20 Best Beaches In The World

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We all have our favourite beaches to go to when we want to top up our suntan, swim in the sea and generally escape the pressure of our daily lives. But did you know there are roughly 600,000 kilometres of coastline around the world, with upwards of 31% of it accommodating a beach in some way, shape, or form? This means that there are plenty of other beaches on the planet you can visit. From the most pristine and divine beaches of the Caribbean and Asia to exotic, far-flung stretches in French Polynesia and South America, there are literally thousands upon thousands of idyllic coastal hot spots you can go to. But which ones are the best? Here’s our pick of the 20 best beaches in the world.

World Beaches

20 Best Beaches In The World

1- Keem Bay, Achill Island, Ireland

Ireland is one of the most underrated beach destinations in the world, and while it has plenty of jewels in its coastal crown, magnificent Keem Bay is undoubtedly the shiniest.

Virtually uninhabited, the Blue Flag beach is on Achill Island within County Mayo.

It can only be accessed by a twisty road that skirts around Croaghaun Mountain, which bookends the strand’s eastern side.

On its west is Moyteoge, a craggy spar.

Both give it an ethereal feel and provide spectacular lookouts to the Atlantic Ocean, where you can sometimes spot basking sharks.


2- Pink Sand Beach, Barbuda

Happy Family With Kids Walk On The Beach At Sunset
One of the best beaches in the world happens to be in Barbuda.

It’s not hard to see why Pink Sand Beach in Barbuda is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

The often empty sandy expanse is a photographer’s dream, comprising crushed corals that have been ground down by wind and waves into a silky consistency that feels heavenly on your feet.

When the sun reflects on it, the sand glows a spectacular shade of fairy-floss pink that is so alluring, it will make you want to scoop some up and pop it straight in your mouth!

3- Awaroa, South Island, New Zealand

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Over on the South Island of New Zealand, Abel Tasman National Park is a wonderful destination to visit, and its headline act, the spectacular Awaroa, will have you pinching yourself in disbelief.

Backed by lush native, clover-green bushland, the view of the Tasman Sea, sparkling like newly blown glass will captivate you as you walk along its golden sand.

The beach is often called the ‘People’s Beach’, because it is owned by locals who bought it via crowdfunding when it was put up for sale in 2016.

You can access the coastline on small boats or kayaks or by hiking through the park’s bosky forest.

Recommended tours: Abel Tasman National Park: Helicopter Flight with landing.

4- Rauðasandur Beach, Iceland

Rauðasandur beach iceland
One of the best beaches in the world for ethereal beauty is Rauðasandur Beach, Iceland.

You might not be brave enough to go for a dip in its freezing waters, but if you are looking to walk on a beach where you are unlikely to see anyone else, Rauðasandur Beach is an excellent option.

Nestled below the rocky shoreline of the western fjords in Iceland, this brooding beach is defined by its distinctive copper-red sands – formed over millions of years by billions of completely eroded scallop shells.

The beach can only be accessed via a remote, winding dirt and gravel road, which explains why only 10% of tourists make it there.

5- Honopu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

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If the thought of visiting a frosty beach in Iceland doesn’t appeal to you, then perhaps the sunnier climes of Hawaii would be more to your liking.

More specifically, Honopu Beach in Kauai.

This beach is so remote, there is only one legal way to get to it, and that is by water.

You can do this from the adjacent Kalalau Beach or an offshore boat, both of which will require you to swim with fins.

It’s worth the effort of getting there though, because the smooth sand and gorgeous cayenne-coloured cliffs will take your breath away.

You might recognise it from appearances in King Kong and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Recommended tours: Kauai: Surfing at Kalapaki Beach.

6- Grand Anse, Grenada

Grand Anse Bay, Grenada
It’s easy to see why Grand Anse’s beach is one of the best beaches in the world.

Grand Anse in Grenada is a glistening strip of coastline that resides on the Leeward part of the island, about six miles south of the capital of St. George.

Easily reached by minibus, car or water taxi, the beach was actually named the world’s best by Condé Nast Traveller UK in 2019.

Renowned for its two mile stretch of creamy-white powdered sand, it is perfect destination for swimming and snorkelling.

You’ll be able to get up close and personal with seahorses and hundreds of colourful species of tropical fish if you dip you head under the water.

Alternatively, you can kick back on a lounge with a G&T or cocktails from one of the many luxury hotel bars that directly overlook its shorefront.

Recommended tours: St. George’s: Annandale Waterfall Fort Fredrick & Beach Time.

7- Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles

Anse Source D'Argent Beach, La Digue Island, Seyshelles
Anse Source d’Argent in Seychelles is one of the most photographic beaches in the world.

If you remember those TV adverts back in the day for the Bounty chocolate bar, then you might already have Anse Source d’Argent in the Seychelles on your beach bucketlist.

Located within the country’s La Digue region, this beach is one of the most photogenic stretches of coastline in the world.

It features massive granite boulders, swaying palm trees and divine white sand, but, unlike what you might have deduced from the commercial, is not as deserted as you might think.

Therefore, to escape the hordes, make your way past the first group of boulders, where you’ll get a bit more space to set yourself up.

Recommended tours: From Praslin: Cocos, Felicite & La Digue Islands Tour.

8- Seagrass Bay, Laucala Island, Fiji

Offering a different coastal experience from other parts of Fiji, Seagrass Bay is a picturesque beach on the private and secluded hideaway island of Laucala.

Only accessible by horseback safari or guide-led walking tour, the scenic spot is flanked by a tropical jungle that accommodates some of the country’s rarest birdlife.

It is also home to captivating marine life, which you can choose to see in a submersible.

Overall, the beach has a sultry, off-the-beaten-path ambience, which you’ll instantly warm to.

As there aren’t too many people around, you’ll feel more like an adventurer than a tourist if you come here.

Recommended tours: Nadi: Malamala Beach Club Full Day Tour.

9- Whitehaven Beach, Australia

Whitehaven Beach Whitsundays
Whitehaven Beach, Australia, is one of the most impressive beaches in the world.

When it comes to ‘WOW’ factors, few beaches in the world can compare with Whitehaven Beach.

Stretching for seven glorious kilometres across the southeastern part of Whitsunday Island, its dazzling 98% white silica sands will instantly captivate you.

The beach is accessible from Airlie Beach by boat, helicopter and seaplane, and is a terrific place for sunbathing, swimming and walking.

It also has a wonderful lookout at Hill Inlet on its northern end which is worth scaling.

Its a bit of a climb up to the top, but once up there, you can photograph its full length from one side and take in the magnificent view of its iconic swirling sands dancing against the backdrop of the turquoise water, from the other.

Recommended tours: Airlie Beach: Whitehaven Full-Day Eco-Cruise with Buffet.

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10- Breckon, Shetland

Tucked away at the northernmost tip of Yell, one of the many Shetland Islands, is the beautiful Breckon Beach.

Flanked by grassy dunes and low cliffs, this pristine stretch of almost bleached white sand contrasts perfectly with the ocean’s shimmering turquoise hue.

Although it faces directly north into the Atlantic, it is actually quite sheltered from the prevailing southwesterlies – though only the hardiest of individuals will want to swim in it.

Instead, one of the best things to do here is comb the beach.

Traces of pre-Viking settlements dating back 4000 years have been found here, including Viking combs constructed of bone, various pottery pieces and even Roman coins.

Recommended tours: Experience The Brecon Beacons Six Waterfalls Guided Walk.

11- Die Plaat, Walker Bay Nature Reserve, South Africa

Cape Nature Walker Bay Beach Near Hermanus Western Cape
Die Plaat, Walker Bay Nature Reserve, South Africa is one of the best beaches in the world for its rugged coastline.

Lined with rocky limestone outcrops, Die Plaat is a wild and rugged swath of sand not far from the town of Hermanus – which is acknowledged as the whale watching capital of South Africa.

As well as being a terrific spot for sighting southern right whales, the jagged shoreline is home to tubby seals that slouch upon the carpet of big iridescent abalone shells that are scattered throughout the area.

Also on the beach is the mysterious Klipgat Cave, which is filled with bats and was home to Middle Stone Age people around 85,000 years ago.

Those with an inquisitive nature will definitely want to check it out.

Recommended tours: Plettenberg Bay: Whale Watching Boat Cruise.

12- Praia do Sancho, Brazil

Sancho Bay
Praia do Sancho, Brazil, is one of the best beaches to visit in the world.

While the Copacabana might be the most famous beach in Brazil, Praia do Sancho is widely regarded as its best.

Residing on Fernando de Noronha, which forms part of an volcanic archipelago of islands that run between Africa and Brazil, it is an incredibly difficult beach to access.

Firstly, you’ll need to take a one hour flight from the mainland of Brazil.

Then you will have to hike through dense forested areas, navigate your way through narrow rock tunnels and negotiate a steep ladder of steps, before you can slip your toes into its golden palm-tree lined sands.

As it is located within a National Park, you’ll also need to pay a charge for environment tax.

However, you won’t care a jot about all these inconveniences when you are revelling in the sight of the giant iguanas lumbering past you along its deserted shoreline.

Recommended tours: Discover Noronha: 7-Hour Ilha Adventure.

13- Fakarava, French Polynesia

Drone Image Of Fakarava Atoll Island Motu
Fakarava, French Polynesia, is one of the top beaches in the world.

French Polynesia conjours up images of idyllic pink and white sandy beaches and gently swaying palm trees, and nowhere is this more evident than at Fakarava, one of its largest atolls.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s best locations for snorkelling, the warm waters of the sea are a haven for vibrant corals, rare fluorescent fish and the slightly unnerving sight of ‘walls’ of sharks venturing close to the shore.

If you are a fan of art, you’ll relate to the beach being the inspiration behind Matisse’s blue period.

The acclaimed artist spent over three months in Tahiti back in the 1930s and was said to be quite taken by the infinite blues of the lagoons.

Recommended tours: Fakarava Adventure Jet Ski Private Tour.

14- Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos

Photographer On Galapagos Beach With Iguana
Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, is home to one of the best beaches in the world for wildlife spotting.

With its jet black lava rock, ghostly-white sand and resident population of marine iguanas, there is a touch of the surreal about Tortuga Bay.

Residing about two miles outside of the quaint town of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos, you’ll need to embark on a hot and sticky hike to get there.

However, after you arrive, the presence of apple-red crabs scurrying along the sands and menacing shark fins lurking in the shallows is sure to captivate you.

Plus, you can always enjoy a quick dip in the mangroves to cool off from the heat.

Recommended tours: Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos.

15- Chesterman Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada

Surfer Heading Out In The Ocean
Chesterman Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada, is one of the best beaches in the world for surfers.

Depending on your perspective, Chesterman Beach on Vancouver Island in Canada comprises a moody 2.7 km stretch of ‘M’ or ‘W’ shaped sand.

Flanked by wolf-filled woodlands and littered with driftwood, the smooth beach is a popular spot with ardent surfers looking for a major rush.

The wild beauty also accommodates several beautiful homes that are well-designed to withstand the strong winds that sometimes sweep off the beach.

It is also overlooked by the stately Wickaninnish Inn, which is a brilliant spot to witness frolicking sea otters and take in spectacular sunset views over a meal or early evening drinks.

Recommended tours: West Vancouver: Howe Sound and Bowen Speedboat Tour.

16- Ile aux Cerfs, Mauritius

Ile Aux Cerfs Island With Idyllic Beach Scene
Ile aux Cerfs, Mauritius, is home to one of the best tropical beaches in the world.

Lying within the Flacq District, Ile aux Cerfs is a gorgeous, privately owned island on the east coast of Mauritius that comprises 87 hectares of luxuriant foliage.

It lies off Trou d’Eau Douce, within the country’s largest lagoon, and is well-known for its immaculate white, sandy beaches and azure waters.

This is another deluxe beach destination designed for total relaxation.

In addition to world-class restaurants, the island offers plenty of water sports, including water skiing, banana rides, speed boat rides, parasailing, and wakeboarding.

It is also home to one of the premier golf courses in the world; the championship standard, 18-hole Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club, which was designed by Bernhard Langer.

Recommended tours: Île aux Cerfs: Full-Day Catamaran Cruise with BBQ Lunch.

17- Marathonisi, Zakynthos, Greece

marathonisi beach greece aerial view
Marathonisi Beach is one of the best beaches in the world to get away from it all.

Marathonisi is a spectacular offshore islet in Laganas Bay in Zakynthos.

More commonly referred to as Turtle Island, the beach’s pristine white sand is a vital breeding ground for endangered loggerhead sea turtles.

Remarkably, it is even shaped a bit like a turtle!

The area where the turtle’s nest, is largely sectioned off, though there is a zone where some swimming and sunbathing are allowed, and day-trip boats can moor.

If you fancy giving them a bit more space, there are several sea caves towards the southern island which you can explore.

Recommended tours: Zakynthos: Turtle Spotting, Marathonísi & Keri Caves Cruise.

18- Dune du Pilat, France

Arcachon Bay And Pilat Dune
Dune du Pilat, France, is one of the best beaches in the world because of its impressive sand dune.

Just over an hour’s drive from Bordeaux is the stunning Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe.

Towering upwards of 300 feet, the finely milled sand here forms peaks that are perfect for tumbling down to the tussocky shoreline that borders the Atlantic.

Surrounding them is the scenic Arcachon Bay, which has miles of beaches perfect for walking along.

Make sure you stop off at one of the fishermen’s huts that line the sand, to order fresh prawns, oysters, pâté and bread, which makes the perfect spread for lunch.

Recommended tours: Dune du Pilat: The Digital Audio Guide.

19- Hidden Beach, Palawan, Philippines

Thanks to Instagram, Hidden Beach in Palawan is not as much of a secret as it once was.

However, this incredible strand in the Philippines is still worthy of being included in any list of the best beaches in the world.

Flanked by dramatic limestone cliffs and featuring sand that is as white as a bone, this beautiful beach can only be reached by swimming through a narrow and small crevice in a rock wall.

If you are a fan of Finding Nemo you’ll be pleased to know you can spot several of the endangered clownfish in the shimmering waters.

20- Dolfynstrand, Namibia

Namibia is home to the world’s oldest desert, the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which is where you’ll find the incredible Dolfynstrand Beach.

Located on its fringes, just a short 15-minute car ride from the seaside town of Walvis Bay, the beach has a distinctly primaeval feel.

It’s not the best place for swimming, but you can sunbathe when the wind is not too strong, and there are plenty of eerie shipwrecks scattered along the shore.

Given it’s a remote location in one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, you aren’t likely to see many people here.

Though there will be the odd seal galumphing about.

Recommended tours: Walvis Bay: Dolphin Cruise, Pink Lakes and 4×4 Dune Drive.

For more beaches around the world read:

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Spencer Samaroo
Spencer is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years experience producing written content for tourism-related businesses. A thalassophile who was afflicted with wanderlust from a young age, he has visited over 40 countries in the world. An ex-pat Brit who now lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he cites Miami Beach in the USA and Palm Cove in Australia as his favourite travel destinations. Specialising in writing about beach destinations around the world, he would probably bleed sand if you cut his arm open