Four of the world’s best beaches

Chris Carter takes a tour of the best beaches in the world, plus one in America that has been given a whole new lease of life.


Woolacombe Beach in Devon voted Britain's best for the second year in a row

Woolacombe Beach, Devon

It's not hard to see why Woolacombe Beach has been voted Britain's best for the second year in a row, says Serina Sandhu in The Independent. In voting the Devon beach the winner of the TripAdvisor 2016 Travellers' Choice Awards, one reviewer on the website praised its natural beauty as "three miles of heaven.

In wild weather, it is beautiful. In good weather, it is a delight". "Who would bother going to overrated Cape Town when this is on your doorstep?" asked another.

But the beach isn't the only recent prize winner in the area. In November, the nearby Watersmeet Hotel and Restaurant scooped the Cond Nast Johansens Readers' Award for excellence.

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From £180 a night on a bed and breakfast basis based on two sharing

Playa Uvita, Costa Rica

Playa Uvita offers a backdrop of "tall, verdant" mountains, sand and the "blue Pacific beyond", says Jason Hollandin International Living magazine. This Costa Rican paradise on the southern Pacific coast is set in a large national park sheltering migrating humpback whales. "If you're lucky, you'll see one." There is little development in the area due to its protected status. But in the small town of Uvita, just inland, there are boutique hotels and eco-lodges. The luxurious TikiVillas Rainforest Lodge has bungalows and a spring-water-fed infinity pool.

From £184 per night


Stara Vlaka and Veli Zal, Croatia

For complete tranquillity, head to Palagruza, says Jane Foster in The Daily Telegraph. This rocky islet off the Dalmatian Coast lies halfway between Croatia and Italy and, due to its height, affords "magnificent views over an apparently endless seascape". Its arid slopes may only support "scanty Mediterranean vegetation", but travellers have been drawn to its "glorious isolation" for centuries.

Today, its two "pristine" pebble beaches, Stara Vlaka and Veli Zal, border shallow turquoise waters "in total solitude", so "no one will bother you". For a rustic experience, stay in one of the two "basic but comfortable" self-catering apartments in Palagruza's lighthouse. On request, local fishermen will deliver freshly caught seafood but take a week's supply of groceries with you.

From £422 for a week in a four-bed apartment

Koh Kradan, Thailand

Thailand has some of the most popular beaches in the world. But there is one stunning stretch of sand in the Andaman Sea that is still relatively peaceful, says The Guardian. The crystal-clear water off Koh Kradan makes for "excellent" snorkelling, while the beach's "powdery" sand and hammocks "would suit those who don't want to drink buckets of spirits under a full moon".

Better still, you can kayak around the island in three hours, 90% of which is part of the Hat Chao Mai national park. The Reef Resort has 18 luxury beachfront rooms from which to enjoy your little corner of paradise.

From £78


A new lease of life for Miami Beach

A no-man's-land section of MiamiBeach no longer, the Faena Hotel MiamiBeach has breathed new life into theresort town, says Giovanna Dunmall inthe Evening Standard. Faena makes noexcuse for its opulence.

In the bedrooms,the charcoal drawings of emergingMiami artist Gonzalo Fuenmayor line thewalls, while in the restaurant chandeliersby Italian artist Alberto Garutti flickerwhen lightning strikes the Pampas4,500 miles away in Argentina. But the"tour de force" is Damien Hirst's Gone But Not Forgotten a 10,000-year-old woollymammoth skeleton in a glass and steel cage.

From £530

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.