There's something about the ocean that's absolutely breathtaking, which is why beach vacations are so popular around the world. Not only is it nice to feel the sun on your skin, take a dip in some rejuvenating salt water, and feel the nice sea breeze, but a trip to the coast often has a serene quality to it that inspires some of the best relaxation you can find.
Throughout the world, you'll find that some of the most colorful places and charming villages have been built along the coast, as if to complement an already gorgeous landscape. Picturesque cliffs and mountain ranges are even more majestic when towering over stunning blue waters, and many top resorts tend to take advantage of this prime locale. From nearly every corner of the world, these 40 coastlines are sure to take your breath away.
Costa Verde (Brazil)
Stretching from the city of Itaguaí to the city of Santos along the southeastern coast, Costa Verde has a beautiful backdrop of the mountain ranges and escarpments of Serro do Mar.
Amalfi Coast (Italy)
Famed for its breathtaking vistas and quaint cliffside fishing villages, the Amalfi Coast is a honeymoon favorite and home to some of the highest quality olive groves and lemon trees.
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
The natural wonder of Ha Long Bay, located in northeast Vietnam, is made up of approximately 3,000 tiny islands - many of which are dramatic limestone formations called karsts, and many of which feature amazing rainforests and huge caves.
North Shore (Hawaii)
Oahu's North Shore stretches for just 7 miles, but is world-renowned for its winter surfing competitions thanks to its big waves. Summertime brings calmer waters and opportunities for snorkeling among vibrant coral and fish.
Coral Coast (Fiji)
The gorgeous islands of Fiji are a bucket list destination, but the Coral Coast - which spans 50 miles on the southern coastline of the island of Viti Levu - is especially stunning, with multiple resorts taking advantage of its views, white sandy beaches and secluded swimming spots.
French Riviera (France and Monaco)
Southeastern France has been a vacation hotspot for the rich and famous since the late 18th century, drawing crowds to its Mediterranean climate, gorgeous architecture, world-class dining and accommodations, and beaches and marinas. The French Riviera, called the Côte d'Azur in French, is home to beautiful perched villages, as well as an arts scene that not only has attracted many painters but has also inspired local potteries, glass blowers and other craftsmen.
Malabar Coast (India)
Lying between the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats, the stunning Malabar Coast stretches for more than 525 miles from Goa to the southernmost tip of India, featuring stunning beaches and photogenic palm trees.
The semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar, situated just off the coast of Tanzania, are beautifully underdeveloped and feature tropical forests, white coral sand beaches and gentle turquoise waters.
Antrim Coast (Northern Ireland)
Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast is full of magical spots such as Giant's Causeway, a natural wonder made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, and the A2 road which takes drivers past stunning coastal views.
Cinque Terre (Italy)
A stroll through any one of the five villages of Cinque Terre is a life-changing experience, and the only way to go through all five of them is by boat, by train or on foot. We recommend taking a boat, as the coastline is absolutely breathtaking thanks to the colorful architecture of the cliffside villages and their picturesque homes and churches.
Albanian Riviera (Albania)
Running along the northeastern Ionian Sea, the Albanian Riviera is characterized by ancient castles and monasteries, secluded beaches, mountain passes, citrus and olive groves and traditional Mediterranean villages.
Hana Coast (Hawaii)
The highway leading to the town of Hana, a beautiful American gem, is famous for its absolutely breathtaking views, sparkling black beaches, wonderful waterfalls and everything else that makes Hawaii the tropical paradise that it is.
Skeleton Coast (Namibia)
The rocky waters and dense fogs off of the Skeleton Coast have made the area quite dangerous for ships historically. The climate is quite inhospitable and the landscape filled with sand dunes and gravel plains, but the scene of desert sands against clear blue waters is absolutely stunning.
Tahiti (French Polynesia)
World-class resorts dot the stunning coast of Tahiti, which has sadly seen far fewer visitors recently than in the past due to the global financial crisis. Still, it continues to be an ideal vacation spot with a tropical climate and amazing black or white sand beaches.
Costa Blanca (Spain)
Approximately 120 miles of Mediterranean coast make up Costa Blanca in southeastern Spain, which has 170 beaches and coves, majestic mountain ranges and amazing historic castles, towers and forts.
Coromandel Peninsula (New Zealand)
The Coromandel Peninsula of the North Island of New Zealand is covered in rainforests and green hills that make for a charmingly serene backdrop for its clear, blue waters, home to dolphins and whales that have been known to make an appearance along the shore.
Dalmatian Coast (Croatia)
The mild Mediterranean climate of the Dalmatian Coast makes it a pleasant spot to be any time of year, and its medieval architecture, top-notch beaches and gorgeous sunsets make it a highly underrated destination.
Snæfellsnes Peninsula (Iceland)
Located about a two-hour drive from Reykjavik in western Iceland, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is home to an ice-capped volcano that dominates the coast, as well as beautiful caves, waterfalls, lava fields and villages.
Considered by many to be the most beautiful part of the Philippines, the archipelago of Palwan has a long coastline featuring coral reefs and the famous El Nido, home to world-class white sand beaches and limestone cliffs.
Turquoise Coast (Turkey)
Currently a top destination, the Turkish Riviera is popularly known as the Turquoise Coast on account of its breathtakingly blue waters. Situated along more than 600 miles of Aegean and Mediterranean coastline in southwestern Turkey, the area is characterized by its pleasant climate, mountain landscapes and historic towns.
Garden Route (South Africa)
South Africa's Garden Route stretches 190 miles along its southeastern coast from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape all the way to Storms River in the Eastern Cape, getting its name from the picturesque, green scenery along the route. Beautiful lakes and lagoons also lie along the coast, which generally experiences an oceanic climate, the second mildest in the world after Hawaii.
Costa Smeralda (Italy)
Located in northern Sardinia, a semi-autonomous island off the western coast of Italy, Costa Smeralda is just about 12 miles of white sand beaches, world-class golf resorts and luxurious hotels, all of which contribute to making it one of the most expensive places to live in Europe.
Gold Coast (Florida)
You'll find some of Florida's most picturesque beaches along its Gold Coast, home to the famed sunny cities of Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. Its more than 60 miles of shoreline is home to beautiful bistros, luxurious resorts and popping nightlife that attracts people from around the world.
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Great Ocean Road (Australia)
A little more than 150 miles long, Australia's Great Ocean Road runs along the coast of the southeastern state of Victoria and is the world's largest war memorial. (The road is dedicated to soldiers killed in World War I.) Drive past rainforests, beaches, limestone and sandstone cliffs and the impressive limestone stack formations known as the Twelve Apostles for some of the most picture-perfect views in the South Pacific.
Algarve Coast (Portugal)
The 125 miles of Algarve Coast in southern Portugal have amazing sea caves, majestic seaside cliffs and golden beaches perfect for surfing, all of which add up to an absolutely stunning destination made even better by the fact that it gets about 300 days of sunshine every year.
Big Sur (California)
The most romantic place in the state of California, Big Sur has a rugged coastline suitable for a scenic drive, mountain hike, or beach trip with forest-covered canyons and secluded coves that will get you in touch with nature.
Hāmākua Coast (Hawaii)
Running along the northeastern part of Hawaii's Big Island, the Hāmākua Coast is about 50 miles long. Its most notable feature is Mauna Kea - the tallest volcano in the world - but its beaches are just as beautiful as those in any other in the state as well.
Every traveler has to experience a Santorini sunset at least once in their lifetime, but that's not the only beauty this Greek island has to offer. The dramatic views of its coastline have made Santorini an Instagram favorite, particularly those of the northwestern Santorini town of Oia, famed for its cliffside white buildings and blue domes.
Andaman Coast (Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar)
Spanning parts of the coasts of three beautiful Southeast Asian countries, the Andaman Coast's turquoise waters are breathtakingly beautiful, especially when juxtaposed with its pristine white beaches. Relatively less popular among tourists, the area's untouched beauty makes for a dream vacation with limestone cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls and wondrous caves, as well as isles topped with jungles that dot the Andaman Sea.
Hamilton Island (Australia)
The largest of the Whitsunday Islands off the central coast of Queensland, Hamilton Island has an area of less than 2 square miles, but it's earned a big reputation due to its scenic beauty and relaxing tropical climate. Its untouched beauty is preserved by a law banning automobiles, leaving the island covered in bushland, and along the coast, you'll find coral reefs, white sand and impressively clear turquoise water.
Riviera Maya (Mexico)
Mexico's Yutacán Peninsula is a popular vacation destination known for its beaches and rowdy nightlife, and its Riviera Maya is particularly well-known for its top-tier all-inclusive resorts, boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants located right along the beach. The area also has some wonderful secret spots such as magical cenotes and ancient Mayan sites.
Jurassic Coast (England)
Spanning about 96 miles along the English Channel in southern England, the Jurassic Coast is characterized by impressive rock formations dating back to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Along its beautiful beaches, you'll find arches, stack rocks and pinnacles, as well as secret coves produced by these formations.
Budva Riviera (Montenegro)
Roughly 22 miles along the Adriatic Sea make up the Budva Riviera, nearly 8 miles of which are relaxing, sandy beaches against a backdrop of a hilly, green landscape.
The Maltese island of Gozo has a more rural character, with less development than the island of Malta itself; this makes for quieter beaches such as Ramla Bay, known for its colorful sands. Gozo's coastline is also characterized by limestone rock formations and stunning Maltese architecture.
Oregon Coast (Oregon)
Sea stacks and sea cliffs are prominent features of the coast of Oregon, which is lined by a lot of greenery and views of mountains in the distance. Cannon Beach, one of the most underrated beach towns in America, is located here, known for its 235-foot-tall Haystack Rock.
Dingle Peninsula (Ireland)
Enjoy some of the best of the Irish countryside with a drive along the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, where you'll see plenty of scenic mountains, gently rolling hills and wonderful beaches lined by impressive cliffs. Located in southwestern Ireland in County Kerry, the peninsula is gorgeously green and filled with photo opportunities.
North Cornwall Coast (England)
Stretching about 40 miles, the coast of North Cornwall is lined with charming cliffside towns and villages. In addition to dramatic cliffs and beautiful harbors, the coast is also a popular place to go surfing or hiking.
Mauritius Island (Mauritius)
Situated 1,200 miles from the southeastern coast of Africa, the main island of Mauritius has more than 100 miles of pristine white beaches, and the world's third largest coral reef protects its serene lagoons. The island's volcanic mountain ranges can also be seen in the distance from its clear blue waters.
Nā Pali Coast (Hawaii)
"Nā pali" means "the cliffs" or "the steep slopes" in Hawaiian, an apt name for this 17-mile stretch of Kauai's northern shore. The cliffs have a stunning emerald color accented by golden and brown hues, and they tower over gorgeous waterfalls and beaches.
Costa Brava (Spain)
The Catalonian coastal region of Costa Brava in northeastern Spain is home to more than 80 miles of pristine and private beaches and coves as well as to the rugged landscape for which the area was named. While many spots in the Costa Brava have become popular with tourists, you'll still find beautiful Spanish homes and towers facing gorgeously untouched beaches at the many villages and towns that are still largely undiscovered.
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