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8th best beach for kids?

In a classic Portuguese-style news item this week TVi reported that Tavira (South-Eastern Algarve) has been awarded 8th position in Maureen Wheeler’s top ten beaches in the latest edition of Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children.

I couldn’t work out if this was considered bad news or good news. 8th? They vox-popped some families on the beach who endorsed the recommendation by saying “it’s not polluted”. (There it is again: trying to say something positive, but it coming out all wrong. One would expect that NO beaches in Portugal are polluted 😕  ). If I was the boss of Portugal Tourism, I’d be asking why isn’t it no. 1? If I was the boss of Portugal Tourism I’d be on the phone to the director of news at TVi giving him an earful, (or rather, I’d be taking him out to a nice long lunch to share my wisdom about tourism related coverage).

What are you looking for in a beach for kids? Shallow sea with no big waves, sand not pebbles, no big crowds, no syringes in the sand or poo in the water, space to park a big shade without irritating anyone…Portugal ticks all those boxes.

It made me curious to see what else was on the list, and how Australia rated. Here it is:

1. COSTA DEL SUD, SARDINIA, ITALY. Interesting no.1 pick. You see how it could be Portugal? And the Atlantic is much nicer than the Mediterranean…

costa del sud


3. DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA. These two are very similar. Spot on choices. Safe, calm, lovely.

4. KARON BEACH, THAILAND. Go Maureen for encouraging families to go off the beaten track.

5. KAUAI, HAWAII, USA. Can’t imagine this being very crowd free, but I haven’t been there…

6. AITUTAKI, COOK ISLANDS. Exactly what I would expect to be on the list – I’d say there are plenty more like this in the Pacific Islands… Just watch out for poisonous urchins and other pesky sea creatures…

7. NOOSA, QLD, AUSTRALIA. World’s most boring beach. Expensive, artificial, and perfect for kids. Sorry for the grownups.

8. TAVIRA, PORTUGAL. Hooray! A round of applause!tavira

9. SAYULITA, MEXICO see Thailand.

10. SANUR, BALI, INDONESIA see Cook Islands. Bali is paradise itself. Perfect for the parents too…

And there you are – nothing from Greece, Croatia, Spain or France: Too small, too pebbly, too crowded. Nothing from the USA or UK. Portugal, you could fill up the whole 10 if you could sell yourself … but do we want that? Who wants to invite the seething masses? Let’s just keep Portugal a nice little secret for a bit longer…


Manyana NSW Australia, my favourite beach.


  1. Isabel August 31, 2009 10:06 pm Reply

    What about the Maldives??? Atoll after atoll of shallow green waters with plenty of fishes crazy fishes swiming between your toes…

    On another register (registro? yes?), apart form the poo in the water (which I wouldn’t vouch for, or better, against), the so-called “Bidet das Marquesas” is absolutely child-proof:


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  2. Isabel August 31, 2009 10:08 pm Reply

    Ooops! Registo, not registro.

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    Emma   Reply: September 1st, 2009 at 2:58 am

    Hi Isabel! Where have you been? Ferias? Yeah, what happened to the Maldives? They’ve got to be better than Noosa… the ummm “bidet” has a slightly unfortunate name… but possibly a bonus to keep the masses away…. Registo? Register? That does doesnt make sense in either language!!! 🙂

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  3. Alain Boucher September 3, 2009 8:29 am Reply

    Hi out there!

    And what about beaches on the north shore of the Saint-Laurent, in Québec? The LONGEST and BRIGHTEST and LONELIEST and WHATEVEREST beaches in the world!
    The problem is… the water of the superb river is about 4°C in July and August, just imagine in January!
    Ah, worth to be seen anyway.

    Hugs and kisses to you, and cheers for your house work and blog!

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  4. Adam Long September 10, 2009 3:08 pm Reply

    Have you heard we’ve had bushfires down Manyana way (very early in the season)? Actually the other side of Ulladulla, but close enough. And more fires further south, near my favourite beach.

    Keep up the good work, brown legs.

    [Reply to comment]

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