World's most beautiful beaches

Welcome to paradise. Here is our selection of just 12 of the most perfect beaches on the planet. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder - you might rate pebbles over palms and surfing over sandcastles. What do you think? What's your favourite? And why? Bora Bora or Brighton? Let us know below.

 

1. Aruba, Dutch Antilles

You want beaches? You've come to the right place. Lying off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba's beaches are straight out of the glossiest coffee table brochure. Eagle, Mangel Halto, Santo Largo... take your pick.

 

 

 

2. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Just the name Polynesia evokes Crusoesian images of exotic paradise, of endless sunshine, baby soft sand and impossibly turquoise waters. Bora Bora is one of the group of dots in the Pacific Ocean that is French Polynesia.  

 

 

3. Pig's Bay Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Forget Copacabana. Brazil could put forward a few candidates for the world's best beaches, but on the islands of Fernando de Noronh, you'll definitely find the odd place to find an agreeable strip of sand to plonk your towel, like PIg's Bay.

More: 10 places to visit in Brazil: in pictures

 

 

4. Fethiye, Turkey

Fethiye attracts its fair share of holidaymakers, and no wonder, with its selection of beaches: Oludeniz with its blue lagoon, Kelebekler Vadisi with its butterflies, pine-fringed Kıdrak and sunset spot Calis among other gems.

 

 

5. La Digue, Seychelles

The Seychelles are many people's idea of paradise, attracting honeymooners like Kate and Wills to its tropical wonderland. All its islands, from Bird Island to Praslin, have first-rate beaches, but we've gone for La Digue - Anse Source d'Argent is a newlyweds' dream.

 

 

6. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

Lovers of tubes and 50-foot rollers head to North Shore on Oahu, but the Hawaiian island also attracts beach afficionados to little Lanikai Beach. Go for a paddle and you might find yourself sharing your idyll with turtles.

 

 

7. Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece

At the base of steep white cliffs on a hidden side of the Greek island of Zakynthos, lapped by some of the bluest waters you'll ever see, Navagio holds a surprise - a shipwreck - left behind by smugglers fleeing the authorities.

More: Get wrecked: 7 of the world’s top shipwrecks

 

 

8. Palawan, Philippines

The Philippines don't spring to mind as much as Thailand or Malaysia when thinking of beach perfection, but they should. If you're looking to really, really get away from it all, the Bacuit Archipelago is beachcomber heaven.

 

 

9. Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Remember The Beach? While these days you'll have to look a little harder to find the utopian paradise of the 1990s cult backpacker novel on Thailand's Andaman coast, little gems still shine brightly on Phi Phi.

 

 

10. Playa San Miguel, Ibiza, Spain

Admittedly, there are parts of the White Isle that have been somewhat spoilt, but Ibiza hides away several secret beaches that rank among the best, not only in the Med, but on the planet. Make mine a San Miguel!

 

 

11. Whitehaven, Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Wow! Often voted Australia's best beach, Whitehaven is a little quieter than Bondi when the surf's up. It is just one of many turqouise-and-white beaches on the rainforest-clad Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland.

More: Australia: in pictures

 

 

12. Durness, Scotland

Who needs palm trees? A warm jumper may be more appropriate than a bikini for stretching out on the sand at Durness in the far north-west of Scotland. Many would argue that it's not even the best beach in Scotland. It's got some competition: Sandwood Bay in Sutherland, Kiloran Bay on Colonsay, Luskentyre on Harris are three of many.