1. Beach 2, August 2009. Welcome to the sleepy port city of Yantai in Shandong Province. I’d been travelling around Shandong for several weeks when someone recommended Yantai as a pleasant place to head purely for a spell of beach lazing. “The beach isn’t actually up to much,” he admitted with a wry smile. “And the city centre doesn’t have anything going on”. It was quite the sales pitch, but nevertheless I felt fascinated by this seemingly unloved coastal outpost. Most of the visit was spent here on Beach 2 reading; sleeping, swimming and watching people build sandcastles.
Georgioupolis Beach, September 2011. The picturesque fishing village of Georgioupolis is situated on the north coast of Crete, between the cities of Rethymnon and Chania. Although a popular spot for vacationers, I’d been encouraged to hear that it had managed to retain an air of sleepiness that guarantees a relaxing stay. And so it proved on arrival, with nine kilometres of spacious, quiet beach and a lazy restaurant/bar scene that literally demands its clientele to chill out, kick back and stare out into the ocean while you wait for those drinks.