So many beaches, so little time. Let’s travel the world and track down Earth’s best beaches on the ultimate bucket-list adventure:
In This Beach Travel Article You Will Discover:
- Secluded Stretches of Sand on All Continents
- Lively Urban Beaches
- Classic Destinations & Unknown Getaways
- And So Much More!
I grew up on a beach. I live in a city by the beach. I travel to beaches around the globe. I’m a lover of the ocean and the sand; of marine wildlife and maritime legend; of grand exploration and traditional cultures.
Yes, I love beaches.
Join me on an exploration of 61 incredible beaches all travellers should visit.
Long Beach, British Columbia
Fully protected by one of Canada’s most beloved national parks, Long Beach is the largest and most popular sand stretch on Vancouver Island’s gorgeous west coast. Surfing, beachcombing and tidal pool explorations pass the days—and watch for whales on the horizon and bald eagles in the sky. This 16-kilometre-long stunner would be one of the world’s most popular beaches—if the water ever warmed above 12 degrees Celsius.
Resources: Pacific Rim National Park
Kelly’s Beach, New Brunswick
Boasting the warmest waters north of the Carolinas, and preserved within Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick’s oceanside gem plays host to beach-going families throughout the warm months. Wade in tidal pools, canoe to sand dunes, spot seals and find a private place to rejuvenate along its 25-kilometre expanse.
Resources: Tourism New Brunswick
Hapuna Beach, Hawaii
Hawaii’s Big Island isn’t known for its sand beaches—marked mostly by lava-rock shorelines and rugged terrain—but what it has is upper-echelon. Hapuna is the biggest and most popular for good reason. Golden sand with blackrock on either end, this is a place to pass the day bodyboarding, swimming and even whale-watching.
Resources: Photo Essay: The Big Island of Hawaii
Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Waimea Bay has two personalities. The most famous rears up every winter, as impossibly large waves roll in from South Pacific storms and challenge the world’s best surfers to ride 10-metre-tall killers. A lesser-known side of Waimea arrives in May—when the water is glass calm and ice-clear, temperate and, well, just lovely. Get there early in the day to secure a parking spot.
Resources: A Traveller’s Guide to Oahu’s North Shore
Carmel Beach, California
This crescent of talc-soft sand that curves from Pebble Beach to Point Lobos State Park, playing host to booze-friendly campfires and beloved by local dogs and owners alike, would be reason enough to visit this NorCal paradise. But add in the cutesy town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, home to Comstock cottages and a plethora of wine-tasting rooms, and you have a destination impossible to pass up.
Resources: Carmel, California: A Seaside Delight
Lover’s Beach, Baja California Sur
Located at Land’s End, near the famed El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, Lover’s Beach is usually accessed by water taxi from the Cabo San Lucas Marina. (Though you can walk.) It’s at times crowded—but the sandstone rock formations, waters rife with multihued tropical fish and dive-bombing pelicans more than make up for any bother. Just don’t confuse it with Divorce Beach, on the Pacific side of the peninsula.
Resources: Exploring Mexico’s Gorgeous El Arco de Cabo San Lucas — Land’s End
Playa Paraiso, Quintana Roo
Ah, Tulum. Home to Mayan Ruins, high-end resorts, tourist hordes… but above all silky-soft sand, gently swaying palm trees and bathtub-warm ocean water. Playa Paraiso, or “Paradise Beach,” is aptly named—protected by the national park, it remains relatively undeveloped yet easily accessible. Kiteboarders and windsurfers flock to this region—but most come simply to forget the world for a while.
Resources: Quintana Roo
Aruba can be a bit congested and a bit expensive. But step one foot on Eagle Beach and you’ll realize what the fuss is about. Miles of soft white sand rim impossibly clear waters that seem to hover at an exact temperature to be both refreshing yet pleasant. The hue of the ocean is classic Caribbean—and options for watersports and accommodation abound.
Resources: Tourism Aruba
Isla Carti, San Blas Islands
If you’ve ever imagined yourself as a desert island castaway, you’ll love the San Blas Islands, located off the coast of Panama. An archipelago of nearly 400 islands and islets, and the traditional territory of the Kuna, only 49 of these landmasses are occupied. Most are rimmed in whitesand and lush with tropical fauna. Isla Carti will be your likely destination, but take time to fully explore these pristine environs and pay respect to the indigenous people who call them home.
Resources: San Blas Islands
Of all the beaches on beautiful Bermuda, Horseshoe Bay is probably the one you picture when you dream of this idyllic isle. With sand that twinkles pink in the sunlight, translucent seawater and dramatic rock formations flanking either end, Horseshoe is a beach-lover’s delight. Rent watersports gear or eat onsite; adventurous folks can explore the caves or body-surf in the rolling waves.
Resources: Bermuda Tourism
Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro
“Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking…” that 1960s-era bossanova tune may have set a chain of events in motion that turned Ipanema Beach from a local’s haunt to one of the planet’s busiest sandy-spots. (Remember the Rick Moranis version, too?) Yup—it’s crowded. Yup—it’s loud. Yup—it’s a bit upscale. But it’s a beach scene not to be missed—earning it a spot on every traveller’s bucket list.
Resources: Rio’s Best Beaches
Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha
Like the polar opposite of Ipanema, Baia do Sancho typifies peace and serenity. Emerald waters lap at a small golden-sand crescent flanked by lush vegetation. It seems hidden from the world (though at certain times of year, music livens up the atmosphere). It’s like Rio de Janeiro’s detox; idyllic incarnate.
Cayo de Agua, Los Roques
If you haven’t heard of this small island chain on the Caribbean coastline of Venezuela, you’re not alone. Off-the-beaten path due to the country’s decidedly non-tourist-friendly reputation, Los Roques is free from the swarms of North American and European tourism that descends on virtually every other shore in the Caribbean. Take Cayo de Agua, for example—this talcum isthmus may well be yours alone on a visit at any time of year.
Resources: Paradise on the Roques in Venezuela
Cayo Sombrero, Chichiriviche
Like your own little desert island—this offbeat locale off the northern coast of Venezuela is protected by Parque Nacional Morrocoy, so it remains undeveloped and relatively pristine. If the main beach is busy, wander the shoreline to the windward side—it gets breezy, but you may find respite. Snorkel, swim, sunbathe—life’s a beach, right?
Galapagos Beach/Tortuga Bay, Galapagos
You’ll brim with anticipation as you wander through the hour-long trek atop a wooden boardwalk in a lush forest of matasarno trees. Once you arrive at the beach—explore at your pleasure. Will you search for sea turtles? (Keep your distance.) Surf the rough-and-tumble waves? (Seasonal.) Snorkel in the calm, sea life-rich lagoons? Or simply marvel that you’ve arrived in the birthplace of Darwinism: the famed Galapagos.
Resources: 7 Reasons to Include Galapagos Islands on Your Bucket List
Playa Ovahe, Easter Island
Feel like getting away from it all? How about a visit to Rapa Nui, on legendary Easter Island? Located about 3,700 kilometres offshore of mainland Chile, along with playing host to the famous Moai this diminutive landmass is also home to gorgeous beaches. Playa Ovahe, on the northeast side of the island, might just be the best—a pristinely preserved, quiet stretch of sand to while away the days on this lonely South Pacific isle.
Termales-Agua Caliente, Choco
Set on Colombia’s rainy and lush Pacific Coast, in the Bahia Solano region, the area around Termales-Agua Caliente is a vibrant, verdant feast for the senses. Most of these actual beaches are nameless—remote stretches of iron-grey sand, dotted with weather-beaten rocks and rimmed with rich rainforest and colourful flowers. Explore at will—just remember to visit the main attractions, Termales, a natural hot (well, warm) spring hidden just in from the coast, in a grove of mahogany trees.
Resources: Jungle Life: Off-Grid on Colombia’s Forgotten Coast
Cañaveral, Arrecifes, La Piscina and El Cabo, Tayrona National Park
Four beaches so nice we couldn’t break them up! Some of the hallmarks of beautiful Tayrona National Park, on Colombia’s Caribbean coastline, this quadruplet of sandy stretches begs for long days in the surf, beachcombing and wildlife-watching (like howler monkeys). Cañaveral is the most easily accessible, but savvy travelers will take a week to fully explore this exciting region.
Resources: Colombia Travel — Beaches of Tayrona National Park
San Andres Island
Seeming more a part of Central America than South, San Andres sits 700 kilometres northwest of mainland Colombia—smack in the crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea. Known as a diving hotspot—with abundant sting rays—the island of San Andreas features both a tourism hub for travellers who like it lively, as well as rural side for a relaxed getaway. Do both in one trip and fully rejuvenate on this Colombian outpost.
Resources: Tourism Colombia
Las Grutas, Patagonia
Not generally regarded as a beach destination, Las Grutas, in Argentinian Patagonia, offers some of the warmest seawaters in the entire country—thanks to a regional tidal phenomenon. Set alongside a village of about 8,000, this area sees a fair bit of tourism in the summer months, when daily temperatures average in the high 20s, but adventurous travellers can head there off-season for a more serene (but likely without swimming) beach getaway.
Kuta Beach, Bali
Kuta Beach gets way too much criticism. Sure—seeing the McDonald’s Golden Arches peering above the palm trees isn’t exactly idyllic. And the hawkers can get a bit annoying. Plus, it’s busy. But it’s also stunning—and its lengthy stretch of sand offers some of the most easily surfable waves on the planet. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a better place to learn to ride waves (that also offers cheap beer and fried noodles onsite). Worthy of a few days during any visit to this equatorial island.
Resources: Explore Kuta Beach: Bali’s Surf Spot for the Everyman
Turtle Islands National Park, Borneo
You know it’s going to be an adventure when you’re asked to sign a waiver regarding “pirate activity.” That’s just step one of getting to Turtle Islands National Park, located off the northeastern shore of Malaysian Borneo. The tougher part is getting a reservation. And the toughest part is leaving—you’ll likely only get one night on this wildlife preserve, enough time to roam the sand beaches, watch momma turtles lay eggs and run in terror from the giant lizards that seem to always pop out at the most inopportune times.
Resources: 6 Reasons to Visit Malaysian Borneo
Long Beach, Perhentian Islands
Arguably the most scenic beach in a country rife with them, popular Long Beach (which also might just be the most popular beach-moniker in the world) typifies life on Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands. Book a stay at a beach house, dine out for a dime, search for sea turtles, kayak, snorkel or simply snooze in the sun. You’ll soon understand why the word Perhentian means “stopping point.”
Resources: The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide
White Sand Beach, Ko Chang
Tucked away near the Cambodian border, it’s fair to say the secret is out about Ko Chang. Once a backpacker’s hideaway, it’s now seeing ever-more tourism; international sun worshippers drawn in by lengthy stretches of talcum sand, warm water, cheap bungalows and beachside dining. White Sand Beach is the most popular and populous, but at the right time of year a secluded stretch of sand is still easy to track down on this, Thailand’s most idyllic island.
Resources: Thailand’s 5 Must-Visit Beaches
Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Le
Like a pilgrimage all backpackers must make, Thailand’s famous Maya Bay beckons anyone who was drawn into travel through the DiCaprio flick, The Beach. Yup, it was filmed at this exact location—and save a little CGI that closed in the entrance to this limestone-rimmed stunner, it looks just like it did on-screen. Pro tip—travel on days when the weather is stormy, otherwise tourist hordes may dull your vibe.
Resources: Discover THE BEACH: Exploring Thailand’s Mysterious Island of Ko Phi Phi Leh
Railay Beach, Krabi
Ah, Railay Beach—jewel of Krabi. Home to rock climbers, beach bums, pre-college backpackers, hippies and luxury travellers (who pretty much keep to themselves). Whether you rent a hotel room, a beach shack or stay at a luxe all-inclusive, Railay delivers. Spend time in the warm Andaman Sea, marvel at the iconic sea stacks, wander through a cave full of giant bats… Railay has it all.
Resources: Krabi Province
Bounty Beach, Cebu
Cebu is the Filipino paradise you’ve been looking for, and Bounty Beach, on Malapascua Island may just rise to the top of the region’s selection of world-class sands. Stroll below swaying palms, snorkel in the corals, pick fresh fruit and rejuvenate. At certain times of year, the beach gets busy—but the further you wander from the main access, more you’ll be rewarded with serenity.
Tianya Haijiao, Hainan
The poetry of the name is reason enough to visit this South China gem—translated, Tianya Haijiao roughly means “the furthermost part of the sky and the sea.” Expect a long crescent of golden sand, smooth boulders, wind-bent palm trees, the occasional elephant and a fair bit of tourism. Search out its famous twin rocks; the representation of star-crossed lovers. Then kick back, crack a book and let the South China Sea lull you to slumber.
Patnem Beach, Goa
Whittling the list down to just one Goan beach is a tough task—from serene Morjim, to the rave-culture of Baga… and on… but Patnem, the little brother to busier Palolem, might just be the best. Golden sands, cheap eats, roaming cows and clean water—without the tourist hordes of the north-central—make this sand-spot an easy place to put down roots. Rent a scooter and explore the area—as nearby Agonda is a good runner-up.
Resources: Goa’s 5 Best Beaches
Beit Yanai Beach
Located north of Tel Aviv, on the country’s Mediterranean Coast, Beit Yanai is a relatively quiet beach set near the mouth of the Alexander River. It’s actually entirely protected by a national park, so rather than high-rises and resorts, you’ll instead find a tent campground and some rustic facilities. Popular with families, Beit Yanai is the antithesis of the party-scene beaches to the south; a place to unwind and forget the world for a while.
Resources: Israel Parks & Nature Authority
Bondi Beach, Sydney
Like seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris or hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, there’s nothing particularly original about a visit to Australia’s most famous beach. But as the birthplace of so much of the world’s beach culture—plus, crowds or not, it’s still beautiful—Bondi deserves a place on every beach-lover’s bucket list. (And it’s home to quite likely the world’s best lifeguards.)
Resources: Tourism Sydney
Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
Set on the lovely Whitsunday Islands of Oz, Whitehaven Beach is what you’re picturing when you think of seaside paradise. More than seven kilometres of fine whitesand, azure seas, lush forests and temperate waters begging for long swims. It’s pure and beautiful; one of the top beaches on the entire continent. (Add in a multi-day sailing trip to really revel in the experience.)
Resources: Tourism Queensland
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
An absolute stunner in a country rife with them, Wineglass Bay is defined by pristine sand, clear waters, towering granite peaks, undisturbed forests and a laidback vibe. Rather that megaresorts, nearby you’ll find campgrounds and eco-lodges (though the bay itself is protected by a national park). More than just a sleepy beach-bum getaway, adventurous hikes abound in the area, as do opportunities for kayaking, sailing and fishing.
Bells Beach, Victoria
If you’re a fan of the 1963 surf documentary, Endless Summer, you owe yourself a visit to Australia’s Bells Beach. Iconic for the picture-perfect winter waves that lure in surfers from around the globe, as well as a cradle of surf culture in general, Bells always impresses. Stop by the nearby town of Torquay to see surf-scene relics at the museum and rent a board for yourself.
Resources: Endless Summer/Bells Beach
75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island
Knowing this entire list could have been occupied by Australian beaches alone, it was tough to only add five. As the final entry for Oz, 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island is a good one. Along with the usual gamut of beach activities, this area is also known for Landcruiser tours—hey, not often you get to drive on a beach! Keep an eye out for shipwrecks, offshore whales and occasional dingoes too.
Scotts Beach, Karamea
Scotts Beach is not your typical sandy destination. For starters, it’s at the end of a hardy hike (which keeps the tourists at bay). Then, there’s the water—swimming is not recommended due to rip currents and undertows. Plus, it’s a bit chilly. No, Scotts is all about the rugged scenery; the pounding surf; the sense of serenity. Camp onsite and search for the Southern Cross in a sea of stars.
Resources: West Coast of NZ
90 Mile Beach, Northland
Is this a case of one-upmanship from Australia’s little brother? “Oh, you think your 75 Mile Beach is SO great, WELL…” Truth be told, New Zealand’s 90 Mile Beach is really only about 90 kilometres long, about 20 miles shorter than the one in Oz. Like Aussie’s, it’s also a highway—good for bombing along in a four-by-four on a sightseeing cruise. Or head there in the late summer and compete in the annual five-day fishing competition, if you fancy yourself an angler rather than an off-roader.
Resources: Tourism New Zealand
Choosing one beach on Moorea is darn near impossible. This idyllic island is rife with oceanside settings that will bring a tear to your eye with their picturesque beauty. Temea is a public beach, so any visitor to the island can enjoy its ethereal waters and sunbaked sand. Should you make it to Moorea though, any beach will likely do just fine.
Matira Beach, Bora Bora
Welcome to quintessential French Polynesia. Set just a skip off Tahiti, diminutive Bora Bora is home to those overwater bungalows of your dreams, translucent and bathtub warm seas, swaying palms, cooling trade winds… a place where your worries drift away like ripples on water. Snorkel, view the sharks, take a Jeep ride—nah. Just stick to Matira and let life pass you by in the best possible way.
Resources: Travel Channel
Ootu Beach, Aitutaki
There is nothing to do on the Cook Islands. So if that bothers you, maybe fly to another destination? But if long, lazy days of lounging around on the sand and swimming in tepid water—maybe a nap in a hammock strung up between palm trees—sounds just about perfect, head to Aitutaki, the main landmass of the Cook Islands. Sleepy to the extreme and with the beach scenery cranked up to 11, Ootu is the sandy paradise of your ocean-loving fantasies.
Resources: Cook Islands
Camps Bay, Cape Town
Like Bondi Beach to Sydney, Camps Bay is the place to see and be seen in Cape Town. Crowded, yes. Tourists, yes. But it earns its reputation as one of the world’s finest beaches—it’s soft white sands offer views of the Twelve Apostles and Lions Head massifs and there is reliable surf in-season. Nearby, travellers can find all amenities for a full-service beach getaway.
Resources: Camps Bay Tourism
Gorgeous, expansive, mysterious, ominous. Namibia’s Skeleton Coast has long attracted visitors—whether voluntary, like today’s tourism; or not, like the shipwrecks that along these ocean dunes that have taken so many lives. Wild creatures are not immune to the Skeleton effect—expect to see Oryx felled by the sun, and bleached whalebones littering the sand… an impressive spectacle of nature’s indifference.
Resources: The Ghostly Shore of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast
Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue
Oh, the marvelous Seychelles. One could compile a lengthy list of this country’s beaches alone. Hidden in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this archipelago of some 115 islands hosts a plethora of beaches, of which Anse Source d’Argent is one of the most popular. Like other hotspots, it is the quintessence of the region’s beaches—notable features include sculpted boulders rim the sandy expanses. If you want the best swimming, visit at high tide—best lounging, low tide.
Resources: Lonely Planet
Anse Lazio, Praslin Island
Another gem of the Seychelles, Anse Lazio on popular Praslin Island offers arguably better swimming and snorkeling than the above Anse Source d’Argent, with fewer crowds too. Marked by overhanging takamaka trees and signature boulders, it’s easy to lose a couple of days here. Without the protection of a coral reef, expect more waves to frolic in (and occasional shark sightings).
Watamu National Marine Park, Watamu
Watamu National Marine Park is the best place to go snorkeling in the region. A float through these clear, tepid waters will reveal a natural aquarium; rife with tropical fishes, occasional turtles, some 110 species of stony corals and more mollusks than you could count in a lifetime. If you prefer to stay dry (though why would you?), glass bottom boats are also available for hire.
Historically a fishing village, today a tourism destination, Nungwi merges modern amenities (hotels, bars, restaurants) with traditional cultures (watch the fish boats launch from shore every morning), but all in a spectacular oceanside setting. It’s well regarded for SCUBA and snorkeling too—though you’re just about as likely to spot local turtles at any time in this wildlife-rich region. Local accommodations range from the high-end to hostels—making Nungwi a meeting point for travellers of all types.
Resources: Zanzibar Central
Foum el Bouir, Dakhla
One of a few remarkable beaches near the Western Sahara town of Dakhla, Foum el Bouir is known as the “surfer’s beach.” Located closest to town, if you’re looking to shred the world-famous Atlantic swells that pound these African shores—this is the place to do it. Further on, you can also visit Pointe du Dragon and Puertito Beach—two other worthy, low-key stops.
Resources: Magic Seaweed
Praia de Chaves, Boa Vista
This isolated volcanic island chain will likely be one of the world’s next top beach destinations (if it’s not there already), so while the secret is out—travel soon if you want to really beat the rush. Rich with beaches, Praia de Chaves rises to the top due to its serene, lengthy sand-stretch and relative lack of development. You’ll easily find a place to call your own on this 10-kilometre-long beach (even if you choose to stay at one of the busy resorts at the western end).
Resources: Our Favourite Beaches in Cape Verde
Mahdia Beach, Mahdia
This coastal city is perfect for the sun-worshipper-come-history-buff. For the former, Mahdia’s beaches offer toasty temperatures (reaching upwards of 40 degrees Celsius in summer), refreshing waters and amenities ranging from luxe beach clubs to boutique hotels. For the latter, stroll through the historic sections to see 1,000-year-old ruins and learn about a timeline dating to Antiquity.
Sharm El-Naga, Hurghada
The Red Sea offers the world’s finest warm-water SCUBA and snorkeling—and Sharm El-Naga is one of the best places to dip your toe into these tepid waters. Snorkelers can swim through a living aquarium right from the shore, while more experienced divers can hire boats to reach breathtaking underwater mosaics of corals and schools of vibrant fishes. (However, much of it is accessible from shore.) Laidback and friendly, hotels and restaurants abound in this eat-dive-sleep-repeat destination.
Resources: Sharm El Naga Resort & Diving Center
Butterfly Valley, Olu Deniz
The boat access oasis of Butterfly Valley is just enough out of the way, and just rustic enough, to remain off-radar from the beach-going tourist hordes that descend on other parts of the country’s Mediterranean Coast. Expect a reclusive expanse of sand, backed by tall, crumbly cliffs and verdant vegetation. Accommodation is simple; daily activities are few, beyond lazing about, swimming and eating grilled meat. Sounds pretty good though, right?
Resources: Turkish Travel Blog
Texel, Wadden Islands
The Netherlands are probably not the first European country to pop into mind when planning a beach getaway—but if you can look past the cold water and mild temperatures, you’ll find Texel offers an island getaway that’s second-to-none. (Well, second-to-few, maybe.) More than 30 kilometres of beaches, dotted with lazing seals and historic lighthouses, await—plus seven villages, thousands of sheep and an active beachcombing scene of locals perusing the shores for washed-up treasure. Unique, to be sure.
Marzamemi Beach, Sicily
Golden sand, baked in sunshine. Rugged rock formations, home to sea life. Rich history, dating to Arab occupation. A cute seaside village, friendly and warm. Welcome to Marzamemi—a seaside village with a musical name and a poetic soul. Your entire stay on Sicily could be based here and you wouldn’t be disappointed. Rent a bike, rent a boat, drink some wine. La dolce vita.
Resources: The Fishing Village of Marzamemi
As one of the most popular countries for beach vacays on the whole continent, finding some off-radar sand in Greece can seem like Mission: Impossible. Enter Stoupa, on the mountainous Mani Peninsula. This low-key town offers a pleasant beach experience, with sheltered bays lined with umbrellas and cafes. Sailboats come and go; and in the winter months, you’ll feel as though you’re the only tourist in town.
Resources: Stoupa, Greece: Secret Seaside
Myrtos Beach, Ionian Islands
Of all the gorgeous beaches on all the many islands of Greece, Myrtos rises to the top. This swath of white sand is backed by tall, limestone cliffs and rimmed with water so turquoise it seems artificially dyed. Lush vegetation lines the clifftops, where vistas stretch across the Ionian archipelago. Travellers can take their pick of places to stay on the island of Kefalonia—from the high-end to the boutique.
Punta Rata Beach, Brela
Arid slopes rife with cypress trees, tumble towards a stretch of whitesand and rocky shoreline that borders temperate turquoise waters. Fishing and sail boats cruise the shoreline. Vacationers refresh in the waters near their hotels, or hire motorboats to escort them to nearby, secluded locales (like Vruja). This is Brela—one of the Croatia’s best beach destinations. Punta Rata is arguably the best spot in the area, but anywhere you lay your towel is idyllic and sure to satisfy.
Resources: Tourism Brela
Another classic beach destination of Europe, Portugal has dozens of oceanside destinations to entice. Troia is one of the best—a collection of goldensand shores, where fresh seafood is served at seaside restaurants, dolphins dance offshore and windsurfers and sailors take advantage of reliable winds and temperate seas. Golf is also popular here, if you can pry yourself from the sand (and into the sand traps).
Resources: Visit Portugal
La Concha Bay, San Sebastian
What’s not to love about La Concha Bay? Set alongside the city of San Sebastian, this area typifies a classic European urban beach. With a cosmopolitan city next door, and a kilometre-and-a-half of gorgeous whitesand to bask upon—your trip will likely have a split personality of late nights in the city and lazy days on the sand. Roam the promenade, spend time at the spas, take a day trip to Isla Santa Clara. This is a high-energy trip—but beaches don’t always have to be serene, right?
Resources: San Sebastian Tourism
La Cote des Basques, Biarritz
Welcome to the birthplace of European surfing; where the wealthy elite of France come to vacation, reliable waves roll in, the sand seems endless and the weather is balmy. You might spot a celebrity or two on these lengthy stretch of sand—but as upper-crust as it is, it’s also a lovely place to relax and unwind. Wander from the main access points and you’ll find a spot to call your own, perhaps pretending you’re part of France’s Old Money club for at least an afternoon…
Resources: Best Beaches on the Basque Coast
La Rondinara, Corsica
It’s like a piece of French Polynesia picked itself up and wandered right over to France. That’s La Rondinara, a marvelous crescent bay of white sand and turquoise waters, rimmed with lush forests and baked in sun throughout the year. Unlike so many urbanized beaches in Europe, La Rondinara is relatively rustic—there’s even a campsite for tenters and caravans onsite. Tourism picks up in July, so head there in early summer or September for a more serene stay.
Resources: La Camping Rondinara
Yep, we’re going south. WAY south. Since only hardy explorers and scientists actually trek to inland Antarctica, it’s fair to say that just about every visit to the White Continent is technically a “beach” visit. However, glacial shelves and ice floes don’t really count. So welcome to Deception Island, home to whaling remains, ill-fated expeditions, unpredictable weather and one of the few actual “beaches” on the continent. (It’s also sitting on an active volcano, just to add a bit more excitement.) Of the few who visit Deception, even fewer will brave its frigid waters—but hey, if you’ve travelled to the end of the world, might as well take a swim.
Resources: The Ominous Deception Island in Antarctica
Where On Earth Are These Paradises, Anyway?
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