10 Bucket-List Beaches To See Before You Die

Life’s short, the world’s big.

Santorini sunset
PHOTO Wendy Hung

This side of paradise is drop-dead gorgeous. Between winter chills and stressful bills, if you’re looking to escape your troubles, venture further than the bar. Here are 10 stunning island beach paradises you definitely want to see before it’s all over.

1. Santorini, Greece

Off the coast of Greece, Santorini’s iconic white architecture is matched by its beautiful beaches. Legend holds the same volcanic explosion that rocked Santorini sunk Atlantis. Keep an eye out for Milo.

2. Palawan, Philippines

Blinding blue sea, white sand beaches, and poppy field sunsets make Palawan a must-visit, accessible via Puerto Princesa. For a truly unforgettable experience, try glamping at The Birdhouse in El Nido.

3. Koh Rong island, Cambodia

While that 2012 ancient Mayan doomsday didn’t happen, Koh Rong Island feels like mankind’s been wiped out, in a good way. Road-free and no cell-service force you to disconnect. Explore bays, coves, and unlimited snorkeling spots in blissful oblivion, the last man on earth.

4. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Okay, technically not a beach, but the Great Barrier Reef’s over 2900 individual reefs is the “biggest single structure made by living organisms.” Visit before pollution compromises this natural wonder.

5. Moorea, Tahiti

PHOTO: Nadina Gerlach

Smack in the middle of French Polynesia in the South Pacific, Moorea is Bora Bora’s little-known kid sister, and shares the good family genes. With crystal clear waters and teeming wildlife, check out a full review of Moorea, Tahiti and the Society Islands here.

6. Martinique, Caribbean

Like Moorea, Martinique has a famous older sister (St. Lucia) and the same–if not superior–rockstar views. A trifecta of deep rainforest, white-sand beaches, and crystalline waters make the French Caribbean island a full-fledged adventure. Don’t miss Anse Dufour beach, popular with locals and palm trees.

7. Gozo, Malta

Malta is famous for its aqua-blue water and secret coves. Thought to be Calypso’s isle from Homer’s Odyssey, it’s a hugely popular destination for filmmakers, who flock for its rugged landscape and spectacular coastline (think Troy, Count of Monte Cristo, Game of Thrones).  The Mediterranean’s best dive sites await you.

8. Harbour Island, Bahamas

On Wednesdays, we wear pink …sand. Regina George would approve of Harbour Island’s pale blush sand, colored by broken coral and red and pink seashells.

9. St. John, USVI

Prime snorkeling at Trunk Bay in St. John.
Prime snorkeling at Trunk Bay in St. John. Photo: Amanda Dettmann

Despite being on the most photographed beaches in the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands still manage to fly under the radar. Rugged hiking trails and a 225-yard-long Underwater Trail for superb snorkeling await.

10. Korčula, Croatia

Medieval walls and a stunning harbor anchor this gorgeous islet of Korčula, Croatia. One of over a thousand Croatian islands, we love Korčula’s radiant blue water and Game of Thrones connection–GoT fans will recognize the real-life King’s Landing.

Article written by NADINA GERLACH.

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