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Lonely Planet Reveals the Top 100 Unexpected Beaches Worldwide

people on a beach during sunset

Travel expert Lonely Planet has revealed its recommendations for its top 100 most exceptional and unexpected beaches from around the world.

Detailed in its new dazzling book ‘Best Beaches’, the captivating collection of breathtaking coastal gems includes five of the UK’s most stunning shorelines.

Researched by a team of Lonely Planet authors hailing from diverse corners of the globe, this book showcases every conceivable type of beach experience.

Whether it’s a secluded cove, a surfer’s paradise, a picturesque urban shoreline, an off-the-beaten-path locale, a rocky and forested coastline, or a mesmerising palm-fringed island oasis. This book guides you through a sandy odyssey.

Highlights include Iceland’s wildly beautiful Raudasandur with its magical turquoise lagoon and red and orange hued sand, Croatia’s exquisite Punta Rata white pebble coves surrounded by electric green pine forests, the 98% pure silica sands and swirling aquamarine waters of Whitehaven Beach in Australia and Brazil’s Baía dos Porcos, with its golden sand, azure waters, and volcanic rock backdrop.

Closer to home Lonely Planet celebrates five UK locations; the dazzling Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula – Dylan Thomas’ famously favourite escape; Durdle Door Beach in Lulworth on Dorset’s UNESCO-protected Jurassic Coast with its iconic, colossal golden limestone sea arch providing mystical sunsets; Kynance Cove in Lizard Cornwall is one of the country’s dreamiest beaches with its craggy serpentine-rock outcrops, grassy headland and silvery beach and West Beach Berneray in the Outer Hebrides for its wildly remote untouched shoreline of powdery Scottish silver-white sands, beautiful wind-lashed setting, adjoining machair grazing land and opportunities to watch the wildlife.

In Ireland, Keem Bay Beach in County Mayo has been hailed for its jaw-dropping beauty with its secluded, sloping green hillside and horseshoe bay of pale blonde sand.  

Each entry provides practical insights on how to reach these idyllic shores and delves into the unique reasons that earned them the prestigious title of the best.

Offering readers a glimpse into the characteristics that set these beaches apart, the book combines striking photography that vividly captures the colours, formations, and perspectives, transforming each location into a visual masterpiece.

This isn’t just a travel guide; it’s an immersive journey into the allure of the world’s most extraordinary beaches.

“I love that this book challenges what we might define a “best beach.” There’s such diversity here, and hidden, unexpected beaches you might otherwise not have known about in places you may not have expected. They’re all beautiful and magical and almost unbelievable and lets you see beyond the beachy beach—though those are in here too! Each beach has a sort of identified characteristic, too, so you know why we chose it for the book. Ultimately, we wanted to show the vast diversity of beaches, from Antarctica to Madagascar, from swirling sand to wild horses.” 

Comments Chris Zeiher, Lonely Planet’s Senior Director, Trade Sales & Marketing.

In addition to the 100 breath-taking beaches featured in the book, readers can dive into specialised categories, each designed to cater to a specific interest:

  1. Top 5 Best Family Friendly Beaches
  2. Best Beaches to Watch the Sunset
  3. Most Remote Beaches
  4. Best Beaches to Snorkel
  5. Best Beaches to See Wildlife
  6. Most Unexpected Beaches
  7. Beaches Worth the Crowds
  8. Best Beaches to See Nature
  9. Best Beaches to People Watch

Embark on a journey of coastal discovery with “Lonely Planet’s Best Beaches” – your passport to some of the most extraordinary beaches on the planet.

For more information visit 20 of the world’s best beaches – Lonely Planet

Available from or where all good books are sold. From £27.99