Brittany’s large and lovely Atlantic coast beaches face an annual problem with massive doses of toxic seaweeddue 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.
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.
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.