Think of a ‘beach city’ and locations like Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona will no doubt spring to mind. But step off the beaten track and you will find plenty of beachside towns that are just as worthy of the attention that Bondi or Copacabana receive.

These cities offer travelers all the creature comforts of home, with the benefits of having the seaside within easy reach. Pakistan’s best real estate website, takes a look at the top cities in emerging markets to escape to for a mix of city and the beach.

Galle, Sri Lanka

One of Sri Lanka’s major cities, Galle is a town of historic sites built around a relaxed, tropical setting. It is perhaps best known for the Galle Fort, built by the Portuguese in the late 1500s and now a UNESCO World Heritage. But the city is also just a hop, skip and jump from the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka’s south coast. Beach locations such as Unawatuna Beach are just a few kilometers away from the town center.

Zanzibar Town, Tanzania

A city of over 200,000 people, Zanzibar Town is the epicenter of the archipelago and any tourist’s launching pad for exploring the surrounding beaches. Visitors can explore the historic center Stone Town before taking the two hour drive north to Nungwi, which is considered by many as the best beach in Zanzibar.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

The most populous city in West Africa, the Ivory Coast’s economic capital has plenty of beaches close by, including the popular Vridi beach within the city itself. For a day trip, Grand Bassam Beach is 45km to the east and has resorts aplenty. Travelers can also catch a ferry to Jacqueville, located about 60km away but with no direct land routes – offering the ultimate secluded beach experience.

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Cebu City, the Philippines

No visit to the Philippines would be complete without a trip to Cebu, which is the oldest city in the country. Often described as a smaller version of Manila, Cebu City is the first stop on a trip to the region’s many pristine beaches and offers many resorts within the city itself. Just half an hour away is Mactan, a coral island where snorkeling and diving are on the agenda. Other beach destinations within easy reach of Cebu are Camotes, Bantayan and Bohol islands.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This resort town on the Pacific Ocean has a large selection of stunning beaches to choose from, as well as great restaurants, bars and beautiful cobble stone streets to roam through. The Bahía de Banderas, or Bay of Flags, offers the perfect natural setting for this lovely, modern city. Two main beaches on the south side – Playa Olas Altas and Playa de los Muertos – are within easy reach of the center.