As Christmas and the New Year are approaching, so is the fluffy snow, cold and cozy winter nights snuggled next to the fireplace, hot chocolate with marshmallows and countless holiday celebrations. The idea of leaving this perfect, idealistic view of a winter wonderland seems unimaginable. I make it sound pretty good, right? Wrong. As the snow turns to slush, the nights turn dark and freezing, you run out of hot chocolate and the holiday celebrations are over… you’re left with a dull, dreary winter season. Yuck. We all start thinking the same thing: why aren’t we on a beach right now? Why do we put up with this every year? Why, why, why? I have no idea.
I don’t know about you but each winter season I start planning a vacation somewhere. Maybe it’s because of the freezing cold, but something (ehem… winter) makes me want to get out of the city and go somewhere warm and sunny with amazing beaches. The kind of beaches that you’d have to see to believe!
As my early holiday present to you, below I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 beaches that you can dream, salivate and yearn for this holiday season. These beaches are a compilation from all around the world, some of which you may have visited and some of which you may not even have known existed. Sorry to do this to you, but these beaches are just too darn beautiful to not share. Maybe, you’ll start planning a trip soon eh?
10. Anse Lazio, Praslin, Seychelles
Anse Lazio beach is located on the northwest tip of Praslin island in the Seychelles. This beach is large, filled with soft white sand and colorful turquoise/blue water. The water is relatively shallow and protected from the ocean’s waves by a reef. On its fringes there are palm trees, takamaka trees and to add to its beauty, it is also rimmed with massive granite boulders on either side of the beach. It is no wonder why it is the most photographed and beautiful beach in the Seychelles. Plus, it is a fairly quiet with tons of water activities such as snorkeling. This beach also has many restaurants on its rim.
9. El Castillo, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico
This beach, El Castillo, is definitely one of the best beaches Mexico has to offer – and that is saying something. Surrounded by 40-foot limestone cliffs, the almost bronzy sand leads straight into some of the clearest water you will ever see. The sand which leads to the shallow Caribbean Sea, is enveloped by plants and trees on either side causing the effect of a true tropical paradise. Not only that but the name El Castillo comes from the famous Mayan ruins that can be admired from the beach and from the water. Meanwhile, festive locals salsa dance on the nearby Playa Esperanza.
8. Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia
Known already for its amazing beaches, Australia is home to one of the most beautiful on this planet – Fraser Island in Queensland. This stunning World Heritage Site is an ecologist’s dream. It was 640 square miles of unspoiled natural vegetation, land and water life. Rain forests with reportedly 1000-year-old trees grow from below the sand. Its beautifully caramel-like sand is contrasted with fiery bronze cliffs surrounded by an abundance of native wildlife. Another great thing about this beach is that it is fairly untouched, its not necessarily a tourist attraction and can be quite quiet and peaceful.
7. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
This beach is located in one of the most beautiful countries in the world – Brazil. The Baia do Sancho beach, in Fernando de Noronha, is home to some of the most beautifully perfect turquoise blue waters and coral reefs. This beach is extremely secluded to the point that you have to know a local or be a frequent traveller to know it even exists. It’s situated at the end of a dirt road, down a rickety ladder and through tight and confined rock formations. But hey, at the end of it, you walk out into this picture perfect archipelago of 21 islands and some of the best diving and marine life on the planet. If you have the chance to go diving here you’ll be able to see schools of dolphins and ship wrecks!
6. Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Greece
How could I not have put a beach from Greece in here? Known for its amazing landscapes, Mykonos in Greece is definitely worthy of being on this list. Paradise Beach is not only stunning but is an amazing place to go for a weekend (if you live in Europe) or if you want to have a wild European travelling adventure. As a party hotspot, Paradise Beach offers a monthly full-moon party and the local bar – Tropicana Beach Bar – is consistently rated one of the top beach bars in the entire world.
5. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos
Situated in Turks and Caicos, Grace Bay beach is one of its kind. Turks and Caicos, though known as a resort traveling destination, features this world famous stretch of sparkling white sand – superior even by Caribbean standards. It has tastefully developed resorts, restaurants and spas and due to its sheer gigantic size there is no problem finding a spot on this beach. Perfect for walking on the beach or lounging around for hours, Grace Bay never disappoints in spectacular views. Constantly voted one of the best beaches in the world, this is a perfect place to go with your family or with friends and it promises to be one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever visit.
4. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Italy
This European city of Lampedusa is home to the beautiful Rabbit Beach. Though ironically there are no rabbits here, it does have a ton of dolphin and turtle wildlife. Accessible only by ferry or by plane, Rabbit Beach features stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea as it is close to Sicily and North Africa, Tunisia. Not only that, but nearby there is the volcanic Isle of Linosa which has a stunning red and black sanded beach. This spot is the epitome of luxurious. There are resorts nearby with amazing sea food, views and this beach reportedly has some of the most breathtaking cliff views in Italy.
3. Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
This is one of the most visited and beautiful beaches of the world. In Ko Phi Phi, Thailand, the Maya Bay beach is a classic. Stunning views of mountains and sheltered by almost 100 meter high limestone cliffs makes it the ideal vacation spot for young backpackers. Leading with an entrance to a small coral reef this beach spreads across a massive pain with crystal waters. There is however a small visitor entry fee of 200 baht ($5.60 USD) per person but the beach now offers permanent toilets, snack bars, and camping sites. Interestingly enough, the movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed here in the late 90s.
2. The Hidden Beach, the Marieta Islands, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
This beach is just simply stunning. It is completely hidden and to access it you actually have to go through a water tunnel that will lead you to this secret beach. It’s rumored to have been created from the aftermath of the Mexican military detonating test bombs in the early 1990s. Guarded as quite a secret, only a few know where this tunnel is. Imagine. It sounds so surreal it’s almost magical. You literally walk through a tunnel and end up in this circular hidden beach within the Marieta Islands in Puerto Vallarta. Crazy. This is definite must see on my list.
1. Matira Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Personally this beach is #1 on my list of places to go before I die. Matira Beach is one of the most famous of Tahiti beaches that make up French Polynesia in the South Pacific. It is one of the only beaches in Bora Bora where locals and tourists can go without paying a resort fee. It is free all year round to the public. With its jaw dropping mile-long stretch of translucent white sand which slowly fades into green and deeper blue hues, it is no wonder why this is a top pick. Perfect for romantic holidays, Bora Bora is known for its intimate restaurants, quiet atmosphere and isolated beaches.