What makes up a great beach? It all depends on the traveler – some prefer wide, open beaches with multitude of things to do and people to watch; others prefer isolated beaches with all its peace and quiet. In a listing released by U.S News & World Report based on expert and user options, the following are some of the best beaches in the world.
1. Bali, Indonesia
The crystal clear blue waters, white sands and legendary sunsets of Bali’s beaches, many of which are accessible through the numerous five-star resorts that dotted this island, is by far its most important tourist attraction. Bali is likened to “heaven” because of its fantastic landscapes: volcanoes covered by green vegetation, sandy shores and turquoise waters, and curving coastlines with beautiful pagodas. There are many things to do aside from simply lazing around in palatial oceanfront resorts – enjoy a luxurious spa treatment, experience gastronomic delight, go hike up an active volcano, or enjoy the night life at the town of Kuta.
2. Amalfi Coast
This magnificent stretch of Italian coastline is like heaven on earth. Located in the Campania region of Italy, this 34 miles of majestic terrain is declared as UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at its majestic terrain, sky- high costal cliffs covered in verdant green and multicolored towns live side by side with the enchanting turquoise waters of the Mediterranean below.
The coast and the 13 seaside towns are all connected via the SS163 highway, considered as the most scenic drives in the world. Each town boasts of a special attribute for tourists to enjoy and remember. The pastel-colored town of Positano draws the rich and famous with its luxurious cliffside resorts and fine Italian dining. The town of Amalfi is Italy’s oldest maritime republic, once a big commercial and technical hub in the Mediterranean. The alpine town of Ravello is remembered for its ancient villas and stunning ocean views, while Praiano is a haven for beach lovers. Minori, home to one of the oldest pastas in the world, is a mecca for food lovers, and in the town of Cetara you can stop at an ancient Norman tower believed to be founded by Hercules himself. No matter where you go in Amalfi Coast, the magnificent scenes will leave you in awe of this heaven on earth.
3. Honolulu – Oahu
This iconic beach town in the North Shore is considered one of the best places to surf in the United States. With over 7.5 million visitors per year, Waikiki Beach is one of the most-visited beaches in America. Oahu is a mixture of cosmopolitan luxury and breathtaking scenery more than any other Hawaiian island.
Honolulu, the state’s capital city, showcases the island’s urban appeal. The city boasts of cultural and historical sites – the USS Arizona Memorial and the ‘Iolani Palace. The Waikiki skyline is dotted with high-rise buildings, resort hotels and white-sand beaches. On the North Shore, you will find brilliant blue waters, and meandering hikes.
Tourists will be delighted to find high-class restaurants, vibrant cultural events, and wild nightlife in addition to the magnificent beaches and hikes.
4. Rio De Janeiro
Rio De Janeiro, known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is a city of continuous parties. Two of its most popular beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana, are both 2 miles long and can hold hundreds of sun seekers at any given time. With the Sugarloaf Mountain at its backdrop, being in this place is an unforgettable experience.
Situated at the mouth of a bay harbor, the city boasts of white-sand beaches, lush rainforests and green mountains. It offers dramatic views from all angles: the striking 125-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer from the slopes of Corcovado Mountain overlooking the pristine beaches, and the picture-perfect backdrop from the shores of Copacabana and Ipanema.
In addition to its scenic vistas, tropical rainforests, and astonishing beaches, Rio De Janeiro will amaze you with its glitz, high fashion and laid back attitude, and most of all, its love of sports. The city comes alive with activity at night – with the pulsating beat of samba through the city streets.
However, Rio De Janeiro isn’t without its share of problems. There are large shantytowns, known as favelas, outside the tourists’ areas. Large effort has been made to rid areas of crime but some parts remain unsafe. Visitors should be aware and avoid all these situations.
Compared to the other islands, Maui is a modest island- just right, offering its visitors a special kind of “Aloha” experience. It boasts of impressive wildlife and intriguing history and culture. Experience dancing with professional hula dancers, play golf along the coastal fairways, snorkel along side five different types of sea turtles or simply lounge along some of Hawaii’s most famous beaches.
Sandwiched between the Big Island and the much smaller Molokai, Mau is divided into five distinct regions were visitors stay: along the coasts of South Maui (home to the famous Wailea Beach) or West Maui to enjoy the sands of Kaanapali Beach and the music from the Old Lahaina Luau. Experience the rest of the island – travel along the Road to Hana and marvel at East Maui’s scenic coastline, explore Haleaka – the world’s largest dormant volcano, or explore Upcountry – the former tribal battlegrounds of Central Maui’s lao Valley State Park.
If you prefer a no-muss, no-fuss experience, then Kauai is the place for you. The island has only two major highways, and some regions can only be explored on foot, but its beaches are no less attractive. Honey-dipped sunsets, chocolate-sand beaches, aquamarine skies, are some of its natural attraction.
The oldest island in the Hawaiian chain, Kauai has no over-the-top luxury but is more expensive that the other islands. Kauai has put a premium on its natural beauty and prized hiking trains, and room rates during winter can reach $500 a night. It is advised to visit the island in fall to make the most of this pristine tourist attraction.
This Grecian Island is home to some pretty unique beaches such as the Red Beach with its red sand, the Kamari Beach with its black sand, and the Amoudi Bay with its turquoise waters. In addition, tourists can also brush up on history in the well-preserved Ancient Akrotiri, and the historic city of Manolas in Thirassia. From this, you can see the breathtaking caldera, a brilliant pool of turquoise water that serves as nucleus for the varied isles of the archipelago. Santorini is composed of two inhabited islands and several islets. Thira, the archipelago’s largest island is a favorite among tourists. This island is home to Santorini’s major towns, including Fira and Oia. Those who opt for a relaxing and quiet day can stay at Thirassia, as well as the other quiter islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana.
8. San Sebastian
San Sebastian, the must-visit beach town in Spain, is famous for its seashell-shaped La Concha Beach which is located right in the center of the city. Its unique beauty as well as its superb culinary offerings is loved by many tourists who flock to this beautiful oceanfront resort town. Nearby is Playa La Zurriola which is known as a top surf spot. Tourists and vacationers flock to this Basque Country during summer because of its cooler climate. However, the most interesting thing about San Sebastian, is its ability to keep its small-town feel. There are isolated spots along the ocean, between its narrow streets and atop its famous hillsides, that tourists can explore.
9. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is known as one of the Caribbean’s most affordable destinations. Its beaches are lined with palm trees covered in soft sands and all around are the rich blue waters of the island. There are lots of beaches to explore like Caja de Muertos and Carolina. Less than a three-hour flight from Miami, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory so US currency is accepted.
Puerto Rico’s calm, clear waters is a favorite among surfers who can expect 20-foot waves in calm weathers. But this is not only a place for ocean lovers: there is an exciting mix of landscapes, from the jungle of El Yunque to the caves of Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy. For those who want to get away from busy city life, a ferry can take you to the enchanting and secluded island of Vieques and Culebra.
If you want an exciting night life, the capital city of San Juan is the place to be. Dance the night away in the clubs of Santurce neighborhood, enjoy some live music in a lounge in Ponce or have a casual drink in a bar in San Sebastian.
Beach lovers will surely love Sicily! This picturesque tropical island in the Mediterranean has plenty of beaches where you can relax and enjoy your vacation.
Enjoy the bright blue water, explore the lush, rolling hills, topped by ruins of antiquity. Savor the rich tastes of fresh seafood and decadent pastas, sweet wines and desserts.
At night, the calm atmosphere transforms into a sizzling party places like Mondello Lido and Palermo’s market area.