A decent beach is the icing on the holiday cake, so it’s a serious business finding one that’ll have your friends back home green with envy. And with the votes now in for the world’s top seaside sweeps, you can choose one that’ll make eye-popping Instagram fodder. TripAdvisor have been beavering away to find the best sunbathing haunts, by weighing up everything from scenery to seclusion. The result? A list of 25 top-drawer beaches that range from pin-drop islands to summer getaway staples. And the good news is that you can visit a tonne of them with First Choice. Cop a load of this lot…
Cuba might be best known for Colonial-inspired Havana, but its beaches are on the money, too. And the pale sands of Varadero are the ace in the pack. With Turks and Caicos and Brazil grabbing gold and silver, this chalk-white stretch bags bronze in TripAdvisor’s worldwide standings. It’s the longest beach on the entire island, and comes with a string of swanky hotels peering over its shoulder. When you’re not flaked out on the shoreline, paddle-boarding, sea-kayaking and snorkelling are all on the cards. And no day’s complete here without a rum punch to cap things off – there are plenty bars around to help tick that box.
Aruba just misses out on a podium spot in TripAdvisor’s rankings, finishing in fourth place behind its Caribbean counterpart. Sunbathing’s first and foremost on the agenda, thanks to the milky-white nature of the seafront. Luxe accommodation’s drawn to the tree-studded sands like a Brit to a buffet, so there are plenty of eating, drinking and entertainment options front and centre. Windsurfing’s a popular pastime just along the shoreline, and the neighbouring stretch – Palm Beach – is no slouch in the tanning stakes, either.
The USA’s first appearance on the best beaches list comes courtesy of the Sunshine State. Clearwater’s studded into the west coast of Florida, and delivers one of the most pristine scoops of sand you’ll clap eyes on. It’s practically Caribbean in colour, and comes with a flurry of bigger-is-better hotels cosied up to it. The waterfront just doesn’t stop either, and eventually blends into the pretty sands of St Pete Beach, a little further south. Sun-seekers can switch chills for thrills, too, with Orlando’s world-famous Walt Disney World Resort a couple of hour’s drive away.
This bumper block of sand’s one of the major players in the Dominican Republic, and draws a hearty crowd year after year. The waterfront’s as Caribbean as it gets, with swaying palms and cushion-soft sands making it look like a postcard’s been brought to life. There’s plenty of substance behind the pretty face, too, with watersports by the boatload, sun-drenched golf courses and national parks a short hop away. The beach boffins at TripAdvisor clearly feel the same, and slotted this place in the world’s top 10, at number nine.
Fig Tree Bay
It’s not a clean sweep for the far-flung destinations, though, and Europe gets in on the act as you scan down TripAdvisor’s list. Cyprus’ Fig Tree Bay clocks in at number 13, behind a couple of beaches in Crete and Portugal. It’s a cute number hooked onto Protaras’ coastline, with a curve of sand bookended by tree-ruffled headlands and sleepy coves. It’s got a Blue Flag to its name, too, so it’s no coincidence that it scores highly on a global scale. Days out are in good supply courtesy of Ayia Napa, which delivers watersports and the island’s best nightlife.