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50 Best Beaches in the World

Sun, sea and sand – where are the best beaches in the world in 2024?

Plotting your next beach escape? From the talc-soft sands of the Caribbean to the wind-whipped coast of New Zealand, we’ve rounded up 50 of the best beaches in the world in 2024 to ignite your wanderlust and inspire your next trip. While we’ll be the first to agree that a tropical beach might be just what the doctor ordered this summer, we want to celebrate the world’s most distinctive beaches in all of their guises, whether they’re renowned for Robinson Crusoe-style sandy stretches, incredible wildlife, epic walks or a legendary party scene. To compile this list, we’ve used aggregated scores from social media and contributions from our editorial team, taking into consideration special awards, unique features and settings.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches

50. Mystic Beach – Vancouver Island, Canada

Canada might not be synonymous with sandy shores, but with 15,000 miles of coastline hiding breathtaking treasures like Mystic Beach, it should be. Tucked away along the Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach offers an enchanting escape with postcard-perfect white sands set alongside the verdant forest. A pretty waterfall cascades gracefully into the brilliant blue sea to complete the picture.

Mystic Beach

49. Essaouira Beach – Morocco

Set against the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, Essaouira combines a stunning beach setting with a charming coastal fishing village. It’s a paradise for watersports enthusiasts – particularly windsurfers and kitesurfers who flock here year round – but there’s plenty of space for keen sunbathers too. Beyond its natural beauty, the beach is lined with dozens of waterfront cafes serving up fresh seafood dishes.

Essaouira Beach

48. Cannon Beach – Oregon, United States

Cannon Beach is best known for its iconic Haystack Rock, a hulking 232 ft monolith rising from the surf. This pretty patch of coastline is perfect for beachcombing, tidepooling and admiring breathtaking sunsets against the rugged backdrop of the Pacific Northwest. It’s also home to a variety of seabirds, including the tufted puffin.

Cannon Beach

47. Rondinara Beach – Corsica, France

Perfectly poised along the rugged Corsican coast, this pretty crescent-shaped bay is one of many gems on the island. Picture-perfect and off-the-beaten-path, it’s the kind of beach that would be overrun if it weren’t for its remote location. Surrounded by rolling hills and towering cliffs, the water here is crystal clear and the sands are powdery white. Getting here is half the adventure – take the winding coastal road for sweeping views of the Corsican countryside.

Rondinara Beach

46. Lamai Beach – Thailand

Lamai Beach is a slice of paradise tucked away on the island of Koh Samui. The beach offers the same sweeping golden sands and azure waters as its showstopping neighbour Chaweng Beach, with half the crowds. Surrounded by tropical foliage and swaying palm trees, the beach stretches for miles, offering plenty of space for sunbathers, sandcastle builders and volleyball players. Beach bars serve up cocktails and fresh seafood straight from the barbecue line on the beach.

Lamai Beach

45. Driftwood Beach – Georgia, United States

Located on Jekyll Island, Driftwood Beach is famous for its hauntingly beautiful landscape dotted with elegant driftwood and gnarled trees overlooking the sweeping Atlantic Ocean. The tranquil atmosphere, combined with a dreamlike natural setting, make it a favourite spot for photographers, nature lovers and anyone seeking a quiet retreat in Georgia’s beautiful coastal wilderness.

Driftwood Beach

44. Playa Estrella – Panama

Fancy swimming with starfish? You can at Playa Estrella (Starfish Beach). The crystal clear waters are dotted with starfish lazing on the sandy seabed. Once you’ve had your fill of wildlife, unwind on the sun-drenched shores or take a leisurely boat tour through the nearby mangrove forests.

Playa Estrella

43. La Concha – Spain

Frequently listed as one of the best beaches in Europe, La Concha Beach sits on a spectacular bay in the Basque country, a stone’s throw from the heart of San Sebastian. Surrounded by lush green hills and elegant promenades, the beach offers a picture-perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing and leisurely strolls along the waterfront. To top it off, dozens of beachside cafes serve pintxos and other delectable dishes.

La Concha

42. Chumbe Island – Zanzibar

This biodiversity hotspot is a designated nature reserve and wilderness retreat hailed for its commitment to sustainability as one of the world’s leading examples of successful marine conservation. Once you’ve tired of swimming alongside kaleidoscopic fish and colourful corals, there are acres of white sandy beaches to explore and relax in. You’ll need to join the queue to visit though, visitor numbers are limited and there are strict regulations to minimise environmental impact.

Chumbe Island

41. Playa Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica

This idyllic beach offers the perfect blend of sun, sand and serenity in one of the world’s most popular destinations for 2024. The beach is squeezed between tropical rainforests teeming with wildlife, including howler monkeys, sloths, and colourful tropical birds, and the gently lapping waters of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a popular spot, but it’s impossible not to fall in love with this patch of Costa Rica’s coastline.

Playa Manuel Antonio

40. Calangute Beach – India

Known as Goa’s prettiest party beach, Calangute Beach is a bustling sandy stretch loved for its water sports, beachfront restaurants and vibrant nightlife scene. Days are best spent relaxing in a hammock or on a sun lounger and dipping in the waves, but stay for the evening when the sleepy beach shacks come alive with live music and events.

Calangute Beach

39. Boulders Beach – South Africa

Boulders Beach is as famous for its inhabitants as it is for its natural beauty. This Blue Flag beach is home to a colony of more than 3,000 African Penguins, who nest on the beach. Head here in the early summertime to catch them on the beach, then take a hike or a drive along the scenic coastline of the Cape Peninsula.

Boulders Beach

38. Playa Zicatela – Mexico

Many claim Puerto Escondido’s Playa Zicatela is the best surfing beach in the world, and with waves as high as 20 ft. it’s easy to see why. It’s a thrilling playground for watersports enthusiasts, but with 3.5 km of golden sands, there’s plenty of space for sunbathing and relaxing. The town has a lovely and laidback atmosphere, with a vibrant cultural scene, delicious cuisine and warm hospitality.

Playa Zicatela

37. Awaroa, Tasman – New Zealand

For the ultimate dose of seclusion, it’s hard to beat Awaroa in New Zealand. It’s named “The People’s Beach” because a group of 39,000 New Zealanders banded together to buy the privately held beachfront in 2016 and kept it open to the public. Most people get here by water or on foot, but thanks to its remote location and delimited amenities, it has managed to retain its sense of tranquillity and exclusivity.

Awaroa, Tasman

36. Wasaga Beach – Canada

Stretching along the shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Wasaga Beach is one of the longest freshwater beaches in the world. With its soft golden sands and shallow warm waters, it’s the ideal beach for families looking to sunbathe, build sandcastles and enjoy watersports. It’s also a top destination for vibrant festivals, live music events and beachfront markets, so there’s always something going on.

Wasaga Beach

35. Punta del’Este – Uruguay

Uruguay’s most famous beach has secured a spot on our top 50 for yet another year, thanks to its blonde sands, striking cliffs and iconic sculpture of a half-buried hand with fingers peeking out of the sand. It’s a popular spot with local celebrities but there’s plenty for us mere mortals to enjoy here too, from sunbathing to epic watersports.

Punta del’Este

34. Horseshoe Bay – Bermuda

Named for its curving shape, the popular Horseshoe Bay Beach boasts Bermuda’s trademark crystal blue waters and pinkish sands, as well as hidden caves and tucked-away coves for those looking for a little more seclusion. The beach is surrounded by natural limestone cliffs and impressive coral reefs, making it a popular spot for snorkelling too.

Horseshoe Bay

33. Elafonissi Beach – Create, Greece

Located on the southwestern coast of Crete, this stunning beach is famous for its candyfloss pink sands and shallow turquoise waters, surrounded by rugged cliffs and sand dunes. If you’re hoping to dodge the crowds, wade out to sea and stroll along the sandbar to the island of Elafonisi. This tiny nature reserve is brimming with rare flora, like summer sea daffodils, as well as secret coves and sandy stretches for a more secluded sunbathe. Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles!

Elafonissi Beach

32. Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida, United States

Located 70 miles from civilisation and accessible only by seaplane or boat, almost 99% of this extraordinary area is underwater. The 100-square-mile park comprises seven small islands brimming with unique natural features and sea life, while breathtakingly blue waters stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s one of the United States’ most remote national parks and a vital outdoor laboratory for scientific research.

Dry Tortugas National Park

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31. Seven Mile Beach – Cayman Islands

No list of the world’s best beaches would be complete without a nod to Seven Mile Beach, one of the most famous spots in the Caribbean. Located on the western shore of Grand Cayman, this world-famous beach boasts pristine white sands that stretch for (seven) miles, fringed by crystal-clear turquoise waters and swaying palm trees. The gentle slope into the sea makes it a haven for lazier swimmers too. Little wonder why it’s featured in countless films and TV series, including “The Firm” with Tom Cruise.

Seven Mile Beach

30. Praia do Camilo – Portugal

It’s a hefty 200 steps down (and an unrelenting clamber back up) to reach this beautiful beach, but you won’t be disappointed. From the winding path nestled into orange cliffs, you’ll see the Ponta da Piedade nearby, a landmark rock formation with grottoes and rock arches. This really puts Lagos on the map, so it’s a popular spot – get there early to nab a space.

Praia do Camilo

29. Railay Beach – Krabi

Set against towering limestone cliffs and dramatic karst formations, lush jungle and turquoise waters, the views here are picture-perfect. Add powdery white sands, a plethora of adventure activities, a gateway to nearby islands and a vibrant community of locals and travellers into the mix and you have the perfect beach destination.

Railay Beach

28. Monterrico – Guatemala

While there are plenty of white sandy beaches dotted around the Guatemalan coast, Monterrico is one of the best black sand beaches in the region. Its pristine dark volcanic sands seem to stretch for miles, lapped by the warm Pacific waters. It’s also home to several sea turtle nesting sites, where visitors have the unique opportunity to witness them lay their eggs and hatchlings making their way to the sea. Stay for some of the best sunsets on the island.


27. Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Cove) – Greece

Greece is perenially popular, but this year even more so. This secluded cove, named after the shipwreck of 1983, stands out as one of Greece’s most photographed beaches, and rightfully so. The remnants of the ship sit at the heart of this sweeping white sandy beach, surrounded by turquoise waters and towering cliffs. To reach it, you’ll need to hop on a 30-minute boat ride.

Navagio Beach

26. Pink Beach – Indonesia

Pink Beach is one of just seven rosy-hued beaches in the world, but it’s arguably the best. Set on Komodo Island, a 90-minute boat ride from Lombok, the beach owes its unique colour to the abundance of microscopic organisms called Foraminifera. It’s a beautiful spot at any time of day, but when the low sun casts its golden rays on the lapping Flores Sea, the beach is breathtaking. Thanks to its secluded location, the beach rarely gets crowded too.

Pink Beach

25. Pfeiffer Beach – California, United States

Beloved for its purple-hued sands and dramatic rock formations, Pfeiffer Beach is one of the most beautiful spots along the rugged Big Sur coastline. The crescent-shaped beach is a favourite with everyone from photographers to nature enthusiasts thanks to its towering sea stacks and tide pools carved into the boulders teeming with marine life.

Pfeiffer Beach

24. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha – Brazil

Copacabana and Ipanema might get all the glory, but those in the know head to Baia do Sancho for its pristine white sands, clear turquoise waters and stunning scenery. Located on the island of Fernando de Noronha, Baia do Sancho is the stuff of true castaway daydreams, far from the hustle and bustle of Brazil’s big cities.

Baia do Sancho

23. Plettenberg Bay – South Africa

This heart-racingly beautiful stretch of coast, towards the eastern end of the Garden Route, is a playground for South Africa’s holidaymakers. Nestled between verdant green rolling hills with breathtaking views of the majestic Tsitsikamma Mountains, the bay encompasses several beaches on either side of the town. To the south is Robberg Peninsula, a protected site characterised by rugged cliffs and a playful seal colony, while to the north there’s Keurbooms Beach and the equally famous lagoon formed by the meandering river. Look out for dolphins playing in the distance.

Plettenberg Bay

22. Barafundle Bay – Wales

When it comes to the UK’s beaches, Cornwall tends to hog the limelight, but Pembrokeshire’s beaches are every bit as beautiful, with fewer crowds. Barafundle Bay is tucked away amidst sand dunes and pine trees, a half-mile stroll from the nearest car park. Beloved for its endless stretches of golden sands and shimmering waters, this pristine bay has earned countless accolades, often drawing comparisons to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

Barafundle Bay

21. Cala Marioulu – Sardinia, Italy

Cala Marioulu boasts what is surely Italy’s most spectacular beach setting: a teensy-tiny beach enveloped by silver limestone cliffs and lush pine trees. You’d expect this tiny paradise to be clamouring with tourists, but thanks to its remote location (it’s either a boat or a challenging hike to get here) it feels secluded and tranquil. The waters are gin-clear, making it an ideal spot for snorkelling too.

Cala Marioulu

20. Reynisfjara Beach – Iceland

If you love a good beach but white sands and tropical cocktails aren’t for you, add Reynisfjara Beach to your bucket list. Known for its striking black sand, towering basalt columns, and tumultuous waves, this beach encapsulates the raw power and beauty of Iceland’s volcanic terrain. Combine this wind-whipped coastline with an atmosphere of untamed wilderness and ancient mystique, and it isn’t hard to see why it’s so popular. Plus, it featured in Season 7 of the HBO series, Game of Thrones.

Reynisfjara Beach

19. Lanikai Beach – Hawaii, United States

Hawaii isn’t short on jaw-dropping beaches, but Lanikai Beach is one of its most coveted coastal destinations. Nestled along the coast of Oahu, the beach is all powdery white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters, with the iconic Mokulua Islands rising on the horizon. This idyllic setting, framed by swaying palm trees and lush tropical foliage, makes it the ultimate destination for sunbathing, swimming and crafting some top-quality Instagram content.

Lanikai Beach

18. Assateague Island National Seashore – Maryland and Virginia, United States

For a totally unique coastal experience, there’s the Assateague Island National Seashore. Home to wild horses that roam its shores, this pristine barrier island features untouched beaches, salt marshes and unique wildlife spots. Hike nature trails, paddle a kayak or just relax on the soft sands. If a day isn’t enough for you, bring your tent and camp under a canopy of stars.

Assateague Island National Seashore

17. Flamenco Beach – Puerto Rico

With its soft white sands and crystal-clear waters, Flamenco is the archetypal Caribbean paradise. Located on the postcard-perfect island of Culebra, the beach is consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world, but it hasn’t lost any of its charm. Whether you’re planning to laze around on soft sands, snorkel along colourful coral reefs or soak in the scenery, it offers a blissful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Flamenco Beach

16. Grace Bay – Turks and Caicos

With its crystal-clear waters and soft white sands, Grace Bay consistently ranks among the world's top beaches, offering sublime snorkelling and diving opportunities. It offers the quintessential Caribbean beach experience, complete with gentle breeze, swaying palms and turquoise waters. Things are just as interesting below the water surface, with marine life teeming with colourful coral reefs, exotic fish and other tropical sea creatures.

Grace Bay

15. Source d’Argent – Seychelles

It’s one of the most photographed beaches in the world and no stranger to our top 50 annual roundups, but that doesn’t make this tropical paradise any less special. With a mesmerising combination of powdery white sands, towering granite boulders and crystal-clear waters framed by lush vegetation and swaying palms, it might just be one of the most relaxing spots in the world.

Source d’Argent

14. Zlatni Rat – Croatia

This iconic beach is renowned for its unique shape, resembling a golden horn that extends nearly half a kilometre into the Adriatic Sea. Its pristine pebble shores and crystalline turquoise waters offer an idyllic setting for sunbathers and swimmers. Surrounded by lush pine forests, the beach is also a haven for windsurfing and other water sports, making it a top contender for the title of the world's best beach.

Zlatni Rat

13. Cala Macarella – Menorca, Spain

Cala Macarella is Menorca’s worst-kept secret: a jaw-dropping “virgin beach” with clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches framed by rugged cliffs and lush pine forests. Unsurprisingly, the beach has garnered international recognition, including Blue Flag status, but it hasn’t lost any of its magic. Whether you’re looking to lounge or explore the surrounding natural beauty, Cala Macarella is guaranteed to set hearts soaring.

Cala Macarella

12. Cable Beach – Australia

Remote Kimberley in Western Australia is renowned for its brilliant blue waters and endless sandy stretches, but it’s always been hard to reach. This year, it’s set to become much easier to explore the region thanks to an influx of cruise lines. There are hundreds of beautiful beaches to explore, but Cable Beach is the best. Take a ride on the camel train or hop on a boat trip as the sun sinks below the horizon for the best views.

Cable Beach

11. Mirissa – Sri Lanka

After a tough few years, this Indian Ocean island is firmly back on the travel radar – and 2024 is definitely the time to head here. There are hundreds of beautiful beaches dotted across the country, but Mirissa deserves a spot on your bucket list. Located on the south coast, the beach is renowned for its pristine golden sands and crystal clear waters backed by swaying coconut trees. Good swells keep surfers happy, while dozens of beachside bars and restaurants offering fresh seafood are guaranteed to keep you occupied. In February and March, blue whales migrate along the coast and some of the best whale-watching tours depart a stone’s throw from the beach too.


10. Jalousie Beach – St Lucia

Nestled against the dramatic backdrop of Petit Piton, one of the island’s most iconic volcanic peaks, is the tropical haven of Jalousie Beach, affectionately dubbed “Sugar Beach”. Adventurers and water enthusiasts hotfoot here for the jaw-dropping 1,800-foot drop into the sea, while snorkelers and scuba divers flock here for vibrant underwater life. Paradise found.

Jalousie Beach

9. Rock Islands Beaches – Palau

The seascape here has been dubbed “the underwater Serengeti’ thanks to its world-class dive sites and stunning marine life, but things are just as exciting on dry land. Billed as one of the top destinations to visit in 2024 and one of the most sustainable destinations in the world, Palau is brimming with Robinson Crusoe-style beaches, but the Rock Islands Beaches top them all. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to several beaches ideal for diving, snorkelling and kayaking, set against dramatic limestone cliffs.

Rock Islands Beaches

8. Le Morne Beach – Mauritius

Mauritius is well-known for its dreamy seaside resorts and cornflower blue sea, so it was inevitably going to make our shortlist. Situated on the southwestern tip of the island, Le Morne is squeezed between the soaring Le Morne Brabant Mountain and waters brimming with vibrant coral reefs and an array of exotic marine life. Strong winds and waves make it popular with windsurfers too.

Le Morne Beach

7. Grand Anse Beach – Granada

Grande Anse Beach is the island’s most famous beach for very good reason. Visitors are treated to two miles of soft white sands and gin-clear waters perfect for swimming, snorkelling and water sports. Restaurants, resorts and bars line the beach, so you can guarantee a lively atmosphere all year. Head here in the summer months for “Spicemas”, Grenada’s Carnival and the island’s largest cultural event, which involves weeks of parades, food, dancing, and performances.

Grand Anse Beach

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6. Cabo San Juan Beach – Colombia

This tropical paradise is found in Tayrona National Park, stripping it back to the basics. It’s a long hike through the tropics to get to the beach, and you’ll have to bring your own water. There is a restaurant when you get to the beach, though. The main draw to Cabo San Juan Beach is the campsite – a night under the stars, listening to the calm sea lap onto shore sounds like heaven to us.

Cabo San Juan Beach

5. Laomei Beach – Taiwan

Taiwan has hit plenty of “top 2024 hotlists” thanks to the opening of a string of sexy hotels, the 400th anniversary of Tainan, and a whole host of incredible festivals – well, here’s another reason to visit. Technically a green reef, this spectacular natural wonder is one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Every spring, a carpet of green algae covers the entire reef, which was formed thousands of years ago due to the eruption of the Datun Mountains. You can’t walk on the reef, but you can appreciate it from several viewpoints and observation decks, or by booking a boat tour.

Laomei Beach

4. White Beach, Port Barton – Philippines

While the Philippines boasts hundreds of brilliant beaches, this particular stretch stands out as a true gem. Accessible only by boat from Port Barton or a bumpy 4x4 ride by land, its secluded location guarantees plenty of peace and quiet. This is the perfect spot for lounging in hammocks, sinking your toes into powdery white sounds and venturing out into crystal-clear waters in kayaks.

White Beach, Port Barton

3. Moon Bay – Slovenia

Sure, it doesn’t boast the tropical breeze of the Caribbean, but this preserved seaside is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Located in the southwest of Slovenia in the Strunjan Landscape Park, Moon Bay is framed by towering rock formations weathered by centuries of erosion and brilliant blue and green waters. Thanks to its remote location and protected status, you’re likely to have the whole place to yourself too. Take in the sweeping Adriatic views on one of several hiking trails that wind through the reserve or simply lounge in the sunshine.

Moon Bay

2. Stokes Bay Beach – Australia

Kangaroo Island boasts a whopping 540 km of coastline, so you’re never far from a brilliant beach. But Stokes Bay, with its shimmering rock pools, cliffside location and sparkling turquoise waters, is by far one of the most beautiful. Getting here is half the fun too; the beach is accessible via a hidden rock tunnel. For those seeking adventures, the rolling waves provide ample opportunities for good surf, while the giant protected rockpool provides a safe shallow area for little ones to swim and snorkel. Lonely Planet voted Kangaroo Island one of the top regions in the world to visit in 2024.

Stokes Bay Beach

1. Piha Beach – New Zealand

On the wind-whipped west coast of Auckland is Piha Beach, this year’s best beach. Famed for its black sands, foamy white waves and formidable Lion Rock, it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the country. While it’s not one for leisurely dips in the sea (the waves are notoriously rough), the views epitomise the rugged beauty of New Zealand’s coastline. Behind the beach is a small coastal village, much loved by surfers and fisherfolk, as well as tourists in the know.

Piha Beach

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