With summer now having officially arrived in the UK, the warmer temperatures are sure to provide plenty of inspiration for your next holiday. The beauty of a cruise is that you can visit a number of spectacular destinations over a short period of time. And the beauty of cruising from the UK is that you can access these destinations from the comfort of your blissful floating hotel and without the need to board a flight.
The Mediterranean and Greek Islands are home to some of the finest beaches in the world, each offering an ideal place in which to soak up the sun and top up your tan. We know that beaches aren't suited to everybody's tastes, but these two regions also deliver on history and culture. With these two factors in mind, we have compiled a list of five of the finest beach towns and cities that you can access on a cruise from the UK this summer.
You may be forgiven for having never heard of the southern French town of Sète, but this somewhat hidden gem provides a fantastic alternative to Marseille and Nice. A stretch of land, with the Mediterranean Sea one side and a lagoon on the other, is home to a huge eight miles of sandy beaches. It won't be long before you find a place to lay down your towel and call your own for the day on this truly majestic beach, which is regularly cleaned and maintained.
The town itself is also well worth a visit. Threaded with canals, this charming Mediterranean port makes for a highly pleasant stroll. Many townsfolk often arrive into the town via a little boat, which really adds to the feeling of authenticity.
It may seem bizarre to imagine a huge city such as Barcelona being able to offer somewhere where you can enjoy a sense of tranquillity. Barcelona's beaches are located a mere 20-minute walk away from the city centre and cover an area of three miles. The most popular individual beaches within this area include Barceloneta, Mar Bella, Nova Icaria and Bogatell.
Of course, Barcelona is one of Spain's most famous cities and offers plenty to see and do. You can admire the Sagrada Familia basilica, which has been under construction for over 100 years; or you can go for a relaxing stroll in the colourful Park Guell.
Su Giudeu Beach, Sardinia
Situated close to Sardinia's renowned Chia Beach is Su Giudeu - undoubtedly one of the finest beaches of the Mediterranean. This beautiful golden beach is one of the closest things to paradise on earth within Europe and upon arrival; it really is easy to see why. Visitors are not disappointed by the expanse of sand that feels like clouds beneath your feet and the calm waters that are ideal for swimming.
But this is much more than just your standard beach. This area is also home to an abundance of coral life, which makes for perfect scuba diving and snorkelling conditions. There are also a number of flamingos that roam this area and you may be able to catch a glimpse of them in one of the nearby lagoons.
Ornos Beach, Mykonos
Ornos Beach is one of the most family-friendly beaches on our list, with relaxing sands and calm waters that are safe for paddling or swimming. Visitors will also be treated to fantastic views out to sea and of the surrounding cliffs from this beach.
The beach is also located very close to the island's capital, Mykonos Town, with just a ten-minute bus journey between the two locations. The city and the surrounding area is home to many interesting landmarks including the Kato Milli Windmills and a number of fascinating historical churches.
Banje Beach, Dubrovnik
Undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring cities in the Mediterranean, Dubrovnik offers a wealth of history and stunning landmarks that have provided an ideal backdrop for films and TV series in recent years. Walking along the city walls is a good way to soak in your surroundings. The city also offers an array of restaurants serving some of the finest seafood in the region.
A short stroll past the old town will not only offer a great place from which to admire the towering city walls, but also a relaxing place to soak up the sun. Banje Beach is the closest beach to the old town and the neighbouring bar will ensure you are kept hydrated in the summer sun.
These are just some of the beach towns and cities to keep an eye open for during your travels in the Mediterranean and the Greek Islands. Several ports around the UK will provide a gateway to these stunning European regions throughout the summer including Southampton, Dublin, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne and London Tilbury.
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