PHOTOS: The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches
A hammock. Sandy toes. Bright, impossibly bright blue water. Almost turquoise, it’s so darn blue. A fruity drink and some barbecue. And a great view – from the shore across the sea to the mountains or cliffs on the horizon, a perfect place to watch the sun set or rise.
This is the perfect beach. And there are a few places on earth where it exists.
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Here are some of the best: The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches
It’s a big, cosmopolitan European city. And its beach certainly isn’t quaint or a secret – but Barceloneta is accessible and an in-town vacation from the city it takes its name from.
The ‘Five Towns’ of Cinque Terre are unique to each other, with different design and personality. Cliffside towns like Riomaggiore and Vernazza are the ones you see in all the postcards – enjoy relaxing on the rocks and going for quick dips in the salty sea, before you grab some wine and a pizza to watch the sunset! And in Monterosso al Mare, you’ll be able to rent an umbrella, towel, or chair and swim between building sandcastles. And the food is excellent and very Italian, of course.
This is one of Greece’s most charming island towns – with an abundance of hotels and cute, welcoming restaurants to help you sloth through a few perfect summer days!
A sleepy town just across a bridge from downtown San Diego, Coronado is known as the location of one of America’s most famous hotels – the Del – and the home of exclusive, awesome beachfront. It’s California cool.
You didn’t think a list like this wouldn’t have Australia on it, did you? And sure, there are tons more beaches Down Under that should be here, too – consider Whitsundays, anything around Brisbane or Cairns, the sand dollar mini-island hovering over the Great Barrier Reef, or Sydney’s Bondi Beach. But Fraser Island is one of the coolest places on earth because of one known tourist activity… the chance to rip down the coastline, from water to narrow spits of sand, in a Jeep.
K, we’re cheating here a bit. Halong Bay isn’t really a beach – but it is tremendous. And you can certainly go for a swim or two, just by hopping out of your kayak or off the side of one of the area’s many junkboats, where you’ll probably spend a night or two.
Just saying ‘Hawaii’ is a little too broad, isn’t it? Kihei, Lahaina, anywhere on Maui really, plus Honolulu’s Waikiki and Kauai… they’re all great. But for the sake of this list, we’ll go with the surf and squall of Oahu’s North Shore. It’s iconic and its identity is – probably – still intact.
‘When she passes each one she passes goes, Ahhhhh…’
When you think of the stereotypical, picture-perfect Thai beach, you’re probably thinking of Koh Phi Phi…
A lot of people will tell you Koh Samui is too touristy, too overrun with Europeans and North Americans, too typical, or something… but it’s still Thailand. It’s still beautiful. Chaweng Beach runs and runs until you’ll be all alone, and there’s plenty of fun to be had – during the day or at night – in Koh Samui’s happening downtown, as well.
Our tour of the Thai islands is complete with a quick look at Koh Tao and its close-by affiliate island, Koh Nang Yuan. It’s the one in all the posters.
Portugal’s Algarve is a treasure chest of wonderful beach towns and crunchy sand, one long narrow strip of heaven lining the entire southern coast of the country. And up north by Lisbon, Cascais and Estoril star, as well. But Lagos is the king. And queen.
Spain is beautiful. If you’ve never been, you probably could have guessed. And San Sebastian is ‘its Monaco,’ so to speak.
Cambodia is a magical country that is awakening from from horrors of the Seventies to become a rel gem in the travel community. Siem Reap is a mystical city and Phom Penh is the happening capital, while Sihanoukville (pronounced Chinook-ville) is the getaway.
Sometimes, what you want isn’t far from where you already are…