Ask any Brit what the best part of a holiday is, and nine times out of ten your question will be met with one resounding answer: the beach. Blazing sunshine, gentle waves and white sand framed by palm trees: these are the archetypal images that spring to mind when we think of an exotic escape. Whilst this year’s beach break for many is looking more like Brighton than Barbados, we will never stop feeling inspired by our favourite coastal hotspots all over the world…and even those we’ve yet to explore. So, here it is: our list of the 21 best beaches to discover in 2021. Which beach will you make a beeline for on the other side?

Best Indian Ocean Beaches

1. One&Only Reethi Rah Beach, Maldives

Whilst we’d settle for any of the exceptionally bright white beaches in the Maldives, the One&Only Reethi Rah is well-renowned for its offering. Being situated on one of the North Malé Atoll’s larger islands, means the resort enjoys bigger and wider beaches. The resort’s beach villas also invite guests to enjoy their very own part of the perfect sand and the calm, crystalline waters.

2. Anse Lazio, Seychelles

Often appearing on lists of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Anse Lazio could have sprung straight from the pages of a story book. It’s ethereal crescent of pristine sand is topped and tailed with rounded boulders, whilst lush palms and takamaka trees offer shelter from the sun. Don’t miss out on the brilliant display of marine life beneath the waves, either. Raffles Seychelles is minutes away by car.

3. Passikudah Beach, Sri Lanka 

A picture of postcard-worthy perfection, it’s no wonder that this golden, horseshoe-shaped bay has become a Sri Lankan seafront staple. Strung with deluxe resorts (we recommend Uga Bay by Uga Escapes) and dotted with swaying coconut palms, Passikudah is elegant and exotic. Uga Bay offers guests a 3km stretch of this pristine beach for their exclusive use.

4. Belle Mare, Mauritius

Translating into English rather aptly as ‘beautiful sea’, Belle Mare is one of Mauritius’s most prolific and celebrated beaches. It stretches for around six miles along the north-east coast of the island. Palm-speckled resorts such as LUX* Belle Mare back on to the sandy shores, which eventually blend into the calm waters, mottled with shades of blue.


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Best Caribbean Beaches

5. Juanillo Beach, Dominican Republic

Casual and calm, Playa Juanillo brings a breezy, bohemian atmosphere to Cap Cana. Stretching between the marina and Sanctuary Cap Cana Golf & Spa Resort, the white sands and temptingly turquoise waters provide a peaceful paradise for visitors. Although open to the public, the beach enjoys an exclusive status due to its secluded location.

6. Paynes Bay, Barbados

We can see how Paynes Bay in Barbados earned the nickname the ‘Platinum Coast’. With golden sands, shady trees and water safe for swimming and snorkelling, this is undeniably one of the best on the island’s west coast. We recommend waiting for low tide and making the walk up to the next beach at Sandy Lane. 

7. Negril Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica

Iconic, full of possibility, and yes, seven miles long, this beach stretches across two parishes. Loaded with delightful activities, there is something for everyone and plenty of space. You’ll find luxury all-inclusive resorts Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril on this beach, where free snorkelling and scuba diving trips are included in your stay amongst other incredible perks.

8. Jolly Beach, Antigua

Antigua is famed for having 365 beaches (one for each day of the year!), so you can imagine it was a struggle to pick just one from this breath-taking island. We settled on perhaps one of the longest and widest in Antigua – Jolly Beach. West-facing, this stretch of sugar-white sand boasts some of the most spectacular sunsets. Stay at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort for direct access.


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Best Arabian Beaches

9. Jumeirah Beach, Dubai

Surely one of the most unique beach retreats on our list, Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach offers a blend of soft sand, warm water, and big-city scenery. Towering skyscrapers and luxury resorts loom and sparkle over the Arabian Gulf shores, including the iconic silhouette of the Burj Al Arab. Any of the Madinat Jumeirah hotels are well-situated for hitting the beach.

10. Saadiyat Beach, Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Beach in Abu Dhabi is an absolute joy to discover for many reasons. Not only are the views phenomenal and the range of activities plentiful, but there are also environmental protection measures in place, meaning the beach is rich in wildlife. Most famously, hawksbill turtles return here every year, using the beach as a nesting site.

11. Six Senses Zighy Bay Beach, Oman

Nestled between the dramatic mountains and the resort’s 1.6 km private beach, you’ll find Six Senses Zighy Bay. The beach itself is flawless-looking, uniquely located and enhanced with a menu of exciting experiences. Typically for Six Senses resorts, there is also a sustainable approach. Regular beach cleanups are just part of the heroic effort to preserve this natural gem.

12. Al Zorah Beach, Ajman 

Though it’s the smallest emirate and somewhat dwarfed by neighbouring Dubai, Ajman has a beach to compete with. We recommend staying at The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah, which pens itself as the ‘UAE’s best-kept secret’. Here, you can take in the white sand beaches of Al Zorah, as well as some incredibly biodiverse mangroves. Top-notch accommodation here is only matched by its surroundings.


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Best Asian Beaches

13. Sire Beach, Indonesia

Sire Beach in Lombok is a crescent-shaped bay on the northwest coast of Indonesia. The pronounced peak of Gunung Rinjani provides an elegant backdrop in one of the island’s most scenic places. The beach stretches for several kilometres, but is best enjoyed when combined with a stay at Hotel Tugu Lombok, which sits directly on the pristine sands.

14. White Sand Beach, Thailand

White Sand Beach, or Ao Thong in Thai, couldn’t be more beautiful if it tried. Far-reaching golden swathes of sand blend seamlessly into emerald and sapphire waters, whilst lush vegetation provides shade. We recommend a stay at the Sarojin Khao Lak Resort for ultimate access plus complimentary water sports equipment.

15. The Royal Sands, Cambodia

Overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, the spotless beach at The Royal Sands hotel in Koh Rong delivers on countless fronts. The five-star resort has private access to the beach with mind blowing views from the infinity edge swimming pool, beach bar, or seating area on the powdery sand complete with roaring fire pit. Trust us – this is paradise.


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Best European Beaches

16. Platja de ses Illetes, Formentera 

Ses Illetes is a jaw-dropping stretch of fine, white sandy beach, melting into turquoise waters that wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of the Caribbean. We’d recommend staying at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay and making an excursion to Formentera for the day. Being part of a national park, the scenery is not only completely dreamy, but clean.

17. Anhinga Beach, Turkey

Kaplankaya in Turkey is known for its rocky and pine-clad landscape, peaceful atmosphere and striking beaches. Anhinga Beach at Six Senses Kaplankaya is no exception. Swim, sail or paddle out into the azure, crystal clear waters and see why this is a special spot for so many. To get there, guests can take a half-hour coastal walk, or complimentary shuttle.

18. Spiaggia Lu Impostu, Sardinia

Fine white sand fringed with fragrant foliage and calm, shallow waters are just the tip of the iceberg with this beach. Distinctive features include the steep landscape of Tavolara Island standing proud in the background. You’ll find this coastal gem just in front of the Paradise Resort & Spa Sardegna. All the more reason to pay a visit.


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America & Mexico

19. Clearwater Beach, Florida

Multi-award-winning Clearwater Beach in America’s Sunshine State is spread along the Gulf Coast. White sand freckled with seashells, child-friendly water, and a plethora of available activities and outlets have earned this beach its accolades over the years. Watch as rollerbladers wind along the palm tree-line promenade, sip on a cocktail, or simply soak up the sun.

20. Santa Monica Beach, California

Home of sun-kissed surfers, this list wouldn’t be complete without a classically Californian beach. We’ve gone for the completely emblematic 3.5 mile long Santa Monica Beach with its bike-friendly promenade and series of must-visit attractions running alongside the beautiful water. Don’t miss the legendary Santa Monica pier – an important landmark for both the beach and city.

21. Playa Ruinas, Mexico

How many beaches can you think of that are within a stone’s throw of ancient Mayan ruins? Tulum’s Playa Ruinas combines everything that makes a tropical idyll (swaying palms, silky sands, clear waters) with one of the most popular archaeological sites in all of Mexico. The clifftop Castillo offers a stunning panorama of the beach below and vice versa.


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About The Author

Resident foodie and festival-obsessive, Georgia is always looking for her next big adventure. Between writing and researching for Kenwood, she can usually be found thinking about her next meal or exciting getaway (sometimes both at the same time). While frequenting obscure gigs and discovering local delicacies are major hobbies, she also gets a thrill from correcting our wayward grammar and spelling.

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