We’ve traveled to nearly 80 countries, always in search of the best beaches in the world. From the colorful red beaches in Santorini and black beaches in Iceland to the whitest sand in the world in the Philippines, we uncover the absolute best beaches in the world.
There are dozens of divine Caribbean Islands, but few can compare to the pristine white beaches of the Cayman Islands. The sand is powdery white, which contrasts beautifully to the crystal clear Caribbean Sea. Not only are the beaches incredible, but the diving in the surrounding area is some of the best in the world!
Where we recommend staying: Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman
Reynsifjara Beach, Iceland
This is not your typical beach, but it is by far one of the best beaches in the world. This black sand beach is located in Vik, Iceland. Surrounded by towers of basalt rocks and the aggressive Atlantic Ocean, Reynisfjara Beach is by far one of the most unique beaches in the world.
Where we recommend staying: Rent a campervan and road trip around Iceland!
With over 330 islands, it’s hard to choose from the bevy of beautiful beaches in the country of Fiji. Our favorite beach in the entire archipelago was a private sand cay off the coast of the Royal Davui Island Resort. You can book this ahead of time and have a private, luxurious picnic on the white sand beach.
Where we recommend staying: Royal Davui,Taveuni, Namale, Likuliku Lagoon Resort
Pamalican Island, Philippines
If we had to choose one beach from the best beaches in the world, it would be the beaches on Pamalican Island in the Philippines. Home to the prestigious Amanpulo Resort, these beaches have unspoiled white sand, are incredibly well manicured, and are home to some of the most picturesque pastel sunsets in the entire world. If you’re a diver or lover of the sea, the sea life is plentiful with plenty of opportunities to see sea turtles and go scuba diving with dozens of fish.
Where we recommend staying: There is only one hotel on the island: Amanpulo. Click here to read our full review of Amanpulo.
Spiaggia Del Principe, Sardinia, Italy
Spiaggia Del Principe translates to “The Prince’s Beach” because it was Prince Karim Aga Khan’s favorite beach and indeed, it is a beach fit for royalty. Located on the posh Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, there is a beautiful white sand beach to sun yourself on or you can venture onto the rugged and romantic rocks that line the other side of the beach. What really takes the cake at Spiaggia Del Principe is the stunning sapphire sea.
Where we recommend staying: Cervo Hotel, Cala di Volpe, Hotel Pitrizza, Colonna Resort/a>
Boulder Beach, South Africa
While the seas surrounding Boulder Beach are stunning, there is one reason and one reason only why Boulder Beach is one of the best beaches in the world: PENGUINS! Penguins flock to this South African beach making it one of the cutest little beaches in the entire world.
Where we recommend staying: The One&Only Cape Town, Belmond Mount Nelson
The Red Beach, Santorini
While it doesn’t have the silky smooth white sand like the other beaches on the list, it is by far one of the most unique beaches in the entire world. With natural red volcanic sand contrasted with the aqua Aegean Sea, the red beach in Santorini is a must visit for beach lovers.
Where we recommend staying: Santo Maris, Cavo Tagoo, Grace Santorini
Bondi Beach, Australia
While Bondi Beach is a very well known beach and it can get very crowded, it’s for a good reason: it’s simply one of the best beaches in all of Australia. We highly recommend taking the Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach walk, grabbing drinks and a swim at Bondi Icebergs, and then heading to Bondi Beach itself.
Where we recommend staying: The Baxley Bondi
Manhattan Beach / Hermosa Beach, California
Known as the “South Bay” of Los Angeles, these beach cities are some of the best in California. Home to various AVP tournaments and the famous “Six Man” Volleyball tournament, Manhattan and Hermosa are known as the mecca of beach volleyball.
Where we recommend staying: The Shade Hotel or The Beach House
Raglan New Zealand
Located on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, Raglan is best known as one of the finest surf spots in New Zealand. With its black sand beach and adorable surf town, Raglan is definitely one of the best beaches in the world.
Where we recommend staying: Waoku Lodge
El Nido, Philippines
El Nido is part of the Palawan Islands in the Philippines and its consistently rated as the home to the world’s best beaches. We would be doing this area a disservice if we just chose one beach because there are dozens of divine beaches. Instead, we highly recommend renting a traditional outrigger boat to explore many of the areas beaches such as Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, and Helicopter Island.
Where we recommend staying: Cauayan Island Resort, El Nido Resorts Lagen Island
Ibiza / Formentera
Ibiza may be known as a party island, but it also is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Head to Las Salinas, San Miguel Beach, or Cala D’hort. If you’d like a more remote beach, head to the nearby island of Formentera to any beach because they’re all idyllic.
Where we recommend staying: Hacienda Na Xamena or Mirador de Dalt Vila
Aruba is by far one of our favorite islands in the world because it has some of the best beaches in the world. The island is located just a few miles off the coast of Venezuela south of the hurricane zone. With a dry, desert environment, it doesn’t have the same climate as other Caribbean islands, making it a safer bet to visit anytime of year. The west coast of Aruba has pristine white sand beaches while the rugged and romantic east coast is for the adventurers at heart.
Where we recommend staying: Bucuti & Tara
South Beach, Miami, Florida
Yes, it’s popular. Yes, it’s crowded. And yes, it’s absolutely fabulous. Miami Beach is more than just white sand and beautiful warm waters – it’s a city filled with flavor. Every part of the long stretch of white sand beach has a different theme and crowd. If you want a luxurious cabana experience at an upscale hotel, you can get bottle service delivered directly to the beach. If you want a party scene, there is an area of the beach for that. If you’re part of the LGBTQ community, there is a beach for that.
Where we recommend staying: Faena Hotel, Fontainebleau
Lagos is located on the “Golden Coast” of the Algarve in the southern part of Portugal. It’s called the Golden Coast because the steep, beautiful cliffs take on golden hues during the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Lagos’ cliffs create a dramatic backdrop for its stunning beaches.
Where we recommend staying: Cascade Wellness Resort
Rosario Islands, Colombia
Located off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, the Rosario Islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in South America. You can take a tourist boat or rent a private boat to visit these islands and enjoy laidback days sipping rum and soaking in the crystal clear Caribbean Sea.
Where we recommend staying:Hotel San Pedro de Majagua
Florianopolis, or “Floripa” as the locals call it, has been a hot beach spot for Brazilians for decades. Especially popular over the New Years Holiday when the island turns into South America’s version of Ibiza, Florianopolis is for the young at heart. Break out your thong bikini and hit these hot beaches for a healthy dose of South American heat.
Where we recommend staying: Renting a Villa or Hotel Boutique Quinta das Videiras
Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Whitehaven Beach is consistently rated as one of the best beaches in the world. Located in Queensland, Australia close to the Great Barrier Reef, this uninhabited part of the world is home to one of the most pristine beaches in the world. Because it is an uninhabited part of Australia, you must take a seaplane, helicopter, or ferry. The silica sand is so clean that you can actually brush your teeth with it!
Where we recommend staying: Lizard Island
Photo credit: Hamilton Island
Anna Maria Island, FL
Located on the west coast of Florida, Anna Maria Island has some of the most pristine white beaches in all of the U.S. It’s laidback, low-key, and the perfect place to unplug from the world, crack open a beer, and take it easy. Because its westerly facing, Anna Maria Island is home to the best sunsets in Florida.
Where we recommend staying: Waterline Marina Resort
This is indeed a really good list… I am saving for the future 🙂