Okay, so I don’t have the resources of Trip Advisor and therefore haven’t been to every single beach on our fine planet, but I have left my footprints in the sand of some truly remarkable places.
Here are my top 10 beaches, let me know your thoughts and comment with any that would compete with them (I can go to those next!):
10 | Kalanggaman Island, Cebu, Philippines
A short boat ride from the island of Malapascua (North of Cebu), you’ll be treated to yet more Philippine perfection in the shape of Kalanggaman Island. The tiny sand island is comprised of one infinite beach and the insane hue of the water and pristine sands make it one of the most idyllic beaches I’ve ever visited – throw in the turtles just off shore and it strolls into my top 10!
9 | Studland Bay, Dorset, England
Perhaps a sentimental inclusion, but a magical place none-the-less; Studland Bay is located in Dorset on England’s south coast and is somewhere I spent countless weekends exploring as a youngster. The bay’s beautiful sands, endless dunes, walking tracks and BBQ opportunities make it an absolute dream for the adventurous beach bum. The Jurassic Old Harry’s Rocks mark the end of the bay, adding further character as they dive into the English Channel.
8 | Whitehaven Beach, QLD, Australia
This beach may be a staple of many countdowns, so apologies for the lack of imagination, but the swirling white sands and turquoise waters are simply phenomenal and deserve their place. Off the east coast of Australia, Whitehaven is the icing on the cake of a remarkable set of islands called the Whitsundays. Teeming with turtles, reef sharks and (very) occasionally crocodiles; the Whitsunday islands are a stunning portal into the Great Barrier Reef.
7 | Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece
The ‘Pink Beach’ is located on the famous island of Crete, in Greece; an astonishing palette of colours from the more typical turquoise waters and blue skies to the white sands with an unexpected sprinkling of pink greet you as you come to the end of a dramatic coastal drive. The pink sands are a result of thousands of broken seashells, which really set Elafonissi apart as a special beach and seal their position in this countdown.
6 | Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
This hugely popular beach is a mecca for the surfers of New South Wales and Queensland on the east coast of Australia. Not many places in the world can offer you the diversity of marine life, surf breaks and array of food that Byron does. The bay is a protected marine park and as a result you’re able to swim with the turtles, surf with the dolphins and even kayak with humpback whales!
5 | Lolomanu Beach, Upolu, Samoa
We’re moving well away from the beaten track now and as far afield as Samoa in the South Pacific, which is home to the breathtaking Lolomanu beach. Located on the south east coast of Upolu, Lolomanu beach is made up of pristine sands and sheltered by an expanse of reef, which was sadly decimated in 2009. Views of the uninhabited Nu’utele Island and the ability to sleep in an open sided fale (Samoan accomodation) make this beach all the more special.
4 | Likuliku Bay, Yasawas, Fiji
A few hours north of Nadi, into the Yasawa Islands of Fiji, you’ll find the picture perfect island of Waya and with it the idyllic Likuliku Bay. Without so much as a palm tree out of place along the pristine white sands that skirt the vivid turquoise waters, what makes Likuliku so enchanting is the vibrant reef that dwells just metres from the shore. Bursting with life, the reef is flawless and offers snorkelling that rivals anywhere else in the world!
3 | Nacpan, Palawan, Philippines
Palawan Island is known for the islands of El Nido (read more about them in ‘Philippines in a Turtle Shell’) but travel just 30 minutes north of the town by moped and you’ll find an extraordinary expanse of water lapping lazily against the shores of Nacpan Beach. Nacpan beach is also known as twin beach, as the beach is backed by another, but there is no denying Nacpan is the hero of the two. The water is as clear as I’ve ever come across and the sand as fine; a walk to the headland gives you a view of both which is a vision of beach perfection.
2 | Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres, off the east coast of Mexico, is a magical escape to island life and a destination where you can find yourself sipping on margaritas, swimming with whale sharks or lazing on the hot white sands of Playa Norte. Playa Norte is another illustration of perfection, where endless white sands meet endless turquoise waters on a beach backed by towering palm trees. It doesn’t get much better than splashing about in the still waters and sipping on cervezas until the sun goes down on Playa Norte.
1 | Kelingking, Bali, Indonesia
At number one on my list (for now!) is this spectacular beach located at the foot of a towering cliff on the island of Nusa Penida in Indonesia. Nusa Penida is the largest but least inhabited of three islands off the coast of Denpasar and the precarious nature of the broken roads certainly adds to the beaches’ charm. On arrival, you’re greeted to a breathtaking view of Kelingking beach from on high. Also known as T-Rex beach, due to the shape of the cliffs that surround it, the huge crashing waves and lucid blue waters surrounding the sand contribute to the awe-inspiring view. Getting to the beach is even more exciting; once you’ve passed the monkeys guarding the entrance to the newly constructed ‘path’, an ever steeper track flanked by a knee high bamboo fence leads you down to the beach, where you’re finally greeted by monstrous waves crashing against the ladder’s foot. A treacherous descent to the most alluring beach I’ve ever had the chance to visit – and it was all miiiine!