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Atlantic Ocean Beaches



arcachon beach dune, france

Worlds Best Beaches

Brazil, the Canary Islands and South Africa have many great Atlantic Ocean beaches and their own dedicated pages:

Brazil Beaches    The Canary Islands    South Africa Beaches

n.b. Atlantic Ocean waters tend to be cool and rough, unless protected by a reef.


Essaouira is a tranquil, fortified town popular with independent travelers. The sand stretches 10 km down to the sand dunes of Cap Sim but is dun coloured and frequently windy. Essaouira has a relaxed atmosphere, local colour and far less hassles than the absurdly non-Moroccan beach resort of Agadir. Best June-Sept. OK May and October. Avoid winter time.



Spain's great value Atlantic Ocean Canary Islands beaches have dedicated pages. Also there is Spain north coast. In contrast to the dry and sandy coastline of Andalusia, the rugged, rocky Costa Verde (Green Coast) and Costa Vasca offers some of the most scenic and unspoilt beaches in Spain, not yet overpowered by mass-tourism.



On the west side of France the Atlantic coast has some great stretches of soft sand and excellent regular surf, though the water is, of course, chilly and facilities may be distant. La Rochelle, Arcachon, Biarritz and St Jean de Luz are particularly good examples.

Brittany's large and lovely Atlantic coast beaches face an annual problem with massive doses of toxic seaweed due to nitrates polluting the water supply as a result of intensive agriculture. As the seaweed decomposes it forms a white crust under which hydrogen sulphide accumulates. When the crust is broken, the gas is released.

Jean-François Piquot, a spokesman for the environmental group Eau et Rivières, said the seaweed, that smells like rotten eggs when disturbed, has been on beaches in Brittany for decades and is spreading. 'There are about five beaches that are unusable. The problem is getting worse.' As much as 70,000 cubic metres of seaweed is cleared off about 70 beaches every summer.

Vincent Petit, 27, a veterinary surgeon from Paris, said that rotting seaweed a metre deep killed his horse as he rode across St-Michel-en-Grève beach. Mr Petit lost consciousness and was pulled off the beach. A post-mortem on the horse showed that it had died of pulmonary oedema caused by inhaling hydrogen sulphide given off by the rotting seaweed.
'Farming is to blame,' said Mr Piquot. 'Britanny has 5 per cent of French agricultural land but 60 per cent of the pigs, 45 per cent of the poultry and 30 per cent of the dairy farms. As our rivers are not long, the pollution does not have time to clear before the water reaches the sea. If it enters a closed bay and there is sunlight, that produces the seaweed.'
The worst affected areas are coastal parts of Brittany and Normandy.

The Atlantic coast is best June-September. See France beach pictures



Excellent beaches though not attractive away from the seaside. Bugbog's picks are Ilha de Tavira for massive sand and little old town, or the Lagos area for varied superb beaches with a sophisticated old town in support. Albufeira is popular with low cost sun-seekers. Portugal's east coast also has many huge soft-sand stretches, though the waves are often brutal so it's very popular with surfers and wind surfers. Guincho, near Cascais is beautiful and popular, and beaches around Ericeira deliver a lot of white water in memorable surroundings, though the town has lost its cool.

See Portugal beach pictures




Florida's Miami South Beach is a massive, well tended strip just off the funkiest part of Miami, so it's loaded with flash folk, facilities and access to excellent bars and restaurants.
The weather is generally good, apart from the occasional storm in the summer, but the sea is chilly, particularly December-March. Best November-May.

Florida Beaches



Bakau, Fajara, Kotu and Kololi beaches.
Winter sun is guaranteed in this value for money, minimal-hassle African experience. It has a reputation as a place for western females to find companionship.
The hotels can be basic so try to stay in more upmarket places. Beware of malaria.
Best November-March. OK April-May, and late Sept-Oct. Rains June-September.



Mediterranean Sea    Indian Ocean    Caribbean    Pacific Ocean


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