Calling all dedicated hikers and leisurely walkers: these are the best beaches in the world to explore by foot, according to global travellers. *
Trzęsacz, Zachodnio-Pomorskie, Poland
The ruins of the gothic Church of Saint Nicholas in Trzęsacz
Despite being overlooked by the gothic Church of Saint Nicolas, this beach is as far as you can get from the dark and stormy atmosphere usually associated with crumbling 15th-century ruins. Mainly thanks to having the mildest winters in Poland, although the golden sands and picturesque inns like Hoff Dom Przy Morzu (located just 2-minutes’ walk from the beach) don’t exactly hurt.
Pasikuda, Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka
Pasikuda Beach in Sri Lanka
‘Pasikuda’ is Tamil for ‘Green-Algae-Bay’ and this visually-arresting beach has one of the world’s longest shallow reef coastlines. The comparatively weak currents make this a popular beach with swimmers and young families but the views and flawless sand are more than enough to keep visitors occupied on land. Once you’ve finished exploring the coastline the five-star Uga Bay is only 3-minutes’ walk from the beach.
Lion-sur-Mer, Basse-Normandy, France
The beach near Lion-sur-Mer at low tide
A Normandy commune on the edge of the English Channel, Lion-sur-Mer was part of the Normandy landings. Today this sunny seaside town continues to celebrate its history and hosts a free annual festival, Le Terrasses de L’été (The Summer Terraces), which showcases new animation and music throughout July and August. And if you’re planning to venture further afield A Casa Mia Plage provide guests with free bicycle rental and tips for hiking the coastal paths.
Crosby, Merseyside, United Kingdom
A statue faces the sea at Crosby Beach
Crosby Beach stretches three miles along the north-west coast of England and some of the defense structures installed during the Second World War are still visible today. In addition to this connection with the region’s history, visitors can also check out Antony Gormley’s installation: Another Place. This sculpture--comprised of 100 cast iron figures, positioned to face the sea--toured around Europe before finding a permanent home in Merseyside. And the combination of history and art continues inland where guests can spend the night in the Titanic Hotel Liverpool.
Donabate, Dublin County, Ireland
The Donabate Martello Tower
This Blue Flag North County Dublin beach is over 22km of sand dunes and contains an abundance of flora and fauna. For those interested more in the skyline than what’s at their feet, the views on offer include Lambay Island, Howth Peninsula, and the Malahide Estuary. One route especially popular with hikers is to start at Donabate and go along the coast to Portrane, with activities along the way including kite surfing and rock pooling. Just make sure to head to Sandyhills for a hearty breakfast before you set off.
Praia da Barra, Região Centro, Portugal
The lighthouse at Praia da Barra
The tallest lighthouse in Portugal can be found at the end of this white sand beach and visitors prepared to climb the 271 stone steps will be greeted with a fantastic view. But for those who prefer walking horizontally to vertically the coastline is a great spot for rambling, particularly the route between the villages of Praia da Barra and Costa Nova. When you’re done for the day retire to the House Barra Beach and enjoy a drink on their sun terrace.
Uddevalla, Västra Götaland, Sweden
The Uddevallabron bridge
The town of Uddevalla has a beach for every kind of walker and some of the biggest shell banks in the world. For young ramblers the Bodele Beach is the ideal length, while the Skeppsviken beach is the most popular with local walkers. Augment your weekend on the sand by staying in the maritime themed Hotell Skona Rum.
** These recommendations come from the travel scientists at Booking.com. They’ve analyzed destinations endorsed for ‘walking on the beach’ and, according to Booking.com reviewers, these are the best.