From turquoise waters to golden sands, the allure of a pristine beach is universal. Whether you're seeking thrilling water sports, breathtaking views, or simply a tranquil spot to unwind, we've curated a list of the best beaches in the world.
What qualities make a beach notches above the rest? It could be the color of the water, the sand, the marine life, breathtaking views, or sandbars. The criteria differ depending on your preferences.
Regardless of the factors that make a beach the best, this curated list offers wonderful and unique beaches that would make an average beach lover sigh. So check it out and pick your favorite.
Best Beaches for Breathtaking Views
1. Ipanema, Brazil
Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, might seem oddly named “bad water,” but its 1.24-mile (2-kilometer) stretch along the Atlantic Ocean offers anything but a bad view. Nestled between the Dois Irmãos mountains, the beach boasts breathtaking mountain views that captivate surfers, sunbathers, and photographers alike.
The cultural iconic song “The Girl from Ipanema” immortalized the beach, which is cherished by all — locals, tourists, young, and old. With its diverse appeal, from beach volleyball to relaxation, Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro tops our list for breathtaking views.
2. Kelingking Beach, Indonesia
Kelingking Beach on Nusa Penida island near Bali, Indonesia, is a hidden spectacle. The cliff resembles a T-Rex from Cap de T-Rex's viewpoint, offering a unique visual. Beyond its dinosaur resemblance, Kelingking stands out for its wild, untouched beauty — an experience of nature's rawness.
It's more than a beach; it's Bali's crown jewel, perfect for adventurers, beach lovers, and those seeking stunning views. Remember to wear good shoes for the tricky trek down. Kelingking is great for adventure or Instagram-worthy shots.
3. Phra Nang Beach, Thailand
Phra Nang Beach in Thailand's Krabi province is a hidden treasure with a name that means “princess” in the local language. Stretching around 1,476 ft (450 m), it offers ample space for relaxation and exploration.
Its standout feature is the towering limestone cliffs, creating a striking contrast against the Andaman Sea. These cliffs hold enchanting caves, like the sparkling Diamond Cave. Whether seeking tranquility or adventure, you can enjoy this breathtaking package of paradise.
4. Playa del Amor, Mexico
Playa del Amor, or “Lover's Beach,” lies in the Marieta Islands near Puerto Vallarta. Surrounded by Land's End rock formations, it's a secluded haven of romance and nature. Its appealing features include towering rocks, clear waters, and soft sand that are accessible through a short tunnel via swimming or kayaking.
Beyond sun and sand, Playa del Amor offers unique geographical features and an atmosphere of love. Whether captivated by the Marieta Islands' allure or Land's End formations, Playa del Amor is easily one of the best beaches in the world.
5. Mohegan Bluffs Beach, USA
Mohegan Bluffs Beach on Block Island, Rhode Island, in the United States, is nestled beneath 200 ft (61 m) cliffs. Unlike typical sandy paradises, this rocky shoreline with a name rooted in Mohegan Native American history offers a unique experience. The Mohegan Bluffs create a dramatic backdrop, offering views from above and a secluded swimming spot below.
The beach's raw beauty and tranquility make it an exceptional experience, blending the wild and serene. Despite not being the longest beach, its distinct features and seclusion make it one of the best beaches in the world, catering to adventurers and those seeking solace alike.
6. Egremni Beach, Greece
Egremni Beach on Lefkada island, Greece, stands out due to its name and distinctive stairs that descend from the high cliffs to the white sands. Its unique geography sets it apart, making it a favorite for those seeking a different beach experience.
Visitors can relax on rental sunbeds and umbrellas by the crystal-clear waters of the sapphire-toned bay on a 1.86 mi (3 km) stretch of beach. As one of Greece's best beaches, Egremni is a must-visit for its stunning scenery and wonderful features.
7. Navagio Beach, Greece
Originally named Agios Georgios, Navagio Beach in Greece got its captivating name in 1983 when a ship loaded with illegal cigarettes washed ashore, becoming a famous shipwreck site. Beyond the ship, the beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and pristine waters, blending natural beauty with historical intrigue.
Navagio is often considered one of Greece's most beautiful beaches, offering a twist with its unique story. It's a must-visit for those seeking sun, sand, and a fascinating tale.
8. Source d’Argent, Seychelles
Source d'Argent on La Digue Island, Seychelles, is a poetic beach with shimmering waters and granite rock formations rising like ancient sculptures. La Digue's laid-back charm adds to the allure. The beach spans a mile, offering space to explore or relax, from forest trails to clear waters for snorkeling.
Source d'Argent is a visual masterpiece, one of the world's most photographed beaches, where every detail, from iconic rocks to gentle waves, contributes to an unforgettable experience.
Best Sand Beaches
9. Anakena Beach, Chile
Visiting Anakena Beach on Easter Island is one of the best things to do in Chile. Known as Rapa Nui to locals, it is a gem that merges history and natural beauty. The beach, where palm trees sway along the undulating Pacific waves, features iconic moai statues that guard the island's secrets. Carved from 1000 C.E. to the mid-17th century, these statues highlight Rapa Nui's history.
Anakena is more than sunbathing; it connects to a thriving culture. Its UNESCO World Heritage Site status and unique setting make it a living museum where the past whispers through sand and stone. Whether a history enthusiast, beach lover, or curious traveler, you’d love Anakena Beach, which offers a glimpse into a fascinating ancient world.
10. Praia Dona Ana, Portugal
Praia Dona Ana, a celebrated Portuguese beach in the Algarve, stretches 656 ft (200 m), framed by golden cliffs and dotted with concavities that provide intimacy.
Accessible from Lagos, the beach boasts soft sand and clear waters, catering to sun worshippers and beachgoers alike and making Praia Dona Ana truly special.
11. Pink Sand Beach, Bahamas
Located on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, this three-mile-long (4.8 km) beach is renowned for its soft sand, pink-hued from coral and shell fragments. Its texture makes it perfect for strolls. Beyond the sand, gentle waves invite swimming and snorkeling. The area offers resorts and local eateries, blending relaxation with Bahamian culture.
Pink Sand Beach offers a complete experience — unique sand, serene waters, vibrant local life, and warm hospitality.
12. Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos Islands
Grace Bay Beach, located on Providenciales (Provo) island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, offers miles of serene white sand along Caribbean waters. This beach reflects simplicity and unspoiled beauty and is praised for water quality.
The beach has nine access points, including the Royal West Indies Resort and Club Med sections. For a more secluded experience, the Venetian area on the eastern end offers a less crowded coast. Grace Bay Beach is a hidden gem, catering to water sports enthusiasts and those seeking relaxation.
13. Luskentyre Beach, Scotland
Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris, Scotland, is a Hebridean gem with the Gaelic name “Lios-cinn-tir,” translating to “headland fort of the land.” Its vast expanse features crystal-clear turquoise waters and soft white sand.
The Visitor Centre offers insights into the Hebrides' history and culture. What distinguishes Luskentyre is its rugged hills and rocky outcrops, perfect for hiking and exploration. The awe-inspiring landscape may even offer dolphin or seal sightings. Among the world's best, Luskentyre Beach provides a memorable and unique experience.
14. El Nido, Philippines
This beach is a paradise for adventurers, dreamers, and anyone seeking nature's captivating show.
El Nido in the Philippines, meaning “The Nest” in Spanish, offers a 1.2-mile (2-kilometer) stretch of bliss in Palawan. Surrounded by limestone cliffs, its powdery white sand and clear waters create a tactile wonder. Beyond the visuals, vibrant marine life and breathtaking sunsets invite exploration and romance.
Best Beaches for Relaxation
15. Awaroa Beach, New Zealand
Located in New Zealand's Abel Tasman National Park, Awaroa Beach is a remote gem accessible only by boat. Stretching over 2,625 ft (800 m), it offers unspoiled beauty, surrounded by forests and a tidal estuary. Awaroa is a place of golden sands, gentle winds, and soothing waves, with shifting sandbars and shallow pools for exploration.
Beyond its natural allure, Awaroa represents community preservation; in 2016, locals collectively purchased the beach, ensuring its public and protected status. It's a beach that embodies breathtaking beauty, connection, and preservation.
16. Gjipe Beach, Albania
On Albania's western coast, Gjipe is a hidden gem untouched by heavy tourism. The name, which can mean bosom or bay of God, may need a more definitive translation, but the beach's secluded paradise speaks volumes.
Accessing Gjipe is an adventure, with options like walking, boat rides, or 4×4 vehicles. The effort is rewarded with a sandy expanse bordered by dramatic cliffs, offering an exclusive and serene escape. Waves, sun, and golden hues create a tranquil and unforgettable experience.
17. Camps Bay, South Africa
Camps Bay is a Cape Town, South Africa, heaven between Lion's Head and Twelve Apostles. Its rich history offers a long expanse of white sand, palm trees, and a boulevard with cafes and restaurants.
A blend of natural beauty and cosmopolitan charm distinguishes Camps Bay. Through the years, it has evolved as an affluent suburb while preserving its recreational essence. Whether seeking solace or culinary delights, Camps Bay promises an enriching experience.
Best Beaches for Watersports
18. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Known as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” Bora Bora is a South Pacific jewel of an island named after “Pora Pora” in Tahitian, signifying “First Born.” Encircled by a turquoise lagoon and coral reef, its vast beach is a paradise for water enthusiasts.
Bora Bora is well-known for its crystal clear water and is ideal for snorkeling and diving, featuring diverse marine life, like rays and sharks. With a barrier reef, it's a haven for both beginners and pros.
The beach offers diverse watersports, including jet skiing and parasailing, and the overwater bungalows provide easy access to aquatic adventures.
19. Pileh Lagoon, Thailand
Pileh Lagoon in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand, is perfect for kayaking and swimming. Encircled by towering cliffs, the 1,969-foot (600-meter) lagoon provides calm, clear waters for enjoyable water activities, enhancing its natural allure. A must-visit for those seeking more than sunbathing.
20. South Beach, Miami, USA
South Beach, Miami, USA, is a 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) hub for water enthusiasts. The Atlantic's warm currents meet sandy shores, inviting jet skiing and kiteboarding. Ocean Drive's Art Deco architecture adds glamor to the location.
But it isn’t just the watersports that make South Beach stand out. The combination of a lively atmosphere, diverse crowd, and top-notch facilities ensures that everyone, from professionals to novices, can enjoy the destination.
21. Koh Kradan, Thailand
Nestled in Thailand, Koh Kradan is part of the Trang Islands, a cluster of 40 islands within Hat Chao Mai National Park. Unlike busy Thai beaches, Koh Kradan offers quaint resorts with serene white sand expanse.
It retains an untouched, pristine vibe and fresh air amidst Thailand's commercialized beaches. The island is a paradise with tropical trees, lush greenery, and quiet dream-like beaches.
22. Varadero Beach, Cuba
Varadero Beach, locally known as Playa Azul, boasts a stunning 12-mile (20-kilometer) coastline. It is situated on the Hicacos Peninsula's north coast and offers a unique blend of fine sand and crystal-clear waters. This pristine beach attracts visitors worldwide because of its warm turquoise waters and luxurious resort accommodations.
23. Fig Tree Bay, Cyprus
Fig Tree Bay is not just a beach but a unique experience beyond sun and sand.
It is nestled in Protaras, Cyprus, and is a hidden gem with a rich history. Named after a solitary fig tree brought by invaders in the 17th century, it stretches 1,640 ft (500 m) and offers crystal-clear waters. Its distinctive underwater rock formation appeals to snorkelers and divers; lucky visitors might spot sea turtles.
24. San Josef Bay, Canada
Nestled in Cape Scott Provincial Park, San Josef Bay is Vancouver Island's natural crown jewel. A 45-minute hike unveils untouched beauty; there is no cell service here, just sand and rainforest. It's an explorer's dream, revealing sea stacks and caves at low tide.
Camping on the beach offers a unique experience, but watch for bears and wolves. Swim or surf in nature's purest form. Facilities are minimal, except for bear-proof food storage at campsites.
25. Khor Al Adaid, Qatar
For an unparalleled beach experience, consider the Khor Al Adaid between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Imagine this: three colossal dunes meet, forming a unique coastal panorama. It is also known as the Inland Sea.
Beyond its stunning sand formations, the Inland Sea's exceptional lagoon system and tidal bay create a hidden paradise, offering an awe-inspiring connection between the two countries' coastlines.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Best Beaches in the World
What Is The Top 1 Beach in The World?
While all the beaches listed are incredible in their ways, the “top” beach can vary depending on personal preferences.
Some people might say Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos is the top beach due to its stunning sands and turquoise waters, while others could argue for Navagio Beach in Greece with its iconic shipwreck view. It comes down to what you're looking for in a beach experience.
Which Country Has The Nicest Beaches?
It's all about what kind of beach getaway you're seeking.
The concept of “nicest” beaches is subjective because each country has a unique beauty. Countries like Thailand boast breathtaking beaches like Koh Kradan, known for its clear waters and marine life. Cuba offers Varadero Beach with its pristine sand and vibrant waters. Greece showcases Navagio Beach, famous for its shipwreck and stunning cliffs.
The Best Beaches in The World
Have you chosen your favorites? After reading this article, you might already be packing your swimsuit to check off one (or more) beach from this bucket list. The destination you pick should reflect your vacation goals and personal preferences when it comes to beach holidays.
Marjolein is the founder of Radical FIRE. She has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. Radical FIRE is a personal finance blog that helps you live your dream life through making more money and investing. We want you to reach your financial goals and have fun while doing it!