We asked our friends at Beach Tomato to give us the lowdown on the places with the whitest sand, the turquoisest sea and the most picture-perfect palm trees - in other words, the most beautiful beaches around the world.
Not that we're likely to set foot on many (or any) of them anytime soon, but it doesn't hurt to dream, does it?
1. MANDA BEACH, KENYA
WHERE: Manda Island, Lamu Archipelago, Kenya
WHY: Kenya may be primarily known for safari but there is another, dare we say it, even more attractive attraction- the beaches. With Manda Beach, however, you don’t have to choose, as bush meets beach on this private paradise, (and no we are suggesting abandoning your nether regions to the wilderness). So – whether sunbathing on the sandy shore or bumping into a buffalo – you have the best of both worlds.
H2O TONE: Opalescent
SAND TONE: Vanilla Toffee
WHEN: Manda Island offers a hot and humid backdrop all year round. If sailing is your thing, plan your visit in windswept June and July, or if you are more of a diver the sea is at its clearest after September. And for those full-time sunbathers? Well, any time is a good time.
2. TANGALOOMA BEACH, MORETON ISLAND
WHERE: Just off Brisbane’s shores Moreton Island consists entirely of sand, the third largest sand Island in the world (impressive eh?). When it comes to golden shores we can’t help but agree with the age old adage, big really is better.
WHY: Get ready to go down under – under water that is. On the western side of picture-perfect Moreton Island you’ll gleefully encounter deliberately sunk government barges known as the Tangalooma wrecks. Keep your eyes peeled for Wobbegongs, Trevally and Yellowtails, (that’s tropical fish to me and you), for a myriad of marine live have devoted some full time to floating in and amongst these beautifully rusting ships. Whether snorkeling, swimming, diving or kayaking make sure to explore the sunken bones of flooded engine rooms, holds and bucket tunnels. And, if you’re more of a land-lover catch the perfect wave on the sand with a spot of sandboarding or tobogganing.
H20 TONE: Treasure trove aquamarine
SAND TONE: Crushed gold coin
WHEN: The weather is a bit topsy-turvy down under, making it the perfect place to escape the Northern Hemisphere’s winter (stretching into spring/autumn) blues from December through to February.
3. TUB KAAK BEACH, KRABI, THAILAND
Where: In Krabi, one of the southern provinces of Thailand on the beautiful coastline of the Andaman Sea.
Why: This quiet stretch of silky soft sand is perfect if the idea of buckets and UV is not the kind of Thailand holiday you had in mind. One of the main draws of this beach is its lack of long tail boats giving an idyllic tranquil feel – perfect for hard day lazing and reading a book. If you’re feeling adventurous then rent a motorbike and explore the national parks and busier beaches nearby (Ao Nang is a twenty minute ride away).
H20: Granny smith.
Sand Tone: French stick.
4. THE BEACHES OF ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK, NEW ZEALAND
WHERE: South Island, New Zealand
WHY: Okay, we cheated, it was impossible to choose just one in Abel Tasman! Golden bay after golden bay stretch along the northern tip of New Zealand’s stunning South Island forming Abel Tasman, one of the remaining unspoilt beauty spots on the island. Rambling through the luscious forest that forms the backdrop to the beaches, expect to be transported to a seemingly far-away wonderland.
H2O TONE: Topaz jewels
SAND TONE: Banoffee pie
WHEN: Visit between October and March for sunny skies and warmer waters. Outside of these months, the Kiwi winter chill sets in and some lodges and activities will be closed.
5. LEGZIRA, MOROCCO
WHERE:Between Sidi Ifni and Mirleft Morocco, down Morocco’s Atlantic coastline (just before the Western Sahara).
WHY: After days spent weeding through the bustling and vibrant souks, fighting for swathes of bold coloured silk and haggling for textiles and spices, trekking through the Sahara (by camel of course), and thoroughly exploring mosque after palace after mosque (tired yet?), a clandestine beach will be exactly what the doctor ordered. Muted rust-coloured cliffs with pebbled sand coves bleed into crashing waves, while two naturally formed stone arches stand with an air of regalness and purpose, making Legzira a true site to see.
Bearing witness to nature’s work at its finest, years of erosion have chiselled massive holes in the cliffs to create these arches today. Unfortunately, they can only be viewed during low tide. So, stick around until the water descends. Trust us, it’s worth it. And when you’ve exhausted your camera battery, a stroll along the shore will lead you to a smattering of traditional Moroccan huts that see the occasional fisherman trotting along via donkey. How very authentic.
H2O TONE: Steel Blue
SAND TONE: Warm Apple Crumble
WHEN: Morocco's beaches are best during the summer months when the temperatures are cooler than inland, yet warm enough to warm up the Atlantic ocean.
6. WATERGATE BAY, UK
WHERE: On the North Coast of Cornwall and a mere three miles from Newquay, this two mile beach is unspoiled in its perfection. Set at the bottom of steep cliffs, the Atlantic serves up a generous helping of bodacious waves on a regular basis.
WHY: Not just an easily accessible (yet secluded) paradise for surfers and water sport enthusiasts, this beach also has front row seats to some of the best summer events. Forget the Olympics and sweaty tube rides in London, party with hip hop legends De La Soul under the open sky at the Electric Beach Festival and rub shoulders with the elite at Veuve Cliquot’s Polo on the Beach.
H2O TONE: Deep British blue
SAND TONE: Cornish ice-cream
WHEN: All year round, providing you pack a wetsuit!
7. GULUDO BEACH, AFRICA
WHERE: Northern Mozambique, Quirimbas National Park
WHY: 12 kilometres of palm-fringed, white-powdery, deserted private beaches, pristine and un-touched coral reefs, superb scuba diving, sunset dhow sailings (the traditional Arab sailing vessel), a unique opportunity to see elephants during in the day in the National Park, as well as a glimpse into real African life – this could just be paradise.
H2O TONE: Topaz blue
SAND TONE: Creamy white truffles
WHEN: Northern Mozambique offers a tropical climate all-year round with two seasons: the dry season from April to late December and the green season from late December to March. Though the good news is, it’s idyllic to visit all year round.
8. MIRA BECAH, MALAYSIA
WHERE: On the western side of the Kecil island (the smaller of the two Perhentian Islands), Mira Beach occupies its very own small secluded bay and is backed by dense jungle. There are no roads on the islands so you’ll have to unleash the explorer within and take on the jungle if you wish to stray from the beach…or alternatively you could just do what we did and hop in a water taxi. So much easier.
WHY: Quite possibly one of the most peaceful places on the planet, this is the kind of beach people write about in romantic novels. Think bathwater-warm seas, a dramatic Jurassic park backdrop, and of course, the obligatory bleached white grains to stretch out on and soak up the sun.
H2O TONE: Forget-me-not blue
SAND TONE: White meringue
WHEN: East coast peninsula Malaysia receives heavy rainfall from Nov – Feb so jet off from mid March – Oct to ensure sunny skies.
9. COTTESLOE BEACH, AUSTRALIA
WHERE: Cott, as it is affectionately known, is neatly nestled on the western coast of Australia, slap bang in between the central business district of Perth and the Port of Fremantle.
WHY: Known for its vibrant beach scene, fantastic weather and breath taking sunsets, Cottesloe beach gives us more reasons to visit than we can shake a stick at. On one side, luscious grass covered slopes and huge pine trees give way to the (pristine) sands where revellers enjoy mid-day picnics and take snoozes in the afternoon sun. At sunset, the beach turns into a mesmerising light show of colour which is best enjoyed with a chilled glass of vino from the Indiana Tea House, conveniently located right on the beach.
H20 TONE: Azure blue
SAND TONE: Demerara sugar
WHEN: It’s warm from October to early April.
10. SES ILLETES, BALEARIC ISLANDS
WHERE: Located two miles off the coast of Ibiza, Formentera is the smallest of the Balearic Islands with no airport and few paved roads – but if a relaxed style and breathtaking scenery is what you’re after, look no further, Ses Illetes Beach has it in abundance (although it can get quite crowded in the summer months).
WHY: If all the Ibizan-style partying has taken its toll, then the unspoiled, isolated little island of Formentera is the perfect place to recuperate. Take your floppiest hat, biggest shades, and dip your toes in the transparent blue waters to unwind for a few days under the gorgeous Balearic sun.
H2O TONE: Cornflower Blue
SAND TONE: Rocky Road Biscuit
WHEN: From April through to October.
Browse more the best beaches in the world In Beach Tomato's Beach of the Week series, and if you are lucky enough to be going on a beach holiday this summer - you can shop our beachwear here.