With airlines and travel companies ramping up operations and quarantine-free travel now the norm across the majority of the globe, it’s time to indulge in a bit of wanderlust. So, to spark your imagination, here’s our pick of the world’s finest beaches, from idyllic paradise locations to surprisingly turquoise shorelines closer to home.
Dune Du Pilat, France
Europe’s tallest sand dune also happens to be one of its most beautiful beaches. Looking out over the Atlantic, Dune Du Pilat is a stunning mass of heaped sand approximately 60km south east of Bordeaux. Located in the Arcachon Bay area, the beach is surrounded by thick pine forest with soft powdery sand awaiting those hoping to venture up and over the dunes.
If you were to look at pictures of only the tranquil beach and pale blue sea of Luskentyre, you might be forgiven for thinking this isolated stretch of sand was set in the Tropics or Mediterranean, not the Outer Hebrides. It’s a bit of a trek but Luskentyre, situated on the west coast of the Isle of Harris, is a true bucket-list beach that’s as dramatically beautiful on a sunny day as it is during unforgiving storms and howling wind.
Keem Bay, Ireland
Another beauty closer to home that rivals the azure colour palette of more faraway destinations. Situated on the west coast of Achill Island in County Mayo, Keem Bay is a secluded horseshoe of beach at the foot of a secluded valley at the tip of the island. Beachgoers amass in the summer whilst winter provides blustery and rewarding walks overlooking a Blue Flag beach renowned for its cleanliness and quality.
Anse Source D’argent, Seychelles
Chocolate fans will recognise this beach from the original Bounty adverts but regardless of this claim to fame, Anse Source D’argent is undoubtedly one of the most impossibly beautiful places on earth. Pure white powdery sands are punctuated by an array of granite boulders with luscious forest hugging the shoreline. As with most of the beaches on this list, get there early to avoid the crowds.
Ile Aux Cerfs, Mauritius
Eighty-seven hectares of untouched land off the east coast of Mauritius await those visiting Ile Aux Cerfs, named after the stags imported from Java for hunting. White sand and pure blue lagoons surround the tranquil paradise with a host of restaurants, water sports and other activities available to visitors. The island’s golf club is undoubtedly one of the most unique in the world.
Pink Sand Beach, Barbuda
Of course, white sand is great but have you ever walked over silky pink sand? The result of years of crushed coral being ground into a delightfully fine powder. Barbuda, Antigua’s sister island, boasts eight miles of pristine pink beaches, many of which are completely deserted. The sand itself glows magnificently in the sun and if you fancy a dip, the coastline also boasts fantastic snorkelling with the odd cafe dotted about for refreshment.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Iceland
Iceland’s world-famous Black Sand Beach on the country’s south coast is a sight to behold. Located close to the fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal, the beach boasts breath-taking panoramas as roaring Atlantic waves crash in at the foot of basalt stacks. A trip to the beach means you’ll also take in some of Iceland’s most stunning scenery including otherworldly terrain and waterfalls en route. Not the best for sunbathing but a must-see nonetheless.
Grand Anse, Grenada
Last but not least, one of the most wonderful places on earth. Tranquil, sheltered, soft silky sand, pure turquoise waters and an array of delightful restaurants and bars that allow you to eat and drink until your heart is content, right on the beach. Granada’s Grand Anse is undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in the world and the island itself is a must-visit for those seeking a relaxing Caribbean getaway, with the island’s best hotels a few steps from the sand.
For most of the year Dolfynstrand is almost untouched, with only a few permanent residents living there year-round but during peak season thousands descend on the South Atlantic-facing beach compound on the Namibian coast. It’s not difficult to see why – Namibia’s coastline is some of the most dramatic anywhere on earth and a mere 15-minute drive from Namib-Naukluft National Park, the oldest desert on earth. A must visit for adventurers.