A new list of the world’s best beaches has been announced, with Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos Islands taking the top slot.
The World’s 50 Best Beaches list for 2018 was compiled by Canada-based online travel agency FlightNetwork, for which it partnered with more than 600 journalists, bloggers and travel experts. Beaches were ranked across five categories: annual days of sunshine, average temperature, untouched beauty, remoteness, and sand and water quality.
Retaining its position from last year’s ranking, Grace Bay came in at number one and was described in the report as “the most iconic and awe-inspiring stretch of sand in the world”. Several kilometres long, Grace Bay in central Providenciales basks in sunshine 319 days of the year. It is listed as one of the best places in the world to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, thanks to the surrounding barrier reef that works both as an effective wave-breaker and contributor to the shore’s unbelievably clear water.
The final list of 50 includes places to tip sand from your shoes across Africa, Europe, Asia and North, South and Central America, with podium positions going to Grace Bay, Whitehaven Beach in Australia and Anse Lazio in the Seychelles.
In second place, Australia’s Whitehaven Beach is home to some of the world’s whitest grains. Part of the Whitsunday islands, it’s surrounded by tree-topped mountains and is only accessible by seaplane or helicopter. This hideaway element makes it the only listing in the top five to score 10 out of 10 for remoteness.
With granite rocks peeking out of the Indian Ocean on the northwest coast of Praslin Island, the Seychelles’s Anse Lazio takes third place. Earning full points for untouched beauty and boasting a balmy average temperature of 29°C, it is described as "one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, known for its picturesque views and vivid colours".
In fourth place, Pink Sands Beach in the Bahamas is well known for its cotton-candy-coloured grains. This five-kilometre stretch along the Eastern Atlantic Ocean receives an average of 223 days of sunshine every year and get its unique pale pink hue from tiny marine creatures that live in the surrounding coral reefs.
Navagio Beach on the Greek island of Zakynthos rounds up the top five. Steeped in history, the secluded cove is only accessible by sea and is the site of a famous shipwreck. Its blue Mediterranean water contrasts with craggy white cliffs and fine gravel sand.
While Middle Eastern beaches are missing from the top 50 list, a bit closer to home are Turkey’s Kaputas Beach on Kas which ranks 33rd for its teal waters and rocky-gorge setting, and Egypt’s Agiba Beach in Marsa Matruh, which comes in at number 48 thanks to its tangerine-coloured beach surrounded by sandy cliffs.
To see the full list, visit: www.flightnetwork.com/blog/worlds-50-best-beaches/