A Beach – dictionary definition “ a pebbly or sandy shore, especially by the sea between high- and low-water marks.” But this dry description does little to explain our love of being by the sea, of the joy that walking barefoot on the sand or of the benefits to both our physical and mental health that a trip to the seaside can bring.
The habit of taking a seaside holiday only really began in the 18th century as people slowly moved from ‘taking the waters’ for their health at inland spas to the newly fashionable alternative of bathing in the sea. It was the Dorset town of Weymouth that helped to put the pastime on the fashionable map when it gained the royal seal of approval when King George III visited following medical advice that a dip in the sea could help alleviate his ailments. A tradition continued by his son, George IV who built his own “holiday villa” in the exotic Royal Pavilion.
Moving from the beautiful beaches of Cornwall and Norfolk to find more guaranteed sunshine and warmth, holiday-makers headed to the beaches of the Continent – Coco Chanel made a sun tan fashionable and resorts on the Cote d’Azur, the Amalfi coast became the places to go. The growth of tourist flights meant Greece, Spain and Turkey became sun-worshipper’s regular getaways. Now heading for a beach holiday is an annual pilgrimage that fills our hearts with glee and recharges the body’s batteries.
One of my favourite beaches is Palombaggio in Corsica. This beach, which is said to be one of the Island’s most beautiful (no small accolade on an island as beautiful as Corsica!) is on the southern coast near to the lovely town of Porto-Vecchio. This beach has an international reputation and has been named by The Sunday Times as one of the Top 10 beaches in Europe. The beach has fine white sand and is fringed by fragrant pine trees. Swim in crystal-clear blue water and watch the wonderful array of sea birds, including the Crested Cormorants who live on the Cerbicale Islands, which lie just off the coast. Although the beach gets busy in high summer, it still has a feeling of wildness and is the perfect place to unwind and relax. Stay in the magnificent luxury Villa Luna which overlooks the beach but sits a quiet hillside with unrivalled sea views. Wander among the olive trees, relax in the outdoor hot tub or in the outdoor heated pool before retiring after a delicious dinner to the cinema room. Heaven !
For something a little more glamourous and high profile head to the famous Pampelonne Beach in St Tropez. This beach is in sheltered bay and a popular anchor spot for luxury yachts as well as home to numerous water sports. You’ll also find Club 55 and Nikki Beach, two of St Tropez’s most famous beach clubs. The beach offers over 5kms of fine white sand backed by sand dunes and natural shrub land. “Celebration of Life” is the mantra of Nikki Beach and St Tropez is certainly the place to party. And the perfect villa to match this exotic beach style? Villa Waters Edge – a stunning 5-bedroom property with its beautiful infinity pool, terraced outdoor dining area and private footpath to the sea for a dip before chef cooks you dinner. Perfect!
There are 262 sandy beaches on Mallorca so there is definitely one to suit all ages & tastes. One of our favourites is Cala Deia, a tiny, cove beach just outside of the much-loved mountain village of Deia, in the heart of the Tramuntana mountains in the northwest of Mallorca. The beach is only about 70-meters long and is mostly small pebbles and large rocks. But the clear blue-green water, the mountain surrounds and the two simple restaurants serving fresh fish, paella and tapas make this a popular spot. Be close by in the beautiful hillside Villa Can Deia with its freshwater pool, shady terraces with fragrant citrus trees and stunning sea and mountain views. Nirvana!
Is there any 5 word phrase that brings as much joy and a smile to your face as ‘let’s go to the beach’? It is often the simple things that bring us most happiness.