The 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World

Summer comes with glorious sunshine and serious wanderlust, luring us all somewhere on a beautiful shore, be it an endless stretch of golden sand, a secluded white cove with sparkling turquoise waters, or anything in between.

From Spain to Seychelles, here are 10 of the world’s most beautiful beaches:

Navagio Beach, Greece

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos

A small, secluded cove on the northwest shore of Zakynthos Island, Navagio is widely regarded as the most spectacular beach in Greece and one of its most photographed sights. Surrounded by steep cliffs and the iridescent turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, the sugar-white beach – with its iconic ancient shipwreck – takes your breath away and brings joy to your heart.

Navagio Beach is only accessible by boat, but it’s certainly worth the trip.

Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles

Anse Source d'Argent

One of Seychelles’ most popular beaches, yet secluded enough to spring in mind the idea of paradise, Anse Source d’Argent stands out for its perfect white sands lined with swaying palm trees and unusual granite boulders that drop dramatically into a crystal-clear teal sea. The beach is located on the quaint island of La Digue, where life moves slowly and development is kept to a minimum.

Lover’s Beach, Cabo San Lucas

Lover’s Beach, Cabo San Lucas

Although the romance that comes with the name might not be so evident these days, Lover’s Beach (Playa del Amor) is still stunningly beautiful. It lies near the picturesque Land’s End, facing the Sea of Cortez, and fascinates visitors with its spectacular natural setting tucked between majestic rock formations. The clear blue waters, rich in marine life, make it a true diving/snorkeling paradise.

Whitehaven Beach, Australia

Whitehaven Beach

Waters in countless shades of turquoise and the purest white silica sands make Australia’s Whitehaven one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. This jewel stretches over 7 km along Whitsunday Island, and on its northernmost tip lies the spectacular Hill Inlet, a striking backdrop of bright blue waters and swirling sands.

Phra Nang Beach, Thailand

Phra Nang Beach

Sheltered by soaring limestone cliffs and bathed by the shallow emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, Phra Nang on the Railay peninsula is one of Thailand’s most spectacular beaches. The area is especially famous among rock climbers who come here to take in the jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery or jump off the intimidating cliffs and can only be reached by longtail boat from Ao Nang.

Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach, Maui

Black sand beach in Maui

Nestled in Hana’s wonderful Wai’anapanapa State Park, just off the Hana Highway, between lush tropical greenery and black lava cliffs, this unusual beach is not just a patch of black sand but also a sacred place deep-rooted in the Hawaiian culture. Dramatic scenery aside, this dark stretch of sand and pebbles is also home to mysterious freshwater caves and ancient burial grounds.

Pfeiffer Beach, California

Pfeiffer Beach, California

The peculiar purple sand and dramatic offshore rocks, along with the mystical light that occurs for a couple of days each year on the charming Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California, make this place a one-of-a-kind experience for photographers from all over the world.

Cocoa Island Beaches, Maldives

Beach picnic in the Maldives
Photo courtesy of COMOHotels and Resorts

There’s no such thing as an ugly beach in the Maldives, but the white, pristine sands and shimmering sapphire waters at Cocoa Island are pure perfections.

Ses Illetes, Formentera

Playa de Ses Illetes

Arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean Sea, the Spanish Playa de Ses Illetes on the pretty Balearic island of Formentera has all the right ingredients: translucent blue waters, Caribbean-white sands, and a laid-back, bohemian atmosphere that just gets under your skin.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Beach

The sexiest beach in the world, Ipanema, is where beach chic and epic natural beauty blend seamlessly as days fall into nights on sensual samba rhythms, and beautiful tanned sun worshippers applaud the spectacle of the sun setting over the water.

What’s your favorite beach in the world?

  1. Shame you couldn’t fit any Canarian beaches on your list. But I’ve written these sort of features before, and it’s difficult to limit your choices to a mere 10. It is, of course, also entirely subjective.

  2. You’re right, Matthew, it is pretty difficult. However, when I first made the draft, there were 3 Spanish beaches, but then I thought it wasn’t fair and I decided to write two posts: this one and another about top beaches in Spain.Thanks for stopping by!

  3. ann cabezas creed ann cabezas creed says:

    There are many nice beaches in Costa Rica on the Pacific Coastline. One of the most beautiful with white sand is Hacienda Panilla.

  4. It’s true, there are so many beautiful beaches in the world and to list top 10 will be very difficult and of course will be based on personal preference and places you’ve been.

    I would add any one of the 7,100 islands/beaches from Philippines.

    A great post though and very helpful.

    1. Good you mentioned Philippines. El Nido and Boracay beaches are usually listed among the best. Conde Nast, and Travel and Leisure never failed to list them.

  5. Personally I think you should’ve added my country Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean of east Africa. What a beautiful country it is a blessing to live there.

  6. Nancy Diaz Nancy Diaz says:

    California beaches are cold and dark waters. I have lived in CA for the past 21 years and I have NEVER been able to enjoy a beach here because they are cold all year around. So please re examen your list. The best beaches are located in the Caribbean.

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