Is it really possible to rank the world’s best beaches? Of course not, as preferences will differ from traveler to traveler, based on scenery, amenities, accessibility, swimming and water sports options, safety and sense of relaxation.
Nevertheless, we’ve rounded up some of the top spots that offer unique scenery, beach quality, crystal clear blue waters and overall accessibility.
10. Tulum – Riviera Maya, Mexico
What makes Tulum, located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, a unique destination is its proximity to some of the most fascinating Mayan ruins in Mexico. Tulum’s ruin is an ancient walled city sitting on rocky cliff that overlooks a spectacular beach. This is the only archaeological site located along the shores of Riviera Maya. So one of the world’s best cultural destinations meets one of the world’s most spectacular beaches, with long stretches of silky-smooth sand, where only the gentle swishing of turquoise waters disturbs the shore.
9. Belle Mare – Mauritius
If you love walking and lying on powder-white sand, if you adore coral reefs, then Belle Mare beach is heaven. It’s situated on the south coast of the island and is surrounded by unspoilt nature, with only a few hotels and luxury villas.
Miles of beaches hug the coast, where golf courses, posh resorts, a family-friendly water park and abundant aquatic sports ensure activity-filled days. But it’s also the perfect place for long romantic walks or a jog, and it is fabulous even for those who simply want to sit back and relax under the filao trees that line the beach and take in the stunning surrounds. The coral reef offshore creates a lagoon, so the water is perfect for swimming.
8. Kanuhura Maldives – Lhaviyani Atoll Maldives
It’s hard to pick just one beach in the Maldives, as all the luxury resorts have incredible sandy shores. Kanuhura is a sumptuous, impressive resort located on a private whale-shaped island that lies in the Lhaviyani Atoll, a 30-minute seaplane flight from Malé International Airport. It is a laid-back palm-painted idyll, with a fabulous range of facilities, tip-top dining and pristine beaches. It’s ideal for families, couples and solo travellers. There’s not quite as much snorkelling here but the broad, white, gently-sloping beaches are perfection.
7. Stintino beach – Sardinia, Italia
Stintino is a small village inhabited by fishing families and located 50 km from Alghero in north-west coast of Sardinia. This is almost a microcosm of the island itself, one of the best place you will find in Sardinia, ith majestic scenery. Despite the tourist explosion, Stintino has remained calm and peaceful with the typical life of the villages. Stunning sun-kissed beaches and rugged coastline, long stretches of white sand overlooking an incredible clear and transparent water, and surrounded by Mediterranean scrub are the main attraction of this enchanting part of Sardinia.
6. Elafonisi Beach – Crete, Greece
Here visitors can enter another world. This unusual beach, located on an island on the southwest coast of Crete, is considered to be a slice of paradise, but it has become a popular destination only in recent years. Its fine white sand is pinkish at several spots because of the crushed seashell powder. It’s connected by a sandbar to an island nature reserve, so you can stroll along the shore and enjoy the view. The island is a mile long, ending in towers of rock formed by wind and water, and it is home to more than 100 rare plants.
5. Cayo Largo – Cuba
This limestone island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, that cover the entire length of the south coastline, for a total lenght of approximately 24 kilometers. Cayo Largo’s beaches are made of extremely fine white sand, never too hot for the feet, and are bathed by turquoise and crystalline warm waters, abundantly populated with a diverse marine life. So Cayo Largo is a divers and snorkelers paradise. Living coral reefs form one more attraction for tourists.
4. Grace Bay – Turks and Caicos
This pristine beach is the shining jewel of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The entire beach is just over 3km long, with no pollution. Here you can find just pure, white sand and clean turquoise waters, without rocks, seaweed or pollution. The barrier reef found a 1,6 km out protects Grace Bay from the ocean swells of the Atlantic, so you can swim with ease and practice safely water sport activities. The beach is lined with beautiful luxury resorts and plenty of world-class restaurants. Grace Bay Beach is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park. On the west end of Grace Bay Beach, Coral Gardens is a paradise for snorkelers with its colorful coral heads and sea fans, plenty of fish, turtles, lobster and other sea life.
3. Maya Bay in Phi Phi (Thailand)
This is a stunningly beautiful bay on Thailand’s Koh Phi Phi, sheltered by 100-metre high cliffs on three sides. This ring of white sand surrounded by mangroves and towering limestone walls blanketed by dense foliage served as the location for hit film “The Beach” starring Leonardo Di Caprio. Inside the bay there are several beaches, most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main beach within the bay is around 200 meters long and features silky soft white sand, with underwater colorful coral and exotic fish in exceptionally clear water.
2. Anse Source D’Argent (Seychelles)
This is one of the most photographed beaches in the world, as its beauty deserves to be forever immortalized. It became the star of many films and adverts for its pure white sand, shallow emerald waters, some of La Digue’s most beautiful granite boulders and coconut palms.
This is a great snorkelling place, but it is easy to spot fish swimming in the shallow around the reef without a mask or snorkel. Cars are not allowed on La Digue, but you can easily reach the beach on foot or by bike.
1. Matira Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The small island of Bora Bora overflows with beauty and Matira Beach is a postcard-perfect sweep of pristine sand that stretches for 1,6 kilometers along Bora Bora’s southernmost tip. This is the most popular public beach, framed by lush palms and green hills; the white sand slopes gently into a sandy bottomed lagoon, so the water is warm and shallow. The floor is flat and has a sandy, coral-free bottom to walk on. If you are travelling with your family, this is a wonderful place for children to swim and play. With waterfront restaurants, boutiques and tour operators a short stroll away, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for an exciting day.
The beach is an idyllic spot to relax. Coconut palms and beach umbrellas make Matira Beach a pleasant place for families. With your snorkel and mask. you can see the tropical fish that live in the lagoon’s deeper waters and you can discover beautiful corals.