Expert advice from our friends at Beach Tomato: The perfect beach isn't always about undiscovered sands in far-away places. Sometimes, tucked in the most frenetic of cityscapes there's that paradisiacal pocket of bliss. The urban buzz makes the sands come alive—for after-work sundowners, to do your morning workout, or to meet friends as the weekend arrives. As coastal capitals the world-over show us, beach-life and city-life can go hand in hand. Here are our favorite city beaches right now:
1. Hat Jomtien near Bangkok, Thailand
A 90-minute taxi ride from downtown Bangkok drops you in the upbeat beach town of Hat Jomtien. Just a few km south of its big brassy sister Pattaya, Jomtien feels a world away. The vibe is calmer and the waters clearer, attracting a host of water-sporties and in particular windsurfers who ride on the light coastal breezes. A long, straight stretch of sand with plenty of shade it has all essential elements of a typical Thai beach town. Without the go-go bars.
2. La Concha, San Sebastian, Spain
Ever the show-off, stylish San Sebastian renowned for its cultural city scene has wowed us with its three beautiful beaches. Our pick of the Basque Country's city sands is the chic La Concha. An arc of fine golden grains takes you to still, sapphire waters. It's where the beautiful Basques descend to sup up views of Santa Clara island, as well as the sangria. Stay til sunset then potter into the city to sample the pintxos (that's Basque for tapas)—one of Europe's culinary highlights.
3. Alberoni Beach, Venice Lido, Italy
There's more to this amorous escape than meets the eye. The Lido is the slip of land which forms a barrier between Venice and the open sea, and Alberoni is its widest and loveliest beach. One of the last of the Lido beaches, the 45-minute journey from St Mark's square is justified by the extra towel space and tranquil vistas. It's a haven from the delightful madness of Venice.
4. Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, Canada
Canada isn't always the first place to spring to mind when pondering tan-topping destinations. But lining the shore of Vancouver, Kits Beach is an absolute gem. Come summertime it's a sunbathing sanctuary set amidst the snow-capped North Shore Mountains. And calling all cooped-up city-slickers in search of a splash in the great outdoors: Kits is home to the longest salt-water swimming pool in all colossal Canada.
5. Ocean Park Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tucked between Condado and Isla Verde, the beach at quaint Ocean Park is the cream of this island's coastal crop. A top spot for young and beautiful Sanjuaneros to strut their stuff, Ocean Park—to the east of San Juan's city centre—has a Rio-esque flaunt-it beach vibe. With bags of Caribbean charm, we've got a lot of Latino love for this city's sand.