Top-Five Summer Beaches (In the Northern Hemisphere)

Coming into the Summer season (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway) I thought it would be a good time to compile a list of my favourite beach resorts. This is very subjective, so if you disagree i’d love to hear your recommendations too!

Having done most of my travelling north of the equator, I can’t really include the, presumably stunning, beaches of Australia or New Zealand. Nor can I include parts of Indonesia and most of South America. This is probably a good thing as it’s already a tough list to put together.

To set the scene somewhat, I prefer activity based beaches. Whilst I love crystal clear water, I prefer to battle the waves, get on my bodyboard (I’ve tried surfing but I apparently resembled a sea lion trying to mount a slippery rock) and to ‘ping’ a football to a friend in the distance.

Needless to say, a cove with snorkelling opportunities also ranks highly for me. So here is my list from my, thus far, relatively limited travels.

1) Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains, France

This is my favourite type of beach and offers miles of sandy coastline intertwining with small towns along the Western coast of France. One of these small towns is Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains, which is in fact the smallest town in the Landes de Gascogne forest region. The beach itself is driven by surf in the Summer months. The waves aren’t very family friendly, although safe enough for competent swimmers. However, an artificial marine lake just off the sea is perfect for those who want to canoe, paddle, swim or rent out a pedalo.

There is a campsite right on the dunes, so you can be a stones throw away from the beach throughout the day. The town itself is home to some great seafood restaurants and bars.

Another perk of this amazing beach resort is that it is situated on the Velodyssey, a cycle route going all the way down the coastline of France. These cycle routes are entirely separate from road traffic so you can cycle through the forest at your leisure to other great parts of the coastline nearby.


2) Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Similar to its French friend, this beach is aimed mainly at board sports and in fact held an international surfing championship when I was there a few years ago. The town was popular when I was there, so I can only imagine that it has grown in popularity since then (nothing to do with me frequenting my Summer holiday there; totally coincidental). There are bars, restaurants and plenty of beach activities to keep you occupied. However, if a big wave beach isn’t your thing, there are a couple of coved beaches ( Playa Manzanillo and Playa Puerto Angelito) adjacent to the main one, which offer still water and a peaceful setting to watch the sunset.


3) Portinatx, Ibiza

Heading away from the rough and ready surf beaches, the beaches of Portinatx offer something completely different. If you get away from the resort part of Portinatx, you can find little beaches which have limited space for tourists and offer crystal clear waters (My recommendation is Playa Cala Xarraca). You can often find yourself almost alone on these beautifully small stretches of sand. The area itself is far less built up than the more common parts of Ibiza and is highly recommended if you aren’t going to Ibiza for the partying. Torn between the two, I had a villa in the middle of the island and a hire car for easy access to the more rural beaches.


4) San Sebastian, Spain

Regrettably, i’m including two Spanish beaches in my top five. With San Sebastian winning Europe’s top-beach several times now, it would be hard to not include it. There is a reason why it’s award winning though. There are two beaches almost next to each other; one is a surfers beach (The Zurriola beach), the other is aimed more at families (The Concha beach). It does boast more beaches too, but both of these are ones i’ve visited numerous times. With San Sebastian having plenty to offer, you can choose between all forms of beach activities, safe swimming, boat trips, water sports and much more. With the Basque region also priding itself on great cuisine, you’ll eat well too.


5) Tulum, Mexico

I really did try to include more than three countries in my top five, but it just happens that i’m including another Mexican beach, but this time on the East coast. And, for those that have been to Tulum, you will understand why this has made it. Tulum itself was quite deserted when I visited there (i’m not sure about it anymore), which was one of the draws to this town. It had a few travellers coming through but it wasn’t as busy Instagram suggests it is these days. But it was bound to become a popular beach with its desert island sand and Caribbean waters. In fact, these beaches are normally the type of beach that I get bored with quickly as I’m not a fan of laying in the Sun. But the fact I didn’t get bored, is testament in itself to the beach.


Unfortunately none of my local UK beaches made it into the top-five, but i’ll give a big recommendation to the entirety of the North Norfolk Coastline, notably Sea Palling.

Have you been to any of the beaches above? Do you agree or do you think there are other beaches that trump these ones? Get in touch!