Here are the 16 most incredible beaches in the world

If you’re thinking about jacking in the daily routine for a couple of weeks in a warmer climate, then now is the perfect time. There’s nothing like stepping off a flight straight onto the pristine sands of a tropical island to feel a world away from your busy life back home.

Not all beaches are of the same calibre, though, and for the ideal getaway you want to make sure you choose an unforgettable destination. So to help you choose, here are our picks for the most incredible beaches from around the world.

seychellesSeychelles
Seychelles is a secluded collection of tropical islands to the east coast of Africa. With its own distinct culture, the Seychelles islands are a genuinely unique experience – complete with some of the most idyllic beaches in the world.

ipanema-rio-de-janeiroIpanema, Rio De Janeiro
Ipanema is the artistic stretch of town in the South Zone of Rio De Janeiro. Art galleries, theatres and classy restaurants make up the most expensive zone in Rio and Ipanema beach was named sexiest beach in the world by Travel Channel.

maldivesMaldives
The Maldives is another tropical archipelago nestled just above the equator in the Indian Ocean, which means more blue skies, clear waters and golden sands. But the Maldives has the best shores in the world to see bioluminescent phytoplankton – which may not sound very pretty, but turn the tide into an ocean of little blue stars.

beach-of-the-cathedralsBeach of the Cathedrals, Ribadeo, Spain
The Beach of Cathedrals, along the Spanish northwest coast, offers up this striking walk between its geological formations, towering out of the sand at low tide. In the beautifully green region of Galicia this beach is surrounded by equally impressive landscapes and a proud local culture.

pink-sand-beachesPink sand beaches, Bahamas
The Bahamas is a favourite choice for romantic getaways – and its easy to see why from the pink sands of Harbour Island. Three miles of pink sand accompany gentle warm waters along the beach of this incredibly chilled island – the ideal tropical haven for loved-up travellers.

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Maho-BeachMaho Beach, Saint Martin
If sunbathing and gentle walks along the coast sounds too relaxing for you then head over to fellow Caribbean island, Saint Martin. Low-flying planes break the silence as they come in to land at the nearby runway – a little closer to head height than you may be used to.

Cape-VerdeCape Verde
Cape Verde offers up perfect sands and blue waters across its ten islands with a collection of beaches to rival any in the world. With untouched shores, green landscapes and volcanic rocks, you’ll find something unique on each of the amazing beaches of Cape Verde.

JokulsarlonJokulsarlon, Iceland
But who says all beaches need to be tropical hotspots anyway? Iceland offers up a colder, but equally impressive, alternative to the Caribbean. Chunks of crystal clear ice break off from a nearby glacier at Jokulsarlon Lake, while volcanic sediment creates the black sands along its shore. But the best view of Jokulsarlon comes at night when the northern lights grace the skies with their breathtaking presence.

black-sands-of-punaluuBlack sands of Punaluu, Hawaii
If black sand sounds like your thing but you’re not budging on the warm weather then Hawaii comes to the rescue. You’ll find a number of black sand beaches in Hawaii, but Punaluu is the most popular – and probably most beautiful.

Pfeiffer-BeachPfeiffer Beach, California
The California Coastline is a rugged stretch of impressive beaches and one of the best on offer is Pfeiffer Beach. Its famous arch rock is only accessible by foot and you’ll probably need a guide to find it, but the views at sunset are more than worth the effort.

Benagil-Sea-Cave-in-AlgarveBenagil Sea Cave in Algarve, Portugal
The Benagil Sea Cave in Portugal’s Algarve is worthy of a place on any beach destination list. A far cry from what you normally associate with caves, its natural rock formation creates one of the world’s finest secluded beaches.

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hot-water-beachHot Water Beach, New Zealand
Take a shovel with you to Hot Water Beach in New Zealand and you can dig your very own spa. Two underground springs heat this geothermal beach with waters reaching up to 64c – just make sure you check the water conditions before you stop by.

GulpiyuriGulpiyuri Beach, Llanes, Spain
This phantom beach is hidden within a green meadow and you won’t see the ocean sitting anywhere on these sands. Playa De Gulpiyuri is connected to the sea by a complex network of underground waterways to the Atlantic ocean, more than 100m from the coastline.

pig-beachPig Beach, Bahamas
Marine life is a major attraction for the top beach locations around the world, but there’s something a little different about Big Major Cay in the Bahamas. For some reason, around 20 feral pigs populate the island and you’ll regularly see them lounging about or taking a quick dip in the warm waters. Nobody really knows where they came from.

Scala-Dei-TurchiScala Dei Turchi, Italy
Scala Del Turchi is a white staircase carved out of natural white rock and years of wave erosion. Visitors often come away covered in white paste from the mineral Marl that covers the area, although it’s apparently very good for the skin.

whitehaven-beachWhitehaven Beach, Australia
Australia is renowned for some of the best beaches in the world and Whitehaven Beach is a fine example of the country’s wonderful coasts. In the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the famous white sands and pristine condition of Whitehaven live up to the name in every way.

Images under Creative Commons.