Imagine yourself lying on a stunning tropical beach with clear water tickling your toes – soft white sands and towering palm trees providing the perfect backdrop. Picture yourself walking along a windswept beach with a vast and awe-inspiring horizon. The world is full of amazing beaches, and it can be difficult to choose the perfect beach destination.
Pass on overcrowded Bali and delight in a small slice of peaceful Indonesian heaven. Karimun Jawa lies just off the coast of Java and has no shortage of fabulously picturesque beaches. Ujung Gelam is a secluded cove where you can relax amongst white sands, graceful palm trees and enjoy cheap and delicious Indonesian food. It's the perfect setting to capture a spectacular sunset.
Right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven beach is one of the most remarkably beautiful yet unspoiled beaches in the world. White sands and turquoise waters make this a photographer's dream. A short bushwalk will take you to Tongue Point to marvel at an incredible view of the northern end of the beach, where the tide and sand merge into a swirling mass of colors.
Some like it hot, but some like it jaw-dropping. A little on the cooler side compared to some of the other locations, Giant's Causeway isn't a beach in the traditional sense of the word. However, this bewitching geological wonder is an absolute must-visit coastal destination. Savor the incredible scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage site that has quite literally inspired legends.
Although it's part of the Thai mainland, Railay beach is only accessible by boat, making it feel like an island. Railay boasts impressive limestone karst scenery, which is what Thai beaches have become known for. Not only is it a stunning place to swim, kayak, and sunbathe, it is also a major hub for rock-climbers from all over the world.
Russia may not spring to mind as a beach destination, but this inland lake has an abundance of exciting panoramas in all seasons. Shallow and sheltered bays are perfect for bathing in. Bird watchers will be thrilled with the mating colonies of birds on the seven rocky islands in the lake. The sunsets are said to be some of the most beautiful in the whole world. And for the more adventurous, the lake freezes over in winter, making for some outstanding scenery.
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'Bahias' means bays in Spanish, and there are nine beautiful bays in Huatulco. You will have some of these completely to yourself if you are adventurous enough to seek them out. Here are our top picks:
It can be argued that El Nido is the most beautiful place on the planet. On the north end of the island of Palawan, El Nido is an area of extraordinary natural beauty. It draws visitors from all over the globe to marvel at its towering cliffs, clear turquoise waters, and luscious jungle. El Nido is also extremely popular with scuba divers, and with its calm sea conditions, is an excellent location for first-time divers.
Another surprise location on our list is in South Korea - a place not often thought of as a beach destination. However, the soft, white sands of Gwangalli Beach sits on a backdrop of a bustling, cosmopolitan city, rich with charming Korean culture. The beach comes alive at night, where an impressively atmospheric LED and fireworks show takes place on the iconic Gwangan suspension bridge.
Another secluded beach on our list is Navagio beach, sometimes known as Shipwreck Beach or Smuggler's Cove. It is surrounded by mighty white cliffs and contains a dramatic centrepiece of a rusting shipwreck, said to have been smuggling contraband when it crashed in the 1980s. You can travel to the beach either by road or boat, but the clifftop viewing point perhaps offers the most powerful scenery. It can get crowded in the middle of the day so try to visit in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Mexico steals another place on the list with the exotic 'hidden beach' on Marieta Island off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. Swim or kayak your way into this dream-like cave, hidden from view. Although beware, this beach is only accessible at low tide. There's something here for everyone, with impressive snorkeling, a sandbank for sunbathing, and beautiful plant life for nature lovers to enjoy.
Durdle Door is home to one of the most famous and iconic stone arches in the world. Believed to have been formed around 10,000 years ago, it's located on England's Jurassic Coast. Getting to Durdle Door can be a bit of an adventure, but it's more than worth it: The beach and arch are unforgettable, as are the numerous natural limestone caves that you can access and explore on foot.
Monterosso Al Mare is a seaside village and commune along the Cinque Terre strip of Italy. This beautiful beach with its emerald water is popular during the summer months, partially thanks to the quaint medieval ruins and San Francesco church that inhabit the nearby landscape. But don't worry, Monterosso Al Mare still offers the usual resort amenities nearby for those looking for something a little more modern.
Named for the appearance of the coral reef that resides here, Tunnels Beach is considered one of the best places to go snorkeling in Hawaii. But even if you aren't a diver and you're simply looking for an unforgettable beach with lush green surroundings and crystalline waters, Tunnels Beach is the spot.
Created by a landslide that took place in 1962, Cala Goloritze in Sardinia is famous for its pinnacle that juts out above the cove over 400 feet in the air. The beautiful blue coast of Cala Goloritze is actually closed off to motorboats to prevent pollution, and you have to reach it by traditional boats. But it's worth the trouble: The piercing emerald water here is unbelievable. So much so that the location was named an Italian National Monument in 1995.
Also known as the Bay of Whales, Walvis Bay is actually a city located in Namibia, and it's the only deep-sea harbor in the country. Walvis Bay is known for its cleanliness and its robust marine life, and there are tours that offer ample opportunities for viewing whales and dolphins. And if you're a fan of seafood, Walvis Bay has some of the best in the world.