Think of Hong Kong and you probably conjure the image of a buzzing metropolis with a spectacular skyline. But there’s another side to the city – beaches. Sunbathe, surf and fish on a choice of stunning sandy strips. And don’t worry about the shark nets – they’re very effective at keeping anything nasty away.

1) Lantau

The island of Lantau is accessed mainly by the ferry port at Mui Wo, with nearby Silvermine bay the easiest beach to access. If you’re in the mood for swimming, then carry on around to south and Upper and Lower Cheung Sha Beaches. These are the longest sandy stretches in Hong Kong, with some other rocky coves dotted around.

2) Repulse Bay

Head to the south of Hong Kong Island and discover Repulse Bay. Don’t be put off by the name – this is one of the most popular public beaches. You’ll find good, clean facilities and plenty of parking. Plus, if you want to earn your swim, you can go for a hike along the coast to work up a sweat first. Be warned, when the sun is shining it can get very busy here.

3) Big Wave Bay

As the name might suggest, this is one of the city’s best surfing beaches. When it’s stormy, the waves really swell. And while those in the know might catch their waves elsewhere around the coast, the available board and suit hire here makes it a busy spot to catch some waves. Again, there are plenty of hiking trails around, and a good choice of restaurants that make it a great place to spend the day.

4) Lo So Shing

Looking for a more quiet, natural beach experience? Then head to Lamma Island and this pristine stretch of coast. Its relative remoteness can put people off coming, which makes it great if you love your beaches a touch on the wild side. It’s perfect for swimming in the clean water and getting away from the bustle of the city.

5) Tai Long Wan

It’s hard to equate Hong Kong with this pristine sandy beach surrounded by greenery. Big waves and beautiful mountain backdrops create a really wild vibe. Technically you’re not allowed to swim here as the beach has no lifeguards, but just a paddle is fine. Just watch out for the strong currents. At weekends you’ll find plenty of surfers camping out waiting for the swells.

6) Turtle Cove Beach

A beach with a difference. This hidden cove is closed for half of the year to let the turtles nest here, but when it’s open, you can lie back on the rocks and watch these adorable little creatures. It’s not easy to get to, with access taking an hour by foot along the south side of Lamma Island. But it’s well worth the effort.

7) Shek O

On hot sunny days this beach can get busy but it’s always a lot of fun too. It’s lined by rolling hills and trees, with some rocky patches. Originally a small fishing village, Shek O itself has got plenty of rustic charm. Certainly enough to attract the wealthy folks who’ve built their mansions here. With plenty of lifeguards and manageable waves, this is a popular pleasure beach and a good choice for some seaside fun.

8) Deep Water Bay

Fancy an early morning swim to get you started for your day? Then join the groups of locals who do just that every morning. This (mostly elderly) crowd jump in even when the temperatures are low, but other than that, this beach can be quiet during the week. At weekends it’s a different story, and it throngs with people using the swimming lanes and just hanging out.

Check out any of these Hong Kong beaches during your break and you won't be disappointed. With big variety – from secluded coves to big, bustling stretches – there’s a beach to suit everyone.