Who doesn’t love a good beach vacation? Spending your days lounging on long stretches of glistening golden sand, sipping on cocktails, and taking the occasional dip in glorious blue water. Sign me up!
A beach holiday is one like no other. You can unwind with a cocktail while gazing at the ocean without a care in the world.
It also gives you the chance to work on that golden tan! This is great because once your holiday ends, you’ll look and feel like a sun-kissed god/goddess.
However, amongst the overdone, crowded destinations such as Hawaii, the Caribbean and Thailand are some underrated beach destinations.
Our list of best beaches in the world includes a variety of beaches, as we know that you don’t all have the same things in mind when thinking about a beach holiday. From the best beaches for pure relaxation, to the best beaches for surfing, the best beaches for beach activities, the best beaches at night, and the cheapest beaches to visit around the world. We’ve found a beach for every kind of beach holiday.
All you have to do is pack your beach bag with your favorite beach accessories — remember your sun lotion and shades — and you’re ready for your dream beach break!
Grab your beach towel and beach sunglasses, let’s go!
Here are our top underrated beach destinations
Durban, South Africa
Although most tourists flock to Cape Town, the beaches of Durban are in fact just as good, if not better. Here, warm waters lap endless miles of golden beaches. At the beach, visitors can enjoy fresh fruit from street vendors or even ride in a traditional rickshaw. This is one of the most underrated beach destinations in South Africa.
New York, United States of America
Although a popular city, New York has more to offer than just its bright lights. Take a few days off to soak in the beauty of New York’s beaches.
Coney Island is popular with families due to the funfair atmosphere. There are a few quieter beaches nearby that are ideal for catching a quiet lunch just outside the city.
India is the ideal, alternative beach destination and Goa is at the top of the list. Some of the best beaches in bustling India can be found around Goa. While the busier beaches offer a host of activities, many other options offer quiet beaches surrounded by sprawling forests.
Busan, South Korea
Busan, a busy city, is flanked by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Here the turquoise ocean is flanked by towering skyscrapers and majestic mountains. A wide range of modern amenities are available for tourists, while quieter beaches are also available for those looking for a private getaway.
Bilbao is all but forgotten when one considers the trendy, Mediterranean beaches of Spain. However, Bilbao offers some stunning beaches where cliffs drop off into the ocean and the more active traveler can enjoy a variety of stunning walks and hikes in this Basque region of Spain.
Bilbao is one of the most beautiful underrated beach destinations.
Southern Coast, Kenya
Kenya is popular for bush and beach breaks because of its variety of peaceful azure beaches and spectacular game reserves. The best beaches in Kenya can be found around Mombasa and Malindi in the south coast and these stunning beaches offer a number of luxury accommodation options flanked by cultural, historical towns.
Darwin offers a favorable climate with popular swimming beaches which at low tide expose a number of reefs and rock pools in which children can discover tiny sea creatures. Playgrounds, picnic and BBQ areas make these beaches a firm favorite for Australian families and groups of friends being on holiday.
Although most often thought of as a winter destination or by traveler’s with a campervan touring through the country, Norway can make for a spectacular beach destination in its summer months. Oslo’s bay (fjord) features some great beaches including some nude options for the more daring traveler!
Due to the colder climate and low water temperatures, this is something for more robust beach vacationers and certainly one of the most underrated beach destinations. But in combination with the possibility to get to know the beautiful Oslo with its sights and the scenic hinterland, which invites to excursions, this beach vacation becomes a special experience.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Located on the West Coast of Sri Lanka, Colombo is an industrious business city that is flanked by golden beaches and turquoise waters. These golden, sandy, and often deserted beaches are ideal for an oriental beach getaway while coral reefs and shipwrecks allow for plenty of fun underwater exploration.
You may think Ireland is too cold to enjoy a fabulous beach getaway, but Belfast and the areas around it have some of the prettiest beaches in Europe.
Breathtaking natural rock formations and green waters make these beaches visually outstanding and make for an interesting excursion in any weather. They are less suitable for swimming but for surfing and windsurfing or for long beach walks.
Elafonisi Island, Crete, Greece
Elafonisi Island has been voted over and over again as being one of the most majestic beaches in the world. There’s a good reason for this. Namely, the absolutely stunning pink sand and crystal-clear blue-green water. The island is located on the western side of Crete, just 200-meters off the coast. This location means that you can swim peacefully in the shallow lagoon situated between the mainland and the island. It’s pure bliss!
Unfortunately, the crowds have caught on to the beauty of this island and flock here during the summer months. You can still find a quiet spot, though. Just walk away from the crowds to the protected part of the island where no sunbeds are allowed. You’ll hopefully be able to find a quiet cove to relax in – just be sure to not stomp on the plants!
Harbor Island, Bahamas
Travelers looking for the ultimate refuge away from busy crowds will fall in love with Harbor Island in the Bahamas. Located off the northeast coast of Eleuthera Island, this beach is much quieter than the other busy Bahamian beaches.
Here you’ll find an endless supply of sun loungers set up on the pink beaches looking out onto the gorgeous blue waters. It’s quiet easy to happily spend an entire day on the beach as everything that you’ll need is close-by. There’s no shortage of beach-side bars and restaurants, meaning that you won’t have to venture too far to satisfy your hunger pangs.
Supertubes, Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa
Supertubes lives up to its name as being one of the most consistent spots for tube surfing in the world. Jeffrey’s Bay, or JBay as the locals affectionately call it, is a small seaside town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The town has become renowned as being the best surfing spot in South Africa, particularly the Supertubes beach. Surfer watching is a daily activity among locals on their morning or evening beach walks.
Surfers from around the world have made the pilgrimage to Jeffrey’s Bay to come and experience one of the finest right hand point breaks in the world (some surfer talk for you ;)). The tubes and waves here aren’t for newbies — make sure that you’re ready for them!
If you love surfing, check out these spots for surfing holidays.
Varkala Beach, Kerala, India
India is an affordable destination all round. When it comes to beach vibes, most people will head to Goa. Goa is all about hippy vibes, psytrance music, and parties. It’s really cheap and tourists love it. For a different vibe though (and actually even cheaper), head to Varkala in Kerala. It’s a much more chilled out beach — think beachside restaurants, yoga studios, and boutique shops. It’s also less busy — so perfect for a quiet beach holiday.
Varkala Beach was voted as the sixth cheapest beach according to the Beach Price Index. Five Goan beaches made it to the top 12 cheapest beaches, including Benaulim Beach, Palolem Beach, Cavelossim Beach, Agonda Beach, and Mandrem Beach.
Read about the best remote beach destinations