The world is blessed with some amazing beaches. From north to south, there are tiny rocky coves sheltered by towering cliffs and incredible swathes of sweeping sand. From islands to towns, from tropical paradises to cities, from sparkly silver, through gold of every hue to volcanic black sand, the diversity is incredible. Here are 10 of the top beaches in the world:
1 Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
One of Hawaii’s most beloved nature preserves, the beautiful horseshoe-shaped Hanauma bay represents the floor of an ancient volcanic crater. A scant 10 miles from Waikiki, Hanauma stands above the rest, with its calm lagoons which make it a haven for snorkelers, swimmers and indeed, local marine life.
2 Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
South of Cape Town, Boulders beach is protected by an outcrop of grassy dunes. The beach itself mixes white sand with large, pillow-shaped boulders. One of the world’s most distinct beaches, Boulders attracts nature lovers the world over and is famous for being home to African penguins.
3 Grumari Beach, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
While Ipanema may have been immortalized in the 1960s bossa nova classic, Rio de Janeiro lays claim to several spectacular beaches. Away from the crowds in an environmentally protected area, Grumari Beach is Rio’s best-kept secret. Bordered by striking mountains and bounded by wild vegetation, Grumari’s soft fine sand and gentle waves feel a world apart from the crowds of Ipanema.
4 Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia
Australia’s most photographed beach is a sight to behold. Nowhere else in the world does aqua blue contrast so starkly and beautifully with white sands than in Whitehaven. Tidal shifts along the along the 7km beach create swirls of colors unique to the region, making it one of the top must-see destinations in Queensland.
5 Arambol Beach, Goa, India
Making a swift transition from humble fishing village to world-class beach, Arambol is the jewel of Goa. Here on this broad crescent of soft sand, there is a mix of beach chairs, a few remaining fishermen and the odd cow or two. Arambol’s laid-back atmosphere along with its natural beauty creates a magnetic pull that has been attracting more and more visitors each year.
6 Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
The Perhentian Islands represent the quintessential tropical beach paradise. Here, the sand crumbles underneath your feet like powder and palm trees jut out from the sand in perfect postcard image form. Featuring a year-round temperate climate and warm, crystal clear waters, Kecil is true paradise on Earth.
7 Las Islas Cíes, Galicia, Spain
Once squarely in pirate territory, Las Islas Cíes is a remarkable place near Spain’s northern border with Portugal. The area is only open to visitors in the summer and features two crescent-shaped pristine beaches with clear turquoise waters.
8 Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Sitting on Zanzibar’s northern tip, Nungwi offers an almost surreal landscape. Its shallow sloping beach is a sight to behold as are the small fishing villages that still dot the region. Nungwi is home to some of the finest sand in the world which when combined with the warm equatorial waters of Zanzibar, create a first-class beach experience.
9 Matira Beach, Bora Bora, Tahiti
Nicknamed the “Romantic Island”, Bora Bora is home to some of the most beautiful spots on earth. Matira Beach is the island’s crown jewel. Protected by a thin strip of land, Matira is nestled in a lagoon creating incredibly calm and clear waters which lap at your feet.
10 Anse Source D’Argent, Seychelles
The granite boulders which burst through the soft pink sand of Anse Source d’Argent is one of the region’s most distinctive features. Creating an even more dramatic scene, the flat sandy beach is protected by walls of palm tree-covered granite cliffs from behind, making it feel like the most secluded place in the world. Largely protected by a reef, the waves entering this stunning beach are calm and relaxing.
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