It’s the age-old dilemma: Spend your holiday weekend exploring a new city or relaxing on a beach? Why not do both? With the following five city beach breaks, you can explore some of the world’s most beautiful cities — and lounge on their beaches, too!

best beaches in the world

Berlin, Germany

Most people, when looking for a city break in Berlin, don’t imagine it as a possible beach holiday. But locals know the River Spree offers several fine beaches. The Strandbar Mitte, across from Museum Island, is great for midday relaxing and takes on a nightclub feel when the sun goes down.

You can also visit Strandbad Wannsee, “Berlin’s Bathtub,” a 1,275 metre-long and 80-metre wide lido on the eastern shore of Berlin’s Wannsee. There’s a segregated naturist beach here, as well as beach chairs, a playground, promenade and park.

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

If you’re travelling to Dubai for a proper holiday or if you are travelling for city breaks to Dubai, you’ll find that its beaches are some of the world’s most beautiful and warmest, with water temperatures that reach 37 degrees in the summer. Dubai’s beaches are renowned for their fine white sands, and there are plenty of opportunities for water sports here. For the best diving in the area, you may want to make the 90-minute trip to the Emirate of Fujairah where you can experience coral reef–diving. Don’t miss the Jumeirah Beach Walk, with its open-air market, restaurants and shows.

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Venice, Italy

Most visitors to Venice, Italy don’t realize that some of the country’s most beautiful beaches are right under their noses. They’re found on Lido, the sandbar island sheltering the Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. Lido still retains a bit of an aristocratic feel, a holdover from the days when aristocrats visited here frequently. Lido was the site of Europe’s first ever sea-bathing facility, established in 1857. Scenes from films, including “The English Patient” and “Casino Royale,” were shot here.

Many of these hotels offer private beach access to their patrons, but you can also use the public beach at the end of the Gran Viale. Rent a bicycle or explore the island’s quiet, relatively tourist-free streets on foot. Take a guided tour of the World Wildlife Federation’s Oasis Alberoni to learn more about the area’s wildlife and plants.

best beaches in the world 2013

Ocean City, New Jersey

In the heart of the Jersey Shore, Ocean City, New Jersey is billed as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.” City break holidaymakers to this beachside resort will find themselves near Atlantic City, but for a distinctly American experience, you can make the 70-minute journey to Philadelphia or the two-hour journey to New York City.

If you get bored with lounging on the beach, Jet Ski, kayak and bicycle rentals are available. You can also take speed-boat rides, go parasailing or charter a fishing boat for some deep-sea fishing. Bird-watching and whale-watching trips are popular here. The Boardwalk offers a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including a water park, mini-golf, theme parks and shopping. Brave travellers can even take a candlelit ghost tour of the city by night.

best beaches around the world

Tel Aviv, Israel

This Israeli city on the Mediterranean coast is home to some of the world’s most fantastic beaches with boardwalks that stay bustling until the wee hours of the morning. If you like the nightlife, this city-beach break is for you.

If you tire of the beach or you’re visiting with the kids, drop by one of Tel Aviv’s theme parks. Luna Park Tel Aviv has a number of attractions suitable for children. Plus, it’s near the Meymadion, a sizeable water park with an impressive selection of slides for kids and adults alike.

In between swims, you can take in some of the sites, including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Old Jaffa, the Flea Market and the Shore Promenade. Travellers to Tel Aviv will be delighted to know there’s a festival happening here practically every weekend!

You don’t have to choose between a beach holiday in the sun and a city break holiday. Travel to one of these bustling cities to have the best of both worlds — the culture of a city combined with the relaxing atmosphere of a beach.

About the Author: Contributing blogger Monica Conners loves the beach — and the city, too. She always tries to plan her city break holidays to coastal destinations where she can enjoy surf, sand and city lights.