Top 10 Most Affordable Beach Towns in the World

The world’s most expensive beach town.

1. St. Barts, France

2. St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

3. Monaco

4. La Croë, France

5. St.-Barthélemy-d’Eaux-Vives, France

6. Cancun, Mexico

7. Antigua

The cheapest beach towns in the world are usually in Brazil. A family of four can live there for less than $200 a month. The most expensive is Monaco, where you can spend $1,500 a month on food, rent and transportation.

Most of the world’s best beaches are also the most expensive. North Africa and the Middle East have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, but they cost as much as Manhattan or Singapore to get to by car.

Behind this pattern is geography: it takes far less land to provide all the amenities required for luxury beach resorts than it does to grow food. And accessible coastal real estate is a global rarity. If you want to live near the sea and avoid paying for helicopter rides and motorboat trips, you have only two options: you can live in an island nation that has already solved these problems, like Singapore or Hong Kong; or you can be rich enough to buy property in one of those nations.

10. Marmaris, Turkey

Airfare from New York to Marmaris costs an average of $1,070 round-trip. The nearest airport is in Istanbul, about 1,000 miles away. What better place for a beach vacation?

Marmaris is on the Aegean Sea, about 500 miles southwest of Istanbul. The town’s harbor is protected by two forts that once served as watch towers for ships crossing to the Dardanelles Strait (now a tourist attraction). You can rent a car and drive there from Istanbul.

A trip to Marmaris costs about $100 per night in a hotel . You can find more moderately priced places along the coast.

9. Cape Town , South Africa

Airfare from New York to Cape Town costs an average of $1,400 round-trip. The nearest airport is in Johannesburg, about 800 miles away. Cape Town is home to Table Mountain , one of the most famous peaks in the world , and it’s also close to Robben Island , where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years .

Cape Town is on the Atlantic Ocean and has some of the best beaches in Africa . It’s also known for its wine .

It’s hard to know where to start. In some cases, like the Matherville, Mass., house featured in the photo, you can find a vacation home for less than $300,000. The average price of a beach house here is $1.5 million.

Some of the most expensive homes—the $12 million waterfront mansion overlooking the Hamptons and the $17 million Beverly Hills estate overlooking Beverly Hills—are not on the beach or even in Southern California.

These properties are so rarefied that with a touch of irony I call them “beachfront mansions.” But they aren’t just for show. The mansions host events that raise money for charity and attract celebrities who can command ticket prices of up to $100,000.

On my last visit to L.A., I toured one such mansion—a 10,000-square-foot space with a private pool and 11 bathrooms—and realized these places are more than just places: They’re gateways to an ecosystem that includes people who make their living from staying there, from catering to their guests and from renting out the rooms by the night so they can charge full price for their time there (which could be as little as 50 cents).

When I was a kid, I had one of those backyard hot-air balloons. You filled it with helium and tied a couple of fans to the top and turned on the gas. You then jumped in and flew away.

The balloon was enormous — like a sky-scraper with a fan on top. It didn’t have any controls or steering mechanism and it stayed aloft only because it was powered by the wind. I wasn’t very confident of my ability to fly it, but I figured if I could just get it up in the air, I’d be okay.

Fortunately, as it turned out, it didn’t take long for me to learn how to fly it. But there were two things about flying that were immediately obvious:

1) It was really hard and took a long time to get good at. Most people never get there at all. And even once you did you couldn’t just jump in and start flying around — you had to get used to the controls first.

2) The actual act of flight itself was pretty boring for most people. To be honest, for me too at first; the joy of flying was almost entirely mental, like forever being trapped inside a gigantic sky-scraper with nothing but uncountable miles of

The universe is full of things we call “see-saws,” but are not. A see-saw is a two-legged object that can go up or down. You put one end on the ground and the other in the air, and it goes up or down. The only difference between a see-saw and an airplane is that an airplane flies. It’s easy to think that an airplane is something you ride in and take off from, but it isn’t. An airplane is a machine that flies by itself. It was invented before people thought about riding in them, and it was invented after people figured out how to ride in them.*

So are other things we call “the future.” But they sometimes do not look like a thing you would sit on or carry along with you. They sometimes don’t even look like a thing at all but just a feeling of possibility.*

When the Wright brothers first flew their machine, people were disgusted. They didn’t think it was worth the risks. After all, you weren’t going anywhere.

The Wright brothers knew that flying was not as important as it looked: they didn’t just want to fly a few feet off the ground, they wanted to fly hundreds of miles and land safely. If a person could travel as far as a steam train or an automobile had then, of course, no one would care whether he flew or not. But this was 1894; there were no cars, no trains, almost no airplanes.

You can see where I’m going with this: if something looks difficult or risky now, someone is going to say it’s not worth doing. But if you understand what’s really involved and why it’s worth doing anyway, it looks very different.

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