Tuesday, 12 June 2012 8:21 AM
Who says you can’t hit the beach on a hot, summer’s day in the city? Urban beaches are increasing in popularity all over Europe with urbanites who want sun, sand and sundowners without having to leave the city.
Here’s our pick of the best urban beaches in Europe:
Kick back and relax on one of Vienna’s urban beaches alongside the Danube Canal this summer. A hop, skip and a jump away from Vienna’s historic centre, you’ll find the buzzing Strandbar Herrman beach bar, complete with parasols, deckchairs and plenty of sand to dig your toes into. If you want to make a night of it, head to the floating Badeschiff pool boat where revellers sip cocktails and dance the night away on deck.
‘Paris plages’ have been a feature of the city since 2002 – the ideal solution to the stifling heat of mid-summer in Paris. From July 20th you can head to the beaches which include the beach at Voie Georges Pompidou riverside road. You’ll find 800 metres of sand, free concerts, cafés, beach games and plenty of deckchairs to while the day away in. If you’re looking for a slightly more active day out head to Bassin del la Vilette where you can enjoy watersports including kayaking and pedal-boating before relaxing in one of the waterfront cafés.
Just in time for the Olympics, the largest man-made beach in Europe is to be built on the Greenwich Peninsula, in the shadow of the O2 arena and facing the impressive skyline of Canary Wharf. The main beach, which has a capacity of 5,000, will feature a volleyball court, water fountains, deckchairs and plenty of pop-up restaurants and bars for visitors to party the night away in. There’ll also be plenty of entertainment, with top names in the music industry set to perform at the Greenwich Peninsula Festival which will be held at the site.
Berlin has perfected the art of urban beaches and with over 30 beach bars to choose from, there’s an inner-city beach experience for every taste. The first to open in 2002 was Strandbar Mitte beach bar in Monbijou Park, where you can relax in a deckchair and enjoy views of the sun setting over Bode Museum, located opposite. Another popular urban beach is Ostrand – Belin’s biggest beach bar – situated on the east bank of the river Spree, nestled behind the historic East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall. In between sampling cocktails and enjoying live music, you can even have a dip in one of the inflatable pools.
The only true beach in Amsterdam, Blijburg aan Zee, on the eastern side of the modern IJburg island complex, is 250 metres long and 40 metres wide. From DJs and live bands to entertainment for kids, there’s always something going on; you’ll be forgiven for forgetting that you’re actually in Amsterdam! One of the newer additions to the urban beach scene is Strand West – ideal for a relaxing afternoon swaying in hammocks and sipping cocktails. BovenNEMO, the roof bar of the boat-like NEMO science centre, is also a popular hangout, boasting great views of the city centre – ideal for a sun-downer drink amongst palm trees and brightly-coloured deckchairs.
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