‘my Favourite Beach In The World' – Readers' Tips
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‘my Favourite Beach In the World\' – Readers\' Tips

Winning tip: Punta Uva, Costa Rica

Just a winding road away from vibrant Caribbean-infused Puerto Viejo is theGandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge, a haven for free-range iguanas, sedentary sloths, all manner of feathered, scaled and furry creatures – and a few lucky human visitors. Explosions of vegetation burst with beneficial botanical properties; the Refuge is a tropical garden of Eden. Follow a trail through the towering bamboo canes, skirt around zig-zagging trails of tiny crabs, and discover a serene, pristine stretch of soft white sand, fringed with coconut palms. The gentle rustle and sway of tropical vegetation blends with the gentle swoosh of the turquoise tide – Punta Uva is a secluded slice of paradise.

With relatively warm water to swim in and protected by giant boulders, this is a superb beach. You can climb on the rocks, collect shells and swim with, or just watch, the African penguins who have made the beach their home. It is on the tourist trail from Cape Town to Cape Point, Western Cape and part of the Table Mountain national park. On the way, you pass the next three best beaches in the world: Fish Hoek, St James and Muizenburg.

megandee

Patara beach, Turkey

On this part of the south-western Turkish coast most beaches are flat rocks, carved into the cliffs that drop sheer into the Mediterranean. Patara would be unusual just for having fine sand and shallow waters. But there's more drawing people – locals, as much as tourists – to Patara: it's the longest unbroken beach in Turkey, and the 18km of dunes could swallow legions of people before it felt crowded. Ten minutes' walk from the beach are incredible ancient Lycian ruins, and visitors can get a thrilling view over Patara from the top of the partly restored amphitheatre.

LTaylorM

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Iceberg beach Iceland

Photograph: Alamy

Black volcanic sand, seals, icebergs broken off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier … this is no palm-fringed idyll! Turn your back on the glacial lake where hundreds of tourists will be lining up to get on boats to marvel at the coastal scenery and instead follow the shortest river in Iceland to this beach where you can walk around, climb and even lick the icebergs without anyone else in sight.

Lottie Chapman

Phalasarna, western Crete

Forget the brochure fodder of Agia Marina and the gaudy sands of Malia; Crete's real coastal wonder is on its western haunch. Found curving its way along the base of the mighty, wild Gramvousa peninsula, Phalasarna is formed by sporadic stretches of sloping yellow sand that's broken by the occasional rocky finger poking into the Med. It's backed by fields of tomatoes, olive groves and jagged coastal mountains topped with cloud. A smattering of tavernas serve gritty Greek coffees next to the ruins of an ancient acropolis closer to the shore.

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