If you’re anything like me then the cold weather makes you want to stay inside, watch Netflix and dream of warmer places. I’m not a fan of the cold and would much prefer to be laying on a tropical beach somewhere. If you’re trying to decide where to go this year and are craving a beautiful beach, then look no further – these four beach holiday destinations are going to be the perfect locations for you. When I consider a good beach, I look for the obvious natural beauty, but I also consider value for money. There are numerous places around the world where you can enjoy a holiday without breaking the bank. Sometimes you will spend a little to get there, especially if it’s a good distance away, but due to the excellent value of these destinations once there you will be able to have a good quality holiday for a reasonable price. Here are my top 4 beach destinations you need to visit!

1. Greece
Greece is one of those places that is on most people’s bucket lists, and for good reason. The people are warm, the scenery is breathtaking and the food is delicious. You can easily island hop between the bigger islands, such as Santorini and Mykonos, or consider visiting some of the smaller islands such as Paros, Patmos and Symi. You literally have hundreds of beautiful islands to choose from in Greece, affording you a wide assortment of beaches! Greece is an extremely popular holiday destination for many reasons but namely the great value for money, the ease of getting around and the beautiful beaches. This means the peak seasons are often overcrowded, to the point of being somewhat uncomfortable. I personally suggest visiting in the slightly cooler months, you will most likely be more comfortable and you will find that the accommodation prices drop considerably. I suggest looking at a visit in April, May and then October. These months will still have balmy weather but you will miss the hoards of people, ensuring you have pockets of Greece to enjoy to yourself. While most people love a relaxing beach holiday, if you get a little restless why not consider enjoying an activity holiday in Greece? That way you’ll get the best of both worlds

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2. New Zealand
While extremely far away and isolated, New Zealand is often overlooked when it comes to beaches for the bigger, warmer neighbor Australia. I personally think that’s a considerable mistake, as New Zealand tends to offer better value for money, has a more laid-back environment and the distances between attractions are much more manageable, meaning that you can visit most of the country’s main highlights quite easily in a two to three week holiday. You can find almost every colour and kind of beach in New Zealand, with my personal favorites being in the Able Tasman, in the North of the South Island, and the lovely beaches scattered around the Bay of Islands. You can even find a hot sand beach, where you can carve out little pools of water that are actually hot! If you’re interested in black sand beaches with sand that looks like a dark black glitter, then Piha beach located a short drive outside of Auckland may be just what you are looking for. If you can, consider renting a car in New Zealand, it’s by far the easiest way to get around and will provide you with ample flexibility, ensuring that you can go exactly where you want and when. New Zealand has a great beach culture, with fish and chips a traditional meal enjoyed by the beach with a large can of tomato sauce (ketchup for the Americans out there). Due to New Zealand’s security and vast natural beauty, there are numerous camping options spread across the country, making it a budget-friendly destination if you’re prepared to take advantage of these amazing facilities.

3. Thailand
You have so many beautiful islands to choose from in Thailand, but my personal favourites are Koh Phi Phi and Koh Rong. Depending on where you live, flights to Thailand may be a bit of a mission, but once you’re there it’s so much more affordable. You will be surprised by how cheap amazing massages are, the fact that beer is almost the same price as water and how delicious the street food is. The natural beauty of Thailand is so incredible that the movie The Beach was filmed just outside of Koh Phi Phi, and if you visit you can really easily arrange a day trip there to enjoy the stunning landscapes. While the beaches of Thailand are a huge pull, there’s more to do than just lay on a beautiful beach all day sipping from a fresh coconut. Consider doing a trek in the North of Thailand, flying through the streets of Bangkok in a buzzing tuk tuk and exploring some of the world’s most stunning temples, my favourite being the white temple located in Chiang Rai, in the North of Thailand near the border to Burma. The fusion of natural beauty, mixed in with the friendly Thai smile, makes it a lovely holiday destination whether for a group of friends, or a family.

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4. Costa Rica
Regarded as the country with the most biodiversity in the world, Costa Rica is also home to an incredible diversity of beaches too. The tourism is quite built up in Costa Rica and compared to neighboring countries in Central America, is easily one of the most safe and secure options. My favourite beach was Samara, a small beach that feels really undeveloped, but in a good way. There’s a rule that the shops, hotels and developments cannot be taller than the tallest coconut tree, ensuring that the buildings don’t overpower the nature. The sunsets in Costa Rica are some of the best in the world. There’s also a very famous surf town, called Jaco, which brings surfers together from all over the world. While the town has a more grungy, tourist vibe than I’d love, it’s a great base to practice Spanish and to get some serious waves in. No trip to Costa Rica would be complete without indulging in some of the wildlife sanctuaries scattered around the country! I highly suggest visiting an ethical sloth rehabilitation center so that you can see these incredible creatures up close and personal. Costa Ricans are known for their “pura vida” lifestyle, which means pure life and you can really feel the different pace of life down here. It’s definitely worth a visit!

No matter which of these destinations you choose, I’m sure you will have an incredible beach holiday.