Want to go somewhere insanely gorgeous, where you can lay in the sun and not feel overwhelmed by throngs of tourists? These are the beaches for you.
The beach is where you can brazenly exhibit the most Vitamin-D-deficient parts of your body, drink something strong and slushy at any hour of the day, or squat down to look at tiny sea creatures in warm tide pools and tilt your head up to look at towering cliffs behind. The beach is, undeniably, where you get to live your best life.
Praia da Dona Ana in Lagos, Portugal
The southernmost region of continental Portugal, Algarve has no shortage of picturesque beaches—and Dona Ana is the most. Clear blue water washes up on golden sand, which is surrounded by steep, ochre-colored strata cliffs. Plus, it’s not a long walk from Central Lagos, where you’ll want to head after the beach to grab a frothy beer and a bifana, a sauteed pork sandwich on a crusty roll that is the Portuguese equivalent of a hamburger.
Zipolite Beach in Oaxaca, Mexico
This beach has a bit of a reputation as a hangout spot for nudists and yogis and aging hippies; it’s that, but also more. Located in the south of Mexico’s southern state, Oaxaca, Zipolite is where the iconic beach scenes in Y Tu Mama Tambien were filmed and is perfect for lounging on while feasting on just-caught fish and sucking down coconut water out of the hacked-open fruit. While you can swim here, exercise caution—the beach has gained the nickname “Beach of the Dead” because of its dangerously strong undercurrents.
Navagio Beach in Greece
Known as both “Shipwreck Beach” and “Smuggler’s Cove,” small Navagio Beach is home to the remains of the Panagiotis, a shipping vessel that crashed on the coast of Zakynthos in 1983. Surrounded by rocky coves, the the secluded beach is only accessible by, ironically, boat. (From Porto Vromi, taxi boats leave every hour, and the ride takes approximately half an hour.)
Bathsheba Beach in Barbados
On Barbados’s rugged East Coast lies Bathsheba, a village that’s home to a community of fishermen and their families. Head to the coast for the beach, which features dramatic, ancient rock formations that were once part of coral reefs and white sand. This area is also called the “Soup Bowl” and attracts international surfers for competitions. Non-surfers, don’t miss the rum shacks.
New Chums Beach in New Zealand
Hidden in Wainuiototo Bay on the northeast coast of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, New Chums Beach is a nearly-kilometer-long stretch of golden-white sand, native forest, and no buildings or infrastructure. As one of New Zealand’s last undeveloped beaches, this spot is perfect for those looking to escape any trace of mankind.
Mancora Beach in Peru
Peru’s neighbor to the east may be known for its beaches and tiny bathing suits, but the Land of the Incas has Mancora, a small fishing village with a long strip of sunny beaches on the northern Pacific coast. While Mancora is the most popular beach on Peru’s North Shore, this area is no Rio de Janeiro. After a long day of sunning, stop in the center of the village for a plate of ceviche and a strong maracuya (passionfruit) daiquiri.
Railay Beach in Thailand
Like other beaches on this list, Railay is only accessible by boat due to the steep limestone cliffs that prohibit access from the mainland; like the other beaches, the short trip is worth it. This small peninsula on in the south of Thailand is actually composed of four beaches, none of which are the wrong choice. Because it’s frequently ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, the beach can sometimes get crowded. But, because of its beauty, you probably won’t really care.