When it comes time to pack the swimwear and SPF for a sun-soaked holiday, think of these three destinations for the best beach vacations.

In addition to gorgeous sand and water, the other thing Athens, Naples, and Tahiti have in common is that Air France flies to them all. We’ll mention three popular beaches to check out in each spot once you arrive, whether you’re on the hunt for black sand and big waves or Instagram-worthy calm, clear sea.

Athens

Best Athens beaches: Astir Beach

People come to Athens for the historic sites, like the Acropolis, and the outstanding Mediterranean cuisine. However, the Greek city is flanked by the Aegean Sea, making beaches a perfect place to unwind after sightseeing.

Astir Beach

Widely regarded as the best beach in Athens, Astir Beach is part of the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens.

Astir Beach is the only Athens beach that is all sand. Shallow water for a reasonable distance out in the swimming area makes it popular with families. It’s quiet, without the party atmosphere that some Athens beaches have, and sun loungers can be reserved. There is also an entrance fee.

Varkiza Resort/Yabanaki Beach

Over twenty activities are on offer at Varkiza Resort, a beach park that is a few miles from the city center. These include Yabanaki Beach, which is very kid-friendly due to its shallow, calm waters. Take part in beach volleyball, water skiing, windsurfing, banana boat rides, and other water sports. Head to the Sundara VIP space for lounging and stay fueled with excellent food and drinks from one of the three restaurants and four bars. It’s undoubtedly an all-day beach destination and not to worry if you forget to pack something as there is shopping, too.

Grand Beach Lagonissi

The Grand Resort Lagonissi, where one could base an Athens beach vacation, is home to Grand Beach. Amenities here include lifeguards, WiFi, a cinema, changing rooms, dining, showers, beach volleyball, water sports and an impressive swimming pool in the sea. Not to mention, rent a chair and get drink service to it via a buzzer.

Fees apply for day entry and parking, but they’re well worth a day out at this famous Athens beach.


Naples

Best Naples Italy Beaches: Positano

Naples is home to one of the biggest historical city centers in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s also known for outstanding food, mainly pizza (it’s the birthplace of pizza) and seafood pasta dishes. Naples is a gateway to visiting Pompeii, and spectacular beaches are within driving or ferry distance.

Ischia Island

Hope in the car or on a ferry over to Ischia Island, about 50 miles from Naples. Here, you’ll find some of the best beaches in the region. Most tourists opt for Spiaggia dei Maronti, once thought to be a favorite place for pirates to bury treasure that is now a spectacular 3 km stretch of sand that sunbathers and swimmers love. The ends of the beach have caves with thermal springs that bubble up into natural pools, creating hot springs for beachgoers to enjoy as well.

Capri

It’s also possible to take a high-speed ferry over to Capri from Naples in about 50 minutes. Here, opt for a lounger at a private beach club or lay a towel on one of the free public beaches. Capri’s shoreline is dotted with tiny coves that might take some effort to reach (some are only accessible by boat), but the water is so clear that the seafloor is visible. Marina Grande beach is the largest, free and most popular on the island especially with families with a location near the ferry terminal.

Capo Miseno

This best Naples beach is located on the southwest of the Gulf of Pozzuoli. Try Turistico Beach Park with its available umbrellas, sun loungers, WiFi, private parking and a bar for drinks. The drive from Naples city center is a bit less than an hour.

(The famous beaches of Positano are a bit further afield but also accessible via Naples.)


Tahiti

Best Tahiti beaches: Black sand beach

Tahiti is a bucket list destination for many and the epitome of crystal clear water, white sand, palm trees and overwater bungalows. While there are a myriad of beaches to enjoy in this archipelago, we’ll focus on Tahiti. It’s the largest of the 188 French Polynesian islands and known for spectacular black sand beaches.

Plage de Toaroto

Plage de Toaroto is a lovely, narrow stretch of white coral sand near the Le Méridien Resort in the Puna’auia area. It’s very popular for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. The resort, however, has its own private beach in the area.

Lafayette Beach

Stretch out on the 2,624 feet (800 meters) long black sand beach here at Lafayette beach. It’s surrounded by a peaceful tropical landscape and located in Arue near Papeete, in front of the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort. Like other beaches on this list, the resort maintains a private section for its guests.

Teahupo’o

This is the Tahiti beach that surfers dream about. Legendary waves make it great for barrels but not so much for swimming. These are some of the most intense waves in the world. They’re tall but mostly famous because of their thickness and the fact that they break into reefs that are just a few feet deep.

Still, even those who don’t plan to hang a daring ten may want to take a look. Surfing was born in Tahiti, after all, and big wave competitions take place here.

Which beach vacation destination will you fly to this summer?

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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