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The best beaches in the world chosen by leading travel experts (you’ll never guess Richard Branson’s pick!)

What makes a great beach is highly subjective. For some it’s all about the quality of the sand: the finer and whiter the better. Others may just seek peace, quiet and seclusion.

Or you may be in search of a perfect little rum shack or beach cafe by tumbling dunes — a rustic retreat.

We’ve asked the world’s travel experts and industry insiders for their all-time favourites — and how best to enjoy them.

Oludeniz’s Blue Lagoon in Turkey is the beach of choice for Jet2 boss Steve Heapy


The area around Dalaman in Turkey has been dubbed the Turquoise Coast, and it’s easy to see why when you feast your eyes on its pristine azure waters. There’s an abundance of beaches to enjoy, but one that really stands out for me is the Blue Lagoon at Oludeniz.

It sits in an emerald green national park and its wide bay, white sands, vibrant blue waters and mountainous backdrop make it the perfect place to unwind.

CHOSEN BY: Steve Heapy, CEO of and Jet2holidays.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Jade Residence, a boutique ten-room hotel, cost from £116 B&B (


The best beach has got to be the Datai in Langkawi. While the world has lots of gorgeous beaches, there are few sitting in rainforests with ­monkeys, exotic birds and colourful butterflies. And the view is more than just a line where the sea meets the sky. You’re looking out towards a sprinkling of green islands on the southern tip of Thailand.

CHOSEN BY: Peter Stephens, founder of DialAFlight.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at super-luxurious The Datai Langkawi hotel cost from £402 (

There are few beaches sitting in rainforests like the Datai Bay in Langkawi, Malaysia


I have taken part in a charity swim by the beach in Youghal in County Cork every year on Christmas Day since I was a teenager. With sea temperatures typically at a chilly 8C or 9C, you don’t stay in the water long, but you feel great afterwards.

CHOSEN BY: Sean Doyle, British Airways chairman and CEO.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Abbey View House, a guest house in Youghal, cost from £89 B&B (


You’re unlikely to see anyone else on Walker Bay beach, just east of Hermanus on the southern coast of South Africa. It’s a wild stretch running for about ten miles, and is not somewhere to sit with a cocktail, but rather a place for strolling. You can look out to spot whales between June and December.

CHOSEN BY: Nikki Tinto, founder of

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the Coot Club, by the beach, cost from £140 (


A few palm-fringed, tropical locations spring to mind, but I do love Harlyn Bay in Cornwall. It’s a perfect arc of sand, framed by rocky outcrops. While I don’t surf, I love to see the seal-like surfers from summer to winter.

I may be biased — with one of my Pig Hotels close by — but it’s the ideal English family beach for walkers, runners, families and toddlers, who can all enjoy this vast stretch of sand together.

CHOSEN BY: Robin Hutson, The Pig Hotels chairman.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles from £285 at The Pig — at Harlyn Bay (

Boutique hotel The Pig near Harlyn Bay, which is a family-friendly beach in Cornwall


CARVALHAL beach by the village of Comporta stretches in both directions. No blots on the landscape. It has a sublime beach club, meaning you can have an excellent lunch of fresh oysters; clams with garlic, olive oil and coriander (the Portuguese way); or grilled octopus without leaving the beach.

CHOSEN BY: Mary Lussiana, travel writer.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the charming AlmaLusa designer hotel cost from £140 B&B (


Radhanagar beach on Havelock Island — part of the Indian Ocean’s Andaman Islands — is beautiful. You can walk along the white sand for miles, turning off into mango groves if you want shade. You’ll see very few people there, and you feel away from the world.

CHOSEN BY: Amrit Singh, co-founder of TransIndus.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the luxurious Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans, cost from £400 B&B (

Elephants on the white sand of Radhanagar beach on Havelock Island, Andaman Islands


Son Bunyola has crystal-clear waters and authentic Mallorcan charm — in fact, I bought the Son Bunyola estate. It’s positioned on the island’s north-west coast in the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tramuntana Mountains. Only reached by boat, or by hiking downhill, the coastline sweeps for three miles, with views out to the island’s famous Sa Foradada rock formation. The seclusion and tranquillity transports you to a world far removed from the everyday.

CHOSEN BY: Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Son Bunyola cost from £555 B&B (virginlimited


I have fond memories of holidays at the Coral Reef Club near Folkestone beach, and while I’m not one to talk about swaying palm trees, white sands and crystal blue waters, that’s what anyone ­visiting Barbados can expect.

CHOSEN BY: Sir Mike Gooley CBE, founder and executive chairman of Trailfinders.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the Coral Reef Club cost from £231 B&B (coralreef

A double room at Coral Reef Club near Folkestone beach on Barbados


Shela beach, just outside Lamu Town on the island of Lamu, is a quintessential Robinson Crusoe-esque deserted strand extending in a glorious seven-mile crescent. Here, sand dunes merge with the sky and spray from the breakers.

Nowhere on earth compares with the intense pleasure of planting one bare foot in front of the other as the monsoon-blown sea washes over you.

CHOSEN BY: Richard Trillo, East Africa manager at Expert Africa and author of The Rough Guide To Kenya.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Peponi Hotel cost from £180 (peponi


Ngapali beach near Thandwe in Myanmar (Burma) is on the Bay of Bengal and the sea has the temperature and colour of the Indian Ocean, but the temperament of the Atlantic. The beach is one of thick, white, powdery sand that — miraculously — neither sticks to your suntan lotion nor blows around in the God-given breeze.

CHOSEN BY: Teresa Levonian Cole, travel writer.

WHERE TO STAY: For now, the Foreign Office advises against travel to Myanmar due to political unrest and volatile security.

Women selling baskets of fruit on Ngapali beach near Thandwe in Burma


No point pretending this is the Caribbean, as the bracing North Sea rolls in and out of Coldingham Bay in the Scottish Borders. But it’s a glorious crescent of beach with all the hallmarks of the British seaside: a row of beach huts; a cafe (which opens sporadically); rock pools (perfect for crabbing) and enough wave action for surfing. I played here as a child, as did my children. The beauty is mixed in with the memories.

CHOSEN BY: Mark Palmer, Daily Mail Travel Editor.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the luxury Schloss Roxburghe in Kelso cost from £157 (


It’s not hard to find beaches in Australia with miles of pale sand, turquoise-blue waters and crashing surf — and no people. Cabarita Beach, or ‘Caba’, in northern New South Wales, has all that, but also boasts the southern hemisphere’s coolest motel — Halcyon House.

CHOSEN BY: Mark Jones, former editor of BA’s High Life magazine.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles from £450 at super-slick Halycon House (halcyon


I was lucky enough to have celebrated an anniversary in Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives with those who mean the most to me in the world. Landaa Giraavaru is home to Blu beach, where everything is idyllic, from the warmest white sand, the bluest ocean and the most captivating sunsets I have ever seen.

CHOSEN BY: Simon Cooper, founder of On The Beach.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the plush Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa ­Giraavaru cost from £2,529pp B&B (


Palm trees fringe Princess Margaret Beach on Bequia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, a lovely ribbon of white sand. After a day lazing on the quiet beach, swimming and snorkelling, you can head to Jack’s Beach Bar for cocktails, where hummingbirds hover within arm’s reach. No wonder Princess Margaret would take a yacht from nearby Mustique.

CHOSEN BY: Lesley Bellew, Daily Mail cruise correspondent.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the elegant Bequia Plantation Hotel cost from £143 (


Hyams beach in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia, is nearly three hours south of Sydney and has the whitest sandy beaches, surrounded by a national park teeming with wildlife. Kangaroos are often seen on the beach, as well as koalas, kookaburras and cockatoos. It’s common to see dolphins as well as whales between May and November.

The beach is often deserted and there are beautiful places to stay nearby, as well as some fabulous local restaurants and cafes. My idea of heaven.

CHOSEN BY: Lisa Fitzell, managing director of Elegant Resorts.

WHERE TO STAY: Safari-style luxury tents at Paperbark Camp cost from £385 (


On the north-east coast of Jamaica, Frenchman’s Cove is a superb little arc of golden beach surrounded by thick jungle.

A freshwater stream flows from the Blue Mountains and enters into the sea here, creating an eddying swirl of cool and warm. There’s a good nearby bar/grill. Sheer joy.

CHOSEN BY: Tom Chesshyre, travel writer.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Frenchman’s Cove Resort cost from £140 (frenchmans


Playa Arenas Blancas is a sandy beach adjoining Morgan’s Rock, a 4,000-acre eco-lodge in Nicaragua. It faces west for incredible sunsets. Nesting turtles regularly visit and the surrounding jungle reserve is home to sloths, macaws and anteaters.

CHOSEN BY: Jonny Bealby, founder of Wild Frontiers.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Morgan’s Rock cost from £323 (

A vibrant Sunset at Morgan’s Rock beach outside of San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua


Johanna beach in Victoria, Australia, offers the most wild and violent seascape, where the surf from the Southern Ocean surges and slams against the naked sand.

It’s a pain to get there: you must go through the dense redwoods and fern gullies of the Great Otway National Park rainforest. Big skies open up, and the horizonless sea has surf so magnificent it’s there for watching, not swimming.

CHOSEN BY: Fiona McIntosh, travel writer.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles in one of the Johanna Seaside Cottages overlooking the ocean cost from £144 (


Cala Macarelleta on Menorca is a small beach hidden away between the rocks, with pristine, fine, white sand and inviting turquoise water.

Access by car is prohibited during the summer months so you have a 20-minute approach on foot through the forest, meaning it stays pretty well preserved.

CHOSEN BY: Michael Edwards, managing director of Explore.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the Artiem Audax hotel cost from £70 (


Praia Mole in Florianopolis on Santa Catarina island combines vibrant beach culture with natural beauty. The soft golden sands, surrounded by lush green hills and the rhythmic Atlantic, make it a perfect blend of relaxing idyll and surfers’ paradise.

CHOSEN BY: Geoffrey Kent, founder of Abercrombie & Kent.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Cabanas Praia Mole Florianopolis cost from £61 (

Praia Mole in Florianopolis on Santa Catarina island in Brazil

Doubles at Cabanas Praia Mole Florianopolis cost from £61


The beaches on Maadhoo in the southern Male Atoll of the Maldives are fantastic. There’s a stretch where you invariably swim with (safe) reef sharks. Snorkelling is wonderful, too.

CHOSEN BY: Andrew Dunn, founder of Scott Dunn and chairman of The PC Agency.

WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at Ozen Life Maadhoo cost from £933 all-inclusive (

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