My 5: Yantai, China.

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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.

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My 5: Georgioupolis, Crete.

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1. 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.

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