"Known as the capital of the French Riviera (no small accolade, let's face it), Nice is the quintessential place for chic French seaside living."

Nice, France

Known as the capital of the French Riviera (no small accolade, let's face it), Nice is the quintessential place for chic French seaside living. The famous Promenade des Anglais waterfront combines sandy beaches, azure blue waters and numerous cafés and restaurants offering fresh seafood and chilled vin blanc. What more could you need for a vacance en France? 

Fly from: Manchester Airport in 2hrs 25min

Fly from: Liverpool John Lennon Airport in 2hrs 15min

Venice, Italy

Conjuring images of stunning canals, daring gondoliers and marvellous historic buildings, Venice may not strike you as a beachy destination - but it does have sea and sand to offer. Lido di Venezia is an island just a short waterbus ride from Venice proper, and boasts long swathes of sandy beaches facing a wide expanse of the Mediterranean. Grab a picnic from the plethora of delicatessens on your way to the beach and treat yourself to a delicious gelato on your way back. 

Fly from: Manchester Airport in 2hrs 15min

Fly from: Liverpool John Lennon Airport in 2hrs 10min

Ibiza, Spain

It may be best known as a party island, but Ibiza also has a much more serene and charming side. Idylic seaside towns with picturesque Spanish villas lapped by the ocean are a far cry from the thudding beats of the superclubs (although they're close enough for a night on the tiles, if you so wish...). Head to the north of the island for stunning countryside and soft white sands.

Fly from: Manchester Airport in 2hrs 45min

Fly from: Liverpool John Lennon Airport in 2hrs 40min

Faro, Portugal

A pretty port city, Faro is often considered a route to the rest of the Algarve rather than a destination in its own right. Luckily, that means you won't find the beach crammed with hundreds of other holidaymakers, as can be the case further up the coast. The long sandy spit of beach which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean is just one of the draws to Faro; the harbour, dotted with fresh seafood restaurants, is another, as are the boat trips which will take you into the Ria Formosa Natural Park - a beautiful protected coastal lagoon.

Fly from: Manchester Airport in 2hrs 45min

Fly from: Liverpool John Lennon Airport in 3hrs

Barcelona, Spain

A city well worth a visit in its own right, the cherry on the top of Barcelona's plentiful cake (or should that be churros?) is its beaches. Not content with being a cultural, artistic and historic location, the southern Spanish destination is also, quite literally, a hot spot during the summer, when the sun beats down on broad sandy stretches just minutes from the hubbub of the city centre. If you're heading for a day by the water, stop at the famous La Boqueria market en route to grab a delicious picnic of fresh fruit salads and juices.

Fly from: Manchester Airport in 2hrs 5min

Fly from: Liverpool John Lennon Airport in 2hrs 15mins

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