worlds best beaches suitcase

As much as we love cultural city break or adrenaline-filled adventure, there’s no denying that a simple image of a sweeping white-sand beach can render us weak at the knees. It’s as if it calls out to a primordial instinct within our travelling souls, beckoning us to be beside the sea once more. Life’s a beach… Read this, then book that flight.

Pamalican, Philippines

Beaches don’t come any more perfect than those on the Pamalican in the Philippines. A private island housing the exclusive Amanpulo hotel, the pristine beach shines like a halo as you land on the island via private plane. With each villa leading lazily down to its own stretch of beach, privacy and exclusivity allow you to enjoy this slice of paradise with super luxury trimmings.

Bocas del Toro, Panama

A sense of insider knowledge surrounds the beaches on Bocas del Toro, a group of islands on the Caribbean side of Panama. Often overlooked as a beach destination, hidden away on Bocas del Toro are a number of relatively unknown enclaves. With powdery sand, idyllic slanted palm trees and a fringing of rainforest, the key to these beaches’ seclusion is their relative isolation. The pick of the bunch is Red Frog Beach, where jungle and beach are within touching distance. Reach it via water taxi, with prerequisite hammocks, creaky beach bars and a handful of rustic resorts waiting for you.

Tikehau Island, French Polynesia

A gateway to the sea beyond, the real star of the beaches on this remote, tiny island, accessible by a 55-minute flight from mainland Tahiti, is the sheer amount of fish swimming around its crystal clear waters. Bring your gear and feast your eyes on one of the world’s best snorkelling spots. And once you’ve had your fill, spend the rest of your time idling on the deserted pink sand beaches.

Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Just as much about the journey as the destination, Baia do Sancho is found on a secluded environmentally protected archipelago. Despite repeatedly being voted one of the world’s best beaches, it is often deserted. Best reached either by boat, allowing you to capitalise on the area’s fantastic diving, or by land where you are rewarded with a fantastic view of the bay before descending down a cliff-side staircase to the beach itself. From January to July visits are restricted to 6AM-6PM as turtle-spawning season dominates.

Koh Kradan, Thailand

If the beach-bucket culture of Thailand’s most popular islands induces a sense of panic, head instead to Koh Kradan, south of buzzing Koh Lanta. This tiny island is part National Park, part resort island, creating the perfect blend of natural beauty and handy amenities. Limestone outcrops at sea make for a blissful backdrop to sundowners after a laborious afternoon spent kayaking around the island’s perimeter.

Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island, India

Sometimes beauty comes at a price. Radhanagar is one of India’s most beautiful beaches but with a thriving domestic tourism industry this can mean crowds. It’s still well worth a visit though but head here in the late afternoon and be rewarded with not only dwindling crowds but also glorious sunsets over the Andaman Sea.

Honokalani Beach, Maui, Hawaii

One of Hawaii’s most famed beaches laughs in the face of generic white-sand counterparts, trumping them all with its glittering deep black lava-stone beach. Sandwiched between sparkling turquoise waters and dense green foliage, the inky beach is like a sweeping stroke of an artist’s pencil. A worthy destination in its own right with a host of geographical landmarks to visit including volcanic caves and cliffs.

South Beach, Miami, USA

A slight departure from the dominating criteria on this list, South Beach is all about the crowds not seclusion. Crank up the Will Smith, don your skimpiest swimwear and dive into the non-stop exuberant party atmosphere that makes South Beach one of America’s most famous. A hedonistic world of beautiful people, convertible cars and endless Art Deco buildings – there’s nowhere else quite like it.

Loblolly Beach, British Virgin Islands

Consistently ranked one of the world’s best, Loblolly offers up a seemingly never ending stretch of pillow soft sandy beach that snakes its way along the transparent waters. Thatched umbrellas, beach huts and a smattering of bars are dotted along but Loblolly retains a sense of calm due to its sheer length. Take it all in from the 360-degree lookout or simply while away the days sunbathing and snorkelling.

Rhossili Bay, Swansea, UK

British beaches don’t just mean striped awnings, melting 99s and lobster-red tourists. Venture further afield and the British Isles plays host to a range of beautiful – if somewhat windswept – coves and bays that may not get much sunshine but are no less magical for it. Rhossili Bay near Swansea is one of the best; a three-mile long stretch of wide beach with fantastic views from atop Rhossili Down and an exposed shipwreck visible only at low tide.

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