Posted: Mar 30, 2016
If you could live anywhere around the globe, wouldn’t you want to be close to one of the world’s best beaches? Here are our top 20 favourite stretches of sand, plus the typical cost you’ll shell out for living nearby.
1. Whitehaven Bay, Whitsundays, Australia
By any standards, this has to be one of the world’s favourite beaches. The water is crystal clear and the sand is white and powdery. The beach stretches for five miles and at its northern end, in Hill Inlet, the tide shifts sand and water to create a breath-taking fusion of colour. You can buy a three-bedroom home near Bloomsbury on five acres for around £250,000.
2. Conches des Baleines, Ile de Re, France
Spectacular sunsets paint the pale sand of this Atlantic beach. The grassy dunes and pines scent the ozone-laden air. Residents tend to be surfers, artists and well-heeled Parisians. You can buy a two-bedroom apartment in the nearby historic town of La Rochelle for less than £200,000.
3. Pampelonne Beach, St Tropez, France
This is the beach that first drew tourists to St Tropez in the 1950s. Up to 30,000 people would visit it every day in the height of the summer. Vast and sandy, it’s known for its beach clubs and their celebrity clientele. As you can imagine, property in St Tropez is not cheap. A one-bedroom apartment can easily set you back £300,000.
4. Vasto, Abruzzo, Italy
The hilltop town of Vasto looks down to the marina and its long, sandy beaches. The coast is lined with low-rise hotels, restaurants and campsites which fill up in summer. You can buy a tiny town house for as little as £50,000.
5. Bacvice, Split, Croatia
The Dalmatian coast has a number of beautiful beaches, but this one is probably the most well-known. It is almost in the city centre of Split, making it very accessible. It has very soft sand and crystal clear, warm, shallow water. You can buy an attractive, renovated apartment near the beach for about £175,000.
6. Elafonisi Beach, Crete
This white sandy beach glows pink at sunset and its turquoise waters are beautifully clear. Although it’s a popular beach, this is a remote corner of Crete, apart from a few beach bars. Property on Crete can be good value for money, if you are prepared to renovate, and starts at about £27,000.
7. Butterfly Valley Oludeniz, Turkey
This narrow canyon ends in a wide, sandy beach and is known for its clouds of colourful butterflies. Most people get a boat from Olu Deniz. The beach is a listed nature reserve, so the facilities are basic. You can camp here and there is a self-service restaurant. The nearest town is Fethiye, where you can buy a one-bedroom apartment for less than £30,000.
8. Praia da Rocha, Algarve, Portugal
There is always plenty of space on this vast, golden beach, even in summer. The seafront is lined with cafes, restaurants and shops for daytime browsing, and bars for night-time fun. Water sports and boat trips are available from the marina. You can buy a studio flat here for just under £50,000.
9. La Barrosa, Cadiz, Spain
Barrosa Beach is considered the best on the Andalusian coastline. It boasts fine sand, clear waters and a backdrop of pine trees and dunes. It’s popular with surfers and you can go for horse rides along the sand. The nearest town is Chiclana de la Frontera, where you can buy a three-bedroom villa for around £190,000.
10. Cala Fonda, Tarragona, Spain
Backed by yellow sandstone cliffs that shine like gold in the sunset, Cala Fonda is a small beach of fine, golden sand dipping down gently into warm, shallow waters. You have to walk to get here, through the aromatic pine forest. The city of Tarragona is a couple of miles away. Here, you can buy a one-bedroom flat from just over £100,000.
11. St Peter Ording, Schleswig-Holstein Germany
Germany and beaches might not be words you’d normally string together, but don’t forget the country’s northern coastline. There are miles and miles of fine sandy beaches along the Baltic seaboard and the Germans mainly have them to themselves! St Peter Ording is more famous for its mineral springs than its beach, but it’s worth visiting both. For about £300,000, you can buy a new, semi-detached cottage with a thatched roof.
12. Silistar beach, Sinemorets, Bulgaria
The cliffs here give way to a sandy beach with clear water, excellent for swimming. Divers love the underwater caves and the only building within sight is a small beach café. The nearest town is Ahtopol, which is a small Black Sea resort with a number of hotels and restaurants. You can buy a house with a sea view in this area for under £100,000.
13. Llandudno, Western Cape, SA
Llandudno in North Wales has very pleasant beaches, but try Llandudno in South Africa for an attractive beach, too. It’s a residential suburb of Cape Town and the beach has a dramatic backdrop of granite boulders and mountains. It’s magnificent for surfing and the water can be cold, too. Maybe not so different to North Wales after all! Property in Cape Town can be high, but you can get a two-bedroom city centre apartment for around £200,000.
14. Hot Water Beach Coromandel, North Island, New Zealand
As the name suggests, hot mineral water bubbles up through the sands on this beach. If you dig within two hours of low tide, you can excavate your own spa bath. Whitianga is the nearest town and has plenty of holiday apartments for around £100,000. You can even buy a plot on the airfield and build your own fly-in home!
15. Playa de Illetes Formentera, Spain
This is Formentera’s fashionable foreshore, on a spit of sand pointing towards Ibiza, the island’s bigger brother. There are a handful of fish restaurants here. The white sand and clear sea are what you come here for. Formentera has a seriously laid-back vibe and a seriously expensive property market. You probably won’t get much change from a million pounds here.
16. Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo, Cuba
Christopher Columbus is said to have stopped here, and Sir Francis Drake, too. Cayo Largo, or Long Cay, is a small resort island off the south coast of Cuba. It was apparently a haunt of smugglers, who would still recognise the unspoilt Playa Paraiso. There are restaurants, a shop and deckchair hire at Playa Sirena. Two-bedroom apartments in Havana start at about £10,000.
17. Sancho Bay Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of islands 200 miles off the coast of Brazil. The beaches are popular with tourists and divers, who love the transparency of the waters here. This is enhanced by the southern equatorial current, which means you can dive to nearly 100ft without a wetsuit. It’s unlikely that you’ll see any property for sale here, but you can buy a house in a gated community in Recife on the mainland for £220,000.
18. Cayo de Agua, Los Roques, Venezuela
If you want white sand, sapphire seas and, not much else, then this is the beach for you. Los Roques is a large chain of islands 100 miles from Caracas. Cayo de Agua is named after the fresh water found here. Many people visit in their own yachts – others have to take a plane to Gran Roque and a boat from there. The water is warm, perfect for snorkelling. You can buy property in Venezuela, although not on this sandy spit.
19. Boracay, Philippines
Boracay is a tiny island nearly 200 miles south of Manila. White Beach is an idyllic stretch of pale sand, lined with shops, hotels, bars and restaurants. Try Diniwid Beach for peace and quiet, or shell-strewn Puka Beach at the northern tip, where the sunsets are exquisite. Go to all of them – the island is less than 5 miles end to end, and a third of a mile wide. Foreigner buyers can purchase a condo in the Philippines, and a three-bedroom will sell on Boracay for around £277,000.
20. Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
The country’s top beach destination is said to be named after the city of Naples. It is a stretch of paradise fringed with palm trees, the deep blue waters of the Bay of Bengal lapping the white sand. Prices are soaring, due to high demand.