12 Of The Best Beaches Around The World (And The Luxury Wellness Retreats To Stay At)

There’s nothing quite like the sound of crashing waves and the feeling of sand between your toes. The health benefits of being near water have been well-documented and has been linked to improved mental and physical health, so perhaps its unsurprising that beach getaways still top traveller’s lists, with 57% of global holidaymakers choosing a beach escape. With so much to do, from long walks along the shoreline to adventurous water sports, it’s hardly surprising we have such an obsession with seaside destinations. We’ve rounded up some of the most beautiful beaches around the globe, from black-sand Icelandic wonders to the tropical shores of Indonesia—plus, we’ve found the best luxury wellness retreats to visit while you’re getting a dose of vitamin sea.

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Image courtesy of Marcus Woodbridge

Pink Beach, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia 

Stay: Rascal Voyages

This place was little heard of a few years ago, but the advent of Instagram has shot this picture-perfect beach to Internet fame. Naturally a pale pink hue thanks to the red coral in the surrounding water, this beach can only be accessed if via tours to Komodo Island National Park, which is being restricted over the coming year. Exclusive luxury voyages like Rascal Voyages offer visits to Komodo Island and Pink Beach while incorporating a wellness focus, like plant-based dining and onboard yoga and meditation

Book Rascal Voyages now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Amanpulo

Pamalican Island, Agutaya, Philippines

Stay: Amanpulo

While everyone else is exploring the not-so-secret Secret Lagoon on El Nido, indulge in a private beach experience on Pamalican Island with luxury wellness resort Amanpulo. The white sand beach wraps around the entire island, offering endless opportunities for beach relaxation and watersport. If you do want to get out and explore the Sulu Sea, then charter a boat to seek out the other hidden gems in this often-overlooked tropical haven.  

Book Amanpulo now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Kaveen Me

Tangalle Beach, Sri Lanka

Stay: Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

Tangalle Beach on the southern coast of Sri Lanka—a less frequented part of the island nation—offers some of the best surfing waves around, along with long empty stretches of palm-fringed white sand. Anantara Peace Haven in Tangalle sets guests up with Tropicsurf instructors to help them make the most of their time on the waves, and both beginners and advanced surfers won’t be disappointed with the adventure that awaits on the water. Tangalle Beach stretches all the way round to Rekawa Beach, which Sen Wellness Sanctuary backs onto: while there’s no swimming here, if you’re looking for something less active and more meditative, this almost entirely deserted stretch of beach will be more your thing. 

Book Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Zhimai Zhang

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Stay: Qualia

The whitest of white-sand beaches, Whitehaven Beach fringes Australia’s beautiful Whitsunday Islands National Park with seven kilometres of crystal silica, some of the purest and finest sand. Completed with clear turquoise water as far as the eye can see, Whitehaven Beach has been named on many occasions as Australia’s number one beach. Reachable only by boat or seaplane,  guests staying at luxury wellness resort Qualia on the neighbouring Hamilton Island can charter boats for full or half-day trips to bask in the sunshine during their spa, golf or detox getaway. 

Book Qualia now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Rebecca Cairns

Bamboo Beach, Ko Mai Phai, Thailand

Stay: Six Senses Yao Noi

Often included in boat tours of Thailand’s famous islands, like Maya Bay from The Beach and Phang Nga Bay featured in James Bond, Bamboo Beach is unique in its quiet beauty. This tiny uninhabited island can only be visited via boat: stay at a nearby resort, like Six Senses Yao Noi, where a private boat excursion can be arranged. Get up early and pack a picnic to watch the sunrise here and have the whole place to yourself before the tours begin to trickle in. 

Book Six Senses Yao Noi now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Daniel Lienert

Koekohe Moeraki Boulders Beach, New Zealand

Stay: Aro Hā

If you’re journeying to New Zealand’s South Island, don’t miss out on Koekohe Beach, also known as Moeraki Boulders Beach because of the giant spherical rocks which, otherworldly as they look, are entirely natural four-million-year-old concretions. While the more than 50 boulders are the star attraction here, the long beach offers plenty of opportunity for long walks and seal-spotting. Visit before or after an adventurous outdoor wellness retreat at eco-luxury resort Aro Hā, located nearby in the Southern Alps. 

Book Aro Hā now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of COMO Cocoa Island

Cocoa Beach, Maldives

Stay: COMO Cocoa Island

Cocoa Beach is what Maldivian dreams are made of: gently lapping turquoise waters so clear you can see the fine white sand at the bottom. Located on the private Cocoa Island, travellers wanting to explore this beach should check into COMO Cocoa Island which, freshly reopened after seven months of renovations, offers unique water adventures like turtle and shark-sighting snorkel expeditions, whale shark swimming, sailing, windsurfing and diving, to name a few. Just check into your overwater suite and let the stress melt away.

Book COMO Cocoa Island now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Keaton Nye

Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

Stay: Amanyara

One of the best beaches in the Caribbean and often topping lists of the best beaches in the world, Grace Bay has become renowned for its perfect white sand and crystal clear azure waters. If you’re the kind of beach-goer who simply can’t sit still, then enjoy a long walk or run up the full 12-kilometre stretch of this beach, and snorkelling, sailing and scuba diving are all offered. While there’s plenty of resorts around this gorgeous beach strip, if you go a little further out to Amanyara, you’ll be rewarded with a luxurious experience of the island like no other; plus, Amanyara sits on its own stunning one-kilometre private beach which boasts some of the best scuba diving in the area. 

Book Amanyara now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Six Senses Fiji

Vunabaka Bay, Fiji

Stay: Six Senses Fiji

Fiji is every beach bum’s dream: a collection of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific, surrounded by sparkling water trimmed with long stretches of white sand. On Malolo Island, off the coast of Fiji’s main island where the capital Suva is located, Vunabaka Bay is both accessible while still feeling remote—plus, the new Six Senses Fiji resort, opened in 2018, offers a luxurious base while you’re there. Activities range from skydiving to sailing to diving, though we recommend taking at least one day to lounge on the sand beneath the shade of the palm trees. 

Book Six Senses Fiji now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Andrea Bain

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii 

Stay: Lumeria Maui

It’s hard to pick just one beach on Hawaii, and while we know we’re overlooking a few more popular ones, Ka’anapali Beach on Maui Island has a few unique elements to recommend it. Aside from the obvious (surfing), adrenaline junkies will love parasailing, jetskiing, and the local cliff diving ceremony held daily at Puu Kekaa (Black Rock, pictured above). Skip the traditional beach resort experience though, and head inland to Lumeria Maui: this luxe yoga and wellness retreat in the middle of the island offers a much more zen experience. 

Book Lumeria Maui now on Compare Retreats

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Image courtesy of Casey Allen

Boulders Beach Cape Town, South Africa

Stay: Belmond Mount Nelson

You don’t come to Boulders Beach for sunbathing: this southernly tip of South Africa is home to a colony of the endangered African Penguin, who have made their home on the white sands and crystal waters. Boardwalks from the neighbouring Foxy Beach help visitors get close with the birds without disturbing them in their breeding ground. The Belmond Mount Nelson is a luxe base for visitors to Cape Town: beyond exploring Boulders Beach, guests can hike Table Mountain just behind the hotel, play tennis with local pros, or unwind in the spa with a Finish Sauna and mindfulness ritual. 

Find out more about Belmond Mount Nelson

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Image courtesy of Ruslan Valeev

Reynisfjara Beach, Vík í Mýrdal, Iceland

Stay: The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon

Offering a slightly less tropical take on the traditional beach experience, Reynisfjara Beach is one of the most stunning northernly beaches around, with dramatic black sands and ragged basalt rock stacks. You might recognise this beach from its cameo on HBO’s Game of Thrones, but it won’t just be fans of the show who appreciate its awe-inspiring beauty. Combine it with a trip to The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon for a thermal hot spring experience, which is also just outside the capital Reykjavik. Just beware of the ‘sneaker waves while you’re taking a stroll along this beach: they have a tendency to appear from nowhere, so keep a safe distance from the shoreline. 

Find out more about The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon here

Rebecca Cairns

Editor & CCO

Hong Kong-based Rebecca Cairns is the editor for Compare Retreats, and has formerly written on travel and wellness with Hong Kong Tatler and The Culture Trip. As a NASM-certified personal trainer, Becca is interested in all things fitness. An avid runner, she enjoys running 5K, 10K and 21K races and is currently training for her first marathon. When she's not travelling, she's planning her next trip, taking hikes to the beach or scribbling away in boutique coffee shops. You can follow her travels on Instagram @jetsetcreate.

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