THE beach is key to the perfect holiday, from just lazing by the sea to being active with water sports, so it’s worth heading for a destination with Blue Flag accreditation.
Blue Flag awarded beaches have the best water quality and facilities so holidaymakers can be sure of being safe in the sunshine.
The coasts of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic are fringed with an overwhelming array of Blue Flag beaches from Greece to the Algarve.
Other countries are now seeing the value of Blue Flag accreditation – Dubai now has 28.
Sunway has some of the most perfect beaches on its books this season. So let’s take a look at the best of the best.
Spain is the country with the most blue flag beaches in the world and runner-up Greece has 519 of them. The highest proportion of its awards – 89 – went to beaches in Halkidiki, northern Greece.
Playa Blanca in Lanzarote is one of six beaches on the island that proudly fly a Blue Flag.
It stretches for over seven kilometres from just west of the beautiful Papagayo beaches to the Faro De Pechiguera lighthouse with a seafront promenade along the entire way.
The warm, turquoise waters and soft sand of Playa Dorada are the main draw for holiday-makers, with plenty of restaurants and amenities close by.
The Marina Rubicon area has a sophisticated vibe featuring upmarket hotels, designer boutiques and a great selection of restaurants and bars.
Known to be one of the best beaches in Spain, the stunning Papagayo, part of the Los Ajaches nature reserve, is just a few kilometres from Playa Blanca, and worth the trip too.
Seven nights here at the 3* Cassa del Sol Villas costs from €419pp, based on two adults sharing.
Halkidiki is an unspoiled treasure in northern Greece. The beaches are said to be the best on the Mediterranean.
Sunway offers Sani Club, which is located on a secluded indigo bay, overlooking Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea, set within the prestigious Sani Resort.
Set directly in front of the hotel is a stunning 1km long Blue Flag private beach. It’s part of a much longer stretch of white sand, which rolls gently into the shallow crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea and the ideal spot for families to enjoy safe swimming.
The resort enjoys spectacular scenery with rugged red mountains plunging down to sandy coves, heavy with the scent of pine and flowering gorse.
Seven nights half board here is available from €719pp, based on two adults sharing.
Jumeirah Beach is Dubai’s original beach resort, and it remains as popular as ever.
The Jumeirah Beach Hotel includes a kilometre-long stretch of private beach bookended by the Cove Beach bar and restaurant.
With an on-site waterpark and a huge variety of activities and restaurants, it’s easy to see why this five-star hotel is a universal winner.
It's designed so all rooms are sea-facing with views of the sail-shaped Burj, and décor is modern and practical.
Seven nights at the 4* Le Meridien Abu Dhabi costs from €659pp, based on two adults sharing. The price includes direct flights, luggage and transfers. There’s a €60pp supplement for breakfast.
Portugal’s Algarve region is a bit of a show-off when it comes to Blue Flags, with 86 beaches, along its 155km coast so you will be spoiled for choice.
Albufeira boasts dune-trimmed Praia da Galé beach. It’s just a little off the beaten track, so it’s possible to stretch out a bit here, even in high season.
But lifeguards are on duty all summer, you can hire sun loungers, the local fish restaurants score top marks and there’s even a cool little beach bar.
Seven nights here at the 2*+ Bayside Apartments costs from just €170pp based on two adults sharing.
KusadasÄ± is a harbour town in Turkey with the most beautiful sea, sand and sunshine and 22 blue flags. Ladies Beach is a one-kilometre long beach of fine sand with changing rooms, sunbeds, umbrellas, shower and toilet facilities.
Lifeguards are also on duty between 8am-7pm. Those who like water sports will find plenty of them here. With soft sand and shallow waters, restaurants to suit every taste and the ancient Grand Bazaar marketplace to explore, this child-friendly resort has got all bases covered.
Seven nights B&B at the 4* Golden Day Wings Hotel costs from €359pp based on two adults sharing.
Cyprus is another country with a healthy share of Blue Flags – 49 of them, on a coastline you can cover in less than two hours driving.
Paphos has Coral Bay Beach which is said to be the loveliest beach in the region, with 500m of golden sand, sheltering limestone cliffs, water sports, lifeguards in summer and, of course, the blue water of the Mediterranean.
Seven nights at a 3* Azzurro Luxury Holiday three bed villa costs from €419pp based on four sharing.
To book these resorts and offers, call Sunway on 01-2311800 or go online at sunway.ie.