Top 100 beaches on Earth 2023: Ranked

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The definitive list of the best beaches in the world. Think powder white sand, turquoise seas, permanent sunshine and only the lightest of breezes wafting through the palms that fringe the beach and you're there. But that's not the whole story; we've also included some of the most amazing beaches on earth that don't tick all the usual boxes...

From the endless white sands of remote Australian beaches to palm fringed tropical idylls we have compiled (with your help) the finest beaches on Earth. Whilst some might argue there is a fair and accurate way of ranking the World's best beaches into some kind of order we have chosen our very own system. Basically, as far as we are concerned, the more mentions of words and phrases such as crystalline, azure, fine sand, turquoise, pristine, etc, the better!

But it doesn't stop there. We have left the final decision up to you, the users of the World Beach Guide. You too can rate every beach we have listed on the website with our infallible, patented five star rating system. So you can forget your Blue Flag awards, Trip-Advisor polls and whatever else you might have read on the internet. If you want to know which is the finest, greatest and downright coolest beach on the planet, look no further!

  • #100. St Kilda Beach // Australia

    St Kilda Beach

    A popular getaway from central Melbourne for more than 100 years, St Kilda Beach has a thriving parkland foreshore called South Beach Reserve that's dotted with outdoor restaurant terraces. Additional options can be found at the end of its long pier, whose breakwater creates the harbour and provides a home for a colony of little penguins.

    Particularly busy on weekends and holidays, the promenade is well-used by walkers, rollerbladers, runners, and… read more »

  • #99. Fteri Beach // Greece

    Fteri Beach
    © Igor Tichonow

    Fteri Beach can be found on Kefalonia's northern coastline, a bay away from the famous Blue Lagoon. Even so, Fteri Beach tends to be much more tranquil than it really should be, since it can only be reached by boat or on foot along a marked hiking trail lasting at least 45 minutes each way. Water taxis depart from Zola Harbour close to Agia Kyriaki beach and take around… read more »

  • #98. Mooloolaba Beach // Australia

    Mooloolaba Beach

    Mooloolaba Beach sits at the heart of Queensland's aptly named Sunshine Coast. 

    The pure white sands here are matched in their beauty by the crystal clear waters, which are often dotted with surfers from the Mooloolaba Surf Club. It's bang in the middle of the beach, and you'll find the lifeguard tower here too - it's manned by volunteers 365 days a year, so as with most Aussie beaches,… read more »

  • #97. Higgins Beach // USA

    Higgins Beach
    Ken Gallager

    Higgins Beach is located in Maine's Cumberland County, approximately ten kilometres south of Portland. With a length of just over half a mile, Higgins Beach makes for a charming and easy escape from the big city.

    Its attractions include the quaint uncommercialised community of around 300 oceanside cottages, many of which are only occupied seasonally, alongside the shipwreck trapped by the beach's white sands and the chance to fish for striped… read more »

  • #96. Playa de Anfi del Mar // Spain

    Playa de Anfi del Mar
    © FrodeCJ

    This cosy little bay is nestled snugly along Gran Canaria's south coast.

    The beach is an ice white sandy strip that draws families in, partly due to the calm and clear water, which is ideal for young children taking a paddle, and partly due to the family-friendly atmosphere here.

    Sunbeds and parasols can be rented on the sands, and there's a watersports centre on the beach too, where you can hire jet-skis,… read more »

  • #95. Skaket Beach // USA

    Skaket Beach

    Skaket Beach lies on the west coast of Cape Cod facing into the sheltered waters of Cape Cod Bay. This makes it a very different proposition to the Atlantic facing beaches on the east coast.

    Just a stone's throw cross-country from Nauset Beach on the opposite coast, Skaket Beach is different in nearly every way imaginable. Instead of being pounded by some of the biggest waves on the Cape, Skaket is… read more »

  • #94. Plage de la Dune du Sud // Canada

    Plage de la Dune du Sud

    Just a short distance from Iles de la Madeleine Airport, Dune du Sud stretches for an almost unbelievable 22 kilometres (15 miles) along the eastern coast of the Magdalen Islands. A much-celebrated family beach during the summer months, it gets busy despite its size, with activities including bike paths, hiking and a variety of water sports.

    Boat ramps provide an easy place to launch kayaks, while windsurfing and kite surfing are… read more »

  • #93. Mohegan Bluffs Beach // USA

    Mohegan Bluffs Beach

    Mohegan Bluffs Beach is situated on the southeastern coast of Block Island. The beach takes its name from the towering cliffs which reach up to 200 feet above the coast. From atop the cliffs, visitors can admire some stunning views out over the Atlantic Ocean.

    The beach itself is fairly sandy but littered with large rocks close to the cliffs - which are in a constant state of erosion, so don't… read more »

  • #92. Twilight Beach // Australia

    Twilight Beach

    One of the closest beaches to Esperance in Western Australia is Twilight Beach, which lies just ten minutes west by road. Two large car parks make it easy to pull over and enjoy all the beach has to offer, which includes beautiful views of a rock formation just offshore, white sands, and azure waters that attract both swimmers and surfers.

    Facing southeast, Twilight Beach continues for an incredible 3.2 kilometres in… read more »

  • #91. East Coast Beach // Singapore

    East Coast Beach
    © Paer Svensson

    Created from land reclaimed from the Strait of Singapore, East Coast Beach Park is located on the southern shores of the island. Although entirely man-made, there's nothing artificial about the beauty of this stretch of light, soft sand, which runs for a total length of 15 kilometres.

    It is backed by East Coast Park, which at 460 acres in size is the largest and most-visited park anywhere in Singapore. It receives… read more »

  • #90. Little Cove - Noosa // Australia

    Little Cove - Noosa
    © alizadastudios

    Located just a stone's throw from Noosa's Main Beach is the aptly named Little Cove. Far more secluded and intimate than it's bustling neighbour the beach here has a completely different vibe to it.

    With crystal clear turquoise water and backed by the steep, lush pandana and palm lined slopes of the Noosa National Park, Little Cove beach exudes natural beauty. Despite its proximity to one of Australia's most popular… read more »

  • #89. Playa Meloneras // Spain

    Playa Meloneras

    Tucked away in Gran Canaria's southwestern corner, just a short way up the coast from Maspalomas' sand dunes, you'll find the soft golden sands at Playa de Meloneras.

    This 500-metre stretch of family-friendly beach rarely gets too crowded, with most tourists opting for the larger, busier spots along the coast, so it's ideal if you like plenty of wriggle room while you're catching the rays.

    The waters are warm and calm,… read more »

  • #88. Sorrento Back Beach // Australia

    Sorrento Back Beach

    Sorrento Back Beach is named after the town of Sorrento approximately 1.5 kilometres away. A part of Mornington Peninsula National Park, it is a beach known for its swimming, surfing and rockpools.

    Swimmers should stay within the flagged area to avoid rip currents, an additional precaution to the lifeguards on duty during the easter and summer holidays as well as weekends between these dates.

    To explore its rockpools, you'll want to visit… read more »

  • #87. La Concha // Spain

    La Concha
    © Keta under this license

    The beach of La Concha is a large crescent of fine golden sand with the city of San Sebastián as a backdrop. The beach is set in a spectacular semi-circular bay between the forested headlands of Monte Urgull and Igueldo. This vista is further enhanced by the tree covered Isla de Santa Clara rising out of the middle of bay. La Concha is often cited as one of the best… read more »

  • #86. Good Harbor Beach // USA

    Good Harbor Beach

    Good Harbour Beach is a public beach which sits at the mouth of a river, opposite Salt Island just east of the city of Gloucester. During low tide, visitors can even walk to Salt Island. Access to Good Harbor Beach is via its dedicated car park off Thatcher Road, or via the footbridge which crosses the river mouth at the beach's western end, close to its volleyball courts.

    Surrounded by dunes… read more »

  • #85. Four Mile Beach // Australia

    Four Mile Beach

    As the name suggests, this golden strip of sand stretches for roughly four miles along North Queensland's tropical coastline.

    The biscuit-coloured sands are wedged between sparkling blue waters and a tropical backdrop of palm trees, which separates the beach from the adjacent town of Port Douglas.

    Unlike some of Australia's better known beaches, such as Bondi and Surfers Paradise, this one's not so tourist-focused, and as such there's not a… read more »

  • #84. Cannon Beach // USA

    Cannon Beach
    © Stacey Andrew McClain

    Look for Cannon Beach on a map of Oregon and you'll find its not only the name of a stunning stretch of west coast shoreline, but also a city in Clatsop County. Named one of the world's most beautiful places by none other than National Geographic (and they should know), Cannon Beach also featured in the last scene of the 1991 cult classic Point Break.

    Face out from the soft sands… read more »

  • #83. Lucky Bay // Australia

    Lucky Bay
    Stan Feldman

    Lucky Bay is reputed to be Australia's whitest beach, making it an idyllic beach to visit with its pristine sand and aquamarine water. Views from the beach look out across the Recherche Archipelago, adding further to the natural beauty.

    Stretching for 5km, Lucky Bay is one of a series of beaches and coves along the Cape Le Grand National Park coastline. You'll usually have the beach almost to yourself, making it… read more »

  • #82. Hoddevik // Norway

    © Frode Inge Helland / CC BY

    Set at the foot of a green valley between towering cliffs on the far western coast of Norway is Hoddevik. This little fishing outpost with its weatherboard huts sits in front of one of the regions finest beaches. With almost a mile of fine white sand and clear blue waters this is an idyllic spot to (literally!) chill out and relax.

    Hoddevik is widely considered to be Norway's best surfing… read more »

  • #81. Zapallar // Chile

    © David Zipper / CC BY

    The small town of Zapallar is located on Chile's Central Coast a few hours drive north of the capital, Santiago. This is where Chile's wealthy and famous like to spend a weekend by the sea in any one of the fabulous old villas which cling to the hillside overlooking the beach. As a result visitors are particularly well catered for with some good shops and cafes. The town has something… read more »

  • #80. Camp Cove Beach // Australia

    Camp Cove Beach
    © Diliff / CC BY

    Camp Cove sits on the inner coast of South Head, the headland guarding the entrance to Sydney Harbour. As such the beach is not only sheltered but commands spectacular views back over the harbour and towards the city.

    read more »
  • #79. Cala Saona // Spain

    Cala Saona

    Small but perfectly formed Formentera is known for its superb beaches and being a relaxing getaway from its noisy neighbour Ibiza.

    The beach of Cala Saona sits within a small bay surrounded by red rocks where the soft white sands are gently lapped by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. It is very much a haven for peace and relaxation, although there are a few beachside restaurants.

    read more »
  • #78. Big Beach // USA

    Big Beach

    As the name suggests, Big Beach is in fact the largest beach on the south coast of Maui. There is nearly a mile of golden sand along this section of Makena Beach State Park which unlike neighboring beaches is largely undeveloped.

    Backed by lush tropical forest this Big beach feels a lot more remote than it actually is; in fact it is right next door to the resort of read more »

  • #77. Varkala Beach // India

    Varkala Beach
    © Navaneeth Krishnan S / CC BY

    Set in the south of Kerala Varkala Beach is a truly beautiful spot. From the long stretch of cliff there are views out over the Arabian Sea and the beach below. This stretch fine white sand is outlined in coconut trees and bamboo huts giving it a totally tropical feel. Whilst there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and shops nearby this is still less commercialized beach than many others in… read more »

  • #76. Byron Bay Main Beach // Australia

    Byron Bay Main Beach
    © Karl Lundholm

    Byron Bay is situated in the far north of New South Wales and on the very eastern tip of Australia - Cape Byron is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. This small beach town was put on the tourism map back in the 1970s when it was on the hippy trail later becoming a popular backpacker destination. It is to a large extent the legacy of Byron's early days that… read more »

  • #75. Venice Beach // USA

    Venice Beach

    When thinking of Los Angeles it is hard not to picture the city's iconic Venice Beach. Whilst many beaches are exactly that, and nothing else, Venice Beach is much more than that; a beach, cultural institution, vibrant community and international tourist destination to name a few. What goes on along the beach front is as important to Venice beach's character as the sand,ocean and palms trees that physically define it.

    read more »
  • #74. Arashi Beach // Aruba

    Arashi Beach
    © agustavop / iStock

    Located on the west coast of Aruba, towards the northern tip is the small, but lovely Arashi beach. Unlike much of the west coast the area around Arashi is virtually undeveloped with few facilities. Combined with the fact it is a little out of the way this is a perfect get-away spot. Arashi is well known among divers with the calm crystal clear water perfect for swimming and snorkeling too.

    read more »
  • #73. Oludeniz Beach // Turkey

    Oludeniz Beach
    © Anastasia Tsarskaya / 123RF

    Ölüdeniz or Olu deniz is the Turkish for "Dead Sea" and this refers to the still waters of the lagoon that lies behind the beach. A more fitting and commonly used translation is the Blue Lagoon.

    The lagoon has crystal clear waters and provides an ideal safe place for children to play. It is separated from the sea by a curving spit of sand which is backed by pine… read more »

  • #72. Beit Yanai // Israel

    Beit Yanai
    © yoni leibtag Pikiwiki Israel / CC BY

    Beit Yanai ("House of Yanai") is a small settlement and community of farmers with a population around 450. Formed in 1933 by settlers from Poland and Lithuania, this settlement is in the Sharon plain in central Israel. Known for its beach of the same name, this coast ranks among the best in Israel thanks to its long and wide stretches of white sand along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean… read more »

  • #71. Bottom Bay // Barbados

    Bottom Bay
    © Richard Semik / 123RF

    Located on the south-east coast of Barbados, Bottom Bay is just along the coast from the ever popular Crane beach. Unsurprisingly it shares many features with Crane beach; the fine white sand, abundance of palm trees, and azure waters. It can also have powerful waves. Where it differs is in the high coral cliffs which the beach backs onto, giving the beach a more enclosed feel. Sightings of turtles and… read more »

  • #70. Red Beach // Greece

    Red Beach

    Red beach, so named because of the pinkish hue of the sand, is located just south of the better known beach of Matala. Both were firm favourites on the 1960s and 70s hippy trail and whilst Matala may have gone mainstream, Red beach still retains some of its laid back credentials.
    It's a lovely little beach set at the base of arid hillsides and limestone cliffs. The red sand is… read more »

  • #69. Lanikai Beach // USA

    Lanikai Beach
    © Tomasfoto

    Situated on the windward coast of Oahu in Hawaii is Lanikai beach, which translates as "heavenly sea". With its fine white sand and brilliant aqua blue water this name seems quite fitting. Lanikai is fringed with palm trees and with water temperatures rarely dipping below 75° F (24° C) there is no mistaking you are in the tropics. Unlike many of Oahu's other great beaches, Lanikai is not designated a… read more »

  • #68. El Castillo // Mexico

    El Castillo

    The beach at Tulum is pretty much your standard Caribbean coast beach; crystal clear turquoise waters, soft white sand and low limestone cliffs draped in tropical vegetation. However, the beach at El Castillo can do even better than this.

    Located on what has been dubbed the Riviera Maya, the beach here is backed by the ruins of an ancient Mayan port of Zama. The Tulum ruins are believed to date… read more »

  • #67. Three Tables // USA

    Three Tables
    Alison and Fil

    Set on Oahu's North Shore, this pretty little beach is surrounded by some of the best known surf spots on the planet. In fact the famously huge waves of Waimea Bay break only around 100 yards away from Three Tables. But that's not why people come here.

    Three Tables beach is perhaps best known as a snorkeling spot and for good reason. The name of the beach comes from… read more »

  • #66. Miramar Beach // USA

    Miramar Beach

    Positioned on an attractive stretch of Gulf of Mexico coastline, it's no surprise that Miramar Beach in Destin has its fair share of beachside condos and apartments for rent. During the summer months, its permanent population of approximately 6,000 residents is dwarfed massively by visitors keen to enjoy the powdery white sands for themselves.

    Sunbathers looking to soak up the rays of the southern sun are equally at home at… read more »

  • #65. Plage de Tahiti // France

    Plage de Tahiti
    Fred Bigio

    Set just far enough out of the town of Saint Tropez yet within a stone's throw is one of the areas best known beaches - the Plage de Tahiti. Adjoining Pampelonne beach this broad stretch of sand has everything one would expect from one of the French Riviera's top spots.

    On quieter days, outside the summer holidays, the beach could almost be described as secluded, with its backdrop of… read more »

  • #64. Turneffe Atoll // Belize

    Turneffe Atoll

    Turneffe Atoll's remote beaches are something of a sanctuary for wildlife and a haven for those seeking a little solitude. 

    The atoll's diverse barrier reef ecosystem supports a variety of marine species, making it a prime spot for scuba diving and fishing.

    read more »
  • #63. Isla Holbox // Mexico

    Isla Holbox

    Isla Holbox is a Caribbean island just off the northern tip of the popular Yucatan peninsula, off the coast of Quintana Roo. Less than one mile wide, the 26-mile long island runs parallel to the Chiquila Coast creating a protected lagoon that is home to flamingos, pelicans and other birdlife.

    Holbox actually means "black hole" but there's no sign of anything fitting this definition, in fact quite the opposite. Lined with… read more »

  • #62. Tanjung Aan Beach // Indonesia

    Tanjung Aan Beach
    Suryanata budi

    With a wide arc of sparkling white sand and brilliant turquoise waters, Tanjung Aan beach certainly checks all the boxes. Set in a wide, horseshoe shaped bay it is also one of the more sheltered beaches on Lombok's exposed south coast. That said there are still some waves for surfing in the middle of the bay, and these are ideal for beginners.

    Swimming and snorkelling are both fine at Tanjung Aan. On… read more »

  • #61. Agiba Beach // Egypt

    Agiba Beach
    Roland Unger

    Agiba Beach gets its name from the Arabic for "miracle". It lies on Egypt's Mediterranean Sea coast just west of the town of Marsa Matrouh. Set back in a small cove, the near white sands are trapped between cliffs on all sides. In fact, access to the beach is via a footpath down from the clifftop, making it unsuitable for very young children and those with movement issues. A small… read more »

  • #60. El Tecolote // Mexico

    El Tecolote
    Charles-Edouard Coste

    Located 15 miles north of La Paz on the beautiful Baja California, El Tecolote Beach is literally at the end of the road, just after Playa Balandra on State Hwy 11.

    El Tecolote has an unusually long stretch of fine white sand (about 8 miles) with shady palapa beach umbrellas and some beautiful shells if you care to collect them. It is one of the few beaches in the area… read more »

  • #59. Agathi Beach // Greece

    Agathi Beach
    © Ian Woolcock

    Agathi Beach sits within a square-edged bay on the eastern coast of Rhodes. The popularity of its light golden sands is demonstrated by the multiple rows of sun loungers for hire lining the water's edge. They run from one end of the beach's 200 metre length to the other almost without break.

    The beach is popular with families, teens, and couples, which comes not just from its soft sands, but also… read more »

  • #58. Playa Balandra // Mexico

    Playa Balandra
    Nathan Dugal

    Located 30 minutes from La Paz near the tip of Baja California, Playa Balandra is a an idyllic crescent-shaped bay. The sweeping bay is often cited as the most beautiful beach in Mexico.

    White sand dunes and clear turquoise waters are backed by red hills dotted with prickly cactus. The white sand is very soft and warm. Just offshore is the Isla Espirito Santo adding to the scenic view.

    The sheltered lagoon… read more »

  • #57. Long Beach // Canada

    Long Beach
    © Adam Jones / CC BY

    Located at Tofino on Vancouver Island, Long Beach certainly lives up to its name. Stretching for 16km, the unbroken white sand is the longest beach on the island. Reached from Hwy 4 (Pacific Rim Highway) and despite its isolated location it attracts over a million visitors each year.

    The beautiful sand collects massive amounts of driftwood and is edged by old-growth forest. Pounded by the Pacific Ocean, this rugged coastline… read more »

  • #56. Anthony Quinn Bay // Greece

    Anthony Quinn Bay
    Michael Mayer

    Anthony Quinn Bay beach lies at the end of the narrow fjord-like bay of the same name. It comprises pockets of golden sand tucked between natural biscuit-coloured rock formations. These provide protection from even the strongest waves. Pines and other native flora offer some natural shade, alongside umbrellas and sun loungers which are available to rent.

    Well known for the clarity and turquoise colour of its waters, Anthony Quinn Bay is… read more »

  • #55. Ehukai Beach Park (Pipeline) // USA

    Ehukai Beach Park (Pipeline)
    Aussie Aussalt

    No visit to the North Shore would be complete without checking out Ehukai beach, or Banzai Pipeline as it is known to surfers around the world. Set at the heart of the "7 mile miracle" this is possibly the most famous surf spot on the planet and a veritable Mecca for surfers. However, Pipeline is a wave for the experts only; incredibly powerful and breaking over a shallow coral… read more »

  • #54. Waimea Bay // USA

    Waimea Bay
    Anthony Quintano

    Beautiful Waimea Beach is set at the heart of the North Shore and catches all  the rolling swells that attract big wave riders and pro surfers from around the world. Divided by the outflow of the Waimea River which is ideal for tubing, the golden sands are punctuated by rocks at the south end of this pretty cove, including the huge Waimea Rock which is popular for scrambling up… read more »

  • #53. Misquamicut State Beach // USA

    Misquamicut State Beach
    © Juliancolton

    Misquamicut State Beach is located in the very west of Rhode Island, just over the state line from New Hampshire. Not only is this one of the longest beaches in the state, it is the most popular, and for good reason.

    Forming part of a sandy coastline that stretches off for miles in both directions, Misquamicut is a beach with something for everyone. Sitting on the edge of the little seaside… read more »

  • #52. Palawan Beach // Singapore

    Palawan Beach
    © Arulonline

    Palawan Beach is one of several long and broad sand beaches located on the southwest side of Sentosa Island, a short drive or cable car ride from downtown Singapore. It is generally considered the most child and family-friendly.

    It is named after Palawan Island. Connected to Palawan beach by a chain-link suspension bridge, the island is said to be the southernmost point of continental Asia. Palawan Beach is shaped like an… read more »

  • #51. Playa Norte // Mexico

    Playa Norte
    © Eddy Galeotti

    Located on Isla Mujeres is the beach of Playa Norte, a tropical island getaway that seems worlds apart from the resort town of Cancun just 20 minute boat ride away. Here the crystal clear aquamarine waters meet the soft white sands and lush palm trees sway gently in the breeze. Playa Norte really does offer its tranquil, relaxing atmosphere that you won't find on most Mexican beaches.
    Despite being located… read more »

  • #50. Cala Violina // Italy

    Cala Violina

    Backed by the hilly pine grove and lush vegetation of the protected Bandite di Scarlino Nature Reserve (Riserva Naturale delle Bandite di Scarlino) the beach at Cala Violina is completely pristine. This good-sized crescent of soft white sands looks out over the crystal clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. A nature lover's paradise, this beach is not only among the top-rated in Tuscany, but has been voted the best in all Italy.

    In… read more »

  • #49. Noosa Main Beach // Australia

    Noosa Main Beach

    With Noosa National Park to one side and the boutiques, cafes and bars of Hastings Street to the rear Noosa Heads Main Beach is in a prime spot. An expansive stretch of sun-soaked pale-golden sand this is one of the finest beaches on the Sunshine Coast.

    Despite being one of Australia's favourite holiday destinations Noosa manages a perfect balancing act with the beaches here remaining unspoilt by over-development. The beachfront is… read more »

  • #48. Ao Tanote Bay // Thailand

    Ao Tanote Bay

    While just a couple of hundred metres in length, the beach at Ao Tanote Bay on the Thai island of Koh Tao still manages to make for an exquisite escape. Combining sun, soft sand and warm shallows, coconut palms edge the plant-covered hills providing a quintessential tropical backdrop.

    The fact it is a short walk from the nearest roads makes the biscuit-coloured sands all the more tranquil. It also has the… read more »

  • #47. Carters Beach // Canada

    Carters Beach

    A dreamy mix of white sand, gently dunes and light blue waters, Carters Beach reminds many who visit it of the Caribbean. Just off Highway 103 close to Port Mouton, where there are plenty of picks when it comes to accommodation, the beach remains entirely uncommercialised and is free of facilities beyond a small car park.

    Usually without crowds, the beach consists of three separate crescents of sand. Each faces… read more »

  • #46. Psarou Beach // Greece

    Psarou Beach
    © hansche

    Golden sands and family-friendly shallows of clear blue waters have made Psarou Beach a Mykonos favourite for decades. Just ten minutes' drive time south from Mykonos International Airport, its large protected bay often plays host to the yachts of the rich and famous anchoring immediately offshore.

    Although Psarou Beach is a good size at 150 metres in length, this means it still gets crowded during the peak summer season. There can… read more »

  • #45. San Josef Bay // Canada

    San Josef Bay
    Rick McCharles

    Located at the northern end of Vancouver Island within Cape Scott Provincial Park, San Josef Bay boasts a beach of near-white sand in natural unspoiled surrounds. Lacking cell phone coverage, you'll need to be prepared for all eventualities, which include a 45 minute easy hike along a well-maintained gravel trail from the nearest parking, as well as regularly sightings of bears and wolves.

    The most accessible of Cape Scott's beaches, it… read more »

  • #44. Horseshoe Bay // Bermuda

    Horseshoe Bay

    Backed by South Shore Park, Bermuda's Horseshoe Bay Beach is the best of a string of beaches which line the island's Atlantic coast. Gently curving from one end to the other for about 300 metres, entry into the waters from the pinky-white sands is gentle, making it ideal for families.

    In the summer, when Horseshoe Bay Beach is at its busiest, there is also a manned lifeguard station, café and… read more »

  • #43. Chesterman Beach // Canada

    Chesterman Beach
    Imogene Huxham

    Chesterman Beach is on the west side of the Tofino peninsula on Vancouver Island, just south of Tofino town. It is divided into two main sections, Chesterman Beach South (or "South Chestie" as the locals call it) and Chesterman Beach North. Totalling 3 km in length, Chesterman Beach is divided in the middle by Franks' Island, a tombolo which is an island attached to the mainland by a narrow causeway… read more »

  • #42. Cala Gonone // Italy

    Cala Gonone
    read more »
  • #41. Zlatni Rat // Croatia

    Zlatni Rat
    © Kelovy

    The beach of Zlatni Rat is one of Croatia's best known with the most familiar view probably being from above. From here you will be left in very little doubt as to why the beach is often referred to locally as the "Golden Horn". Zlatni Rat juts out into the Adriatic Sea forming a triangle of beach fringing pine forest which is home to the ruins of a Roman villa.

    read more »
  • #40. Yyteri Beach // Finland

    Yyteri Beach

    Yyteri Beach is a magnificent 6-kilometre stretch of golden sands on Finland's west coast. It looks out over the chilly waters of the Gulf of Bothnia, which merges with the Baltic Sea at its southern end. Backed by extensive sand dunes, and woodland beyond, the beach at Yyteri has a wild feel.

    This beach resort is one of the most popular summer destinations with Nordic residents, thanks to its position… read more »

  • #39. Torrent Bay // New Zealand

    Torrent Bay

    Set within the Abel Tasman National Park, Rākauroa / Torrent Bay consists of not one, but two sandy beaches. The main beach is a curving spit of sand which goes some way to separating a large lagoon from the sea. However, there is also a beach on the lagoon side of Torrent Bay.

    Torrent Bay is a lovely spot, backed by the lush, forested landscape of Abel Tasman. If it… read more »

  • #38. Lopes Mendes Beach // Brazil

    Lopes Mendes Beach
    Nathan Chor

    Of all the beautiful beaches on Ilha Grande, it is Praia de Lopes Mendes that is perhaps the closest to perfection. Making regular appearances in World's best beaches articles, the beach is something of a darling of the travel media. But does it live up to the acclaim? We think so.

    The beach itself is a gorgeous expanse of fine golden sand which stretches for 3 Km along the clear,… read more »

  • #37. Manuel Antonio Beach // Costa Rica

    Manuel Antonio Beach
    © Luis Cesar Tejo

    While the central Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica may not rank uppermost for its beaches, the four found in the Manuel Antonio National Park are definite exceptions. Manuel Antonio Beach is the best of them from a safe swimming view and is certainly one for your beach bucket list. It is a short and scenic drive south of the regional city of Quepos.

    Picture a dazzling white sandy… read more »

  • #36. Hidden Beach // Mexico

    Hidden Beach
    Christian Frausto Bernal

    The Marietas Islands, off Mexico's west coast are home to one of the most unusual beaches you will find anywhere. Whilst it wouldn't rank on a top 10 list of beaches for its modest stretch of (albeit very nice) sand it is has to get a mention just because of how weird and wonderful it is.

    Imagine a large cave with a beach in it - difficult I know! Now imagine… read more »

  • #35. Playa Paraiso // Cuba

    Playa Paraiso
    © sergey02

    Playa Paraiso is a fabulous stretch of beach where soft, powdery white sand runs parallel to a turquoise sea, all under an almost eternally clear blue sky. It is sandwiched between Playa Blanca and Playa Sirena beaches to the east and west respectively. These and a number of other top-rated beaches are dotted around the resort island of Cayo Largo, just off the Cuban southwest coast. Access to the island… read more »

  • #34. Cayo Santa Maria // Cuba

    Cayo Santa Maria
    Eric Marshall

    Connected to Cuba's main island at Caibarien by a long causeway, Cayo Santa Maria is one of a series of small islands lining the country's northern shores from Matanzas in the west to Camalote in the east.

    Little more than a sand bank which rises just four metres above the waves of the Caribbean, Cayo Santa Maria has exquisite white sand beaches totalling 13 kilometres in length, alongside warm turquoise shallows… read more »

  • #33. Diani Beach // Kenya

    Diani Beach
    Roma Neus

    Regularly riding high in polls to find Africa's top beaches, Diani Beach stretches for a generous 11 miles. A short distance south of Kenya's second largest city, Mombasa, it is a quintessential Indian Ocean beach. Verdant forest, which is home to all manner of native monkeys and birds, gives way to a phenomenal ribbon of near white sand that appears totally untouched by man. This in turn slopes gently… read more »

  • #32. Elafonisi Beach // Greece

    Elafonisi Beach
    © Halina JasiÅ„ska

    The beach here is a strip of sand that just connects the tiny island of Elafonisi off the far western coast of Crete. This area has a wild, unspoilt feel to it and development has been restricted leaving the pristine beaches a beautiful spot to unwind. Whilst the sand at Elafonisi appears white at first glance you may notice a pink hue. This is due to it containing traces… read more »

  • #31. Baia do Sancho // Brazil

    Baia do Sancho
    Hans von Manteuffel

    The volcanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha off the north eastern coast of Brazil is home to many fantastic beaches. However, it is Baia do Sancho that takes the crown of, not only the finest beach on the island, but possibly the best beach in Brazil. That's pretty good going considering there are well over 2,000 other great beaches in Brazil.

    What gives the beach at Baia do Sancho a… read more »

  • #30. Ffryes Beach // Antigua

    Ffryes Beach
    © Michael Utech / iStock

    Considering the relatively small size of the island of Antigua (footprint is 108.5 mi² about the size of a small city), it boasts a remarkable 365 beaches, yes - one for each day of the year, and they are all public spaces. What more could a beach lover ask for?! Ffryes Beach is one of the more popular, with Sundays and holidays busy times for family picnics and local musicians… read more »

  • #29. Playa Varadero // Cuba

    Playa Varadero
    © Dalgis Lopez

    Within easy reach of the Cuban capital, Varadero Beach is just two hours west of Havana along good roads. The near-white sand stretches out into the Caribbean Sea on a thin peninsula of land for a staggering 20 kilometres (12 miles).

    Also known as Blue Beach (Playa Azul) because of the colour of the sea at this point, which laps it with warm waters all year round. No surprise then that… read more »

  • #28. Gjipe Beach // Albania

    Gjipe Beach
    © Ross Helen

    Gjipe beach is set along the same stretch of the Albanian coast as some of the other most popular, highly rated beaches on the Riviera. Located between the resort beaches of Drymades and Himara the beach at Gjipe has barely been touched by development.

    Obscured by the mountainous terrain, the beach here sits at the end of the Gjipe Canyon, an impressive natural feature with the rock formations reaching up to 70… read more »

  • #27. El Bollullo Beach // Spain

    El Bollullo Beach
    © Tono Balaguer / 123RF

    El Bollullo beach is located on Tenerife's north coast, a world away from the package-tours and resorts the island is often associated with. This small cove has a wild, natural feel right down to the black volcanic sand - there's no sprinkling golden sand imported from the Sahara here like on some of Tenerife's beaches.

    Set in the island's picturesque La Orotava Valley, the journey to El Bollullo involves navigating… read more »

  • #26. Kynance Cove // UK

    Kynance Cove

    It is a surprise not to see Kynance Cove in Cornwall on more best beach lists. It isn't exactly a secret and can be summed up in one word - stunning!

    Situated just along the coast from Lizard Point (the most southerly point in Britain) this beach has been painted and photographed countless times over the past couple of hundred years. With near white sand, turquoise waters and incredible serpentine… read more »

  • #25. Cossies Beach // Australia

    Cossies Beach
    © David Stanley / CC BY

    The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are a remote goup of 27 tiny islands located nearly 1000km off the coast of Western Australia in the Indian Ocean. Made up of two coral atolls the islands are known for their white­-sand beaches, palm trees and lagoons. They are in essence the very picture of paradise.

    Of all the beaches on the Cocos Keeling Islands it is said that "Cossies" beach is the lovliest of… read more »

  • #24. Šunj (Lopud Island) // Croatia

    Šunj (Lopud Island)

    Located on the island of Lopud, one of the Elaphite Islands close to Dubrovnik, Šunj Beach offers an enticing tranquillity amid rich blue waters, Mediterranean forest, and appealing sands with a shallow draft into the sea. Famously, visitors to Šunj can have to walk up to 100 metres to reach a depth where it is possible to swim, making the beach a tip-top destination for families with younger children, as… read more »

  • #23. Cayos Zapatillas // Panama

    Cayos Zapatillas

    Not a single beach but two small uninhabited islands fringed with pristine beaches of white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and stunning views. Located on the southern end of the enchanting Bocas del Toro archipelago the islands boast some of the most picturesque beaches in the region.

    Cayos Zapatillas' beaches offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, where palm-fringed shores and lush tropical vegetation create a postcard-perfect… read more »

  • #22. Playa Zipolite // Mexico

    Playa Zipolite
    Ana Escobar

    Located on the southern coast of Oaxaca state, Playa Zipolite is Mexico's first and only legal nudist beach. It is very popular as a clothing-optional resort and is pretty laid back, with the use of marijuana largely ignored. On the first week in February the beach hosts the annual Festival Nudista Zipolite. For a little more seclusion head to Playa del Amor just over the bluff to the east.

    On… read more »

  • #21. Pink Beach // Indonesia

    Pink Beach
    Hotel Kaesong

    Set in the natural wilderness that is the Komodo National Park, Pink beach requires a little more effort than most to get to. This however does not put a steady stream of visitors to the beach off, which speaks volumes about how special this place is.

    There are only a handful of pink beaches around the world with other notable ones in the Bahamas and on Lombok. However neither of these… read more »

  • #20. Laem Had Beach // Thailand

    Laem Had Beach
    © pierricklemaret

    Koh Yao Yai Island sits in the sparkling blue waters of the Andaman Sea. The name translates as "big long island" - but this is only comparison to the other islands of the Phang Nga Bay archipelago. Largely undeveloped, i.e. not blighted by mass tourism, this island has a number of idyllic beaches that could be straight out of Robinson Crusoe.

    Few would argue that the best beach on the island… read more »

  • #19. Ile aux Cerfs // Mauritius

    Ile aux Cerfs

    Île aux Cerfs, or Deer Island, is a small 87-hectare private island off the east coast of Mauritius. If you thought the beaches of the main island where stunning, wait until you see Île aux Cerfs Beach for yourself.

    While Île aux Cerfs Beach has the white sands typical of Mauritius, backed by indigenous casuarina trees and fronted by warm turquoise waters of a lagoon, its private nature means it is… read more »

  • #18. White Beach // Philippines

    White Beach
    © Angelo Juan Ramos / CC BY

    They call it White beach for a reason - several kilometers of brilliant white sand to contrast with the swaying palms behind and the turquoise ocean in front.

    Now, many people will say that Boracay has been somewhat spoiled by too much tourism. Whilst there is no arguing that it is probably the most popular tourist destination in the Philippines, I think White beach still has plenty of charm. One thing… read more »

  • #17. Freedom Beach // Thailand

    Freedom Beach

    Freedom Beach is one of the most beautiful with a 300m crescent of soft white sand and clear blue water backed by lush green mountains. Located on the west coast of Phuket, you can reach this private beach by longtail boat from Patong which lies just to the south. You can also take a strenuous hike down the cliffs path from the beach parking lot at the top of Patong… read more »

  • #16. Radhanagar Beach // India

    Radhanagar Beach
    © Bishnu Sarangi

    Radhanagar Beach also takes the alternative name of Beach No 7. Its white sands, which gently slope into the waters of the Bay of Bengal to a backdrop of verdant forest, are regularly voted one of the best in Asia and the world.

    Radhanagar Beach lies on the western side of Swaraj Dweep, which is still often known by its colonial era name of Havelock Island, part of the Andaman… read more »

  • #15. Anse Lazio // Seychelles

    Anse Lazio
    Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

    Anse Lazio in the Seychelles is the archetypal tropical beach that sets the standard for all others. 

    Set in Chevalier Bay on the north western tip of Praslin island, Anse Lazio is a broad swathe of soft white sand flanked by granite boulders at each end and a thick fringing of palm and takamaka trees behind. The inviting clear blue water is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Often cited as one… read more »

  • #14. Cala Goloritze // Italy

    Cala Goloritze
    © Yesuitus2001 / CC BY

    Perhaps one of Italy's most iconic beaches, Cala Goloritzè is beautifully positioned at the base of a ravine on the north eastern coast of Sardinia. As with other beaches in the vicinity, the water here is a brilliant azure blue and crystal clear whilst the beach is bleached white by the sun.

    But it is the stunning limestone cliffside and rock formations that really sets Cala Goloritzè apart. Most notable of… read more »

  • #13. Egremni Beach // Greece

    Egremni Beach
    © Milan Baloun / 123RF

    There is little doubt that Egremni beach is one of the finest on the island of Lefkada, which by default makes it one of the best in Greece. It is a beautiful spot with the long white sand beach backed by high limestone cliffs. However, it is the water colour that sets Egremni apart, a fantastic milky blue yet crystal clear. The 325 steps down to the beach don't seem… read more »

  • #12. Hyams Beach // Australia

    Hyams Beach

    Situated on the northern shores of Jervis Bay, Hyams beach is one of a number of stunning beaches. To put things in perspective, Jervis Bay is around 4 times the size of Sydney harbour and much of it is lined with unspoilt beach.

    Here you will find lush forests spilling onto white sand beaches which are gently lapped by the crystal clear azure waters of the Pacific Ocean. And when… read more »

  • #11. Luskentyre // UK

    © anyka / 123RF

    Despite being located on the Isle of Harris in the north of Scotland, Luskentyre beach could almost be Caribbean in appearance. The vast expanse of silvery white sand and the crystal clear aquamarine / turquoise sea all combine to create what is often cited as the best beach in the British Isles. In the distance are the mountains of North Harris which further add to the beauty of this spot.… read more »

  • #10. Kelingking Beach // Indonesia

    Kelingking Beach

    If the beaches of Bali aren't quite stunning enough for you then hop on a boat and make the short trip over to the island of Nusa Penida, you won't be disappointed. Although it's a tough call, in terms of sheer wow factor, Kelingking Beach is possibly the best on the little island. The competition is pretty stiff with spots like Atuh and Suwehan beach being jaw-droppingly beautiful,… read more »

  • #9. Railay Beach // Thailand

    Railay Beach
    © PancakeTom

    Railay is a narrow peninsula that is cut off from the surrounding area by high limestone cliffs. Whilst these cliffs are very popular with climbers it means that Railay is only accessible only by a short boat ride from Ao Nang or Krabi. This should be seen as a blessing as it has protected the resort from the tourist frenzy in nearby locations such as Ao Nang. The other benefit… read more »

  • #8. El Nido // Philippines

    El Nido
    © softlight69 / 123RF

    El Nido is an unspoilt tropical paradise often referred to as the Philippines' last frontier. Situated towards the northern tip of Palawan island El Nido is much more than just a single beach. In fact it comprises around 50 beaches set among a series of small islands, towering marble cliffs, lush tropical vegetation, ancient caves and enchanting lagoons.

    As if that wasn't enough, El Nido is the largest marine sanctuary… read more »

  • #7. Camps Bay // South Africa

    Camps Bay
    © jborzicchi

    Camps Bay is without doubt Cape Town's premiere beach. Located in an upmarket suburb of this South African city, the beach here is as spectacular as it is popular. The palm fringed stretch of white sand that make up Camps Bay sits between the towering Lion's Head and equally imposing Twelve Apostles. This is the Atlantic coast and the ocean here is both beautiful and powerful; sparkling and turquoise often… read more »

  • #6. Anse Source d'Argent // Seychelles

    Anse Source d'Argent
    © Iakov Kalinin / 123RF

    Located in the North of La Digue island is Anse Source d'Argent beach, a little slice of tropical paradise.

    Powdery white sand is offset by towering granite boulders worn smooth by the passage of time. Palm trees sway gently in the breeze and the water is clear and blue.

    Protected by an offshore coral reef the sea here is always calm making it ideal for swimming. This makes Anse Source… read more »

  • #5. Anakena // Chile

    © Jesse Kraft

    It's not often you get to mix up a day at the beach with a viewing of some of the world's most iconic archaeological monuments, but this is exactly what you get at Anakena beach on Easter Island. 

    Anakena is home to a set of moai; these are the huge carved stone figureheads that Easter Island is famous for. The Ahu Nao-Nao stones at Anakena are a set of 7 such… read more »

  • #4. The Baths // British Virgin Islands

    The Baths
    © BlueOrange Studio / 123RF

    Gigantic boulders and beaches caressed by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea combine to make this an idyllic setting in what has to be a top tourist destination. We are describing the stunning beach frontage of the fabulous area known as "The Baths", on Virgin Gorda, the third largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. We forgot to mention caves and caverns, which add to the mystical… read more »

  • #3. Whitehaven Beach // Australia

    Whitehaven Beach
    © Horst Müller

    Know for its beautiful 7 km stretch of white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters, Whitehaven Beach is without doubt of of Australia's finest. It is located on Whitsunday Island, part of a group of islands just of the tropical Queensland coast.

    Accessible only by boat Whitehaven Beach is never busy but always stunning.

    read more »
  • #2. Matira Beach // French Polynesia

    Matira Beach
    © BlueOrange Studio / 123RF

    Bora Bora is a lush, tropical South Pacific atoll. It lies to the northwest of the bigger islands of Taha'a and Tahiti, in French Polynesia. Encircled by sand-fringed islets, this paradisiacal island is protected from the swells of the greater ocean. A stunning turquoise lagoon holds centre stage as a natural swimming area, within a magnificent coral reef to boot. It is little wonder that Bora Bora claims to be… read more »

  • #1. Koh Kradan // Thailand

    Koh Kradan

    Thailand is well known for its beautiful beaches and to some extent this has meant that many of the most amazing beaches are now over-crowded and heavily commercialised. However, you don't have to go to far off the beaten track to still find a pristine gem and the island of Koh Kradan is home to just such a beach.This stunning stretch of powdery white sand remain a relative haven despite… read more »