The Best Islands for Beaches

Are you planning a beach vacation, and wondering what are the best islands for beaches?

To help you find the answers to this question, we’ve created this list of the most beautiful islands in the world. There are so many wonderful destinations to choose from — from European islands with mild climates to remote and far away lands, such as French Polynesia. And all of them are great! The choice of your destination will depend on what you want as well as your budget.

So all you have to do is to determine your travel budget and choose the right place according to your taste and the money you have saved up. 

Need some inspiration?

Check out our list of the best beach getaways around the world!

The Best Islands for Beaches

Are you planning a beach vacation?

But you haven’t picked a destination yet?

Here’s our list of some of the most beautiful islands in the world. For ease of use, we’ve divided this list into two parts — islands and archipelagos.


Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan is an island in the Philippines. 

It is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Palawan has been rated the “Most Beautiful Island in the World” by Conde Nast Traveller and Travel + Leisure.

Palawan is most known for El Nido — a picturesque municipality which was ranked as one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world. El Nido is known for its laid-back vibe and beautiful nature. Situated amid impressive towering karst cliffs of Bacuit Bay, El Nido boasts beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. What travellers like the most about El Nido is that there are plenty of uncrowded secluded beaches where you can spend a lazy afternoon away from people. Hidden Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches on the island. So is Nacpan beach.

If you want to experience fewer crowds, head to San Vicente. San Vicente’s Long Beach is the longest white-sand beach in the Philippines. It stretches for 15 kilometres and is considered to be one of the longest beaches in Southeast Asia.

There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Palawan:

  • Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park — one of the world’s longest underground rivers known for its limestone karsts;
  • Tubbataha Reef Marine Park — an atoll reef rich with marine life.

Boracay, Philippines

Boracay, Philippines

Boracay is an island in the central Philippines.

Known for its resorts and stunningly beautiful beaches, Boracay is a very popular place for holidaymakers. With an area of mere 10 square km, Boracay is home to more than 15 beaches!

The most iconic beach of Boracay, if not of all Philippines, is White Beach. Fringed with palm trees, this white sand beach is a great spot for enjoying the sun and the sea.

If you love cliff jumping, do not miss Magic Island. It’s a tiny islet located south of Boracay. There are several platforms you can jump from, installed at various heights. You can get there by joining a day trip from Boracay, or by hiring a boat.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island country located off the coast of India.

It is a very popular beach destination in Asia. Its surf scene and relaxing atmosphere attract tourists from all around the world. Being an inexpensive destination, it is very popular among backpackers and budget travellers. It is also one of the most affordable places for snowbirds.

What are the best beaches in Sri Lanka? Arugam Bay is one of the most renowned and most beautiful beaches. Also, it’s one of the best surfing spots in the country, especially for beginners. Weligama is great for surfing too. 

Mirissa Beach is another beautiful beach in Sri Lanka. It is known for its quiet and relaxing vibe. Mirissa is also a very popular sunset spot, considered to be one of the best in the country.

Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Nusa Penida is a small island southeast of Bali. 

It’s a spectacular island which definitely is worth a visit if you are travelling to Bali. 

Nusa Penida is home to extremely pretty beaches backed by imposing cliffs, but many of them are not really suitable for swimming due to strong waves and currents. The most beautiful and therefore most popular are Kelingking Beach, Diamond Beach and Broken Beach. 

You can spot Manta rays in Nusa Penida. Some of the best places to see them are Manta Bay and Manta Point. Join a guided Manta snorkelling tour to have better chances of seeing them. 

If you want to dive with the huge Mola Mola (Sunfish), come to Nusa Penida between July and October. By the way, Mola Mola is the heaviest bony fish in the world!

Crete, Greece

Crete, Greece

Crete is a Greek island in the Mediterranean Sea.

It is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. Boasting a mild Mediterranean climate, the island attracts sun seekers from all around the world.

Famous for its gorgeous beaches, Crete is one of the best beach destinations in the world. When visiting Crete, explore its historical sites such as Knossos, Spinalonga, Gortyn and others, which the island is known for.

Elafonisi, Balos and Seitan Limania are among the most renowned beaches on the island.


There’s more than just one beautiful island. 

Whole archipelagos of seductive islands with pristine beaches!

French Polynesia

French Polynesia

French Polynesia is one of the most incredible destinations in the world.

Being an isolated and less-visited destination, French Polynesia offers remote island getaways and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. French Polynesia comprises 121 islands, about half of them inhabited.

Bora Bora is the most celebrated destination in French Polynesia. The beaches are wonderful there — pristine white sand and clear blue waters!

Moorea is one of the most striking destinations in the archipelago. Its sandy beaches contrast with dazzling blue seas and jagged volcanic mountains.

Rangiroa is considered to be one of the best destinations for diving in the world. Its breathtaking dive spots are great for both beginners and experienced divers. In the waters around Rangiroa, you can spot dolphins, turtles, manta rays and reef sharks.

Fakarava is great for scuba diving, too. Many come to Fakarava (specifically — Tumakohua Pass) to dive in its clear waters and marvel at the incredibly diverse marine life. What is even more impressive are the shoals of reef sharks that patrol the waters. Don’t worry though, they don’t bite humans! 

Snorkelling in Tumakohua Pass is possible too.


Seychelles is an archipelagic island country located off the east coast of Kenya.

It consists of 115 idyllic granite and coral islands. Each island has its own distinct character. The culture in the archipelago is an eclectic mix of various European and African influences.

There are numerous beautiful islands in Seychelles, but Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are undoubtedly the best islands for beaches, and not without a reason. They boast extremely pretty beaches that are famous all around the world.

Here are some of the most celebrated beaches in the archipelago:

  • Anse Georgette (Praslin);
  • Anse Lazio (Praslin);
  • Anse Major (Mahé);
  • Petite Anse (Mahé);
  • Anse Intendance (Mahé);
  • West Beach (Bird Island);
  • Grand Anse (La Digue);
  • Anse Source d’Árgent (La Digue).

All of these beaches boast sparkling blue waters and white sand. The two last on the list are dotted with Seychelles’ characteristic boulders. Anse Source d’Árgen is famed for being one of the most photographed beaches on the planet.


The Maldives is an island nation in South Asia.

It consists of about 1200 islands, grouped into 26 atolls. Only 200 islands are inhabited.

Boasting luxurious resorts, marvellous white sand beaches and translucent waters, the Maldives is a dream destination for sun-seekers and honeymooners. The Maldives is the perfect destination for divers and snorkelers, as its tropical waters teem with an abundance of marine life.

Most people stay on specially designated resort islands, but there are also budget options on the local islands. If you are staying on a local island, definitely splurge on a day trip to a resort island. Thus you’ll see the luxurious side of Maldives.

The islands of Maldives are the best islands for beaches.


Hawaii is an archipelago comprising 137 volcanic islands.

Located in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the only island state in the U.S. Due to its exceptional natural beauty, it is one of the top-rated vacation destinations in the world. The archipelago is also home to the world’s most beautiful beaches. Hawaii is best known for its rugged landscapes which contrast with stunning beaches. 

Known for its towering sea cliffs with tall spires and sharp ridges, Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park in Kauai is one of the most spectacular destinations in the world and one of the best places to visit in Hawaii. It is where Honopu beach, one of the remotest and most beautiful beaches in Hawaii, is located. It is only accessible by boat. Kalalau Beach is equally remote. It is the final destination of the Kalalau Trail, one of the most difficult hikes in the world.

The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, is home to a number of great beaches, the most famous of them being Waikiki beach. It is a bustling crescent-shaped beach, filled with restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and hotels. 

Maui Island is known for its unique red-sand beach, Kaihalulu Beach. 

These are just a few great beaches. The Hawaiian archipelago is filled with stunning beaches.

Canary Islands

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located off the coast of Africa. 

The archipelago has seven main islands and several smaller islands and islets. The main seven islands are: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa. Despite the fact that all of the islands are of volcanic origin, each island has a unique personality.

Fuerteventura boasts some of the best beaches in the Canary Islands. It is one of the best islands for beaches in Europe. The most celebrated beaches in Fuerteventura are the Big Beaches of Corralejo (Grandes Playas Corralejo) with their fine white sand, and clear waters in a beautiful shade of blue.

Playa de Sotavento de Jandía and Costa Calma are equally beautiful. They stretch for miles and boast fine white sand and clear blue waters. They also have some of the highest waves on the island, and that’s why they are particularly attractive to surfers.

If you want to visit a wild, undeveloped beach, Playa de Cofete is the place to go! It is a really long, undeveloped beach — 14 km of golden sand and wilderness! 

Papagayo Beach and Playa Mujeres are among the best beaches in Lanzarote, an island located right next to Fuerteventura. Tenerife has great beaches, too. Playa Las Americas, Playa de las Teresitas, Playa de la Tejita and Playa de los Gigantes — just to mention a few.

The Best Islands for Beaches

Tips for a Memorable Beach Vacation (the Best Islands for Beaches)

  1. Before booking a holiday, make sure you don’t need a visa for your visit. If yes, apply for a visa well in advance.
  2. Pack sunscreen, as it may be expensive at your destination.
  3. Don’t forget to reapply it every hour or so to avoid sunburn. 
  4. Tropical beach weddings are getting more and more popular these days. If you are planning on getting married and want to have a destination wedding, consider marrying on a tropical island. 
  5. Make sure you know when it’s a good time to travel. Tropical islands tend to have rainy seasons with heavy rains or hurricane/typhoon seasons. The weather on the islands of Europe will be too cold during the winter. It’s not the best time for sun and sea.
  6. Are you travelling to a tropical island? Make sure you find out which vaccines you need before travelling (if any).
  7. Are you travelling into a malaria-risk area? If yes, you may need to take antimalarials. If you are travelling to an area with a risk of dengue, use mosquito spray to prevent getting the disease.
  8. What’s your budget? There are less expensive and more expensive destinations. Plan and budget accordingly. 
  9. Consider an all-inclusive holiday if you only want to spend a relaxing time on a beach/by the pool. So many all-inclusive deals are great value for money. All-inclusive deals like this may be cheaper than booking everything yourself.
  10. Don’t forget about travel insurance!