Is there anything better on holiday than the moment you first dip your toes into the sea?
If you don’t want to wait a second longer to be on the sand than necessary, check out the beaches below. They’re all close to a major airport and are accessible by either public transport or taxi. Just pack your swimming gear and travel-size sunscreen at the top of your hand luggage, and you’re good to go.
Haven’t planned your trip yet? Read on for some ideas, then head over to KAYAK to start your flight search.
Palma Nova – Palma Airport, Mallorca
Sandwiched between Palma and Magaluf, the popular resort of Palma Nova is home to one of the best beaches in Mallorca. Laze away a few hours on the sand, taking in the sun and gazing out to the Med, or head out to sea on a pedalo for great views of the coastline. There are loads of restaurants and bars on the streets leading off from the beach, so you don’t have to wander far for a bite to eat or a much needed post-flight cocktail.
Getting there: The A11 bus connects the airport with Palma Nova and runs throughout the day in the summer.
Banje Beach – Dubrovnik Airport, Croatia
Banje Beach is the closest stretch of sand to Dubrovnik’s old town – so close, you can walk between the two in about 10 minutes. This secluded cove is flanked by rocky hillsides and backed by Dubrovnik’s trademark red-roofed buildings, so great views stretch out in all directions. There’s no better place to relax and make plans for the rest of your time in the city.
Getting there: There’s a shuttle bus that runs between the airport and Dubrovnik’s old town. From there, you can walk to Banje beach in about 10 minutes.
Barceloneta – Barcelona Airport, Spain
Barcelona’s biggest city beach is a great place soak up some sun and gear up for a busy sightseeing session. The sandy stretch is lined with stylish beach bars and restaurants, where you can tuck into sizzling plates of paella or relax with a cold glass of sangria.
Getting there: Take the A2 bus from the airport to Plaça de Espanya, then the D2 to Barceloneta.
Portobello Beach – Edinburgh Airport, UK
We can’t guarantee sunbathing temperatures, but we can guarantee a two-mile beach less than an hour from Edinburgh Airport. Whatever the weather, a walk along the sand is a great way to blow away the cobwebs and stretch your legs after a flight. While you’re here, take some time to explore the cute Georgian high street and visit one of Edinburgh’s three remaining Turkish baths.
Getting there: Jump on the T50 tram from the airport to York Place in the city centre, then take bus 26 to Portobello.
Cannes – Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport, France
The glitz and glamour of Cannes are within easy reach of Nice Airport. Although a lot of the town’s beaches are privately owned by the swanky hotels and beach clubs, there are a few stretches that offer public access. The pick of the bunch is Plage Mace Beach. It’s centrally located, and you can take advantage of lockers, toilets, changing rooms and showers.
Getting there: The number 210 express coach takes you from the airport to the centre of Cannes within 45 minutes.
Brighton Beach – London Gatwick Airport, UK
Squeeze some beach time into your trip to London with a quick detour to Brighton. This seaside town on England’s south coast is home to a lively pebble beach, which boasts a huge pier complete with a traditional fairground. Spend some time testing out the retro rides, before refuelling with a big portion of fish and chips.
Getting there: Direct trains from London Gatwick Airport to Brighton take about 45 minutes.
Praia de Carcavelos – Lisbon Airport, Portugal
Praia de Carcavelos is one of the easiest beaches in Lisbon to access via public transport, making it really popular with both locals and travellers. The sandy shoreline unravels for over a kilometre and is really wide, so it never feels overly crowded. If you fancy tackling the impressive surf, there are plenty of places where you can rent a board.
Getting there: Take the number 1 bus from Lisbon Airport to Cais do Sodre, then jump on the train to Carcavelos.
Santa Monica – Los Angeles International Airport, California, U.S.
There’s no better way to kick off your time in LA than with a visit to one of California’s most iconic beaches. Stop for an Instagram Story under the famous Santa Monica pier sign, then indulge in some celeb-spotting on the sand. If you want to stretch your legs after the long flight, wander along the Santa Monica pier, where you can people-watch, take in the views from atop the ferris wheel and snack on classic American fare.
Getting there: The number 3 bus will take you straight from the LAX bus station into the heart of Santa Monica.
Hokkini Hani – Heraklion Airport, Crete
You can swap the arrivals lounge for a sun lounger within 10 minutes in Heraklion. Just a stone’s throw from the airport, Hokkini Hani offers up the perfect introduction to Greece. The sandy cove is slightly on the small side, but it’s perfectly formed. The caramel sands are dotted with umbrellas, and the gentle waves offer a cooling respite from the heat.
Getting there: Grab a taxi from the airport and you’ll be by the sea within 10 minutes.
Lara Beach – Antalya Airport, Turkey
Turkey isn’t short on beaches, but if sky-to-sand distance is a priority, you can’t beat Lara Beach near Antalya. Refresh after your flight with a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Med, then pull up a sun lounger and get started on your tan. There’s a promenade that runs along the coast, where you can take your pick of bars and restaurants.
Getting there: Lara Beach is only a 15-minute drive from Antalya Airport, so your best bet is to jump in a taxi.
Sunny Beach – Burgas Airport, Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s premier beach resort is within easy reach of Burgas Airport. The town’s main swathe of sand stretches for a few kilometres, so there’s plenty of space for sunbathing. The beach is backed by a buzzing promenade, which is packed with souvenir shops and open-air restaurants. Hang around until sunset to take advantage of happy hour and kick your holiday off in style.
Getting there: A shuttle bus runs between the airport and Sunny Beach from early morning until almost midnight. The journey takes around 45 minutes.