The sound of the waves, warm white sand under the feet, refreshing drink in the shade of palm trees. For many of us, this is the idea of a perfect holiday. Since the days are getting shorter and the weather can be moody, plus let´s not forget the current epidemic situation, I put together this positive inspiring post about the best and most beautiful beach destinations in the world – not just those tropical ones, I also included some which look completely different. I guess we´re all daydreaming about faraway places since months, so you might find some new ideas here. The places I mentioned are chosen solely based on my personal experiences so far (btw writing this post just made me realise I can really be thankful for so many great travel memories), but since I´m sure there are loads of wonderful places I´ve yet not discovered I will be updating this post as we go.
CHAMPAGNE BEACH, Vanuatu | dreamy beach on Espiritu Santo island
Starting with one of my all time favourites, a place which is often listed as the most beautiful beach in the South Pacific. It´s really difficult to pick just one but if I would be doing a TOP 3, Champagne beach in Vanuatu would definitely be there. First, because it is just so so far away and it takes forever to get there (from Europe it takes 4-5 flights). Second, because there is all the peace in this world and Lu and me had the beach all to ourselves the whole day. And third, because of the way it looks. Amazingly clear sea with turtles swimming in shallow waters, snowy white sand and some shade under the palms and most important – no hotels or other infrastructure nearby.
Lu and I travelled around South Pacific islands in winter 2018. We visited 3 Vanuatu islands and spend 5 days on Espiritu Santo where we found the best beaches of our whole trip. Vanuatu has direct flight connections with Fiji, Solomon islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Australia. Read a full post about Espiritu Santo by clicking the button below.
LOFOTEN, Norway | white sandy beaches in the north of Europe
Would you think that there are such beautiful beaches up in the north of Europe? Well, there are. You can find many of them in Lofoten islands in Norway. Soft sand and turquoise sea, just like at some tropical island far far away. The sea might be very cold, but the locals and a few brave tourists don´t seem to mind. We were very impressed by the beauty of Lofoten and these beaches were simply the cherry on the top.
You can visit Lofoten during a longer Scandinavian road trip or fly into Tromso (or one of the other airports close by) and rent a car. Since wild camping is allowed in Norway I suggest you rent a motorhome or a van in which you can sleep and cook. We travelled around Scandinavia with our Defender in Summer 2019 – read a full post about Lofoten islands by clicking the button below.
ANSE LAZIO, Seychelles | the most beautiful beach on Praslin island
Another picture perfect beach, with enough shade, fun big waves on one side of the bay and shallow calm waters on the other, a restaurant and bar close by, just the right ammount of daily visitors and eye-catching granite rocks dotted in the sand on top of that. True, you will need to walk for a while to reach this beach if you do not have your own transportation (the bus stop is at the top of the hill above), but it´s all worth it, trust me. Definitely one of the best beaches in the Seychelles and one of the most beautiful in the world as well.
We visited Seychelles in April 2019. We flew to Mahe from Germany via Doha and took a boat to La Digue island via Praslin and returned to Praslin a few days later. Praslin has a lot to offer from awesome beachlife to day trips to neighbouring islands, a national park in the interior, lively towns, many restaurants, fun bus rides and more. More about it in a full post below on the button.
PONTA GROSSA & PRAIA REDONDA, Brazil | wild coastline with amazing cliffs and rock formations
Not to far from a lovely town called Canoa Quebrada you reach this amazing wild coastline with cliffs, interesting rock formations, palm trees and sand which changes its colours from white to red and everything in between. This is a perfect spot for a motor bike or a quad bike ride (you can do it directly on the beach, you might have to cross stretches of water here and there). We did around 40km and except for some lonely fishermen we were totally alone. Paradise! Despite the fact we didn´t even swim that day, this was simply a beach that made my heart sing.
Started our 3 week long trip in northern Brazil in Autumn 2019 in Fortaleza, where you can fly directly from a couple European airports. The Atlantic coast over here is perfect for everyone into kitesurfing, surfing and those who love lesser-known places with almost no international tourists. This trip was really a nice surprise – read a full post by clicking the button below.
AITUTAKI LAGOON, Cook islands | paradise lagoon on the other side of the world
Now this is a place that will probably leave you with mouth opened. It´s difficult to point out one specific beach in the lagoon, but one of our favourites were Ootu beach, Honeymoon and Onefoot island. Besides these gorgeous views, Aitutaki lagoon is also ideal because you are protected by the coral reef all around, meaning there are no big waves (also perfect for kids) and there are lots of corals and tropical fish to see while snorkelling. Perfect for kitesurfing and kayak as well. Aitutaki is at most peaceful, most of the visitors come just for a day from Rarotonga and return in the afternoon, so on some day you get to have this paradise all to yourselves.
Aitutaki atol is simply stunning and sometimes I can´t belive we spend 8 full days here back in 2017. You can fly into from Rarotonga, which is the largest of the Cook islands and has direct connections with New Zealand, Australia, French Polynesia and Los Angeles. Going there is not cheap, but it´s worth all the money. Long post with more pictures on the button below.
ICE DIAMOND BEACH, Iceland | black volcanic beach with chunks of ice
Waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs and geysers, icebergs, whales and much more – Iceland is simply a paradise for all nature lovers. And even though this is not your typical tropical beach destination, we find amazing beach spots here as well. Take this incredible black volcanic beach dotted with dreamy ice chunks, which really look like crystal or diamonds sometimes, close by the famous Jökulsárlón ice lagoon for example.
We did a fabulous 10-days long road trip on Iceland´s circular Ring road back in 2007 and we found the Jökulsárlón lagoon and the beaches around to be especially mind blowing. You can get to Iceland from Europe with a ferry & your own vehicle as well, otherwise there are numerous direct flights from Europe, USA and elsewhere. Click the button below for a full post about Iceland.
MAYA BAY and LOH SAMA BAY, Thailand | stunning bays on Koh Phi Phi Leh island
I have to start by mentioning I´m really not the biggest fan of Thailand. Despite this, I´ve been in the country 3x already and to be honest I always find something really beautiful as well (I love their food that´s why I´m happy to come back). Maya Bay and Loh Sama Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh island were definitely one of those beautiful spots.
Maya Bay, the famous spot where the movie Beach was filmed, has been closed for public for quite a while now and it should stay like this at least until Summer 2021. I have to say since I´ve seen how it was back then with all too many motor boats and simply too many people leaving trash behind so I am fully supporting this temporary closure. Otherwise you can get here with a boat from the neighbouring Ko Phi Phi island, followed by a shorter hike over to Maya Bay on the other side of the island.
PRAIA DA MARINHA, Portugal | the jewel of Algarve coastline in the south
I´ve fallen in love in Portugal´s southern coast after our north to south road trip in 2016 and for me, this is really one of the beast beach destinations in Europe. Again, it´s difficult to chose just one beach but I´m going with Praia da Marinha. Why? Because of its stunning orange-yellow cliffs and rocks, turquoise warm sea (we swam in October), enough space for all the visitors, including more hidden spots and a very nice hiking trail on the top with gorgeous views of the beach and the sea below.
I could wander around this coast for weeks and would not get bored. We visited Algarve during a 10-day long road trip which started up north in Porto, but you can get direct flights to either Faro or Lagos. I recommend renting a car and exploring the coast on your own. For more info read the full blog post on the button below.
PETITE ANSE, Seychelles | lonely beach on La Digue island
Yup, this is already the second beach on this list from Seychelles. I can´t help it but we really loved it there and even though Petite Anse beach might not be the most beautiful one for some others, for us it was our little paradise. We especially loved it because you can only reach it on foot (due to this there were almost no people there), you can also find spots in the shade, the waves are perfect and the sea is just stunning. Plus, there´s a friendly older man selling fresh coconuts. It can hardly get better really. So peaceful and quiet. Usually I prefer to go someplace new, but I would be happy to return to La Digue one day.
We visited Seychelles in April 2019. We flew to Mahe from Germany via Doha and took a boat to La Digue island via Praslin. La Digue is a special place, where no motorised traffic is allowed (except delivery to hotels and restaurants), so it´s great for long walks and cycling. Perfect for kids too. Very relaxed and laid back, perfect for everyone in need of charging their batteries.
BAY OF ISLANDS, New Zealand | wonderful beaches on Urupukapuka island
When you think about paradise beaches, you might not think of New Zealand, but trust me, there are some amazing ones as well. We´ve seen many on Northland peninsula and were most impressed by the Bay of islands area. Especially Urupukapuka island which has great easy hiking trails with stunning views and one very special beach in the south – at Sunset Bay you will find an incredible tent camp spot straight at the beach which can be reserved online. There is not much space and you can only reach it either on foot or with a kayak but then you have all the peace in this world. Really a hidden gem.
Cruising the Bay of Islands is a great thing to do as a day trip from Paihia, but it´s even better if you have time to stay on one of the islands for a couple of days. You can also spot dolphins and even orcas if lucky. Our starting point for Northland peninsula road trip was Auckland where we flew to from Germany via Singapore.
SYLT ISLAND, Germany | charming northern beaches and wild coastline
Did you know Germany has such awesome beach spots? No? Well, I sure didn´t before I moved over here and started to explore the country´s northern coast. I love coming back a few times a year and enjoy this wild landscapes with soft grass on the sand dunes, wavy sea and strong wind (I normally dislike the wind, but at the beach it´s a different story). I also love the red-white lighthouses. The “Strandkorb” beach baskets. The sound of seagulls. Simply this feeling of being small against the nature. During our latest northern German road trip we were especially im pressed by Sylt.
Sylt is Germany´s most fancy island and at the same time, it´s most northern point. You can reach it with a ferry from either Germany or Denmark, or on a train / car train from Germany. They even have a small airport with connections to some of the bigger German cities. Well worth going up north, I tell you.
BOULDERS BEACH, South Africa | gorgeous bay and cute penguin colony
White sandy beach, turquoise sea and cute little penguins? Yes please! In South Africa, on Cape peninsula you can find exactly such a place. Boulders beach is a wonderful bay dotted with granite rocks and it´s quite stunning on it own already, but then there is this other awesome thing – an African penguin colony. There is a wooden walkway with platforms from which you can admire these little creatures. Definitely one of our highlights while travelling in SA.
It took us 3 amazing weeks with a rented car from Johannesburg to Capetown and this trip will always have a special place for me since it was the first time I visited a Sub-saharan country. Read a full post by clicking the button below.
ANDA, the Philippines | empty beaches on the eastern side of Bohol island
Did you know, there are well over 7000 islands in the Philippines? Endless paradise beach spots so to say and this was also one of the reasons I chose to go there as our first mom-son trip with Lu when he was 5yo. As expected we ended up visiting lots of great beaches but we had the best time in Anda on Bohol island. Just because there were no crowds and it seemed to us most tourists stay in Panglao while on Bohol. This is definitely a wonderful choice for everyone looking for peaceful places.
In Spring 2017 Lu and me flew in to Cebu via Hong Kong from Europe and took a ferry to Bohol island, followed by a 2hr car drive to Anda. It does take some time to reach this destination, but it was worth it. After Cebu and Bohol, we also visited Siquijor and Negros islands – read a full post about this trip by clicking the button below.
EL-FANAR, Egypt | relaxing at the Red Sea on Sinai peninsula
Even though it´s not really my cup of tea on the first sight, I have great memories of Sharm el-Sheikh. I was lucky enough to visit the place 2x and stayed with locals instead of those big AI hotels – in this way, I got to experience it a bit differently, got to see some secret spots I´d never find on my own and I´m very grateful for this opportunity. My favourite beach was not a sandy one though, it was the cliffs of El-Fanar which impressed me the most. It was just very peaceful and the fact the sea was fairly deep straight away and one could snorkel around these amazing corals and fish made it just perfect. I´m not a diver but this experience of snorkelling in the Red Sea was hands down one of the best ever. And it was right there, just a few metres form the beach chairs, and the cocktail bar.
There are lots of charter flights flying in to Sharm form Europe, I suggest visiting in Spring or Autumn when it´s less hot and definitely try and go around the Sinai peninsula while you´re there. Read more about what to see and do in Sinai by clicking the button below.
PULAU PERHENTIAN, Malaysia | one of the best islands in Asia
Malaysia is a great beach destination as well and we´ve been to a couple of amazing places during our trip to Borneo and peninsular Malaysia, but the ones I have the best memories of are located on Perhentian islands, Besar and Kecil. True, this was a long time ago and it might look different nowadays but at the time of our visit we had all the peace in this world in a wonderful bay surrounded by rocks similar to those in the Seychelles and great underwater life just metres form the shore.
We travelled in Malaysia back in 2005, flew to KL from Europe and added a flight to Borneo. We actually had a rented car on Malaysian peninsula which was an adventure on its own but it made it possible to visit many awesome places public tranport couldn´t take us. We spend the last days relaxing on the beach in Perhentians and it was the perfect end of this trip. You can combine travelling in Malaysia with either Singapore or Thailand too.
DUGI OTOK, Croatia | Caribbean vibes in northern Dalmatia
Let´s face it, Croatia isn´t known for sandy beaches, so if you are looking for such spots there is only a few places you can go to. And the absolute best choice is Sakarun beach on Dugi otok island. The sea over there seems like the one in the Caribbean, there are no big hotels or other infrastructure in this bay, except for a couple of smaller beach bars. There is lots of shade in the pine forest which makes it perfect for families with smaller kids as well. It seems to be a popular spot for sailing boats as well, but they don´t bother since they can´t navigate too close to the shore.
We spent a week in Dugi otok in 2016 and fell in love with this beach, since it´s kind of untypical for this part of Adriatic sea. You can come here with a ferry from Zadar (which is also worth visiting btw). Read more about this stunning northern Dalmatian island in a full post by clicking the button below.
VARADERO, Cuba | tropical paradise on Hicacos peninsula
We visited Cuba back in 2003, shortly after it started to open up to international tourists. Everything was still pretty much different back then and it was a pleasure to see the country before tourism boomed, although Varadero was already a popular and known beach destination back then. After exploring basically the whole country from Havana to Santiago with a rented car, we splurged on a few days treat in Varadero. I might not like the idea of big AI hotel chains every few hundred metres but I just can´t ignore this gorgeous tropical vibes and amazing beach site. Combined with 1$ mojitos, this was the best possible way to end our Cuban adventure.
You can fly into Havana or straight to Varadero from many international airports. I suggest taking a car and exploring around as the country really has lots to offer, much more than just picture perfect beaches. To all of you who love AI hotels – this is definitely a place to go.
LAKOLK BEACH, Denmark | fun driving on Romo island´s beaches
The coast and beaches of Romo island in Denmark might not be known as visually the most stunning ones in the world but we found them to be just as amazing. Why? Because they are one of the very few spots in Europe where you can actually drive your car on the sand (even in the shallow sea if you don´t mind the salt). The access to the Lakolk beach is very simple, you can spend the whole day driving around, having a picnic, go for a swim and just relax – but it is not allowed to stay overnight.
I´ve visited Denmark quite a few times now, but we explored Romo island (which is a part of Vadehavet national park) in the Summer 2019 during our longer road trip through Scandinavia & Baltic countries. The island is connected to the mainland with a bridge, you can also reach it with a ferry form Sylt island in Germany. Read a full post on Denmark by clicking the button below.
I guess this list is a good start, what do you think? The world can be so beautiful and it´s a pleasure getting to know its magical places in real life. I´ve had the chance to visit many more awesome beach destinations, such as the Maldives, Fiji, India, Vietnam and so on, but I didn´t include them here. I´ve also left out some of the European ones, I guess they just didn´t leave that impressive mark as some other. But I can´twait to go out and add some new ones! I have a secret list in my head and it includes the Japanese Okinawa, Australian Whiteheaven, Panama´s San Blas islands, north of Madagascar, French Polynesia and a couple of the Caribbean islands, amongst other. Anyone else has some ideas?
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