When you think of the best beaches in the world, you probably imagine soft white sand, turquoise waters and a place where you can get a tropical drink. You're probably imagining somewhere in the Bahamas or Mexico. But what if we told you that some of the best beaches in the world are in Europe, India, and even America?
While curating this list, we considered which beaches stood out in terms of beauty, food scene, party scene or the number of things to do. Some are often filled with tourists in the summer for obvious reasons, whereas others are relatively undiscovered but bucket-list-worthy all the same.
There are beaches perfect for swimming, sunbathing, water sports, and exploring. There are beaches you can walk to from your hotel and that are only accessible by plane or boat. Some of these beaches you may have heard of and some may entice you to call your travel agent and book a vacation.
Whether you're looking to tan, relax, or hit the waves on your next vacation, you've got to consider the 50 best beaches in the world.
Agonda Beach (Agonda, India)
Agonda Beach is not so much a nice place for a swim as it is a nice place to see olive ridley sea turtles, relax on the sand, or dip your toes into the shallow shoreline. But this southern Goa beach is insanely beautiful and relatively unknown by tourists, so it's a great place to get away and relax.
Anakena Beach (Easter Island, Chile)
This white sand beach in Chile has coconut palm trees and serene blue waters that make it look like something from a screensaver. However, Anakena Beach is better than a screensaver because it also features moai, Easter Island's famous large-headed figures.
Anse Lazio (Praslin Island, Seychelles)
This Seychelles beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The water is clear blue and the surrounded by large granite boulders and lush greenery. It's also close to great restaurants and home to decent snorkeling.
Baía do Sancho (Fernando de Noronha, Brazil)
Also known as Sancho Bay, this beach is only accessible by boat. But once you're there, towering cliffs surrounding crystal clear waters will take your breath away. Climb up if you can for a jawdropping photo.
Cala Jondal (Ibiza, Balearic Islands)
Ibiza might be a party destination, but Cala Jondal is a respite away from it all. This beach retreat is surrounded by pine trees and red cliffs that make for an atmospheric experience. However, if you get bored, all the clubs of Ibiza are nearby.
Camps Bay Beach (Camps Bay, South Africa)
If you're not listening to the frequent drum circles that gather on this gorgeous beach, you're heading to any of the restaurants around it that make up Camps Bay's bustling food scene. Don't forget to wait 20 minutes after eating before going for a swim!
Copacabana Beach (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Music and passion were always in fashion at the Copa... Copacabana. But seriously, Rio's famous Copacabana Beach is known for its party atmosphere, even though it should be known for its aquamarine waters and warm sand. It's stunning!
Doctor's Cave Beach (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
This must-see Jamaican spot is only touristy because it's known for being the best. There's a restaurant on the shore called the Sand Bar that you should definitely check out if you can tear yourself away from the warm Montego Bay water.
Eagle Beach (Oranjestad, Aruba)
If you want to surround yourself with white sand and aquamarine waters, head to Eagle Beach. This Aruba location is the most famous in Aruba and also home to sea turtles who nest their eggs on this pristine beach!
El Nido (Palawan, Philippines)
Towering over El Nido are limestone cliffs that provide the perfect Instagram backdrop should you find yourself taking any photos. This Filipino beach has white sands, blue waters, and a stunning coral reef that you can snorkel down and see.
Elafonisi Beach (Crete, Greece)
If Greece has been on your bucket list forever, you need to make sure you visit Elafonisi Beach in Crete while you're there. The pinkish-white sand on this peninsula makes you feel like you're on your own private pink island. Splash in the waves, explore rock formations and coves, or even have a picnic.
Fig Tree Bay (Protaras, Cyprus)
This sporty spot is known for water sports such as parasailing, windsurfing, and waterskiing. However, you can also lay in the sand in the shade of a tranquil fig tree, for which the beach is named.
Flamenco Beach (Culebra, Puerto Rico)
This Puerto Rican beach has a Blue Flag Beach distinction, which means that it meets the high environmental and quality standards of the Foundation for Environmental Education. That means this stunningly beautiful beach is also home to clean sand and water.
Galápagos Beach at Tortuga Bay (Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador)
This beach is less for swimming and more for exploring. See Galapagos crabs, marine iguanas, and exotic birds all basking under the equatorial sun. If you must swim, there is a small area of Tortuga Bay where you can.
Grace Bay Beach (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos)
It's touristy for a reason! Grace Bay is home to amazing shopping, food, partying, and a pristine sandy beach with crystal blue waters lapping at its shore.
Half Moon Bay Beach (Half Moon Bay, Antigua and Barbuda)
Get enchanted by the lush greenery at Half Moon Bay Beach. It surrounds the jewel-toned waters that are frequented by hotel guests and locals.
Hidden Beach (Islas Marietas, Mexico)
This beach is also known as Playa del Amor or The Beach of Love. Ooo la la! This Mexican beach is seriously hidden. You must visit when the tide is low, and you can only access it by taking a long water tunnel that you either swim, kayak, or bat through to get there. There are tourist companies who can help you get here!
Hyams Beach (Shoalhaven, Australia)
This Australian beach is nothing short of dreamy. Not only is the water stunning, but there are dolphins, seals, and even penguins on this beach!
Jumeirah Open Beach (Dubai, UAE)
Didn't realize Dubai had beaches? Well it does, and this is the most popular one. It's complete with showers, changing rooms, bathrooms, and even refreshments for beachgoers. In addition to the usual watersports, it's also a popular spot for walks, biking, roller skating, and running - the beach has a 1.8-kilometer track dedicated specifically to the latter.
Ka'anapali Beach (Lahaina, Hawaii)
This Maui beach is stunning. It used to be the choice beach of Hawaiian royalty, but now it's the choice beach for everyone to go experience clear water, white sand, and big waves.
Kauna'oa Beach (Kauna'oa Bay, Hawaii)
Whether you're walking on this beach's sands or viewing them from above via popular helicopter tour, this stunning Kohala Coast beach is the perfect place to relax and take in the scenic beauty around you.
La Concha Beach (San Sebastián, Spain)
This Spanish beach is the perfect place to have a good time. It's widely considered to be one of the best urban beaches in all of Europe! It's great for sunbathing and swimming, but because it's only about 30 meters from the edge of the water, high tide can make the beach disappear entirely. So be careful!
La Côte des Basques (Biarritz, France)
There is nothing more French and glamorous than La Côte des Basques. This quintessentially European beach is frequented by celebrities, royalty, and chic French people who indulge in thalassotherapy - aka the medical use of seawater as a form of therapy - at the oceanside resorts. Whatever that entails, we want it!!
Mamita's (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)
This Mexican beach and its crystal blue waves are open for all sorts of activities like jet skiing, swimming, or catamaran-ing. When you're tired, grab a bite to eat or a cool beverage on La Quinta Avenida.
Maya Bay (Ko Phi Phi Le, Thailand)
Maya Bay looks like something out of a movie, probably because the 1999 film "The Beach" was filmed there. There are insane bluffs jutting out of the clear blue waters, exotic marine life swimming around, and blindingly white sand.
Muri Beach (Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
This picturesque beach in the Cook Islands is popular for weddings and for honeymoons. You can swim, snorkel, or walk hand in hand down this white sandy beach.
Nai Harn Beach (Phuket, Thailand)
Swimming is a seasonal activity on this Thai beach. You can do the backstroke from November to April but as the currents get stronger, you're better off doing things like water sports from May to October. Don't feel like getting wet? Take a boat (or a luxury yacht) on the water and spy lush greenery and exotic animals.
Navagio Beach (Zakynthos, Greece)
This is easily one of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see in your life. Located in the Ionian Islands, it's known popularly as "Shipwreck Beach" due to the 1980 crash of a ship; rumors have long suggested the vessel was smuggling contraband - cigarettes, alcohol or even women - though the ship's captain has publicly insisted nothing unseemly was afoot when the ship ran aground in bad weather. The wreck is still there, slowly decaying atop the beautiful white sand, making for yet another perfectly Instagrammable spot.
Ngapali Beach (Ngapali, Myanmar)
This Myanmar beach is known for its stunning sunsets, as it faces west. The white sand, palm trees, and colorful tropical fish whizzing by in the clear water are also pretty great too!
Non Nuoc Beach (Da Nang, Vietnam)
If you're visiting this beach, hopefully you're staying at one of Da Nang's multiple five-star hotels. Da Nang is also home to La Maison 1888, one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world.
Pig Beach (Exuma, Bahamas)
This is one of the only beaches where you can swim with pigs! It's officially named Big Major Cay, but because of its feral pig population, it's Pig Beach. Tour groups can arrange to swim with them or you can just happen to run into one or two lounging in the sun or splashing in the waves! Piggies!!
Pink Sand Beach (Eleuthera, Bahamas)
So the sand really isn't quite pink pink, but it's definitely rosy. Who cares, though, when Eleuthera is home to one of the best beaches in the whole world! The cool sand is soft, and the water at this beach is clear enough to see little fish swimming through it. Sounds pretty great to us.
Playa Bávaro (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)
The beach in this resort town is famed for its calm waters, coral reefs, and palm tree-lined shores. Plus, if you're thinking of visiting, there are a ton of hotels and resorts in the area.
Playa Manuel Antonio (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)
This Costa Rican beach sees over 140,000 visitors every year. It's surrounded by a jungle full of toucans, parakeets, monkeys, and more. From the sandy shore you might even spy dolphins or whales leaping through the aquamarine waters.
Playa Norte (Isla Mujeres, Mexico)
Playa Norte is paradise. The main beach on Isla Mujeres is calm, safe, and has shallow blue waters excellent for wading in.
Playa Paraiso (Cayo Largo, Cuba)
If you get to Cuba this year, check out Playa Paraiso. It means "Paradise Beach" and it is breathtakingly beautiful. It's one of many reasons you need to visit Cuba the moment you can.
Playa Rincón (Las Galeras, Dominican Republic)
This local beach is typically tourist-free. It's a bit off the beaten path - a day trip from the town of Samanda - but it's worth it for the luxury of a beach free of foot traffic. There's also a freshwater lagoon for you to enjoy too.
Praia de Santa Maria (Santa Maria, Cape Verde)
This Cape Verde spot is excellent for water sports and stunning sunsets. If you're not so into sports, there are local shops and restaurants in the area.
Radhanagar Beach (Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands)
India is home to some of the prettiest and most underrated beaches in the world, including this one hundreds of miles off India's southeastern coast on an island chain in the Bay of Bengal. While Radhanagar isn't that large, its beauty is unrivaled. There's even a stunning rainforest a few miles away.
Reynisfjara Beach (Iceland)
No you won't go tanning on this Icelandic beach, but you can walk across its black sands and see huge basalt sea stacks called reynisdrangar. The waves on this beach are known for being especially large, and visitors are told to keep a safe distance of 20 to 30 meters away.
Salt Whistle Bay (Mayreau, St. Vincent & Grenadines)
If you want to look like you're inside a postcard, head to Salt Whistle Bay. This positively stunning spot has lush white sand and turquoise waters, and it's a great place to spot turtles and colorful fish. Grab a drink at any of the area's many beach bars!
Seven Mile Beach (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands)
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. It's located on the western end of Grand Cayman, and it's the perfect snorkeling spot to see colorful coral, marine life, and more.
Siesta Beach (Siesta Key, Florida)
Perhaps you've heard of the popular MTV show "Siesta Key." Many of the shots are filmed on Siesta Beach, where the sand is 99 percent pure quartz. It's a popular Florida destination because it is so family-friendly while still being a great beach to catch rays, fish, boat and swim.
Smathers Beach (Key West, Florida)
This is Key West's largest public beach and it's known for its exceptional water activities. Visitors can kayak, paddleboard, parasail, windsurf, and more.
South Beach (Miami Beach, Florida)
South Beach is one of the coolest beaches in America, but not because of the way it looks. Yes, it's typically warm in Miami all year round, but South Beach is cool because it's the spot to party. There are restaurants, bars, shops, and apartments all dotting the beach where people are drinking and dancing day and night. Come to South Beach for a good time with friends, not a family-friendly time.
Spiaggia dei Conigli (Lampedusa, Italy)
Spiaggia dei Conigli means Rabbit Beach - but it has no rabbits. What it does have is stunning scenery, with rocky hills surrounding the beach, which has waves full of bright shades of green and blue. It's a bit of a hike to get to this beach, but it's absolutely worth it for the view.
Trunk Bay (St. John, US Virgin Islands)
The water at Trunk Bay is practically electric. While you're skipping down its white sands to splash into its waves with your snorkel gear, make sure you explore the 225-yard-long Underwater Trail of coral reefs that are just a bit away from shore.
West Bay Beach (Roatan, Honduras)
This beach is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. Its crystal clear water makes it one of the best sports in the world for snorkeling. A boat by the name of the Coral Reef Explorer is a big tourist attraction; it's specially designed for the Bay Island reef systems so that tourists can explore the entire reef here through the underwater glass walls of the boat.
White Beach (Boracay, Philippines)
White Beach is the party beach of the Philippines. Go there to dance the night or day away and enjoy food and drinks or, if you get super tired, just relax on the sand.
Whitehaven Beach (Whitsunday Island, Australia)
What makes this Australian beach so magical is that it can only be reached by boat, seaplane or helicopter. Once you're there, you'll enjoy the white sand made up of 98 percent pure silica which will feel excellent between your toes as you dine at one of Whitehaven Beach's barbecue restaurants. Good thing this beach is so remote you won't need to avoid big summer crowds.
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