Long stretches of glistening golden sand, sparkling blue water, and cocktails within reach: we know what makes a good beach. If you’re seeking pure relaxation, we’ve found just the beaches around the world for you to bliss-out on. We’ve also included a few beaches which are ideal for surfing, snorkeling, and other water activities — because relaxation isn’t only about lying back with a cocktail.
1. Elafonisi Island, Greece
Located on the western side of Crete, Elafonisi Island is just 200 meters off the coast. Voted several times over as home to the most majestic beach in the world, one glance at Elafonisi Island’s stunning pink sand and crystal clear blue-green waters will leave you longing to lounge on its shores. But that’s not all: you can also enjoy a peaceful swim in the shallow lagoon situated between the mainland and the island. The perfect destination for a summer day, Elafonisi Island is popular — and with good reason! Beat the crowds by heading here at the beginning or the end of the summer.
2. Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands
Actually measuring only 5.5 miles, the famous Seven Mile Beach is situated on Grand Cayman’s west shore. The clear waters and coral sands attract visitors from around the world, but that’s not all Seven Mile Beach has to offer. Enjoy lively bars and Jamaican restaurants as you soak in the Caribbean sun. Whether sipping on fresh coconut water straight from the source is up your alley, or getting to know the local wildlife on a snorkeling trip is more your speed, Seven Mile Beach has something for everyone. Oh, last but not least: a visit to the Caymans wouldn’t be complete without rum. Head to this nearby distillery and brewery to taste this spirit at the source.
3. Harbor Island, Bahamas
Located off the northeast coast of Eleuthera Island, Harbor Island is a quiet refuge away from the busy Bahamian beaches. Popular among couples and families who enjoy relaxing away from the masses, Harbor Island is home to pink beaches and a seemingly endless supply of sun loungers. And with no shortage of beachside bites, you’re sure to find something to your tastes. For the more adventurous folk, neighboring island Nassau is close enough and packed with beach activities.
4. Matira Beach, Bora Bora
Matira Beach is the only public-access beach in Bora Bora, making it the most accessible on the island. This mile-long beach features long stretches of white sand and a shallow emerald lagoon, with palm trees and thick tropical foliage in the background. For drinks and dining, you won’t have to walk far. Several casual cafes are scattered along the beach, all western-facing to enjoy the stunning sunsets. During low tide, it’s possible to swim out to the barrier reef which is a popular spot to snorkel with sharks and stingrays.
5. Reduit Beach, St. Lucia
Reduit Beach is situated just south of Pigeon Island National Park along Rodney Bay. For the active traveler, this beach is great for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing — or even joining a Segway nature trail experience. For vacationers with a slower speed in mind, never fear. There are numerous ways to luxuriate at dozens of nearby spas. And if you want to keep living the high life, Reduit Beach happens to be situated near a large yacht marina, so you can easily charter a boat to a nearby island. Anchors aweigh!
6. El Nido, Philippines
Home to around 50 white sand beaches, El Nido is full of fun ways to spend a day in the sun. No matter which beach you visit, you’re guaranteed dramatic limestone formations, insanely white sand, and intensely blue water. And don’t even get us started with the sunsets. While they are certainly ‘gram worthy, nothing beats being there in person. Seek out a secluded spot on El Nido (this won’t be difficult — the area is relatively under the radar), sit back, and relax.
Navagio Beach is often referred to as Shipwreck Beach or Smuggler’s Cove and is located on the coast of Zakynthos in the Ionian Islands of Greece. This remote destination is notoriously difficult to get to: unless you’re the captain of your own ship, you’ll need to hop on one of several boats that go back and forth to the beach. Take the experience up a notch via a day trip and see Navagio Beach in style via speedboat, as well as the Blue Caves at Xingia Beach.
8. Hyams Beach, Australia
Hyams Beach has the whitest sand in the world. Don’t take our word for it — the Guinness Book of World Records says so. This, however, is just one of the reasons to visit Hyams beach. Located on the southern shores of Jervis Bay, you can join a tour from Sydney that explores all of the beaches along this coastal strip, including Hyams Beach. The bay is encircled by Booderee National Park and is also a popular spot for whale watching.
9. Île aux Cerfs, Mauritius
Mauritius is notorious for luxurious beach holidays — it’s a tropical paradise packed with stunning beaches and top-notch hotels and lodges. Île aux Cerfs is a privately owned island near the east coast of Mauritius. Most travelers make their visit a day trip, soaking up the sun, snorkeling, and enjoying lunch at one of the beach restaurants. You can get to the island either by motorboat or splash out on a private Catamaran Charter.
10. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
Perhaps the most famous of the Bermuda beaches, Horseshoe Bay is known for its pink sands, turquoise water, and jagged rock formations. This is a popular beach (particularly when cruise ships are in town), but for a quieter spot, travelers just need to walk a bit further east along the beach. Horseshoe Bay has everything needed for a fun beach day, including chairs and umbrellas for rental, lifeguards, a beach bar, and public restrooms. For families, there’s Horseshoe Bay Cove, which is a natural shallow pool perfect for splashing around in.