Picture of the Beach near Dubai Marina with view on the skyline.

The best five city beaches

When the temperatures soar swap the streets for the sand


La Barceloneta and Platja del Bogatell

It’s easy to forget that for all its urban attractions, Barcelona is also a seaside resort. Most popular with tourists is La Barceloneta — and very nice it is too, a vast, scrupulously clean strand lined with chiringuitos (beach bars) and offering deck chair and parasol rental (€5 a day). Yet it’s just one of seven beaches in the city: for a more local experience head up the coast on metro line L4 to Selva del Mar and walk down the Carrer de la Selva del Mar to Platja del Bogatell, a 600-yard stretch of clean, safe golden sand.


The Beach

Set in the waterfront community of Jumeirah Beach Residence, The Beach wins few awards for imaginative naming, but is the spot to head to when the heat is on in the city. It has a real Santa Monica Boulevard feel, with little restaurants, a jogging track, outdoor fitness machines, a cinema, and sun-worshippers splayed out on any exposed space. When you tire of the sand, try Menchie’s for fabulous top-your-own frozen yoghurt.


Paris Plages

Every summer the banks of the Seine are transformed into beaches complete with palm trees and 5,000 tonnes of sand. The 3.5km strip runs from the Pont Neuf to the Pont de Sully until August 17th. Pack your towel, join the sandcastle-building workshops or take a punt in a volleyball game. If the temperatures are too high, head over to the Bassin de la Villette, the city’s artificial lake, in the 19th arrondissement. There are pedalos, sailing boats and canoes for messing about in the water and a little beach for landlubbers.



Amager Strandpark

Copenhagen might not be the first place which springs to mind when thinking of beaches but you’ve probably never heard of Amager Strandpark. The artificial island to the south of the city has 4km of sandy beaches and is a short metro ride away from the city centre. The Danes take summer, and the accompanying 16 hours of sunshine, very seriously packing off to Amager from daybreak to dusk. Swimmers, surfers and kayakers thrash about in the water while sunbathers lounge next to football games — friendly locals will encourage you to join in. There’s even a dedicated parkour park for wannabe daredevils.



Lisboetas decamp to nearby Cascais for weekends when the city heat becomes insufferable. The beach resort is about 30km from the Portuguese capital on the Atlantic-bashed Estoril coastline. Cascais’ three beaches are sheltered from the battering waves and have clean, biscuit-coloured sand. The best of the bunch is Praia de Rainha  and was once the Portuguese royals’ private bathing spot. Cool off with an ice cream from Gelados Santini — the passion fruit is deliciously zingy (santini.pt). To get to there take the Linha de Cascais train from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre station.

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