What a better way to relax than a beach!
Now even if it’s always pleasant to lay down on the beach, it’s much better if it’s on a perfect white sand one with crystal clear water…
So where to go to find yourself in these magical places?
The good news is that don’t need to go to an atoll in the Maldives, there are places far more accessible.
So here is a small selection of what I consider as the 5 most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen:
- ZANZIBAR (TANZANIA)
Zanzibar is a magical place: on one hand, a fascinating culture at the crossroads of civilizations, and on the other hand an incredible coastline. After discovering its capital, Stone Town, a true cultural gem, you can head to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll see in your life.
I had the opportunity to explore the island for some weeks before I ended on this spot I still consider as “my” most beautiful beach: “Paje”.
Located on the east side of the island, it is a huge strip of fine sand with crystal clear water. The tide is very strong here as the water is shallow. It’s not the best spot to swim (too shallow at certain times of the day), but the view is simply stunning. When the tide is low, you can enjoy pure transparent water over kilometers, and when it starts rising, the water will come through a full range of colors: incredible shades of green and turquoise blue will scroll over the hours.
Low tide base is also an opportunity to appreciate the seaweed harvest. Moreover, this spot has good wind conditions and is loved by Kyte surfers.
Another must do on this island: “The Rock” restaurant. Its setting is quite unique: you reach it by foot at the beginning of the day, and as the tide surges, the restaurant will be surrounded by crystal clear water. You will need a boat at the end of the day to get back to the mainland (or if you feel like swimming – like me, after having emptied 2 bottles of wine 😉
- NUSA PENIDA (INDONESIA)
Indonesia is a fascinating country – it is the largest archipelago in the world with over 18,000 islands. Therefore, it is one of the best places to find incredible beaches.
The most famous beach is found on the iconic Nusa Penida, a small island located between Bali and Lombok.
But it is far from being the only one worth a visit. I’d recommend you explore: Southern part of Bali, the Gilis (Gili Trewangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) and Nusa Lembogan. And if you venture further on (till Komodo and Flores), you’ll see some of the best and most remote beaches.
Because most of the islands were shaped by volcanoes, the scenery is spectacular. I highly recommend you rent a scooter to explore Bali and Lombok.
- TULUM (MEXICO)
Rivera Maya is the most tourist place in Mexico. It all started with Cancun, a former fisherman’s village converted into a holiday and resort center that looks more like Vegas than Mexico. The second town to explode was Playa del Carmen… And finally Tulum.
I remember the first time I visited this little Caribbean paradise back in 2003. A tiny village, a few huts on the beach where you could put your hammock in exchange for a few pesos. And an archaeological site with a breathtaking view over a deserted beach and turquoise water.
Unfortunately, things quickly changed: the village became a town, the Cabañas were replaced by hotels, and in 2006 a ramp was built to allow access to the beautiful beach at the foothill of the archeological site.
Hotels located on the beach have become very exclusive, and free access has been reduced by dubious commercial policies (a Mexico’s classic). Nevertheless, Tulum remains a beautiful beach and is on my top 3. Its long strip of fine beach has not (yet) been covered with concrete and it is still much more charming than Cancun or Playa del Carmen.
And all changes are not bad: last time I visited it (in summer 2017), there was a cycle path between town and the beach (located 4km away).
Another magical place of the Riviera Maya was Holbox. It is a bay located at the border between the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. But yeah, I have to say that it’s been almost 10 years since I was there. Back then it was a small village next to a long perfect white sand beach. No big hotels just huts on the beach… I’m pretty sure its fate was similar to Tulum.
- RAILAY (THAILAND)
Thailand is also famous for its dreamy beaches. Between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, the country has thousands of miles of beaches. The most famous are islands such as Ko Tao, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Phi Phi (next to the beach from the movie “The Beach”), Ko Lanta, etc.
But my favorite one was Railay, located near Ao Nang in the province of Krabi. It is a superb bay with impressive limestone rocks overlooking the water (A popular spot for climbers). The beach is a perfect strand of white sand. Moreover, it is a relatively quieter place in comparison with the surrounding islands.
- SANTA GIULIA (CORSICA)
The Mediterranean is also full of amazing beaches that are as beautiful as in the tropics. Greece is probably the most famous country for its dreamy beaches, but I was quite surprised by the beauty of Corsica. The crystal clear water of Santa Giulia, near Porto Vecchio, makes it a perfect stop. Of course, the sea is not as warm as in the tropics; But bathing is still great. And then, for those who live in Europe, there’s no need to grab a 12-hour plan to get there 🙂
So that was my top 5 but there are many other beaches I enjoyed so much, just to name a few of them:
- Palolem in Goa (India): A relaxing and cheap place, a great stopover on a long and intense trip to India.
- Camps Bay in Cape Town (South Africa): a great beach in Cape Town’s classy neighboorhood.
- The “Calanques” in the south of France: a set of creeks formed by the rock. Magical landscapes between the blue of the Mediterranean Sea and limestone rocks.
- Utila in the Bay Islands (Honduras): One of the best snorkeling spot in the Caribbean. Corals are impressive, even if Roatan has better beaches
- Mexico’s Pacific Coast: from Baja California to Oaxaca, Mexico offers over 2000 miles of coastline on the Pacific. I didn’t have the opportunity to explore Baja California, but some of its beaches are as beautiful as those of Rivera Maya
- Koh Rong (Cambodia): This island is located off the coast of Sihanoukville. A relaxed and enjoyable place to be explored in a few days. Its beaches are sublime, although I suffered harsh weather conditions.
- Perhentians (Malaysia): Perhentians Islands are located off Kota Baru. A small diving paradise, with fine sand beaches and transparent blue water.
- Likoma (Malawi): As weird as it sounds, this island is actually on a lake. Yet its freshwaters are warm and crystal clear.
- Copacabana in Rio (Brazil): Finding a beautiful beach in a densely populated city is not an easy task. Yet the famous Copacabana beach is a great spot, even though you won’t feel alone.
Of course, this is just a very short list based on my own experience. So now tell me what is your favorite beach to include it on my next trip 🙂