The 50 best beaches in the world for 2022, from Cornwall to Florida

The 50 best beaches in the world for 2022 revealed, from beautiful strips of sand in Cornwall and Ireland to paradise in Florida – so does YOUR favourite make the cut?

  • The top spot goes to Playa Conchal in Costa Rica, a tiny beach covered in crushed seashells 
  • Turquoise Bay in Australia – offering a ‘truly blissful beach experience’ – comes second 
  • The top British Isles beach is Cornwall’s Pedn Vounder – it has ‘crystal-clear blue water and white sand’ 

The ultimate inspiration for your next beach holiday has arrived.

An annual ranking of the 50 best beaches in the world reveals 2022’s top strips of sand – and they are truly drool-worthy. 

The wanderlust-sparking guide is by Big 7 Travel, which generated it by analysing Blue Flag locations, beaches’ social media popularity and the thoughts of its editorial team.

The top spot goes to Playa Conchal in Costa Rica, a tiny beach covered in crushed seashells that’s described as ‘paradise’. Turquoise Bay in Australia – offering a ‘truly blissful beach experience’ – comes second, while ‘pristine’ Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos is third.

Also making the top five are Florida’s Siesta Beach (fourth) and Punta Mosquito in Mexico (fifth). The top-ranking British Isles beach is Cornwall’s Pedn Vounder. Its ‘crystal-clear blue water and white sand’ propels it into eighth place, with Keem Bay in Ireland coming 19th.

Scroll down to gaze upon the full list, displayed in reverse order. The more you scroll, the further into paradise you’ll go… 

50. SEMINYAK BEACH, BALI, INDONESIA: ‘With a splendid coast of gold to dark sand and gorgeous sunsets, Seminyak Beach boasts one of the best beach vibes in Bali,’ Big 7 Travel says. It adds that the five-kilometre- (three-mile) long beach is ‘lined with sunset cocktail spots, luxury resorts and colourful bean bags, just steps away from the waves’ 

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49. KOEKOHE BEACH, HAMPDEN, NEW ZEALAND: The sandy beach at Koekohe is ‘mostly famous for one thing – the Moeraki Boulders’. Big 7 Travel explains: ‘The mysteriously round stones scattered across the beach weigh several tonnes and took millions of years to form.’ According to the travel site, early morning and late afternoon are the best times to capture the beach on camera, ‘when brilliant soft sunlight is cast across the rocks’

48. ISLA ROBESON, SAN BLAS ISLANDS, PANAMA: ‘For castaway fantasies, it doesn’t get much better than Isla Robeson,’ says Big 7 Travel, adding: ‘Many claim it’s where Robinson Crusoe’s famous protagonist was shipwrecked.’ The isle is home to ‘crystal clear waters, swaying palm trees and talc-soft white sands’ and can be accessed via sailboat or water taxi 

47. YONAHA MAEHAMA BEACH, MIYAKOJIMA, JAPAN: This beach, set on the ‘little-known’ island of Miyakojima, is a ‘pristine seven-kilometre (four-mile) stretch of white sand, lapped by clear, crystalline waters’, according to Big 7 Travel. It continues: ‘While it might look like the stuff of desert island fantasy, there are plenty of facilities and activities to enjoy’ 

46. ELAFONISI BEACH, CRETE, GREECE: ‘This unusual pink beach was once a locals’ secret,’ says Big 7 Travel, ‘but it has become an Instagram sensation in the past few years. Despite its popularity, tourism hasn’t spoiled it.’ The pinkish colour of the sand comes from crushed seashell powder. Big 7 Travel adds that the beach is connected by a sandbar to an island nature reserve, so you can ‘stroll along the shore and enjoy the view’

45. PUNTA DEL’ESTE, SOUTHEASTERN URUGUAY: Of this stunning spot, Big 7 Travel says: ‘Come summer, Uruguay’s favourite beach is rolling in fun-loving celebrities, but mere mortals like us can enjoy it too.’ It notes that the stretch of sand is technically two beaches – Playa Mansa and Playa Brava. ‘A giant sculpture of a half-buried hand with fingers (pictured) peeking out of the sand divides the two beaches,’ it adds 

44. CHAMPAGNE BEACH, ESPIRITU SANTO, VANUATU: According to Big 7 Travel, this spot – one of the world’s most ‘picturesque’ beaches – has ‘clear blue waters and sparkling sand’. And bathers don’t go hungry. ‘Once you’ve worked up an appetite swimming, you’ll be grateful for all those fresh fruit stalls, freshly prepared crab and lobster and cute beachside shacks too,’ adds the travel site  

43. DIANI BEACH, KWALE COUNTY, KENYA: ‘One of the most beautiful destinations in Kenya, Diani Beach is a private resort located on the south coast of Mombasa,’ Big 7 Travel says. The beach is described as ‘uncrowded and intimate’, and an ‘idyllic spot’ on which to while away a few days 

42. MYSTIC BEACH, VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA: According to Big 7 Travel, Mystic Beach, located on the southern coast of Vancouver Island, is one of Canada’s ‘most enchanting’ beaches. ‘Set along the Juan de Fuca Trail [ a 47km-/29-mile long hiking trail], the white sandy beach is set against lush forest, with a picturesque waterfall cascading right into the brilliant blue sea,’ the travel site reveals. It adds that Canada has some 15,000 miles (24,140km) of beaches to offer 

41. EAGLE BEACH, ORANJESTAD, ARUBA: ‘This show-stopping Caribbean beach is a two-kilometre (1.2-mile) stretch of sugar-white sand lined with divi-divi trees and thatched umbrellas,’ Big 7 Travel notes. The travel site continues: ‘The turquoise waters are crystal clear and, unlike neighbouring resorts, the tourists are in short supply here. It’s far from isolated though, with small bars and restaurants peppered along the front’ 

40. SANTA MONICA BEACH, SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA: Describing this stretch of sand, which is just south of Downtown Los Angeles, Big 7 Travel says: ‘Between its soft sand, gorgeous views and views overlooking the iconic Pacific Park amusement park, it’s no surprise that it’s so popular with both locals and tourists’ 

39. TUSAN CLIFF BEACH, SARAWAK, MALAYSIA: According to Big 7 Travel, this beach ‘is all sugar-white sand, gently sloping dunes and colourful seashells’. Plan an evening-time visit between September and December when, providing the conditions are right, ‘the sea turns a neon blue due to dinoflagellates [tiny organisms that can be bioluminescent] lighting up the waves’ 

38. GRUMARI BEACH, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: According to Big 7 Travel ‘those in the know’ in Rio de Janeiro hotfoot to Grumari Beach. It says: ‘Backed by bottle-green rainforest, the beach boasts fine golden sands and emerald green waters’ 

37. THE SAADIYAT PUBLIC BEACH, AL SAADIYAT ISLAND, ABU DHABI: Big 7 Travel praises the ‘stunning looks’ of this 400m- (1,312ft) long beach, which boasts ‘white sandy shores and crystal clear waters’ as well as beach yoga classes and water-sports activities. ‘To reach the beach, it’s a short stroll along a wooden boardwalk through native wildlife. Look out for hawksbill turtles – they use the beach as their nesting ground,’ says the travel site 

36. SEVEN MILE BEACH, GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS: Big 7 Travel calls this ‘one of the most famous beaches in the world’. It says: ‘With sparkling waters and coral sands it’s so perfect it almost doesn’t look real.’ Sunsets on the beach are said to be ‘unforgettable’ 

35. LE MORNE BEACH, SOUTHWESTERN MAURITIUS: Of this beach, which sits under the ‘majestic’ Le Morne mountain, Big 7 Travel says: ‘Combining miles of white sand with soaring casuarina trees surrounded by turquoise waters, it’s one of the island’s most stunning sights.’ It adds that it’s popular with windsurfers and kite surfers 

34. KA’ANAPALI BEACH, MAUI, HAWAII: Big 7 Travel reveals that Kaanapali Beach is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It adds: ‘One of Kaanapali Beach’s most famous attractions is the daily cliff-diving ceremony off Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. Held every evening at sunset, a cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff, and soars into the water’ 

33. NAAMA BAY, SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT: ‘Naama Bay offers white sandy beaches and the wildlife-rich azure waters of the Gulf of Aqaba,’ says Big 7 Travel. According to the travel site, visitors can see Saudi Arabia’s coastline from the beach 

32. CALA PREGONDA, MENORCA, SPAIN: ‘The whole of this easternmost Balearic Island is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, so there’s beauty at every turn but Cala Pregonda is something special,’ Big 7 Travel reveals. It adds that the sand on the beach has a ‘rusty hue, which complements the still, turquoise waters’ 

31. FIG TREE BAY, PROTARAS, CYPRUS: This sandy beach faces an uninhabited islet – Fig Tree Bay Island – which you can swim to from the shore. ‘The beach has golden sand, lively beach bars and plenty of umbrellas to shelter from the sun,’ Big 7 Travel notes, though it warns that the beach can get busy at times 

30. SEVEN MILE BEACH, NEGRIL, JAMAICA: ‘This idyllic beach has palms swaying in the breeze, clear blue waters and fresh coconuts to sip on,’ says Big 7 Travel 

29. PRAIA DO CAMILO, LAGOS, PORTUGAL: ‘It’s a hefty 200 steps down (and an unrelenting clamber back up) to reach this beautiful beach, but you won’t be disappointed,’ Big 7 Travel promises. It lies near the Ponta da Piedade, a ‘landmark rock formation with grottoes and rock arches’ 

28. PRAIA BANANA, SAO TOME & PRINCIPE: This beach, which sits 150 miles (241km) west of mainland Africa, starred in a hugely popular 1990s Bacardi advert, Big 7 Travel reveals. It says: ‘It’s the ultimate tropical island escape, complete with coconut-filled palm trees, white sand and bath-water warm sea. There’s even a small bar hidden beneath the trees’ 

27. AO TANOT BAY, KOH TAO, THAILAND: Detailing this beautiful beach, Big 7 Travel says: ‘It’s uncrowded with warm, blue water and soft sand. Snorkelling is excellent here, with a great variety of coral and some fairly large fish that can be seen as soon as you dip your toes into the water’ 

26. MAUNDAYS BAY, WESTERN ANGUILLA: ‘This is picture-perfect Caribbean territory.’ So declares Big 7 Travel of this beach, which boasts ‘white-sand shores and clear, azure waters’. The travel site adds: ‘For an extra special outing, head here at night to see the glittering lights from neighbouring St Martin island. It’s beautiful’ 

25. TUNNELS BEACH, KAUAI, HAWAII: This is billed as the ‘ultimate snorkelling spot, with the picturesque backdrop of Mount Makana and lush jungles’. Big 7 Travel says: ‘Lava tubes form the many underwater caverns here, which gives the beach its name.’ It adds that the water can get rough during winter, so visitors should keep an eye on the tides 

24. HORSESHOE BAY, SOUTHAMPTON, BERMUDA: This stretch of sand is ‘probably the most photographed beach in Bermuda’, Big 7 Travel says, adding: ‘Named for its curving shape, the popular Horseshoe Bay Beach showcases Bermuda’s trademark crystal blue waters and pink sands.’ Visit for yourself and you’ll find that there are ‘hidden caves and tucked-away coves to explore’ 

23. MAFIA ISLAND, MAFIA ARCHIPELAGO, TANZANIA: ‘This sublimely serene beach boasts pinch-me-I’m-dreaming white sands, turquoise waters and sprawling tidal flats,’ says Big 7 Travel, adding: ‘Below the surface, it’s just as dreamy with its unique coral grove, mangrove and marine channel ecosystems teeming with fish, including whale sharks’ 

22. BAZARUTO ARCHIPELAGO, MOZAMBIQUE: This ‘aquamarine paradise’ encompasses five islands off the coast of the town of Vilanculos, Big 7 Travel reveals, adding: ‘Untouched and idyllic, the sugar-white stretches of sand give way to miles of colourful coral reefs.’ The travel site notes that the islands are popular with ‘turtles, dolphins, rays, whales, sharks and over 2,000 fish species’ 

21. PATNEM BEACH, GOA, INDIA: Big 7 Travel describes Patnem Beach as a beautiful and somewhat secluded stretch of sand that’s ‘lined with palm trees and beach huts’

20. ​​SEAGRASS BAY, LAUCALA ISLAND, FIJI: This ‘jaw-dropping’ bay lies on a private resort island, so access is limited. According to Big 7 Travel, it’s set on a ‘tropical jungle section of the island, with lush vegetation and wild-growing coconuts as a natural backdrop to the white sandy coastline’

19. KEEM BAY, ACHILL ISLAND, MAYO, IRELAND: ‘Keem Bay is a breathtaking rural and sheltered beach surrounded by cliffs on Ireland’s largest island,’ says Big 7 Travel. It notes that the beach’s ‘gleaming white sand rivals tropical islands and the water is superbly clear’. According to the travel site, it’s beautiful even on a rainy day – and there are plenty of those in Ireland 

18. HYAMS BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA: ‘Hyams Beach is just three hours south of Sydney, but between its pine forests and white sands, it feels worlds apart,’ says Big 7 Travel, adding that it’s an excellent spot for snorkelling and is popular with stingrays too. ‘Keep an eye out for playful dolphins for the ultimate photo opp,’ the travel site notes 

17. NAVAGIO BEACH (OR SHIPWRECK BEACH), ZAKYNTHOS, GREECE: This beach is named after the 198O shipwreck that lies on it, Big 7 Travel reveals. It adds that the beach, accessible only by boat, is ‘lapped by turquoise waters and backed by soaring cliffs’ 

16. PIG BEACH, BIG MAJOR CAY, EXUMA, THE BAHAMAS: Big 7 Travel says that ‘no one quite knows’ how the pigs arrived on this Insta-famous beach, since Big Major Cay is uninhabited and pigs aren’t native to the island. Fancy visiting it for yourself? The travel site reveals: ‘You can book a day trip boat ride to see this beach’s pristine waters and swim alongside piglets’ 

15. PORTO SANTO BEACH, MADEIRA, PORTUGAL: Big 7 Travel bills this as ‘one of the world’s most beautiful beaches’. It reveals: ‘This nine-kilometre- (5.5-mile) long golden beach boasts crystal-clear, azure-warm waters backed by rolling sand dunes. As if that’s not enough, it’s also well-known for its therapeutic hot sand therapy’ 

14. ANSE SOURCE D’ARGENT, LA DIGUE, SEYCHELLES: Of this ‘magical’ beach, Big 7 Travel says: ‘Beloved for its shallow warm waters and shimmering sand, you’ll need to walk through the old L’Union Estate coconut plantation to access the beach.’ It adds that you ‘may even spot a sea turtle swimming off the shore if you’re lucky’ 

13. PLAYA NEGRA, VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO: This black-sand beach is ‘one of the most dramatic in the world’, says Big 7 Travel. It adds that it’s a short hike to get to this secluded spot but that it’s ‘well worth the effort’ 

12. ZLATNI RAT, BRAC, CROATIA: Big 7 Travel declares this the most spectacular of all Croatia’s beaches, and notes that it’s not just its unusual shape that makes it so ‘beautiful and unique’. The travel site reveals: ‘The pebble beach is surrounded by crystal-clear sea, that goes from turquoise blue to dark blue… decades-old pine trees provide shade, but you won’t want to get out of the warm waters here’ 

11. WHITEHAVEN BEACH, WHITSUNDAY ISLAND, WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, AUSTRALIA: ‘Stretching across seven kilometres (four miles), this brilliant white silica-sand beach is among one of the purest in the world,’ Big 7 Travel says. The travel site adds that the sand on the beach doesn’t retain heat, ‘so it’s a fantastic place to walk barefoot, even on a hot day’ 

10. REYNISFJARA BEACH, VIK I MYRDAL, ICELAND: Game of Thrones fans may recognise this beach from season seven of the hit HBO fantasy series, Big 7 Travel reveals. It says: ‘With enormous basalt stacks that rise out of the sea and unusual black sand, this is an unforgettable beach’ 

9. BOULDERS BEACH, WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA: A whole colony of as many as 3,000 African penguins nest on this beach – and the best time to see them is during the summertime, Big 7 Travel reveals. The beach is protected by Cape Nature Conservation and visitors are forbidden from getting close to the penguins – instead, the seabirds can be viewed from walkways that stretch over the sand  

8. PEDN VOUNDER, CORNWALL, ENGLAND: ‘G7 put the global spotlight on Cornwall last year and this year the region has seen sky-high bookings. Despite the crowds, Pedn Vounder is still one of the UK’s most beautiful beaches,’ says Big 7 Travel. The travel site adds: ‘Combining crystal-clear blue water and white sand, it’s proof that you don’t need to hotfoot to the Caribbean for a tropical island-inspired getaway’ 

7. SAN FRUTTUOSO, LIGURIA, ITALY: Big 7 Travel calls this stunning shoreline, which features a Benedictine monastery, an ‘intimate pale pebbled beach, squeezed between turquoise waters and lush mountains’. It says: ‘Like most of the best things in life, you’ll need to put a bit of legwork in to enjoy it though. It’s a two-hour hike [from the village of San Rocco] or a thrilling boat ride from ritzy Portofino’ 

6. SECRET LAGOON, MINILOC ISLAND, EL NIDO, PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES: This idyllic spot has ‘crystal-clear water and tropical jungle’ 

5. PUNTA MOSQUITO, HOLBOX, MEXICO:  ‘Holbox has only appeared on most people’s travel radar in the past few years, but we still think its sandy stretches are Mexico’s best-kept beach secret,’ says Big 7 Travel. One of these stretches is Punta Mosquito (above), a sandbank of pristine white sand. According to the travel site, Holbox’s shorelines offer ‘crystalline lagoons, lush mangroves and reams of powdery white sand’

4. SIESTA BEACH, SARASOTA, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES: ‘Famed for its quartz-crystal powdery sand and soft lapping waves, you’ll find it close to impossible to leave this beautiful beach,’ Big 7 Travel declares. It adds that nearby Siesta Key Village is worth exploring too 

3. GRACE BAY, TURKS AND CAICOS: Big 7 Travel calls this ‘the shining jewel of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ and says: ‘The entire beach is just over three kilometres (1.8 miles) long, with no pollution – just pure, white sand and clean water.’ Not only that, but a barrier reef protects Grace Bay from the ocean swells of the Atlantic, so you can swim with ease, the travel site reveals 

2. TURQUOISE BAY, EXMOUTH, AUSTRALIA: ‘Think turquoise waters, the softest white sand and sparkling views over Ningaloo Reef, famed for its whale sharks,’ Big 7 Travel says of this breathtaking spot. ‘It’s every bit as beautiful underwater too, with coral gardens teeming with marine life,’ it adds 

1. PLAYA CONCHAL, GUANACASTE, COSTA RICA: ‘There’s no getting around it, Costa Rica is the hottest destination to visit right now. Not only does it offer staggering biodiversity, this eco-friendly destination boasts one of the best beaches in the world,’ says Big 7 Travel of the gold medal winner. It continues: ‘This tiny beach is covered in crushed seashells, wrapped around a turquoise bay. Paradise’ 

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