Sunshine, good wine and fine dining…what else can you ask for on a beach vacation? While it’s easy to decide on the simple pleasures of your next sunny sojourn, the hardest part is always right at the start: choosing where to go. Well, luckily for you we’re here to help you narrow down your search. Read on to find out everything you need to know about two of today’s hippest and hottest (literally) beach destinations — Croatia and the French Riviera.
So now all you have to decide is whether you want to be sunbathing on a glimmering coastline or a glamorous seaside. Which one will you choose?
Choose Croatia If…
You love getting sand between your toes and taking long walks on the beach
From fine, soft sandy shores to lush pine forest backgrounds, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to feast your eyes on as you walk next to the crystal blue waters that surround Croatia. With so many islands to choose from, the best part about island hopping here is that each beach has it’s own set of picturesque landscapes and coastal treasures. If it’s white-hot sand to sunbathe on and the cool turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea you’re looking for, make a trip out to Saharan Beach on Dugi Otok, a local favorite that is never overcrowded. If you’re looking for warm shallow waters, a boating scene and a place to get some water sporting in, then Saldun Bay in the UNESCO-protected town of Trogir is where you should be. Whatever your beach vibe, Croatia probably has it!
You want to party hearty while still staying on budget
Croatia is made up of 1,000 islands. Which means, for all your beach party lovers, you have 1,000 different party options to choose from! Being the newer travel hotspot (when compared to France), Croatia is still pretty affordable, making it easy for you to party your heart out, without breaking the bank. If you love big bashes on the beach with famous DJs, loud music and nonstop dancing, head to Pag. Known as the “Croatian Ibiza.” If you’re looking to party but don’t have a lot of money to spend, Zrče Beach on this island is the perfect spot for you. Headed here on the colder months? From January to September, a tiny town on the island of Zadar known as Tisno becomes a party-powerhouse, where you can catch various concerts and festivals taking place almost every day of the week!
You like your wine to be like a Disney princess: strong and sweet
Napa Valley wine country in California is home to 400 wineries. Double that and you’ll have the number of wineries in Croatia. Yep, you read that correctly — Croatia has over 800 wineries! Every island produces a unique type of wine by mixing in the best of their local grapes with ancient Balkan traditions of winemaking, which is still upheld by 20,000+ registered winemakers using around 64 distinct grape types. Croatia produces mostly white wines, which are known to be extra sweet and extra strong, with alcohol percentages ranging from the usual 12% and going all the way up to 21%! While you’re here, don’t forget to go on a wine tour to try and catch some winemaking in action!
Choose the French Riviera if…
You want to vibe and imbibe on a beach that looks like the French countryside
Novels, movies, hit television shows…how many times have you read of or watched a scene depicting the breathtaking French Riviera. A perfect blend of rolling hills with a stunning coastline by the sea, the south of France is where you need to be if you’re looking for a way to relax and soak in the sun on one of France’s eclectic beaches. Here you’ll find all the same quintessential beach necessities — blue waters, pristine sand and a ton of water sporting opportunities– with the added charm of the French countryside. Grab a bottle of fine French wine and sip on a rocky beach here and you’ll feel like you’re actually in one of those movies!
You want to party like a rockstar
If you want to spend a few days partying and living out lifestyles of the rich and the famous, the French Riviera is where you need to be. Put on your party pants (and make sure they’re designer) and head to Cannes or St. Tropez, the two most popular beach destinations in the south of France. Needless to say, the best time to travel here is in the summer months (June-August), when you catch some of the swankiest soirees you’ll ever experience. Day or night, at places like Nikki Beach in St. Tropez or the Carlton Bar in Cannes, you’re bound to find a lavish beach bash at any given time of the day. Not a fan of loud music and big crowds, but still want to party in paradise? You’re in luck! The French Riviera has a longstanding jazz scene that dates back to the early 1900’s. Nice and Marseille are two cities where you’ll find a plethora of jazz bars, ranging from hotel rooftops to beachside jam sessions.
You’re on team “rosé all day”
Oh yes, wine lover, the French Riviera is where the rosé craze all began. Rosé, as you may already know, is a type of wine that uses only a small amount of the color from the grape skins instead of all of it, which gives it the pinkish hue instead of the deep colors of red wine. Although its popularity is rather new, it’s actually the oldest type of wine that’s ever been made! Although vineyards can be found all along the coast, the largest rosé wine region here is called Côtes de Provence, just a short trip from Cannes.
Which would be a cool beach destination for you? Tell us in the comment below!