12 beautiful beaches for your holiday wish list
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. A trip to Puerto de San Miguel will make you forget about the crowds, and your hangover.
For a truly chilled out beach escape, stay in the small but perfectly serene Agroturismo Can Pardal, a boutique hotel in the village of St. Miquel, 18km from Ibiza Town. You’ll share the property with a maximum of just ten other guests and your evenings will be spent shopping at the Hippy Market, where you’re sure to find some unique souvenirs to take home with you.
2. Pig’s Bay, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
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. 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.
Check with Scuba Brazil for a list of diving schools in the area. If you’re up for a bit of celeb spotting, be sure to check into the exclusive Pousada Maravilha (it has only five beachfront bungalows and three standard rooms), a firm beach retreat favourite of celebrities including supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Need more reasons to go see what Brazil’s got for beaches? Check out this stunning photo gallery that might just have you searching for the next flight out of here!Search flights to Brazil Hotels in Brazil
3. Keem Bay, Achill Island, Ireland
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 back drop.
The beach is a great local surf sport and has some of the softest white sand anywhere in Ireland. For a warm Irish welcome, and a warm cup of tea after a swim at Keem Bay, check into the family run Achill Cliff House Hotel.
Explore more of the gorgeous beaches Ireland has to offer – perfect for a mini-break or day trips with the family.Search flights to Ireland Hotels on Achill Island
4. Fethiye, Turkey
Fethiye is probably one of the most popular spots on this list with Irish holidaymakers, but don’t let that put you off in the slightest. 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!
When you do get sick of all this tranquil natural beauty, take to the local markets in Fethiye – the big one is on a Tuesday. Or consider taking a boat trip to some of the surrounding islands, which are all equally stunning. There’s a huge range of hotels in Fethiye, so you should be able to find the perfect place to fit your budget.Search flights to Dalaman Hotels in Dalaman
5. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii
Famous for its big waves and a laid-back pace of life, you can never go wrong with a trip to Hawaii. But, if you’re not a pro, or just not that keen on being bashed about in a ten-foot-high wave, head to the charming Lanikai Beach where you might find yourself sharing the water with some baby turtles instead!
Lanikai actually translates to “heavenly sea” and, once you arrive, you’ll understand why so many people think this half-a-mile stretch of sand is the best in the world. For those who just can’t keep still, clear your head and get out on the waves in kayak. There are decent rentals available from Kailua Beach Adventures. Or leave the beach (crazy right?!) and spend the afternoon exploring the hills and forests along the coast.
Want a beach break closer to home? The best secret beaches of the Med are only a cheap flight away with Skyscanner.Search flights to Hawaii Hotels in Hawaii
6. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
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.
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. And, of course, it is home to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
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7. Navagio, 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. On the Ionian island of Zakynthos (Zante), you’ll have to hop on a boat to reach this gem, located at the base of steep white cliffs and home to the bluest water you will ever see in your life.
When you’re not searching for pirates in paradise beaches, take a boat trip to the blue cave, on the north of the island, to observe turtles in their natural habitat at Zante’s National Marine Park. Or head to the tiny village of Kampi to watch the sunset. Oh, and don’t forget the Ouzo!
Get the best tips and ideas for your summer holidays with our guide to 20 beautiful Greek islands 2019.Search flights to Zante Hotels in Zante
8. Palawan, Philippines
The Philippines has got to be one of the hottest destinations for 2019. Its beaches and islands – 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 you’ll spot here.
Palawan, located in the Bacuit Archipelago, is a top choice. 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. You’ll find way more here than turquoise waters and perfect, palm tree-fringed beaches – although there’s plenty of that too! The easiest way to get here would be to fly to from Dublin to Puerto Princesa, the main city in the region.
TIP: if you’re flying within the Philippines you can get great deals with budget airlines, so shop around with Skyscanner.Search flights to Palawan Hotels in Palawan
9. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
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 has made this little pocket of paradise a massive backpacker hub.
While the islands are now quite overrun with hostels and backpacker bars, you’ll still find secret beaches on quieter sides of the Phi Phi. The Emerald Lagoon is one place which has remained in pristine condition. Although very popular, you must still make the pilgrimage to Maya Bay, a National Park, but you can’t stay on the beach and you’ll have to go with an organised boat tour company.
Day trips with a long-tail boat can be booked locally for around €50* for the full day. To get to this famed island, you can either fly from Dublin to Krabi or Phuket and do a boat trip from there. If you’re on a tight budget, fly to Bangkok and get a cheap boat and bus deal from a local travel agent.
Planning on visiting Thailand in 2019? Skyscanner’s quick guide gives you an idea of when to visit Northern, Central and Southern Thailand.Search flights to Krabi Hotels in Krabi
10. Whitehaven, 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. 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.
Just one of many turqouise-and-white beaches on the rainforest-clad Whitsunday Islands, if it does get a little crowded you can hop back on your boat and find a quieter spot! To get to the Whitehaven, you’ll have to book an organised boat trip. Check out Cruise Whitsundays, who offer cruises to Whitehaven and Daydream beach starting from around €72* per person.
Thinking of going Down Under but you’re not sure it’s worth the long flight? These 11 pictures of Australia will make you jump on a plane right now.Search flights to Brisbane Hotels in Brisbane
11. Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa
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. Also known as Sunset Beach (guess what the appeal is here…) it’s extremely popular with photographers trying to capture the beauty of Cape Town at sundown each evening.
SWISS offers flights from Dublin to Cape Town via Zurich with reasonably priced return fare. Cape Town’s beautiful beach offers a wide range of activities, including dolphin spotting boat trips, whale watching in Cape Town harbour, and kitesurfing. But no-one’s going to judge you if you just want to lie on the beach and watch the day go by.
When is the best time to visit South Africa? We look at the best time of year to explore this stunning country, whether you want to lie on a beach, visit a vineyard or go on safari.Search flights to Cape Town Hotels in Cape Town
12. Every beach 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.
The Maldives is one of the only places in the world where there are so many perfect islands, where each and every resort has its own private island and beaches, accessible by private speed boat or seaplane. Stay in style in luxury villas floating on the waters surrounding Cocoa Island and enjoy your very own private swimming-pool or jacuzzi built in front of your beach hut. Don’t believe us? Just look at these photos.
If you’re booking a once in a lifetime holiday to the Maldives, you want to go when the weather is at its best. Read our tips on the best time to visit the Maldives before you plan your dream holiday.Search flights to Maldives Hotels in Maldives
12 of the most beautiful beaches in the world
|1. Puerto de San Miguel, Ibiza, Spain|
|2. Pig’s Bay, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil|
|3. Keem Bay, Achill Island, Ireland|
|4. 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|
*Updated April 2019. Prices correct at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.