The 18 best beaches in the world in 2018, according to travel experts

ShutterstockThe bustling reef just off the shore at Anse Lazio beach provides unrivalled snorkelling opportunities.
  • The top 50 beaches in the world for 2018 have been revealed.
  • Over 1,200 travel professionals came together to compile the ranking.
  • From red, sandy coastlines in Crete to clear waters in Micronesia, add them all to your bucket list.

While city breaks are exciting and mountain escapes are refreshing, there’s nothing quite like being by the sea and lounging on a beach.

And if you’re dreaming of your next escape to the seaside, good news: Flight Network – Canada’s largest travel website – has released its second annual list of the world’s best beaches.

Chosen by almost double the number of travel experts as the previous year, the 2018 list was compiled by over 1,200 travel-obsessed journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies from around the world.


Read more:
100 under-the-radar beaches everyone should visit in their lifetime

The World’s Best Beaches for 2018 has been designed to “provide travellers with a one-stop resource for the most enchanting and exotic shores in the world” and “ignite your wanderlust and inspire the planning of your next great beach adventure.”

From red sandy coastlines in Crete to clear waters in Micronesia, the list features beaches from all over the world, ranked based on sheer untouched beauty, remoteness, sand and water quality, average days of sunshine, and average annual temperature.

Scroll down to see the 18 best beaches in the world, ranked in ascending order according to the list.


18. Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

ShutterstockReynisfjara Beach in southern Iceland

Set between scattered cliffs and enormous cave mouths and complete with powerful waves crashing on the shore, the pure and raw natural beauty of Reynisfjara Beach’s black sand and epic views are worth a trip to the south coast of Iceland.


17. Balandra Beach, Baja California Sur, USA

ShutterstockBalandra Beach in California has crystal clear waters due to its bay location

With clear, glassy waters contrasting with the cacti-studded desert landscape of Baja, California, Balandra Beach is described as “the ideal location for a full escape from the fast pace of daily life.”


16. Noetzie Beach, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

ShutterstockNoetzie Beach in South Africa is hidden in a nook of Plattenberg Bay

Beautifully secluded, this beach is surrounded by dense forest and reached via a gravel road and a steep stairway attached to a cliff. Go between June and November to spot migrating Humpback whales.


15. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres island, Cancun, Mexico

ShutterstockAt Playa Norte in Cancun, the sea only gets to around chest deep

At the main beach on Isla Mujeres, the clear water only gets to around chest height, making the sea perfect for floating. If you’d rather stay on the land, stroll along the five-mile stretch of coral sands.


14. Railay Beach, Thailand

ShutterstockRailay Beach in Thailand offers top notch rock-climbing

This remote beach is only accessible by boat and offers not only beautiful waters but also world-class rock-climbing.


13. Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, the Seychelles

ShutterstockThe bustling reef just off the shore at Anse Lazio Beach provides unrivalled snorkelling opportunities.

With soft, golden sands, coconut palm trees, and crystal clear water, Anse Lazio in the Seychelles is truly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and has waters with an average 27°C temperature.


12. Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, The Bahamas

ShutterstockWith rose sand meeting blue sea, a visit to Pink Sands Beach in the Bahamas is like floating through the sky at sunset.

As the name would suggest, the sandy shores of this beach are an incredibly millennial-friendly, highly Instagrammable shade of pink. The sand’s beautiful hue comes about because it’s stained by the red and pink shells of the Foraminifera insects that inhabit the area.


11. Diani Beach, Kwale County, Kenya

ShutterstockDiani Beach in Kenya offers a 10 km stretch of talcum powder sand

Known as the softest beach in the world, Diani Beach is home to the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, as well as monkeys swinging through the trees on the edge of the sand.


10. Varadero Beach, Cuba

ShutterstockSoak up Cuban culture on Varadero Beach

Varadero Beach is considered to be the best in Cuba, thanks to its fine, white sand, bubbling blue water, and never-ending pina coladas.


9. Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

ShutterstockMaya Bay in Thailand is only accessible by boat.

Surrounded by 100-metre high cliffs and only accessible by boat, Maya Bay’s turquoise waters and lush scenery have provided the location for dozens of film scenes.


8. Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue Island, the Seychelles

ShutterstockThe beach at Ange Source d’Argent in the Seychelles is adorned with boulders.

This is the world’s most photographed beach, according to Flight Network – and for good reason. The sand is dotted with boulders, the water a vivid aquamarine, and the sand shimmers at sunset.


7. Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

ShutterstockExperience the ultimate in relaxation at Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands

Plentiful palm trees and turquoise water make Seven Mile Beach an idyllic ocean scene.


6. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos Islands

ShutterstockGrace Bay has a tropical reef just off shore

Described by the judges as “flawless,” Grace Bay has a rainbow-coloured reef just off shore and the sea is clear as crystal. The beach, which came in at number one last year, also has over 300 days of sunshine a year.


5. Tulum Beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

ShutterstockTulum Beach is one of the best beach destinations in the world.

Not only does this beach feature postcard-perfect white sands and teal waters, but it’s lined with bohemian-esque restaurants and accommodation.


4. Praia do Sancho, Pernambuco, Brazil

ShutterstockPraia do Sancho is found on an archipelago midway between Brazil and Africa.

This remote beach is nestled on the small island of Fernando de Noronha – you have to travel for about an hour off the coast of Brazil, then hike, scoot down a dark, narrow tunnel and climb down steep stairs to reach it.


3. Hidden Beach, El Nido, Philippines

ShutterstockHidden Beach in the Philippines features striking limestone cliffs.

Hidden Beach’s defining characteristic is its protruding limestone cliffs which shoot out of the turquoise-blue lagoon.


2. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

ShutterstockDeep green rainforests meet crystalline waters at Whitehaven Beach.

Maintaining its number two spot for a second year is Whitehaven Beach on the Whitsunday Islands, which is only accessible by helicopter or seaplane. “The contrast of the piercing-white sand against the fluorescent-green backdrop of the tropical forest on the island’s mountains will leave you speechless,” Flight Network says.


1. Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

ShutterstockShipwreck Beach in Greece has been named the best beach in the world for 2018.

Located in a beautiful secluded cove surrounded by towering golden cliffs, the best beach in the world was named as Shipwreck (AKA Navagio) Beach in Zakynthos, which is only reachable by boat. The beach is so-called because it is home to the Freightliner MV Panagiotis shipwreck, which makes a visit all the more unique.

See the full list of the world’s top 50 beaches here.

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