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12 of the most beautiful beaches in the world – in pictures

Sit back and relax as we bring the sunshine to you. From the rugged beauty of the west of Ireland to the emerald waters of Thailand's tropical islands, we share twelve of the most breathtaking beaches in the world.
 Pig's Bay, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil - 12 of the best beaches in the world

It’s chilly outside, you can’t leave home and a sun-kissed beach seems like a faraway dream? Put your feet up and get comfy as we take you on a virtual tour of the world’s 12 most beautiful beaches with this stunning photo gallery.

Explore 12 amazing beaches around the world from the comfort of your sofa

1. Puerto de San Miguel, Ibiza, Spain

While Ibiza is predominantly known as a party island, famous for attracting a younger crowd to its world famous nightclubs, there’s also a much more tranquil side to the island. Beauty spots like Puerto de San Miguel prove Ibiza is so much more than the Balearics’ party central!

2. Pig’s Bay, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Pig's Bay, on Fernando de Noronha island - 12 of the best beaches in the world

Like Ibiza, Brazil has a bit of a party place reputation, with everyone thinking of crowded beach destinations like Copacabana. What many people don’t realise is that Brazil is a country brimming with unspoiled beaches on islands you have probably never heard of, such as Fernando de Noronha.

Sailing around Fernando de Noronha island, Brazil

In beaches like Pig’s Bay you’ll get acquainted with life under the sea. Known for its warm, clear waters and abundant sea life, the bay is the perfect place to learn how to dive.

3. Keem Bay, Achill Island, Ireland

Keem Bay, in County Mayo - 12 of the best beaches in the world

While beautiful Keem Bay in the west of Ireland doesn’t have palm trees lining its shores, we still believe it deserves a spot on this list. It’s situated in one of the most dramatic places in Ireland, lodged at the bottom of rugged cliffs with towering mountains forming a mighty backdrop. The beach has some of the softest white sand anywhere in Ireland.

Explore more of the gorgeous beaches Ireland has to offer.

4. Ölüdeniz, Fethiye, Turkey

Oludeniz in Turkey - 12 of the best beaches in the world

This one surely deserves a place on our list of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as it’s one of the most popular spots with Irish holidaymakers.

Ölüdeniz, Fethiye, Turkey

It boasts an incredible selection of idyllic beaches, from the blue lagoon at Oludeniz to Kelebekler Vadisi, with its beautiful butterflies. And then there’s Calis and its spectacular sunsets night after night. Sounds rubbish, doesn’t it!

5. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

The gorgeous Lanikai Beach, Hawaii - 12 best beaches in the world

Famous for its big waves and a laid-back pace of life, you can never go wrong with Hawaii. And in the charming Lanikai Beach, instead of crowds you just might find yourself sharing the water with some baby turtles!

Lanikai Beach in Hawaii is a tropical paradise

Lanikai actually translates to “heavenly sea” and, looking at these pictures, it’s not hard to understand why so many people think this half-a-mile stretch of sand is one of the best beaches in the world.

6. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Book an exotic holiday in Bora Bora

French Polynesia is one of those places that few people have been to. But don’t worry, the lucky few who have made it to this remote part of the world have taken enough photos of this exotic paradise to ensure we can all dream about going there one day. Think endless days of sunshine, silken sands and impossibly clear waters.

Fish underwater, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The best time to visit this tropical paradise is during the shoulder season between November and April, when there are fewer tourists and temperatures are between the high 20s and low 30s (°C). Bora Bora may just be a speck in the Pacific Ocean, but it’s one of the most popular honeymoon destinations on the planet.

7. Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece

Navagio or Shipwreck Beach in Zante (Zakynthos), Greece

This beach is one of the most iconic destinations in the world, and has many names, including Smugglers Cove and Shipwreck Beach. You’re bound to have seen the famous freight-liner abandoned on the sands of Navagio on postcards and countless Pinterest pins.

Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos (Zante) is one of the best beaches in the world

This gem on the Ionian island of Zakynthos (Zante) is located at the base of steep white cliffs and is home to the bluest water you will ever see in your life.

8. Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines - 12 of the most beautiful beaches in the world

There’s a good reason why beaches and islands in the Philippines – like the ever-popular Boracay – repeatedly make their way on to top lists. Sun worshippers won’t find prettier beaches to park their bums, digital detoxers can really get away from it all and mermaids/mermen in training will love the unique sealife here.

A tropical paradise, Palawan, Philippines - 12 of the most beautiful beaches in the world

Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are found in Palawan, located in the Bacuit Archipelago. Home to many rare and endangered species such as turtles, scaly anteaters, crocodiles and the metallic coloured peacock, Palawan offers a completely different type of holiday – way more than turquoise waters and perfect, palm tree-fringed beaches. Although there’s plenty of that too!

9. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

You'll find a tropical paradise in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand - 12 best beaches in the world

Maya Bay on the Phi Phi Islands was made famous by Leonardo Di Caprio and the film ‘The Beach’, as he set out to find a utopian paradise back in the early 1990s. The cult novel and blockbuster movie based on these tiny Thai islands soon made this little pocket of paradise a massive backpacker hub.

Monkeys in the sand, Phi Phi islands, Thailand - 12 of the most beautiful beaches in the world

Despite the islands’ popularity in recent years, you’ll be happy to know that places like the Emerald Lagoon have remained in pristine condition.

Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

10. Whitehaven, Whitsunday Islands, Australia

12 of the most beautiful beaches in the world - Whitsunday Islands, Australia

One of Australia‘s most famous coasts, Whitehaven in the Whitsunday Islands is textbook world-class beach material. The sand here is a crazy shade of white. In fact, it’s so pure NASA use it to make glass for their telescopes.

Aerial view of the dreamy Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Much quieter than Australia’s other beaches, which can sometimes feel cramped and crowded (here’s looking at you Bondi) Whitehaven is a breath of fresh air.

11. Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa

Sunset Beach, Cape Town

The view doesn’t get much better than from the sands at Bloubergstrand in South Africa, with Table Mountain to the left and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for over two decades, to the right.

Sunset Beach, Cape Town

Also known as Sunset Beach (guess what the appeal is here…) it’s an idyllic spot for photographers trying to capture the beauty of Cape Town at sundown.

12. Every beach in the Maldives

Dream destination - floating villas in the Maldives

OK, so the Maldives is an entire country rather than a single island or beach. But we honestly believe that every last stretch of sand in this stunningly beautiful collection of islands is perfection.

Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are found in the Maldives

The Maldives is one of the only places in the world where there are so many perfect islands, accessible only by private speed boat or seaplane.

12 of the most beautiful beaches in the worldat a glance

1. Puerto de San Miguel, Ibiza, Spain
2. Pig’s Bay, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
3. Keem Bay, Achill Island, Ireland
4. Oludeniz, Fethiye, Turkey
5. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii
6. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
7. Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece
8. Palawan, Philippines
9. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
10. Whitehaven, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
11. Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa
12. Every beach in the Maldives

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