By Dale Western on 10 September 2012

Say NO to a wash out summer! Demand your quota of sunshine and book a summer beach break to one of our top holiday picks for Summer 2012…

Costa Brava – This year we’re off to sunny Spain, as the Costa Brava proves there’s more on offer than high rise 70’s hotels, full English breakfasts and lobster-red lager louts. For instance, did you know that Salvador Dalí hailed from this region, and that you can explore the Dalí Triangle on your trip, encompassing the surrealist architecture of the Theatre-Museum in Figueres as well as two of the houses where Dalí once lived – the House-Museum at Portlligat and Púbol Castle. Calella de Palafrugell is a great sea side base, a world away from the likes of Lloret del Mar and complete with  pretty fishing boats and a coastline dotted with peaceful sandy coves, or alternatively the town nearby town of Pals offers winding medieval streets to explore in between lazing on the beach. 

Benidorm – Previously the holiday equivalent of Marmite, Benidorm was either loved or loathed by tourists. It’s now challenging perceptions and enjoying a resurgence as boutique spa hotels and  luxury restaurants are popping up amongst the 330 or so high rise blocks.  What’s more, Levante Beach has received acclaim for its cleanliness, and Benidorm is now well known as one of the best Scuba diving spots in the region.  We recommend staying near Poniente Beach to the west of the pretty cobbled streets of the Old Town, for a quiet alternative to central Benidorm. 

Parnu, Estonia – The Baltic coastline makes a welcome change to the usual Med resorts, and with temperatures reaching 30 degrees in this region of Estonia during the Summer months and with miles of pine fringed beaches, there’s no wonder this region is often compared to sunny California. Popular with families for its shallow waters and quiet setting, it boasts a water park for children, as well as mud baths to keep the adults entertained. Evenings? What about the cinema on the beach - showing popular releases and cult classics in English: 

Icmeler, Turkey – Just South of Marmaris in a bay sheltered by lush wooded mountains, this is beautiful destination that’s great for families.  There are no nightclubs, so it’s much quieter than its noisy neighbour as well as cheaper, add to that the weak Turkish Lira and you could get great value for money if you’re self-catering or dining out.  What’s more, its crystal clear waters have Blue Flag status so it’s safe for splashing around in.

Lido de Jesolo, Italy – Canny travellers are realising that a stay in this purpose built resort on the Venetian Riviera is  a great way to combine a beach break with a couple of days sightseeing in Venice - as there’s a regular bus and boat service which can ferry you there in about an hour.  The boat also makes calls at the pretty lace and glass making islands of Burano and Murano – both worth a visit. And when you’re worn out from all the sightseeing, you can take a well deserved rest on Lido de Jesolo’s ten-mile stretch of golden sands. For more info see

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