It’s not unusual for couples, families, honeymooners, or small groups to have split desires when it comes to a vacation destination. With 2024 travel soon upon us, you might be asking how you compromise on a vacation destination when one person wants to hit the streets of a new city while the other wants to bask in the sun on a beautiful beach? I’m here to relay the good news: when it comes to the beach vs city vacation, you don’t have to compromise!
Destinations that offer both a city and a beach atmosphere to please every member of your posse exist on every continent. I’ve personally explored, vetted, and curated incredible itineraries for five of the best city and beach destinations. Take a sneak peek at what I discovered:
Barcelona / Majorca
Rich culture, stunning coastlines on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and excellent food and wine – what’s not to love about Spain? It’s a country to which I personally love to travel and send my clients.
The Mediterranean’s Coolest City – Barcelona
Barcelona is an ideal spot for travelers interested in exceptional art and history, as well as foodies dying to sink their teeth into the country’s culinary scene. An extremely walkable city, in one day you can admire the legendary Sagrada Familia, enjoy a tapa tasting on La Rambla, explore the quaint Gothic Quarter, and then stroll to the pretty city beach. There are also more quiet stretches of sand you can enjoy on a day trip. Barcelona is also very family friendly, making it an ideal city and beach destination for families.
Mediterranean Island Bliss in Majorca
Majorca generates plenty of hype for its bustling city and seaport, Palma, a cosmopolitan city with museums, art galleries, and a charming Old Town. And don’t forget the many beautiful beaches, which have carved out a name for the island as a Mediterranean hotspot. Many strips of sand are within walking distance of the city center so you’ll never have to think too hard about which beach to visit. Majorca is an amicable destination for everyone–no matter where your interests lie–and one of the best destinations to travel to in 2024. It’s an especially popular honeymoon destination for those who want to enjoy the best of both worlds and not have to travel too far between them.
There is something just so cool about Lisbon. It could be the charming streets spilling over with sidewalk cafes, or the talented artists that scrawl their art all over town, or the colorful tilework the brightens up every building or home it adorns– whatever it is, Lisbon is a hip, unpretentious, must-visit destination in Europe.
Highlights of Europe in Lisbon
Colonial architecture waits around every turn, as do pretty neighborhood parks and historic neighborhoods like Baixa and Alfama. Days could be spent wandering through the streets, stumbling upon attractions like Praça do Comércio, São Jorge Castle, and Rossio Square. Taking in a Fado show is a must, as is a visit to the National Tile Museum to learn the storied history of the famous Portuguese art form.
Perhaps the best part about Lisbon is its walkability, however the city also has a great metro system. When you’ve had your fill of city life, hop on the train and in under an hour (or 30 minutes if you travel by car or Uber) you’ll find yourself on the Atlantic coast in Carcavelos, Cascais, or Costa da Caparica with direct access to beautiful beaches. Alternatively, take a mini road trip to the south to explore the stunning Algarve region. The soaring cliffs and nature preserves are rugged and pristine and the coastline makes a convincing argument for why beach vacations are the best. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient place to hit all the European beach and city highlights than Lisbon.
Cape Town / Mauritius
Africa’s unique geography, history, and diverse landscape piques the interest of many travelers, making it an excellent destination for a group or family with varying interests. The city of Cape Town literally runs into multiple strips of stunning shoreline, solidifying Cape Town as a prime city and beach destinations.
A Dazzling Cosmopolitan in Cape Town
Cape Town is a buzzing international city with a fascinating culture and inventive gourmet food scene that hits all your South Africa bucket list experiences without breaking a sweat. The bustling shopping and foodie hub at the V & A Waterfront, the brightly-colored Bo-Kaap neighborhood, and dozens of top-notch restaurants fusing South Africa’s heritage with the latest farm-to-table movement are just a few highlights. Time spent along Cape Town’s iconic shoreline won’t disappoint, either. Can’t miss beaches include: Bloubergstrand Beach for Table Mountain views, Camps Bay for golden sand, swaying palms, and unforgettable sunsets, and Muizenberg Beach for swimming beneath the backdrop of colorful beach huts.
A Pristine Nature Retreat in Mauritius
Mauritius is a versatile travel destination for 2024 that’s just as famous for its beaches and pristine coral reefs as it is for its multiculturalism. The real draw of Mauritius is the spectacular natural scenery and white sand beaches. From the towering mountains in Black River Gorges National Park to the pristine beaches and world-class snorkeling and diving offshore, you won’t find a more naturally stunning or diverse place than Mauritius. Although the island nation is still developing, it’s one of the most politically stable in Africa and offers some truly exquisite resorts with top-notch service. Mauritius is still relatively undiscovered by mass tourism, which makes visitors feel like they’ve truly found their own secret slice of paradise. For all these reasons, I consider Mauritius one of the best honeymoon destinations in Africa!
No more city vs beach destination debates! Let’s connect and plan your next beach and city vacation for 2024.