Top 100 beaches on the planet

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays has long been viewed as Australia’s favourite beach. It has also topped the world charts a few times. But, according to new global rankings from Flight Network, the white sands and turquoise waters of Whitehaven Beach are now only second-best in the world.

The Flight Network World’s Top 100 Beaches list takes in contributions from 1200 travel professionals from all over the world, who have analysed the best stretches of sand from 165 countries on seven continents.

Their final analysis is that the best beach in the world is now Shipwreck Beach on the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante) in the Ionian Sea.

The Greek beach also goes by another name – Navagio Bay – and it lies in a secluded cove surrounded by spectacular cliffs and has, as a feature, the shipwreck of the freightliner MV Panagiotis sunbathing on the sandy shore.

Shipwreck Beach scored 10 out of 10 for ‘sheer untouched beauty’, eight out of 10 for remoteness, and eight out of 10 for sand and water quality.

“Out of a dream, the crystal clear waters lap against this small beach with the bones of an old ship rusting away in the sand,” said reviewer Erin Miller.

“It’s quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime kind of beach.”

Back home, Whitehaven Beach scored 10 out of 10 for beauty, 10 out of 10 for remoteness, and 9 out of 10 for sand and water quality – all, strangely, higher ratings than its usurper.

“Whitehaven Beach is an ideal spot for families looking to fully settle into the laid-back, beach lifestyle, as there are gorgeous camping spots and barbecue facilities,” said Greg Barton from Reader’s Digest.

Aussie beaches that made the top 100 were Blinky Beach on Lord Howe Island (at 30); Hyams Beach near Sydney (at 33); Cable Beach (at 34) and Lucky Bay (at 35) both in Western Australia; with Tasmania’s Wineglass Bay and Binalong Bay in at 44th and 90th, respectively.

The top 20 beaches in the world for 2018 are:

1. Shipwreck Beach, Greece

2. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

3. Hidden Beach, Philippines

4. Praia Do Sancho, Brazil

5. Tulum Beach, Mexico

6. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos Islands

7. Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica

8. Anse Source D’Argent, Seychelles

9. Maya Bay, Thailand

10. Varadero Beach, Cuba

11. Diani Beach, Kenya

12. Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas

13. Anse Lazio, Seychelles

14. Railay Beach, Thailand

15. Playa Norte, Mexico

16. Noetzie Beach, South Africa

17. Balandra Beach, Mexico

18. Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

19. Honokalani Beach, Maui, USA

20. Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic

See the full list at

How many of these beaches have you visited? Which is your favourite beach?

Related articles:
Australia’s favourite beaches
Top tips for a better beach day
The germiest place at the beach

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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