The Global Beach Index: These are the best countries for beaches around the world

Every year millions of people travel all over the world in search of the perfect country to spend their time laying on beaches and soaking up the sun. These styles of holiday are still regarded as many consumers preferred type of holiday, with the lure of crystal-clear waters and warm sandy coastlines winning out over busy city breaks.

Beach holidays are highly competitive with hundreds of incredible contenders all over the world. Holidaymakers tend to look for beauty, the scope of options and how warm sea temperature are to ensure that they’re not let down by their chosen destination. However, more recently pollution has become a key factor when finding the best beach destination with plastic pollution becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Travellers are also becoming more interested in ecology, wildlife and activities leading people to search for countries that offer an array of vibrant marine wildlife for them to find when snorkelling and diving.

That’s why at Taxi2Airport we’ve ranked every country in the world on which has the best beaches, by analysis a variety of factors including the number of Blue Flag beaches – an esteemed award given to the world’s most environmentally friendly beaches, diversity of marine wildlife, sea temperatures, coastline, pollution of the ocean and how beautiful the beaches are. 

Results

The Global Beach Index: These are the best countries for beaches around the world

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Ranking as the top country for beaches in the world is Italy, with Spain not far behind. 

Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and is billed as a key getaway for those looking for culture, history and gorgeous weather. With coastline like the Amalfi Coast and islands like Sardinia, there’s a range of beaches available from miles of beautiful sand to hidden gems nestled between limestone cliffs. 

It’s no surprise then that Italy topped our list of the countries with the best beaches. The country ranked highly for almost every category, scoring top spots for its number of Blue Flag beaches, length of coastline, the myriad of marine wildlife, ocean health and Instagrammability. The country contains the fifth most Blue Flag beaches in the world with an incredible 384 while 0% of the country’s plastic is inadequately managed leading to excellent ocean health and clean seas. 

The Blue Flag is an esteemed accreditation offered to beaches by the Foundation for Environmental Education to beaches which meet its standard of environmental management across water quality, safety and public environmental education.

In second place is Spain, scoring similarly to Italy but with slightly less for Instagrammability eluding to Italy having more beautiful beaches. Spain is a popular tourist destination with plenty of beach destinations including Majorca, Costa del Sol and Alicante. The country has the most Blue Flag beaches of all other countries in the world with a staggering 557 and similarly to Italy, excellent ocean health.

The full top 10 best beach destinations are:

  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Brazil
  • UK
  • Portugal
  • Croatia
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • Turkey

Remarkably, six of the top ten countries are based in Europe including Greece, UK, Portugal and Croatia providing a strong case for the continent’s great beach tourism. All the European countries scored top marks for Blue Flag beaches with a combined 1989 of these shores situated in these six countries including some internationally acclaimed beaches such as Martinhal in Algarve, Portugal, Zlatni Rat in Brac, Croatia and Petani Beach in Kefalonia, Greece. 

These European countries also have the cleanest oceans of all other countries with most of their plastic waste managed correctly to ensure their oceans don’t become pollution. The results 

continue to show that the beaches in these countries are some of the most beautiful in the world with continuously high Instagrammability scores.

Typical tropical beach destinations such as Indonesia and Thailand which are known for having some of the most incredible beaches in the world missed out on the top ten due to their country’s incredibly poor ocean health. In fact, 81% of Indonesia’s plastic waste and 73% of Thailand’s were mismanaged leading to dirty seas and poor ocean condition.

Japan ranked in 9th spot, an up and coming beach destination that travellers may not normally associate with the country. However, Japan has 29,751 km of gorgeous coastline and an incredible 9100 variety of marine life to explore. The oceans are clean giving travellers the perfect chance to explore the ocean floors in search of rich wildlife. They have a concept called Satoumi which is the belief that human intervention can help lead to greater biodiversity in the country’s oceans, so people often participate in acts to conserve and help their marine wildlife.

The results by continent are as below:

  • Best beach destination in Europe: Italy
  • Best beach destination in South America: Brazil
  • Best beach destination in North America: Panama
  • Best beach destination in Oceania: Solomon Islands
  • Best beach destination in Africa: South Africa
  • Best beach destination in Asia: Indonesia

Methodology

To create our Global Beach Index, we looked at the following factors: 

  • Blue Flag Beaches
  • Coastline
  • Marine Life
  • Warm Seas
  • Ocean Pollution
  • Instagrammable Beaches

Using these categories, we established an overall Global Beach Index score by scoring each country out of 5 across the elements and totalling this together, allowing for the highest available total score of 30. Full dataset available on request.

Sources: