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Top alternative beach holidays

Get away from it all with an off-the-beaten-track beach holiday. From the tropical shores of Costa Rica to the black sands of Iceland's volcanic coasts, here is our pick of the best alternative beach holiday destinations.


Bamburgh Beach, United Kingdom

Head to English county of Northumberland to discover one of the UK's little-known coastal gems, Bamburgh Beach. Wander along the ivory-coloured sands where foaming waves crash onto the shore and the wind ripples through the soft sand dune grasses. Set upon the headland, the timeworn ramparts of Bamburgh Castle loom over the coastline and provide panoramic views over the surging swell of the icy North Sea. 
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Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Head to Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park to discover pristine white-sand beaches fringed by tropical forests and turquoise-blue waters. Relax in the sunshine and bathe in the warm sea, or head into the jungle to find white-faced capuchin monkeys, coatimundi racoons and lazy sloths. This unusual beach holiday destination is also famous for its vibrant sunsets.
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Matemwe Beach, Zanzibar

Looking out from the aptly-named Sunshine Hotel, the silvery sands of Matemwe Beach stretch towards the Indian Ocean. Straw-roofed canopies create pockets of shade at the water's edge and weaved sunbeds provide the perfect place to recline and drift away from the fast-paced rhythm of everyday life. Zanzibar's Unguja or 'Spice' Island is the epitome of relaxation and is the ideal extension to an East Africa discovery trip
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Pink Beach, Indonesia

Join our Indonesia island-hopping discovery trip for the opportunity to visit the Pink Beach of Komodo Island. This flamingo-pink strip of red coral sand that stretches around the horse-shoe bay has to be seen to be believed. Although famous, the beach itself is rarely visited by tourists, so take time to immerse yourself in the tranquillity of this unique spot. Snooze in the sunshine, bathe in the warm, shallow waters or explore a vibrant underwater world of colourful fish on the reef. 
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Three Peaches Beach, Vietnam

As you explore Vietnam you’ll have the chance to stop at the palm-fringed Three Peaches beach, one of the most beautiful in Halong Bay. Nestled under towering cliffs and lined with dense jungle, you can opt to meander the waters around this beach by kayak, or simply relax on the pristine sands.
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Corn Island Beach, Nicaragua

Palm trees sway in the gentle breeze, tropical fish dart about the vibrant coral reefs and manta ray glide through the emerald-green waters of Corn Island in Nicaragua. At only ten square kilometres, this little piece of Caribbean paradise can easily be explored by foot. Alternatively, pedal to the next bay by bike to dine on freshly caught red snapper and sip sundowners at sunset. 
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Curonian Spit National Park, Lithuania

Lithuania may not be the most obvious choice for a beach holiday, but the wild and wind-swept sand dunes of the Curonian Spit National Park should be on the must-visit list of any avid coastal explorer. Search for washed-up nuggets of amber on this unique stretch of sand set between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. Head into the enchanted emerald-green woodland to uncover mystical wooden sculptures and keep a look out for wild boar and a variety of bird species. 
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Vik I Myrdal Beach, Iceland

Follow Iceland's scenic ring road to discover the basalt cliffs of Vik I Myrdal. Strong winds whip the sea into a boiling frenzy, freak sneaker waves batter the towering craggy rock face, and the solemn silhouettes of the Reynisdrangar sea-stacks rise from the dark waters of the Atlantic. Puffins can be spotted nesting in the shallow soils of the cliffs to the west, and you may even see a seal or two resting on this remote and dramatic shoreline. 
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South West Algarve, Portugal

The beaches of Zambojeira do Mar and Odeceixe are a welcome respite for walkers exploring the south-west coast of Portugal. Soothe tired legs with a refreshing paddle in the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic or soak up the sun's rays on golden sand before treating yourself to a delicious Portuguese custard tart. The lush green valleys of Odeceixe are scattered with scenic footpaths, and the coastal Rota Vicentina trails offer far-reaching ocean views.
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Patara Beach, Turkey

Descend under the cool shade of cedar forests before pedalling up the Belmuar Pass and visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xanthos on a cycling tour to Turkey. Your efforts are rewarded with a relaxing evening on the golden shoreline of Patara Beach. With a dramatic backdrop of large sand dunes and the jagged outline of the Taurus mountains in the distance, this is a beach of rugged natural beauty. 
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