There is no time like the summer to grab your copy of essential and let the stunning visuals whisk you away to the azure waters of the world’s best beaches. Our ‘best of the best’ list, compiled by Marisa Cutillas, invites you to leave your cares behind and hop on a plane, into the blue…

Whitehaven Beach, the Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia

No-one can doubt that Whitehaven Beach merits its place, year after year, on the world’s most renowned Best Beach lists. Its soft silica sands and aqua waters stretch over seven kilometers along Whitsunday Island, the largest of the Whitsundays’ 75 islands. For a top view, checkout the Tongue Point lookout and enjoy the dazzling fusion of colours that takes over the sea.

For sunbathing, head to Hill Inlet, a romantic cove where the tide gently lifts the sands, creating a mix of colours that have yet to be recreated on the artist’s palette. Don’t leave Whitehaven Beach without booking a helicopter or seaplane flight over Hill Inlet, to watch the famous dance of sand and water from above…

Waipio Valley Beach Big Island, Hawaii

This beach stands out for its absolutely unique colour scheme. It is graced with fine black volcanic sands, deep indigo waters and 600-metre cliffs, which are kissed by romantic waterfalls and covered in a deep, rich green rainforest. The beach is very hard to access (you have to hike or drive down a treacherously steep road) to reach it, though the wildly romantic escape is worth every effort.

Playa de Ses Illetes Formentera, Spain

Dubbed Spain’s ‘Most Fashionable Beach’, Playa de Ses illetes is located on Ibiza’s more ‘chilled-out’ sister island, Formentera. The beach is part of the Natural Area of Special Interest of Salines, and its under-water sea grasses (known as posidonia meadows) have been declared Human Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The beach can be easily accessed on foot or by car. It is particularly favoured by those who like to go bathe nude. Free of all garments and trappings, it is easy to feel like one has been born into a dreamlike Paradise where the waters are transparent, cool and calming.


The Philippines boasts no less than 7,000 islands, bearing resorts with a reputation for offering some of the best five-star service in the world. While the busy city of Manila is usually the first stop, island paradises like Coron (Palawan) or Boracay are a short flight away. Better yet, luxury accommodation and service can be enjoyed at enviable prices, often half or less of what you would expect to pay for top rated service in the Caribbean or in Europe.

In the Philippines, Boracay’s White Beach is universally hailed as one of the best hands-down. Unlike some of the quieter beaches on the usual top ten beach lists, Boracay is as much a party haven as it is a relaxing oasis, where snow white sand is married to pure, crystalline waters which embrace you in their sunny warmth.

The island of Boracay is divided into four different zones; enjoy a fun tricycle ride and explore the island, with its plethora of bars, restaurants and shopping areas. The dining offer is superb too; make it a point to visit one of the local markets, where you can purchase your choice of freshly caught fish and seafood, and have it cooked at one of the many nearby restaurants.

Boracay is a great choice for those who like active holidays. Try diving off Ariels Point Cliff, or spend the day snorkelling, diving or kite/windsurfing. By night, enjoy the buzzing nightlife and party until the sun comes up, knowing you an always head to White Beach to catch up on some R ‘n R the next day…

Words Marisa Cutillas

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