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The best city plus beach trips

Ever felt torn choosing between a city break and a beach getaway? Well, your problems are over, with this comprehensive list of the best cities or towns with beaches.

According to global travellers, the following destinations were the best in the world when it comes to combining a city break with a day at the beach.*

Santa Monica, USA

White sand and surf in Santa Monica

White sand and surf in Santa Monica

Santa Monica’s 100-year-old pier and accompanying stretch of ivory sand is arguably the best bit of LA. The wide beach, the powder blue, wooden lifeguard towers, the landmark ferris wheel and roller coaster, are one of the reasons why California is so romanticised. There’s also a hugely popular farmers’ market, irresistible gourmet food everywhere (not your average LA salad leaf meal), and a relaxed, coastal community feel.

The outdoor swimming pool at Casa Del Mar is basically on the beach, so you can laze on your retro lounger and watch the lights of the beach funfair come on in the evening.

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Aruba's native divi-divi trees, Eagle Beach

Aruba's native divi-divi trees, Eagle Beach

With its wide, brilliant-white and silky soft stretch of sand, lapped by calm, clear water, Eagle Beach is often described as the best beach in the Caribbean. The island of Aruba’s native divi-divi trees sprout up in several places from the sand, their twisted trunks leaning out to sea and forming an artistic silhouette at sunset. Good nightlife is a year-round thing in Aruba, with bars, night clubs, restaurants, and casinos all over the island (but mainly in the capital city, Oranjestad, not far from Eagle Beach).

Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort is situated on Palm Beach, adjacent to Eagle Beach, and with a huge, palm-fringed outdoor swimming pool complex.

Varca, India

Arabian Sea views in Varca

Arabian Sea views in Varca

Though it falls within the popular, hippy-tastic state of Goa, the city of Varca still feels like a traditional Goan fishing community. Thatched roofs cover the wooden shacks and palm trees follow the curve of the coastline. Enjoy southern India’s tropical cuisine, with coconut-infused curries and sensational fresh mango lassis, before watching the sun set over the Arabian Sea. It’s also not far from the party beaches of Arambol, Panjim, or Palolem, so you can easily get more city-style nightlife if you need.

Stay in a plush, beachside hut at the Majestic Beach Comfort resort.

Cocoa Beach, USA

Picture-perfect Cocoa Beach

Picture-perfect Cocoa Beach

Gentle waves and shallow water make Cocoa Beach a great place to learn to surf. Take a sea kayaking tour, exploring tropical mangroves and sighting exotic animal species. Or take a yoga class on the beach, before wandering the Cocoa Beach boardwalk and eating grilled, fresh Atlantic seafood at a sunny beachside restaurant.

Beach Place Guesthouse is a secluded, yellow bungalow in Cocoa Beach where the garden has palm trees, hammocks, and an enviable beach view.

Wasaga Beach, Canada

Wasaga is the world's longest freshwater beach

Wasaga is the world's longest freshwater beach

Not far from Toronto, Wasaga is the world’s longest freshwater beach, sitting on the shores of the Great Lakes. It was awarded the eco label of a Blue Flag status ten years ago, and the clear, shallow water and lack of tide make it very family-friendly. Bars line the beach boardwalk, offering summery cocktails and food throughout the warmer months. This is when this Ontarian town gets into full swing, with music and beach barbecues covering the soft sand and generating an energetic atmosphere.

Saga Resort has everything you might need for your city/beach holiday, including a hot tub, BBQ, outdoor swimming pool, and all only 6-minutes’ walk from the beach.

Deba, Spain

The beautiful Basque Country coast

The beautiful Basque Country coast

On the coast of Northern Spain in the beautiful Basque Country, sits the town of Deba. The Gothic Basque architecture of this port town leads to lovely beaches, with emerald water separated from forested hills by a strip of golden sand. There are lots of tiny coves at the bottom of cliffs to discover, as well as prehistoric caves. Take a boat trip to get a full view of remarkable coastal rock formations that trace 60 million years of geography, with stripes of thin, jagged rock jutting out into the sea.

On the outskirts of Deba, the renovated farmhouse, Agroturismo Erlete Goikoa, has far-reaching forest and mountain views.

**The data scientists at Booking.com dug into internal data to find the most highly rated destinations for ‘beach’ and ‘city’ endorsements.