Best beach holiday destinations near and far

Going on a beach holiday is a great way to get away from it all and rejuvenate, and there's no shortage of fantastic places for a relaxing seaside escape. From the budget-friendly to the luxurious, you'll find some of the best beach holiday destinations close to home – in Europe – or halfway across the world in Asia and Australia, where the long journey is worth it.

Explore the top beach holiday destinations in Europe

Whether you're looking for a luxury beach holiday or something more affordable, you'll find plenty of options close to home. Europe boasts some of the most scenic coastlines in the world, with picture-perfect beaches where you can indulge in carefree, lazy days, get your adrenaline pumping with exciting water sports, or spend fun-filled hours on the sand and in the sea with the whole family.

Live it up with luxury beach holidays in the South of France

The balmy South of France region has long been the haunt of the rich and famous. Book a stylish villa rental in Saint Tropez and you just might experience a celebrity sighting on the famous white-sand Pampelonne Beach. Or you could stay in the chic seaside town of Biarritz, where European royalty used to spend their holidays, and see beautiful surfing beaches in the Bay of Biscay.

Say 'hola' to beach destinations in Spain

Spain's beaches are as beguilingly diverse as its cuisine and culture. You can book a holiday home in Ibiza and spend a lazy day on quiet beaches like Cala Olivera before partying all night in Ibiza Town. Or take the kids to family-friendly beaches like Sant Pol de Mar on the Costa Brava and Cala Galdana in Menorca. And in the balmy Canary Islands, idyllic beaches like Maspalomas on Gran Canaria are perfect holiday destinations for couples.

Discover beach holiday destinations in Italy

Memories are just waiting to be made along the stunning coastline of Italy. Holiday cottages in the Italian Riviera will put you close to picturesque spots like the olive and lemon tree-shaded Baie dei Saraceni beach in Varigotti and the translucent waters of Monterosso beach in Cinque Terre. If you have kids in tow, consider visiting the town of Tropea in Calabria, where the beaches boast fine white sand and shallow, crystalline waters.

Journey to gorgeous beach destinations in Australia

Australia's got you covered, whether you're looking for an adventure-packed beach holiday or one that's low on action. Flying to the land down under from the UK can take more than a day in some cases, but with the plethora of fantastic beaches and other attractions the country has on offer, the hours of travelling can well be worth it.

Travel to the top beach holidays in New South Wales

A former Guinness World Record holder for the whitest sand, Hyams Beach on Jervis Bay – roughly a 3-hour drive from Sydney – boasts ultra-clear waters that are ideal for snorkelling. Travel 66 miles to the south and you'll reach Pebbly Beach, where you'll see wallabies and kangaroos grazing close to the shoreline. Book a holiday home in Sydney itself and you'll be just a few minutes away from iconic beaches like Bondi and Coogee.

Enjoy the best beach holiday destinations in Queensland

Holiday cottages on the Sunshine Coast are well placed for romantic walks on Rainbow Beach, while the Whitsundays group of islands are home to postcard-perfect spots like the award-winning Whitehaven Beach and the serene Dingo Beach. If you'd like to stay closer to the city on your Australian beach holiday, head to the Gold Coast, where you'll find Surfers Paradise and Mermaid Beach.

Experience luxury beach holidays in Asia

Asia's many fantastic beaches are the perfect embodiment of a tropical paradise. You'll find spots bustling with water sports fans and party-goers as well as islands that seem to have been left untouched by civilisation. But it doesn't mean you have to rough it out; there are stylish villa rentals to be found nearly everywhere, with all the creature comforts to ensure a pleasant – and sometimes decadent – stay.

Escape to a tropical paradise in Thailand

You've probably heard of Thailand's superstar beach destinations like Phuket and Krabi. But if you'd like to holiday somewhere less touristy, consider staying on Thailand's second largest island: Koh Samui. It's home to gorgeous Chaweng beach, where you can sunbathe on the brilliant white sand and watch the little ones splash about in the shallow water. Or book a luxury villa rental on Koh Phangan island and spend lazy days in tranquil Salad Beach.

Enjoy great beach destinations in Japan throughout the year

The land of the rising sun might be best known for things like Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms and sushi, but it also boasts a good number of superb beach holiday destinations. Holiday lettings in Tokyo let you combine a city break with a seaside getaway, since places like Southern Beach in Chigasaki City are just a train ride away. In the subtropical Okinawa Prefecture, it stays relatively warm even in winter, so you can go sunbathing and swimming nearly all year round.