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Anyone’s who’s watched The Killing’s Sarah Lund creep around Copenhagen’s dark, rainy streets in pursuit of murderers might think that the TV series has scuppered any chance of the city becoming a popular beach destination.

But at Amager Beach Park, an artificial island just off Denmark’s coast, there are almost five kilometres of gorgeous white beach. This is a great spot for watersports, as there’s a 1000-metre long rowing and swimming lane, plus kayaks available for rent. Back on the mainland, if you’ve still got the energy left, the sprawling Tivoli Gardens host everything from rollercoster rides to outdoor concerts.

Do: Have yourself a go on one of the world’s oldest wooden rollercoasters, Rutschebanen, while you’re in Tivoli Gardens. It was built in 1914 – but try not to think about that when you’re plummeting down the steep bits. 

Don't: Wear a Sarah Lund-esque woolly jumper on the beach. 

Get there: Fly from London Gatwick to Copenhagen from £72 return with easyJet


Canals and beaches. Who’d have thunk it?

Once you’ve spent some time coasting the Venetian waterways on a gondola or admiring the imposing gothic architecture of St Mark’s Square, you can hop on a boat and 15 minutes later find yourself on an 11km stretch of pristine beach. This long island is Venice Lido.

The more glamorous and cleaner parts are owned by hotels but there are large stretches of public beach at the northern and southern points too – these are open from June until August. 

Do: Make the trip to see a side of Venice most tourists miss out on, and escape the crowds in the rest of the city.

Don't: Visit in September, as the annual Venice Film Festival is held at this time, meaning the place will be packed with other tourists and prices skyrocket.

Get there: Fly from London Gatwick to Venice from £57 return with easyJet.


Best British beaches: Coasts closer to home

Want to make the most of the Great British Summer? Take your towel (and umbrella) to one of these top coastal spots around the country


People might roll their eyes when you mention a trip to Blackpool, remembering miserable childhood holidays involving sandy sandwiches, freezing water and losing all your pocket money in the slot machines. But Blackpool’s miles of windswept beach are definitely worth a revisit if only for a coastal stroll.

And of course if it’s pouring with rain, which is more than likely, there’s always the Blackpool Pleasure Beach to keep you occupied, complete with fairground rides such as the classic wooden Grand National or speedier Pepsi Max Big One.


Another retro English seaside spot, Bournemouth’s beach is the perfect place to pitch up for the day armed with a coolbox of beers and a bucket and spade.

The seven-mile stretch of golden sand has views of Purbeck and the Isle of Wight, and even the English weather doesn’t put off overseas tourists from visiting – last summer Bournemouth beat beaches in Italy, France and Portugal to be voted one of Europe’s favourite sandy stretches in the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards.


The beach at Brighton might be agonisingly pebbly, but that doesn’t stop southerners flocking here anytime there’s even a hint of sunshine on the weather forecast.

But even when the sun isn’t quite blazing down, there’s still plenty to do on the coast here, from kayaking and paddleboarding on the waves, to wandering along Brighton Pier’s iconic promenade while munching candyfloss. The nightlife here is pumping, too.


Photos: Thinkstock, Getty


Europe's best beach city breaks: Where to holiday for sun, sea, sand and city
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