A Rodas beach, the Cies Islands, Spain
Some of Spain’s most spectacular beaches lie in Galicia on the Atlantic coast, and perhaps the most stunning of these are on the Cies Islands. These unspoilt and uninhabited islands are a national park, with public access limited to the summer months, and contain the perfectly-shaped Roads Beach with its pure white sand and clear blue sea. At first sight it almost seems tropical, until dipping your toe in the water encourages you to spend a lazy day on the beach rather than dive in for a swim. There you can enjoy the quiet, the warmth of the sun and the scent of pine from the nearby woods, and later on have an excellent meal in the reasonably-priced fish restaurant close to the beach.
B Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Australia is famous for wonderful beaches, and Whitehaven must surely be one of its very best. Set against a background of amazingly-green tropical forest, and with views across the clear blue ocean to distant small islands, the sandy white beach is like something from a picture postcard or a TV commercial. As you would expect in such a sunny climate, the water is pleasantly warm, ideal for swimming on or below the surface. The sand, in contrast, always remains cool as it is of a type that reflects the sunlight, so you won’t need sandals. As the island has no permanent inhabitants, and most day trippers leave by boat quite early, in the late afternoon and evening you can have the place almost to yourself.