Many of us have limited holiday time and, as such, can find ourselves wrestling with the well-known dilemma: the exciting buzz of a city break or the relaxing option of topping up the tan on the beach?
Well, with proper planning you can do both. Imagine spending the day listening to the soothing sound of gently crashing waves in a cool breeze, before hitting the town that evening or exploring a sprawling urban cityscape by day, followed by a sunset stroll along a golden stretch of sand.
To help you plan, the Flexicover team have picked out five places where the convenience of the urban realm is just minutes from the soul-enriching seafront.
It's most famous for the film festival in May, but just seconds away from the red carpet where the film industry's great and good strut their stuff, is the famous Plage de la Croisette. During festival time you'll catch key players running across its pebble beach. The rest of the time, it's dominated by tourists and locals leisurely walking or swimming off their lunches from the seafront cafes. Of course, such a glamorous place caters well for sunbathers. Palm trees are dotted everywhere, providing welcome shade, and barriers in the sea stop harsh waves from encroaching on the beach. There are even non-smoking areas, so nothing will disturb your precious beach time.
We're a little bit in love with Cape Town - it's a city which truly does have everything for everyone. Table Mountain dominates the skyline for nature-lovers, the food and wine can't be beaten, and lining the busy city peninsula is a number of beaches with different characteristics. For smooth sand try the ever-popular Camp's Bay, while the sunset views at Eden on the Bay are not only breath-taking but steeped in South African culture, with views of Robben Island as the sun goes down. If a beach walk makes your holiday try Sea Point, or for a busy, buzzy atmosphere, Clifton is the beach of choice.
Australia's largest city not only has some world-class beaches, but the culture to go with it. As soon as the working day is done, locals flock to the coast, with Bondi beach the most popular of them all. But don't expect to lie idle on the beach, especially with good year-round temperatures. Sporting activities on the coast include surfing, golf, diving and volleyball, and for social gatherings there's a wealth of renowned bars and restaurants, with barbecues permitted too. Between May and November, nature lovers can keep their eyes peeled for whales off the coast, perhaps while exploring the area on the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. There are cultural activities too, with Sculpture by the Sea in October and November, the largest free outdoor exhibition in the world.
With harsh winters and high rainfall, Vancouver's beaches aren't always popular, but when the sun is out, there's no better place. Canada's most easterly major city is blessed with a number of beaches located within walking distance from the centre. For fun in the sun, try Kitsilano Beach with its range of activities from tennis to volleyball. Swimmers can make use of its outdoor, heated (yes, heated) salt water pool, with views of the Vancouver skyline. If it's tranquillity you're after, the west section of the Spanish Bank is a designated 'quiet' area, as is Sunset Beach which also has concessions, parking and washrooms to make it as convenient as its location suggests.
There's no denying Miami as the world's finest example of a city beach - in fact you could easily argue it's a beach city. As you move down the coastline, the area changes its feel, with the vibrant South Beach the go-to place for most visitors. With attractive beaches for relaxing and exercising during the day and a reputation as the club capital of America at night, it's no wonder it attracts 13 million visitors annually.
Whatever type of break you take this year it’s good to know that Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.