Australian beaches snubbed in top 20 global ranking

We may agree Australia has the best beaches in the world but according to a new global ranking, we don’t even make the top 20.

And to really rub salt in the wounds, a patch of coast in England – yes, England – is considered better than any of what Australia has to offer.

The world’s top 25 beaches have been named in Tripadvisor’s annual Traveller’s Choice awards, which are based on reviews and opinions from the travelling public in 2019.

Baia do Sancho in Brazil was crowned the world’s best beach for another year, thanks to its golden sand, bright blue water and lush green hills one traveller described as a “heavenly view (that) seems like a mirage”.

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Baia do Sancho in Brazil has once again been named the world’s best beach.Source:istock

It was followed by the similarly spectacular Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos and Playa Paraiso in Cuba, which was described as having sand “like flour”.

Beaches in traditionally idyllic destinations such as Grand Cayman, Arbua, Puerto Rico and Sicily appeared high in the ranking.

Unexpectedly, a British beach – Woolacombe Beach in Devon – came in at number 20, nestled among more conventional coastal destinations in the Dominican Republic and Greece.

The only Australian entry in the ranking is Queensland’s Whitehaven Beach, which falls, quite outrageously, at number 22.

Devon’s Woolacombe Beach is rather lovely for a spot not renowned as a beach destination.Source:istock

In another surprise, a dramatically gloomy beach in Iceland came in at number 25. The unusual Black Sand Beach in Vik is named after its black basalt sand and is also famous for its nearby puffin community, which proves dreamy beaches indeed come in all varieties – and colours.

The best beaches list is one of a number of global rankings that are part of TripAdvisor's annual awards. It is based on the quantity and quality of reviews left on the TripAdvisor website.

That means it does tend to favour bigger, more obvious destinations that attract a lot of travellers, and therefore a lot of traveller reviews, while overlooking just-as-worthy, lesser-known gems.

It’s not the kind of beach many of us grew up with but Iceland’s Black Sand Beach is a real dark beauty.Source:istock


1. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

2. Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos

3. Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo, Cuba

4. Spiaggia dei Conigli, Sicily, Italy

5. Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia, Arraial do Cabo, Brazil

6. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

7. Eagle Beach, Aruba

8. Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

9. Varadero Beach, Cuba

10. Kleftiko Beach, Milos, Cyclades, Greece

11. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Florida, US

12. Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

Never heard of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, east of India? This is what you’re missing.Source:istock

13. Luskentyre, Isle of Harris, Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

14. Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain

15. La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Donostia, Spain

16. Saint Pete Beach, Florida

17. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

18. Maho Bay Beach, Cruz Bay, St John, Virgin Islands

19. Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

20. Woolacombe Beach, Devon, UK

21. Elafonissi Beach, Elafonissi, Greece

22. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia

23. Cala Mariolu, Baunei, Italy

24. Balos Lagoon, Kissamos, Greece

25. Black Sand Beach, Vik, Iceland

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