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.
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.
Widely regarded as the best beach in Athens, Astir Beach is part of a resort complex that in 2019 will reopen as Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens. Yes, it’s a Four Seasons Hotel. The good news is that the beach is open during renovations.
Astir Beach is the only Athens beach that is all sand. Shallow water for a reasonable distance out in the swimming area make 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 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 is many things including home to one of the biggest historical city centers in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s known for outstanding food, mainly pizza (it’s the birthplace of pizza) and seafood pasta dishes, a gateway to visiting Pompeii and spectacular beaches within driving or ferry distance.
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.
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.
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 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 stretch of private beach in the area for its guests.
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.
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.
Did you know that there is a direct flight between Los Angeles and Papeete, Tahiti on Air France? Air France operates this flight three flights per week and one flight per week is a codeshare with Air Tahiti Nui. This is one of the fastest ways for people on the West Coast to get to the turquoise waters and overwater bungalows of French Polynesia.
Which beach vacation destination will you fly to this summer?