Seven of the best beaches in world

 

Go Beaches:Go writers tell Alanna Gallagherabout seven beaches, outside Ireland, that are worth worshipping

Joan Scales

Joan Scales loves White Bayon Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands

I arrived at White Bay on Jost Van Dyke, an island that is four miles long, by catamaran on a sunny November day. I put some dollars in my shorts pocket before diving into the crystal clear waters and swimming to the most gorgeous palm-lined sugar sandy beach.

On the beach was a higgledy piggledy shack, the Soggy Dollar bar, where you can use your wet dollars to buy rum and rum. You could also leave a drink behind the bar for a friend who might wash up here. There was a big board where you wrote your friends name and yours.

I was not the first Irish person here...there were some well known names on the board but I promised to keep them secret.

Flights to nearby Tortola cost from €770 through Trailfinders and must be booked by August 6 for travel from August 16th to December 9th. You have to overnight in Tortola before ferrying to Jost Van Dyke. The New Horizon Ferries’ timetable is on bviwelcome.com/ferries.html. On White Bay stay at Sandcastle Hotel (001-284 495 9888, soggydollar.com).

Rooms from US$230-US$295 (€179.50-€230) a night.

Machán Magan

Machán Magan loves the remote and rocky Playa de las Arenas on La Gomera

My all time favourite strand is Playa de las Arenas, a rocky, remote beach past the fishing village of Vueltas on La Gomera, the most beautiful of the Canary Islands.

It is so cut-off that clothing is optional, and there are various New Age seekers and dreamers living in caves nearby. Watching their Troglodyte adventures while you swim is amusing.

Aer Lingus flies Dublin to Tenerife twice a week, from now until the end of October when its schedule increases to three times a week. Ryanair flies from Dublin to Tenerife, four times a week. From September it flies three times a week on Mondays,Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The fastest crossing from Tenerife to La Gomera is from Los Cristianos de Tenerife to San Sebastián de La Gomera. The modern ferry Benchijigua Express by Fred Olsen covers this distance in about 40 minutes. For more see fredolsen.es/en-us.

There is a wide range of accommodation on offer in Vueltas, which is 2km from the beach. For a clean and contemporary option that is also beachside try Apartamentos Roque de Iguala, available through La Paloma Travel Agency on gomeralive.com.

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan thinks Porat beach, on the isle of Bisevo, off the Dalmation Coast is spot on

Porat is a west-facing sandy beach that is a hidden gem.

It is overlooked by day trippers, the Blue Grotto brigade, who explore the world-renowned caves and then depart the island. Sheltered by scrub from strong winds it also boasts a small beach bar and a fish restaurant where you can enjoy food and the local Plavac wine.

For more see croatia-beaches.com. Dublin to Dubrovnik flight only costs €374 through Croatia Tours (01-878 0800 croatiatours.ie).

Then ferry to the island (jadrolinija.hr). Depart Dubrovnik for Hvar via Korcula, a journey of over six hours. A second ferry will transport you from Hvar to Vis in 40 minutes. On Vis ask about excursion boats to Bisevo. There is some private accommodation offered by residents of Bisevo. Ask at the tourist information desk in Komiza on Vis. Or stay on nearby Vis.

Try Hotel San Giorgio (00 385 21 711362, hotelsangiorgiovis.com). There is basic studio accommodation available at The Komiza Provita Guesthouse through hostelworld.com.

Sandra O’Connell

Sandra O’Connell loves the action on Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach in Sydney is more than just a beach, it’s a way of life for Sydneysiders. During daylight hours the place is the epitome of health and fitness with fanatics jogging and walking along its shore. They also weight train at the outdoor gyms that populate the beach.

I love the cliff walk that takes you from Bondi around to Bronte Beach. It offers great scenery and some sense of the history of the place.

I don’t think Bondi is a place mere mortals should go and try to learn how to surf but as a spectator sport it’s great fun to watch those out on the waves almost decapitate each other.

A big part of its allure is the buzzing cafes and bar scene – great for people watching.

Travelmood (01-433 1023 travelmood.ie) has a fare to Sydney for €1,014, including taxes, flying with Malaysian Airlines for travel between September 1st and November 30th. Book by July 22nd.

A two-hour hour surf lesson on Bondi costs from €63.

Three nights at the three-star Holiday Inn Darling Harbour costs €132 per person, or €158 at the four-star Sydney Harbour Marriott. Prices based on two sharing.

Catherine Mack

Catherine Mack is wild about Nice urban beach

There is something exciting about being on an urban beach. I love the fact that you can step off the train and almost into the water at Nice, on France’s Cote d’Azur. The beach is only 500 metres from the train station.

The most romantic way to arrive is by sleeper train which hits the coast about 40 minutes before your destination giving you ample time to change into your bikini while still on the train.

Leave your luggage at the station and a take quick detour; to pick up picnic supplies – the boulangerie for warm pain au chocolate and the food market for delicious fruit. The beach itself is stony, full of what the locals call galets but the water gets deep really quickly. And after a dip you can explore the people watching possibilities at any of the cafes that line the seafront.

It’s very buzzy and everyone is very beautiful.

A great place to stay is Novotel (00334 93133093 novotel.com) in the centre of Nice. If it gets windy or cloudy you can spend the day poolside on the roof of the hotel, which overlooks the beach. Family rooms start from €150 a night.

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher camps it up on Las Islas Cies

Las Islas Cies, off Spain’s Galician coast, offers a pristine beach experience with powder fine white sand and cool, crystal clear water. Two of the three main islands are linked by a white sandy crescent, Praia das Rodas, which offers sheltered views back to shore. A lagoon is sandwiched between it and the wild side of the island, where you can worship the Atlantic in all its untamed glory.

A second option is Figueiras Beach, a tiny stretch of sand on the eastern promontory that is a favourite with nudists but inaccessible unless you wear walking shoes.

Ferries to the islands run from Cangas, Baiona and Vigo. See mardeons.com. The last ferry departs around 6pm returning a certain peace to this outpost. Over-night on the island and you get to play Swiss Family Robinson as the sun goes down. Accommodation is basic – really only camping available. This can be booked at Vigo’s ferry terminal.

Wise owls should reserve a pitch or hire a tent on campingislascies.com. Tent hire is already booked out for this season but early birds can book for next summer from May 2011. Prices for this year cost €7.95 per adult and €5.75 per child. To pitch the tent costs €8.25. A return ticket on the ferry costs about €16 for adults and €6 for children.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope escapes the masses on Railay Beachon the island of Krabi in Thailand

Huge craggy pillars of dark limestone tower over pristine turquoise waters that lap against the white sands of Railay, a beach that is for the most part accessible only by boat. Its a few minutes sail around the rocky headland. aboard the brightly coloured long tail boats that regularly depart from the resort town of Ao Nang.

It is, maybe, 1,000km from the hot and steamy madness of Bangkok but infinitely more chilled out – think Alex Garland’s The Beach minus the crazy hippies and murderous drug lords.

There are a handful of exclusive hotels on Railay offering amazing Thai food at amazingly low prices but lest their facades spoil the beach’s remote feel, they’ve been all but completely buried in lush jungle greenery. Classic Resorts (01-874 5000, classicresorts.ie) has two options on the beach. The three-star Railay Village Resort and Spa, has seven nights in a pool villa room on a BB basis from €1,562 per person, including flights, taxes and transfers. Or stay eight nights at the five-star Rayavadee, also on a BB basis from €2,894 each.

Both include flights with Thai Airways ex Dublin, Cork or Shannon and via London and Bangkok. Offers are valid for travel between August 26th-October 31st 2010.