Chillax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches
The definition of a beach is “A pebbly or sandy shore, especially by the sea”. The definition of beautiful is “Pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically”.
Combine the two and you’ve got some type of shoreline possibly by the sea that enables either your mind or senses to be pleased in an aesthetic way. But what you and your fellow humans consider ‘aesthetic’ is a very personal thing.
So why not grab your passport and decide for yourself? Here’s an inspirational list to get you planning that next sunny, sandy, surfy break.
Picture pink-hued sand (how romantic!) sparkling against azure waters offset by a palm-fringed beach – this is the postcard-perfect scene you’ll get when visiting Source d’Argent in the Seychelles. A secluded cove located on the island of La Digue (one of an archipelago of 115), this is the visual candy of holiday dreams. However, forget about the kilo-shedding cuisine that normally comes with life on a deserted island. This spot also offers an ample selection of local eating establishments serving up Creole-inspired delicacies.
If your dream holiday checklist consists of dazzling coral reefs, whiter-than-white sand and luminous blue water, then annihilate that ‘must have’ list and give a big high five to the Maldives. Chuck in the added bonus of a few pampered nights in a four-start resort and some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world, and you’ll understand why this bunch of islands straddling the Equator is visited by over a million people every year. But don’t stress about crowds, as there are over 1100 islands in this archipelago to go around.
Fake-tanned-up and looking for the perfect romantic holiday? Tahiti’s Bora Bora is your go-to, lover. One of the most magical islands in French Polynesia, its lush length encompasses 29 kilometres of isolated beaches and a splattering of intimate hotels, edged by a protective lagoon. Balmy temperatures hover around 29 degrees year-round as does the atmosphere. Forget tourist traps and noisy nightlife – this languidly paced nirvana caters solely for peace lovers.
Windswept cliff tops, turquoise bays and powder-white sand as far as the sunnies can see … say bonjour fancy holidaymakers to Saint-Barth. One of the many islands in the Caribbean Sea, this one stands out because of its wonderful blend of island ‘je ne sais quoi’ and French chic. Favoured by the opulence-loving jetset (check out the off season for better deals), this 13-kilometre long tropical playground is edged by 20-odd beaches and a myriad of oh là là restaurants.
This almost-half-a-kilometre crescent-shaped beach off the Kohala Coast of the Big Island is a dead ringer for the quintessentially Hawaiian postcard polaroid. With an abundance of palm trees, fluffy, white sand and a couple of coral reefs thrown in for good measure, Kauna’oa Bay is a lazy adventurer’s playground. A spot of snorkelling? Sure! As long as there’s an ice cold piña colada awaiting me post underwater adventure.
Thailand has a heap of oh-so-beautiful beaches, but finding one that’s relatively peaceful is a little trickier, unless you head for Koh Kradan in the Andaman Sea. Forget the booze buckets and full moon parties, this little haven boasts hammocks by the hundred, a gorgeous sandy beach rustling with casuarina trees and a bunch of low-tide sandbars that will have you horizon-bound before you know it.
Translated as ‘The Land of One’s Wishes’, Langkawi’s historical origins as (reputedly) a refuge for marauding pirates, only adds to its scintillating mystique. If you’re a peace lover at heart, you’ll love the idyllic parts of Malaysia’s archipelago, adequately summed up by its wondrous glut of pristine beaches, tropical jungles and traditional kampungs full of laid-back villagers who continue to go about their ways, just as they have for generations.
With around 7000 islands and more than 36,000 kilometres of coastline, the Philippines is not short on stunning beaches, but you won’t find much better than Sabang on western Palawan. Dramatically framed by towering mountains and clear balmy waters, a trip around the peninsula will offer a spectacular shoreline without the noisy tourists. Pre-book a Puerto Princesca tour and you’ll experience the wonder of a trip through a limestone cave that has its own claim to fame – it’s one of the longest navigable river-traversed tunnels in the world.
While we’re on the underground theme, those ready to smash their claustrophobia-phobia should check out Playa del Amor in Mexico. Access to this ‘underground beach’ is via a brisk swim or leisurely kayak through a long tunnel, unless you’re a little soft, in which case a glass-bottomed boat will suffice. Snorkeling beneath the luminous water around the base of the rocks can also offer the chance sighting of an iridescent parrotfish or two.
For those that like a little partying with their playtime, Ses Salines in Ibiza offers a dizzyingly delightful mix of sun and sizzle. Set within a nature reserve, this small haven consists of a long crescent of pale sandy beach peppered with a string of popular bars and restaurants. If you’re after some time-out from the crowds, head for the watchtower and enjoy a discovery tour of the small coves that are dotted along the rockier sections of the coastline.
Prepared to work for your relaxation time? Then grab your paddles and prep for a four-day kayak to Nemto Island, located around 965 kilometres east of Papua New Guinea. This challenge involves an astonishing journey taking in pristine reefs, sunken treasures and untouched beachfront. When you reach the island, be prepared for a King Kong fan’s delight, for its palm-shadowed prettiness hides superstitions of strange beasts that inhabit its interior.
Speaking of beasts … a 20-minute walk from Puerto Ayora (the largest town in the Galapagos) and you’ll find what’s been lauded (no doubt by naturalists) as one of the world’s most beautifully wildlife abundant beaches. Tortuga Bay is a perfectly preserved haven for the spotting of an abundance of marine iguanas, brown pelicans and (if you’re lucky) the revered Galapagos tortoise. Although this beach is forbidden to swimmers, a nearby cove can offer a relaxing splash and a possible glimpse of a curious Whitetip reef shark.
And finally, let’s give a bit of a hip, hip hooray for our own backyard. Perched (kinda stunningly) on Queensland’s coastline, Fraser Island is not only a World Heritage site, it’s the world’s largest sand island and the backdrop for around 1,700 square kilometers of ecological wonderland.
An unspoiled oceanic paradise? Tick. Cliffs that undulate (artistically) with ribbons of sculptured, coloured sand? Tick. Super-cheap flight to get there? Tick. Bring it.