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World’s Most Beautiful Beaches 2019

Not all beaches are created equal — as anyone who’s ever fought traffic, stalked people for parking, endlessly searched for a spot not occupied by tourists or trash, and then tolerated whichever aspiring DJ decided to set up camp 20 feet away, can attest.

But with the right scenery… and the right shoreline… and the right conditions, whatever hassles and headaches it took to get you to that idyllic stretch of sand cease to matter. Some beaches are near mystical in their powers to slow time, erase reality, and hook you into a force greater than yourself. Here are 20 of the world’s most beautiful beaches: Whether you’re into majestic cliffs and rock formations or smooth, wide nothingness, sugary white sand or pink or black or golden, they’re all perfect no matter how tough the journey.

Blue Lagoon

Oludeniz, Turkey
It almost looks like a little slice of Thailand up and dropped itself here at the merging of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. About 10 miles from the town of Fethiye, lush green peaks border perfectly clear turquoise water, with a peninsula separating one stretch of beach from another. The beach is a national marine sanctuary, so you won’t find any eyesores or resorts stinking up the place.
Bonus: Diving here is also first rate, with some fascinating caves and an abundance of marine life with near-limitless visibility

The Baths

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Nobody knows how this garden of perfectly smooth granite boulders ended up on the shores of Virgin Gorda. They back up against palm-filled mountains, lending the place its mystical-pirate-hideaway, there’s-definitely-buried-treasure-here-somewhere vibe. Even when the beach is filled with pasty tourists.
Bonus: Stroll through the boulders and swim into secluded grottos, where the sun peers in through the rocks and creates some of the best photo ops in the Caribbean.

Navagio

Zakynthos Island, Greece
This spectacular crescent beach, accessible only by boat, is surrounded on three sides by dramatic, sheer cliffs. Still, tourists steadily stream in, eager to soak up the striking beauty of the cove’s white sands and the Ionian Sea’s azure water.
Bonus: Sitting smack dab in the middle of the beach is the rusted hull of a freighter that ran aground here in 1980, rumored to be smuggling wine and other contraband — thus earning the beach its two nicknames: Shipwreck Beach and Smuggler’s Cove.

Grace Bay

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
The water in Turks and Caicos is a special brand of light aqua you’ll find nowhere else in the world. This iconic stretch of white sand is just a stone’s throw from the big resorts. It looks just as spectacular from the water as from the sand, so rent a little sailboat and explore it from both angles.
Bonus: Coral Gardens, a small snorkeling trail at Grace Bay, has so much tropical marine life, it’s even a step above most scuba dives.

Hidden Beach

The Marieta Islands by Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
LOOK AT IT! While no longer as hidden as the name might suggest, this beach is rumored to have been formed by the Mexican military detonating test bombs in the early 1900s.
Bonus: There’s a water tunnel you have to pass through to get there.

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