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While there are literally thousands of stunning beaches in the world, all offering their own charm and beauty, there are a few singularly beautiful beaches that are truly spectacular and exceed one's every expectation for the ultimate beach honeymoon.
We feature a choice of the best beaches in the world, from secluded stretches of sand framed by ancient wind and sea carved rocks lapped by turquoise water to gorgeous white-sand beaches with every amenity close to hand.
We also provide in-depth information about beach resorts, things to do and see, the best time of year to visit each beach destination and how to get there.
Unwind on this narrow crescent of powder-white sand that shelves gently into a sandy bottomed sheltered lagoon perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is just a short walk away from beachside boutiques, snack bars, restaurants and several four- and five-star resorts.
Coconut palms offer the perfect spot to relax in the shade – preferably in a swaying hammock – and the nearby, iconic Bloody Mary's bar and restaurant offers the chance to savour a lunch of freshly caught wahoo.
Go swimming, snorkeling, water skiing, tubing and kayaking or climb the hill at Matira Point for some of the best views over the lagoon to Bora Bora's stunning hills and mountains, including Motu Tuu Pua and Mount Otemanu.
Experience the pure white silica sand of Whitehaven, a photogenic beach that stretches for more than 7km along the shoreline of Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 Whitsunday islands and the perfect day trip for couples enjoying a beach holiday or romantic getaway.
There are no resorts on Whitsunday Island, as the island is a national park. However, Whitehaven does offer basic facilities for day guests including an eco-friendly toilet and shaded picnic areas framed by tropical rainforest.
This stunning beach flows from one hidden cove to another; its pink crescents of soft sand separated from each other by gigantic sculpted pink and rust-coloured granite boulders that are famous for their unusual curves eroded by time and weather.
Swim through warm, luminescent waters of greens and pastel blues. Sheltered by a reef, the beach is ideal for snorkeling, sun bathing and horseback riding. Arguably the most beautiful beach in the Seychelles and ironically often empty.
This is the most beautiful beach on Praslin Isle and also one of the most popular in the Seychelles, located in Bay Chevalier on the north-west corner of Praslin Isle.
This photogenic beach is a perfect crescent of soft, fine-grained white sand, fringed by stands of Takamaka and palm trees that extend past huge rounded granite boulders into the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
Located on North Malé Atoll, Ihuru Island is a truly idyllic sun-kissed island paradise, fringed with palm trees fronting an immaculate sugar-white beach that shelves into a deep blue lagoon.
Just a short 15m swim away lie reefs where you can snorkel with green turtles above coral that teems with colourful fish. Relax on the beach, windsurf or paddle the lagoon.
Lodge in one of the chic beachside villas at Angsana Resort, which features holistic spa pleasures and numerous leisure activities, just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Malé.
Boracay’s White Beach is almost as well known for its party image as it is for the sugar-white sand that gives it its name. The beachfront and area immediately inland is crowded with shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs – the place to party-on until the wee-hours.
The 4.8km-long stretch of fine, powder-white sand shelves gently into the azure waters of the Sulu Sea on the west coast of Boracay and is the island’s top see-and-be-seen beach for locals.
Dig your toes into the soft golden sand of this 2.5km-long beach that stretches along the northern coast of West Maui.
This one-time royal retreat is famous for its sunsets and is edged by a walkway that links the lush palm-fringed gardens of several luxury hotels with open-air restaurants and the Whaler Shopping Centre.
Kaanapali is rated the best beach for water sports action in Maui, with a huge range of activities on offer, including snorkelling, kayaking, catamaran sailing, fishing, windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing and seasonal surfing.
Experience a beach holiday or romantic getaway at what is arguably the coolest beach in the world, famous for its heritage-listed Art Deco architecture, high energy and steamy nightlife.
Rub shoulders with celebrities and super models, be pampered in luxurious accommodation, enjoy fine dining, shop at high-end boutiques and mix with the über-hip crowd at sleek space-age nightclubs on the so-called American Riviera – the place to see and be seen among the world’s bon vivants.
Nestled in a cove between two headlands, beautiful Bondi Beach is a wide, kilometre-long crescent of golden sand that fronts deep blue water renowned for reliable year-round surf of both left- and right-hand beach breaks.
With its bustling carnival atmosphere, Bondi is a see-and-be-seen beach, a favourite with locals as well as overseas visitors who relish the stunning setting for sunbathing, swimming and surfing, as well as visiting couples and twosomes enjoying a romantic getaway to Sydney.
Unwind on the soft sugar-white sands of this idyllic 2km-long beach fringed by towering coconut and date palms and lined with a choice of luxurious 5-star high rise hotels.
Water sports include diving, snorkelling, parasailing, kite surfing, windsurfing, jet skis and Hobie cats. Relax on the white sand, go swimming in the warm turquoise sea or sip a cocktail and people-watch.
Pick your own spot to sunbathe on the soft powder-white sands of this gorgeous 9km-long beach that fringes the west coast of Grand Cayman Island, from George Town to Long Point.
Edged by shady palms, casuarinas and pine trees, Seven Mile Beach is lapped by calm, crystal clear turquoise waters that offer ideal conditions for swimming, parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling.
Find your own secluded spot to unwind on this majestic 19km-long sweep of soft white sand that shelves into the calm and clear turquoise waters of Grace Bay.
Follow shallow snorkel trails above coral gardens teeming with colourful marine life in the offshore marine park, just a short swim from what is often described by travel magazines (such as Condé Nast Traveller) as one of the best beaches in the world.
Once the hideout of buccaneers and pirates, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) offers couples unspoiled white-sand beaches for sunbathing, clear turquoise waters for snorkelling, offshore reefs, walls and wrecks for diving, as well as numerous hidden coves, uninhabited cays and islets that combine with gentle sea breezes to make BVI a sailor’s paradise.
The 50-odd islands of this British Crown Colony offer a very laid-back lifestyle that is in stark contrast to the crowds, casinos and mega-tourism resorts of the nearby US Virgin Islands.
Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best beaches, Playa Flamenco is located on Culebra’s west shore and is easily accessible by a thrice-daily ferry service from Fajardo.
Surrounded by rolling green hills and bordered by the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, this idyllic white-sand beach stretches for 1.3km around a sheltered half moon-shaped bay and gently shelves into reef-protected waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
Unwind on one of the world’s most famous beaches – often voted the world's best beach by numerous travel publications. This tranquil 5km-long strip of soft, pink-hued sand mixed with sugar-white coral sand stretches the full length of the island’s eastern side.
An outlying coral reef provides calm waters for safe swimming, snorkelling and diving.
Relax on this wide, 550m-long crescent of pink sand that curves around a charming bay framed by bush-clad rocky headlands. An adjoining beach set in a sheltered cove with shallow waters offers perfect conditions for small children.
Set beneath the grassy landscape of South Shore Park, Horseshoe Bay is a favourite of locals and has a good range of facilities that isn’t found on other public beaches, including changing rooms, toilets, showers, lifeguards and a snack bar (the Horseshoe Bay Beach Café), from which you can hire umbrellas, sun loungers and snorkelling equipment.
Known as the world’s most famous beach, Copacabana Beach’s white sand runs for almost 5km in front of a lively nightlife district and residential suburb.
The non-stop beach parade of scantily dressed beautiful bodies and smiling faces embodies the heart and soul of Rio’s ‘Cariocas’ culture that thrives on sun, beach, dance, drink and sport.
Crowded daily with friendly people, the wide beach often resembles more of a large sandy park than a beach, with full-size soccer pitches and volleyball courts situated between Avenida Atlantica and the sea.
Latest update: Top Beaches in the World: 4 April, 2019
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