Beach City Breaks
A Guide To Beach City Breaks In The Sun
What better way to escape for a few days, than to enjoy some glorious sunshine and a bit of culture, shopping and sightseeing on a beach and city break in 2024 or 2025. How about watching the sunset from a rooftop pool, favourite drink in hand, after a day strolling the streets of an historic Old Town? Or maybe a fun-filled hen do at the beach, followed by a night out on the town? Beach city breaks are the perfect way to combine a short break in the sun, many with Blue Flag beaches and with the bright lights and sounds of the city centre. So whether you want to stay in the UK, discover the best beach city breaks in Europe like Barcelona or Nice, or head further afield on holiday to the exotic beaches of Dubai, Cape Town or Miami.
Popular Sunny City Break Beach Destinations
Top Beach City Break Destinations
From the pebble beaches of Brighton to the famous city walls of Dubrovnik, there are some fabulous city breaks near the beach, all offering something unique, whether you want nightlife, history, restaurants or art galleries.
If you can't face the thought of jumping on a flight, a beach and city break in the UK can be a great option, although best wait until the summer months. Try places like Brighton and Bournemouth on the south coast, or stay somewhere like Newcastle, Liverpool and Cardiff, which offers easy access to the coast and sandy beaches around the UK.
In France, for somewhere on the beach, city breaks in Nice, Cannes and Marseille can be good options. Marseille is more of a port city, although you'll still get a few sandy stretches on the outskirts. Nice and Cannes are gorgeous places but expect to pay a premium. There are cheap hotels in Nice, but even once you've booked, you should expect to pay more at bars and restaurants. On the other hand, if you're pushing the boat out and celebrating, why not get a helicopter transfer from Nice airport into Cannes?
Italy beach city breaks are a little more difficult to come by. Many of the coastal cities are ports like Genoa, Palermo and Naples, while others like Rome, Cagliari and Pisa are a bit of a distance from the sandy shores, but still do-able. You should also consider 2 or 3 nights in the city followed by 2-or 3 nights on the coast.
The classic, go-to place for a short break in Spain has got to be Barcelona, and it's so easy to see why. It's easy to get to with direct flights from across the UK with a range of airlines including easyJet, British Airways and Ryanair. There are soft, sandy beaches up and down the coast, with Barceloneta Beach being one of the most popular. There's so much to see and do. And there's a perfect mix of hotels, from budget friendly stays to luxury hotels with rooftop pools and bars.
But you're missing out. Try other cities like Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Cadiz which all offer an alternative if you've done Barcelona to death, and still want to combine the city life with Europe's best beaches. Cadiz is a much smaller city, but has some big sandy beaches, while Alicante, Palma and Malaga all have excellent restaurants and lively nightlife. Other parts of Spain to take a look at include the Canary Islands and Northern Spain.
Although on the coast, Porto, Lisbon and Faro all have beaches on their outskirts. Faro, on the Algarve, is easy to get to with loads of direct flights from the UK, and it's just a 15 minute taxi ride into town. The beaches, however, are a little more difficult to get to, but nothing that a car ride can't handle. This is because of the Natural Park and landscape which separates the city from the ocean, but there are some great rooftop pools here.
Lisbon and Porto also offer the combination of history and culture, with cool city vibes. Why not book a twin centre, staying a few nights in the city, and then heading to the coast for a few nights in Cascais (for Lisbon), or Praia de Matosinhos or Praia Cabedelo do Douro (for Porto).
Year round sunshine your thing? Dubai is well known for its beach holidays, with direct Emirates flights from London and regional airports taking around 6-7 hours, making it accessible. There are some classic places to stay like at The Atlantis Dubai and others on the Palm, but these can be more expensive. Cheaper options further into the city can make it much more affordable, with many hotels having swimming pools. Staying near a Metro station can make reaching the beach all the more easier as you can travel to Sobha Realty Metro and head down to JBR Beach.
Types Of City Beach Break
Breaks For Families
When you've got little ones to think about, beach city breaks for families are the perfect way to escape, enjoy time together, learn and see new things, as well as enjoy a bit of sunshine. You'll want a city with lots of things to do in order to keep the whole family entertained, and interactive museums like the Interactive Music Museum in Malaga (MIMMA) and the Paradox Museum in Barcelona, or historical museums that tie in well with learning history at school, like the Acropolis Museum in Athens, are a great way to do that.
Hen Dos & Stag Dos
If the budget allows, celebrating a hen do or stag do abroad can be so much fun, and while many people choose to head to cities, why not combine it with some much needed sunshine? Ibiza and Majorca holidays are often popular choices too, but why not get a bit of culture in at the same time as sand, sea and sunshine and try somewhere like Barcelona, Athens or Split in Croatia.
For a romantic escape why not try somewhere a little different and upgrade your accommodation to a 4 star or 5 star hotel with some sort of roof terrace. There's something quite magical about spending time by the rooftop pool, or enjoying a romantic dinner with views of the Acropolis in Athens.
A twin centre holiday allows you to stay in two different places. They aren't easy to book as a package online, but you can use a travel agent to put the itinerary together, or you can book your flight and hotel separately. For a bit of inspiration, take a look at places like combining a stay in Lisbon and nearby Cascais, Faro and Vilamoura in the Algarve, or Venice and the Venice Lido.
Looking at longhaul? There are some gorgeous beach breaks outside of Europe that are ideal for a longer break. Take a look at places like Miami or even Los Angeles in the USA, Cape Town in South Africa, or Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Each is very unique, from the art deco archtecture along Miami Beach, to the elegant mosques of the Middle East.
How To Book
Beach breaks in the city can be really easy to book and better with a package that's ABTA or ATOL protected.
Packages VS Flight & Accommodation Separately
You can book a short break package with many online tour operators like Jet2CityBreaks, TUI, loveholidays, On The Beach and Expedia. It's better to go with an ATOL or ABTA protected provider if you can for extra financial protection. For more complex itineraries like multi-centre stays, you can speak to a specialist agent like your local Travel Counsellor, Hays Travel or Kuoni who can put together a more intricate itinerary for you. Or if you're feeling savvy, you can put together your own, booking your flights and accommodation separately. Don't forget to take out comprehensive travel insurance for your trip.
Hotels & Accommodation
With the increase in popularity around private accommodation and self catering apartments, you can feel like a local by skipping the boutique hotel and renting a whole apartment in the heart of the Old Town. Websites like Booking.com and Airbnb can be great for this, giving you the freedom to buy from the local market and make your own meals. Otherwise bed & breakfast options are another cost effective way to stay on a beach holiday.