Here at H4C, we like to think that we know our beaches. A well-travelled bunch, we've trotted the globe and found a few destinations that we'll happily rave about to anyone who will listen. Like, anyone.
For glittering waters, powdery sands and all the other beach clichés you can think of, take our advice and discover these coastal gems for yourselves.
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Copacabana Beach, Brazil
“For sheer spectacle and non-stop entertainment, it’s got to be Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. The moment you step foot on this fabled beach local lads will sort you out with sun loungers and umbrellas, and a never-ending supply of liquid refreshments: beer, caipirinhas, soft drinks and freshly opened coconuts (complete with straw).
Sorted? From then on you’ll be entertained by vendors who roam the beach selling everything from bikinis and sunscreen to jewellery and sunglasses, as well as fresh watermelon, ice cream, and even prawns and haloumi, which they cook right in front of you on little portable barbecues.
Gorgeous cariocas (residents of Rio) show off their beach volleyball and futevôlei (soccer volleyball) skills in front of girls in teeny tiny bikinis, all along this iconic four-kilometre-long stretch of sand in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.” – Ginny Cumming, editor
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Gallery images sourced via www.alterra.cc/en, www.2backpackers.com and www.cabana-brasil.com
Seminyak Beach, Indonesia
"Staying right on the beach in Seminyak offers the most amazing view of the fiery sunset as you relax at the bar with pre-dinner drinks. In the morning, over a lazy breakfast beachside, you can people-watch to your heart’s content as countless board riders tackle the beach breaks and locals and tourists hit the sand for their morning exercise.
Best of all is the privilege of watching the priests and devotees from the Pura Petitenget Temple next door, as they make their way to the shore with their morning offerings of coconut leaves, rose petals and frangipanis." – Rhonda Bannister, editor-in-chief
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Gallery images sourced via www.balitourism.nl and www.balihellotravel.com
Lamai Beach, Thailand
"With a big, wide and deep bay, Koh Samui's Lamai Beach is perfect for a gentle swim. The glassy waves just wash over you, unlike the often-rough surf you can get in Australia.
The beach itself is lined with quaint bars and toes-in-the-sand dining outlets. It's all very laid-back and relaxed, just as a tropical island escape should be." – Tanya Joslin, publisher
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Gallery images sourced via www.lamai-beach.com
Cap Ferret, France
"About an hour's drive from Bordeaux, Cap Ferret is great for a day-trip, long weekend or extended break. Loads of celebrities go here but it’s also very local, plus the Dune de Pyla sand dunes are incredible to see. To get an idea of the scenery, watch the movie Les Petits Mouchoirs (Little Liars) – it's absolutely brilliant and perfectly shows you the area.
An amazing restaurant to go to in Cap Ferret is Chez Hortense. A very famous spot, it has a beautiful outlook across Arcachon Bay to the Dune de Pyla. The area supplies the whole of France with its produce from the oyster farms and you can sample them at Chez Hortense. The Moules et Frites (mussels and fries) is another popular French dish and is definitely worth ordering." – Alissa Pittman, art director
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"A picture-perfect beach only 90 minutes from Brisbane, Coolangatta has the sort of scenery that represents Australia in 'Welcome to Oz' postcards and 1970s Fosters advertisements. Here, you'll find (really) long stretches of sand and impressive waves, but the prettiest spot is the shallows at the base of Pat Fagan Park. Picture crystal-clear waves lapping miniature bays, framed by lush palms and you've got this little gem.
Coolangatta (or ‘Cooly’ as it's called by the locals) has received a bit of a makeover recently, so expect trendy little cafés and stylish-yet-chilled restaurants. The pizza at Earth and Sea Pizza is the best you'll find anywhere – no, seriously. Coolangatta's also home to one of my favourite events all year, Cooly Rocks On. A huge vintage and rockabilly extravaganza, it's basically everything I love in one big festival." – Emily Russ, feature writer
Related article: 10 Australian Beach Getaways Close to the City
Gallery images sourced via www.visitgoldcoast.com www.coolyrockson.com and www.southerngoldcoast.com.au (by Barb Carroll)
Anthony Quinn Bay, Greece
"Situated on Greece's Rhodes Island, Anthony Quinn Bay has amazingly clear water and is great for snorkelling.
The late actor Anthony Quinn bought the isolated bay when he fell in love with Greece's scenery while filming The Guns of Navarone. Thankfully, it's open to the public but it still feels relatively private." – Nikki Ernst, digital manager
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Gallery images sourced via www.greece.com and www.blog.visitgreece.gr
"Located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain (the world's highest coastal peak), Palomino is a mystical and unique place. It's the perfect spot to reconnect with yourself and enjoy Colombia's beauty.
There's a variety of fun activities here – yoga, tubing, dancing on the sand, surfing, making bonfires on the beach. The indigenous communities living around the region bring a certain magic and sparkle to this amazing place." – Ana Beltran, digital marketing guru
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Gallery images sourced via www.beach-on-map.com and www.hotelroomsearch.net
Emerald Bay, Malaysia
"Emerald Bay is a stunning spot on Malaysia's Pangkor Laut Island with calm emerald waters lapping soft, pure-white sand. It's no wonder the beach is a regular in 'top 10 beaches around the world' lists.
Chapman's Bar sits right on the beach – it's named after World War II war hero Freddy Spencer Chapman who swam ashore here, so there's a fascinating story behind this beautiful destination." – Lynn Hill, advertising legend
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Gallery images sourced via www.kuoni.co.uk and www.citynomads.com