The best beaches around the world offer radically different sceneries and atmospheres. All of them, however, allow you to leave the real world behind, if only for a day or two. Whether your dream beach day involves surfing or sun tanning, you will enjoy getting away from it all at these magnificent beaches:
Playa Manuel Antonio
Quepos, Costa Rica
There’s nothing quite like the white sands and the pure blue water of a Costa Rican beach. Playa Manuel Antonio ranks among the top beaches in the Caribbean. Not only is the water picturesque, the country boasts a range of plants and animals that can only be found in a national park. As you relax in the sand, be sure to watch for the monkeys that gather near the beach. After a wonderful day of swimming and sunbathing, head up to Manuel Antonio National Park’s observation tower for a breathtaking glimpse of the sunset over the beach.
Playa del Bogatell
If you visit Barcelona, skip the tourist haven of Barceloneta Beach, and instead, head for the quieter Playa del Bogatell. There, you’ll find great facilities and a friendly crowd. The proud site of the 1992 Olympics, Playa del Bogatell is the perfect place to enjoy a rousing game of sand volleyball, beach football, or table tennis. There’s also free Wi-Fi, so you can hang out on your towel and surf the web.
Cape Town is known for its wonderful beaches, and of these, perhaps the most fashionable is Clifton. The affluent Cape Town suburb of Clifton has not one, not two, but four spectacular beaches. Regardless of their naming each beach by number, the beaches are all distinct and wonderful in their own way. If you desire a laid-back excursion, you’ll definitely want to hang out at the first beach. There, you’ll encounter a chill vibe and several four-legged friends playing fetch in the sand. The second beach is frequented by teenagers, who can often be seen playing beach football. Cape Town’s LGBT community favors the third beach, whereas the fourth beach is the trendiest, and where you’re most likely to see local celebrities sun tanning. All four beaches offer the wide-open space needed for recreational pursuits, and are thus great places to play Frisbee or catch.
Jumeirah Open Beach
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is quickly becoming one of the world’s hottest beach destinations. When you visit Jumeirah Open Beach, you’ll quickly discover why. Dubai’s original public beach, Jumeirah remains a weekend staple among tourists and locals alike. Clearly a recreational hot spot, the beach boasts a long running track and multiple nets for sand volleyball. Renovations were recently completed at the iconic Dubai beach, so now is the perfect time to sink your feet into its soft, white sand while playing a rousing game of volleyball.
Patong is known for its active nightlife, but it doesn’t take long to get away from the hustle and bustle of the club scene. Head over to Freedom Beach, which is known for its clean shoreline and its crystal clear waters. The sandy haven is most easily accessible by longtail boat, lending a little adventure to your beach expedition. Once you arrive, you’ll enjoy the ultimate in rest, relaxation, and most importantly, privacy. Freedom Beach is most suited for sunbathing, but its calm waters also makes it an idyllic spot for swimming and snorkeling.
Barra da Tijuca
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Stop by Rio de Janeiro’s longest beach, and discover why so many people call it “the Miami Beach of Brazil.” By far the longest beach in Rio de Janeiro, Barra da Tijuca is home to the 2016 summer Olympics. The rest of the time, Barra da Tijuca is one of Rio’s most sought-after recreational beaches. From kitesurfing to bodyboarding, there’s always active fun to be had at the 11-mile beach. If water sports aren’t your thing, grab a bike and hit up the cycling lane that parallels the entirety of Barra da Tijuca. Afterwards, hang out on your beach towel and take in the energy of Rio de Janeiro.
A day at Istanbul’s Burc Beach will instantly transport you back to the carefree days of college, when you spent all day in the sun with no thoughts of mortgages or taxes. The beach is mostly frequented by teens and twentysomethings. However, older visitors also stop by to hang out and quickly find themselves caught up in Burc’s youthful vibe. Feel free to grab a drink alongside Bosphorus University, at one of the beach’s laid-back bars. If you’re eager for adventure, get your thrill on with an afternoon of kitesurfing, which, besides sunbathing, is the beach’s top recreational activity. Even after a full day of beach excitement, the energetic feel of Burc will have you ready to tackle the area’s formidable nightlife.
Enjoy the ultimate European beach experience at Nice’s La Réserve, a hidden gem favored by locals. La Réserve is the epitome of a French beach, complete with spectacular cliffs and architecture. Adventurous types are invariably drawn to the cliff-top diving board, while less adventurous visitors prefer watching others flip and dive their way from the cliff into the clear water. Many locals actually refer to the beach as “Diving Board Beach,” although they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about if you mention La Réserve. Outside of diving, the top recreational pursuits at this beautiful beach are swimming and sunbathing.
Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach is not to be missed. Named after an aboriginal word describing the sound of water breaking over rocks, the beach is just over half a mile long. Its vast range of current strengths makes it perfect for visitors of all ages. If you plan on surfing, hit up the south side of the beach, where you’ll find plenty of surf-friendly waves. For a more leisurely experience, stick to the north side. Be sure to catch a play or concert at the Bondi Surf Pavilion, which hosts a variety of local acts. Later, grab an appetizer and a drink at Bondi Beach Hardware or A Tavola Bondi.
A short drive from Melbourne, Altona is a hot spot for recreational enthusiasts.The beach offers ample yachting and boating facilities. It also has plenty of soft sand, which is perfect for building castles and playing volleyball. Regular visitors love the beach’s pristine waters and beautiful scenery, but they’re even more appreciative of its convenient location within easy access of several shops, restaurants, and, most importantly, free parking.
Point Chevalier Beach
Point Chevalier, New Zealand
Arguably New Zealand’s finest family beach, Point Chevalier is a great place to visit with kids, although local couples without kids are frequently spotted there as well. The safe swimming conditions appeal to worried parents with youngsters just learning to swim, as does the nearby playground at Coyle Park. The beach was resanded in 2008 and remains the perfect place to construct a massive sand castle.
The right beach turns your trip abroad into paradise. Think carefully about the type of beach experience you wish to pursue, and choose your destination accordingly. From recreational hubs to relaxed sandy enclaves, there’s something for everyone at the top beaches around the world.