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Three different continents, three different far away beach cities.

If you feel like going far afield this year but are wary of getting bored on a Carribean island, why not visit one of the world’s most photogenic cities that have it all: city buzz, amazing monuments and ocean lapped beaches? We’ve searched the web and come up with the following ideal destinations for those who need a variety of vacation activities along with some sunbathing and swimming, from a BBC Travel list.

Visit Sydney, Australia, the antipodes’ most sophisticated city, just over 22 hours flying time away. The city’s Bondi beach is one of the world’s greatest and is the closest to the city centre, with consistently good waves for surfing. If you prefer something less crowded, try Coogee, Bronte and Cronulla, or Sydney’s Northern beaches which form a continuous stretch of craggy headlands with over twenty beaches, finishing at Palm Beach. Must visit sites are the Sydney Opera House ( www.sydneyoperahouse.com), one of the 20th century’s greatest architectural feats and Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened in 1932. Qantas, British Airways, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Etihad all operate flights from London Heathrow to Sydney's Kingsford Smith airport. Return economy tickets start at £849.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Copacabana and Ipanema have inspired many a laid back song, but a visit to the Buzios peninsula, a working fishing harbour, offers a more traditional taste of Brazilian beach life. Rio receives the most visitors per year of any city in South America, drawn by world-class hotels, approximately 80 kilometres of beachland, and the famous Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains.

Cape Town, South Africa offers some beautiful beaches. Camps Bay is where the smart set hang out, while families flock to Fish Hoek Beach, east of town, where you’ll find rugby games on the sand. Visit the spectacular Table Mountain National Park (www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain)and access flat-topped, 1086m-high Table Mountain by the Cableway (www.tablemountain.net): the views are phenomenal. Hikers can also take advantage of over 300 routes up and down. You can also walk in the steps of Nelson Mandela in Cape Town.

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