. There are some great casual restaurants along this stretch of promenade and some of the boats have even been converted to offer breweries, sun decks and beer gardens. Magio Beach itself is the ideal place to chill out, especially with the quirky four-poster beds that act as comfortable loungers for anyone lucky enough to bag one. You can’t swim in the river but there is a pool area in one of the bars where you can take a dip whilst enjoying excellent views of the castle.
Brussels Beach, Brussels
The canal promenade of Quai des Péniches comes alive every summer with a vibrant schedule of events that allow everyone in Brussels to enjoy seaside vibes without leaving the city. The sandy strip opens from 6th July to 12th August in 2018 and features a range of different areas for young and old to revel in. There’s a dedicated children’s section along with live music stages, sandy sports courts, giant TV screens and hammocks for taking it easy for a while. Some visitors choose to take to the water and enjoy the party atmosphere on board one of the many boats, whilst others join dance classes or a spot of speed dating.
If you would like to head to any of these cities to combine culture and history with some time on the beach, our team are always happy to help plan your holiday. Call us on 0800 988 3369 or click here to submit your online enquiry.