This Island Has the Best Beach in the World, According to Travel Experts

Bora Bora takes the No. 1 spot.

<p>Niklas Flindt/Getty Images</p>

Niklas Flindt/Getty Images

The best beach in the world is often selected for its beauty — places where the water is so clear it appears turquoise and the sand is so soft it feels like powdered sugar. But it takes more than physical beauty to make a great beach. A great beach should welcome everyone, regardless of its background, identity, or abilities. A great beach should have an energetic vibe — or at least a luxurious one. And finally, a great beach should have some sort of cultural significance, be it historical or modern-day pop culture.

These factors (and more) were considered by BeachAtlas, a London-based startup that’s known for its beach guides. This year, when selecting the winners of the Golden Beach Award 2024 they took a broader perspective — shining a light on beach gems that offer more than beautiful views and soft sand. Then, they invited travel experts and influencers from around the world to rank the final list.

The result is a list of 100 beaches that have it all: classic beauty, party and lifestyle, inclusivity, community, natural diversity, and cultural significance. Topping the list is Bora Bora, an island group in French Polynesia with the best beach in the world.

As BeachAtlas describes, Bora Bora is “where your wallet whispers ‘help’ but your Instagram screams ‘heaven.’ Dive into crystal-clear waters by day and snap postcard-perfect sunsets by night.”

Bora Bora is a name that’s synonymous with beauty, luxury, and seclusion. Its total land area is just 12 square miles and it’s tucked protectively inside a bright blue lagoon and a barrier reef. The main island is marked by two dormant volcanoes that rise from the center of the island, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, and are surrounded by several motus, or small islands, that are often too small for anything but a handful of beach chairs.

Small stretches of sand circle the main island of Bora Bora, including the main public beach, Matira Beach, which is widely considered to be one of the best on the island. No matter where you decide to post up, you’ll be treated to views over the lagoon’s artificially bright blue waters, waving palms, stilted overwater bungalows, and the towering peaks of Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu.

In addition to Bora Bora, BeachAtlas selected 99 beaches that stood out for their role in history, the communities they foster, or the inclusivity they provide. Below are the top 10 pics:

  1. Bora Bora

  2. Boulders Beach, South Africa

  3. Waikiki Beach, U.S.

  4. Copacabana, Brazil

  5. Maya Bay, Thailand

  6. Black Sand Beach, Iceland

  7. Glass Beach, U.S.

  8. JBR Beach, UAE

  9. Skeleton Coast, Namibia

  10. Omaha Beach, France

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