The beach holiday has always been popular. Like many, I just can’t resist the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the feeling of sea mist on my skin, and the smell of melted ice-cream on the pavement. From the Whitsunday Islands, Australia, to the famous beaches of Brazil, the sun and surf combination has invariably been my preference for a relaxing getaway.
In recent years, I’ve been drawn to the wine holiday as opposed to the beach holiday. This is because a wine holiday offers opportunities to learn about wine, be in the outdoors, and meet like-minded people (while being a little tipsy). But, as much as I like wine holidays, I typically do not return from one feeling as refreshed as I do from a beach holiday.
And so sometimes I have found it hard to choose between taking a beach holiday or a wine holiday. I know there are greater torments to have, but thankfully, there are some holiday destinations that offer both beach and wine. Here are three of my favourites:
The romantic Greek island of Santorini is one of the most magical places in the world to watch the sun set, and what’s more, you can applaud the sun slipping behind the velvet ocean while you eat a moussaka paired with a glass of local red. The volcanic island produces a range of wines, but it is its dry, acidic white made from the indigenous Assyrtiko grape that is worth emailing home about. The citrus character of Assyrtiko pairs well with local seafood and can be enjoyed on your balcony while looking out over the white-washed houses and caldera.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
There is another island that makes delicious wines: New Zealand’s Waiheke Island. Known as the ‘Island of Wine’, Waiheke Island is the perfect combination of sandy beaches, delightful coves, rolling vineyards, and charming restaurants, such as Casita Miro. Waiheke Island is only a 35-minute ferry-ride from downtown Auckland and offers fantastic island views and boutique wineries. Jurassic Ridge’s rich Montepulciano pairs well with the spectacular scenery, Obsidian’s Cabernet Merlot is such good value for a magnificent Bordeaux blend, and Peacock Sky’s food and wine-pairing session is a delight for the senses. Waiheke Island is perfect for a day trip, a weekend, or even a little longer; there is a lot to explore, including the local Indigenous history.
I remember the first time I drove around the green mountainous terrain in the north-east of Spain and into the harbour town of Hondarribia. I’ve been fortunate enough to do this twice now, and both times I have adored this area. From Hondarribia, you can see France across the bay, and this Basque town has a number of beaches, including the main beach, Playa de Hondarribia. The historic centre features traditional restaurants that serve seafood and pinchos, which are Basque-style small dishes, and although you can pair wines from Navarra with your meal, it would be a shame not to try the wines made in Hondarribia. The traditional Txakolis (or Chacolís) wines are made locally, and the white Txakolis made from the Hondarribia Zuri grape is dry and slightly sparkling, which makes it a great accompaniment for pinchos and tapas.
Feature photo: Looking out to New Caledonia’s Anse Vata Bay