9 vacations to experience the best beaches in the world

Sometimes relaxing on a sun-bleached stretch of white-sand is what you need on a holiday; we suggest you start in one of our favourite locations for a beach trip
Tropical island with resorts - Phi-Phi island, Krabi Province, Thailand
Tropical island with resorts - Phi-Phi island, Krabi Province, Thailand. Photo: Shutterstock

There's nothing like white-sand beaches, sun-drenched vistas, and top-notch accommodations to put you in vacation mode. Of course, settling on the perfect beachy getaway can be an overwhelming affair. Never fear; we've rounded up the ultimate list of too-good-to-be-true destinations. Here are nine of the absolute best beaches in the world:

1. Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

This stunning island off the coast of Thailand is home to some of the top beaches in Thailand. Nestled on the Andaman Coast, Ko Phi Phi is famous for its craggy limestone cliffs and charming ancient landscape. Adventure travellers will feel right at home here; it's one of the world's best diving sites and great for rock-climbing too. Discover it for yourself on Insight Guides' Krabi Beach Escape holiday, where you'll visit Ko Phi Phi and Bamboo Island too. 

2. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The shoreline of Bora Bora is nothing short of divine. When it comes to French Polynesia, there's a reason Bora Bora is such a stand-out destination. Lush, green mountains kiss the sky above vast, turquoise water that stretches endlessly into the horizon. As the sky darkens and the days come to an end here, be prepared for unreal sunsets. This private, and famously romantic oasis is a bucket-list spot that has certainly earned its reputation for being an iconic jewel of the South Pacific.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia. Photo: ShutterstockBora Bora, French Polynesia, offers and luxury island escape with unbeatable beaches. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Sumba Island, Indonesia

Perhaps the most enticing beachfront Indonesia has to offer can be found on Sumba Island. To visit this virtually undeveloped pit stop, which is about an hour's flight from Bali, is to step back in time. Traditional villages abound, as do roaming buffalo. Nihiwatu, the island's famed luxury resort, is known to offer tree house breakfasts, horse riding, and outdoor massages by the surf.

Ready to take a trip to Sumba Island? Submit a trip request and our local experts will create your holiday itinerary from scratch. 

4. The Maldives

If you're looking to really get away from the world, put the Maldives on your list. This archipelago in the Indian Ocean is made up of over a thousand islands. This area is also known for being a scuba diving haven: the warm, azure water is packed with colourful, exotic marine life. Time your trip right and you'll catch a bioluminescent phenomena; come nightfall, some beaches in the Maldives literally glow.

Experience both culture and coast on Insight Guides' Luxury Sri Lanka and the Maldives holiday or submit a trip request to create your perfect getaway to the Maldives. 

Maldives luxury resort. Photo: ShutterstockLuxury resorts are found scattered across the Maldives archipelago. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Sri Lanka

A day spent on the shores of Sri Lanka will leave you pinching yourself. This dreamlike Asian island is loaded with jaw-dropping, unrivalled coastlines. One obvious problem, however, will be choosing just one. The west coast is home to some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, featuring more Westernised strings of hotels and hot spots. But for a truly Sri Lankan experience, the south coast is hard to beat. In addition to its breathtaking beaches, the region also boasts Buddhist shrines, ancient temples, and colonial towns to explore. Mirissa is one of the most intimate beaches of the south coast. It's also a talked-about spot for whale-watching.

Explore Insight Guides' range of suggested trip itineraries online or talk to a local expert to have your holiday created from scratch. 

Beach scene with boat in Sri lanka. Photo: Shutterstock

A typical, tropical beach scene in Sri Lanka. Photo: Shutterstock

6. Seychelles Islands

This archipelago off the east coast of Africa is an absolute wonder of the Indian Ocean. (The islands of Praslin, Mahé, and La Digue are considered among the top to visit.) While widely uninhabited, the people who do call the islands home are known for being boisterous, kind and welcoming to visitors. If it's off the beaten track you're looking for, the beaches of the Seychelles Islands are where to go.

7. Fiji

This tiny South Pacific island packs a big punch where beach vacations are concerned, largely thanks to its abundance of natural beauty. Rock diving amidst waterfalls, bathing in mud pools, and discovering rainforest terrain are all on the menu. Adrenaline junkies can also indulge in an afternoon of white-water rafting or zip-lining.

Empty hammock in the shade of palm trees on tropical Fiji Islands. Photo: ShutterstockThis hammock looks oh so tempting in Fiji, and the perfect place to while away a beach holiday. Photo: Shutterstock

8. Tulum, Mexico

Tulum has certainly earned its bragging rights when it comes to spectacular beaches in Mexico. Playa Paraiso, which literally translates to 'Paradise Beach,' is a top pick for its thin crowds and relatively quiet atmosphere. It's also a winner for snorkeling. When visitors are ready for a seaside break, they can seek out Tulum's ancient Mayan ruins or spot one of the many spider monkeys that inhabit the area.

 Tulum, Mexico. Photo: Shutterstock

Ready to take your trip to one of the best beaches in the world with Insight Guides?

Explore ready-made trip itineraries online now or talk to a local expert today

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