Summer inspiration: eight of the world's top beaches

Despite the collective protestations that us travelers are a cultured bunch as happy in a museum as we are on a sun lounger, beach holidays still represent the top getaway.

If you haven't booked your annual dose of sun, sea and sand just yet, Relaxnews gathered ten of the world's top beaches for a little inspiration.


The pinky hues of the sand in the Seychelles makes this a journey that's worth every penny, and that's before you've even sampled the luxury hotels and spas cropping up all over the islands. La Digue, arguably the most stunning of the archipelago, boasts Anse Source d’Argent, one of the most photographed beaches in the world.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Uncrowded and sparkling, Providenciales is truly the gem of the Caribbean when it comes to beaches. Snorklers and divers are also well catered for thanks to the stunning barrier reef -- Taylor Bay and Grace Bay were cited recently by TripAdvisor as the top beach in the world.

Ipanema Beach 
Rio de Janeiro 

That this beach has achieved legendary status should detract from its picture perfect sand and palm trees. Truly a place to indulge in people watching, as it's home to some of the world's best-looking sun-worshippers.

Bora Bora, Tahiti
French Polynesia

Thousands of miles of ocean isolate French Polynesia, making it one of the world's most impossibly isolated destinations -- cue instant romance. Strolling along the sandy white shores of the island and looking out to the lagoon and the coral atolls rising in the distance is an experience not to be missed.

Saint Pete Beach
Florida, USA

Dolphins are easily visible from this sandy haven on Florida's West Coast, adding to the sense that Saint Pete might be one of the world's most picture-perfect strips of sand. A stroll down the St Petersburg pier can help break up the day, if bathing in the constant warmth of the Sunshine State is getting too much.


This long peninsula offers a stunning stretch of unspoilt sand, emanating from the mainland for more than 20 km. Despite a wave of building activities, it still boasts world-beating scenery and natural attractions such as caves and cays.


The breathtaking blue of the waters around the village of Oludeniz have to be seen to be believed -- easy enough by climbing some of the spectacular hills that surround this charming bay. Alternatively, go even higher -- it's one of the world's top spots for paragliding, according to TripAdvisor.

Burleigh Heads

Anyone active should make a beeline for Burleigh Heads, a top surf spot and home to many international competitions. There's also plenty of other waterspouts on offer, including canoeing  and kayaking.