A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. Generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in size to smallest, they are: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
Flat, dry and dotted hotels, cafes, and restaurants ranging from the low end to the high end, Santa Maria, on Sal Island in Cape Verde, is a windsurfers haven with pool-blue waters.
The original capital of Côte d’Ivoire, the colonial town of Grand Bassam suffered a decline from its heyday as a seaport until the 1930s, but that led to its revival as a resort town beginning in the 1960s, and now it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Palms line its biscuit-colored shore, and you’ll be hard pressed to beat its Ivorian seafood.
An old fishing village 90 miles north of Cape Town, Paternoster is defined by its cottages with white-washed walls and thatched roofs, and these days, several serve as lovely B&Bs.
Otherwise known as “Sunset Beach,” North Island in Seychelles is where giant tortoises graze in the grass, the sea turns pink as the sun sets, and the West Beach Bar buzzes with the low hum of famous voices–celebrities like George and Amal Clooney, and Prince William and Kate Middleton have honeymooned here, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you.
Off the western coast of France in the Bay of Biscay, Île de Ré is known as the “White Island” by locals due to both its soft, pale sand and the elegant waterfront houses painted in neutral colors. Windswept dunes and pine forests, like the beautiful, Hamptons-like Plage des GollandièresI, back its long, flat stretches of beach—making every beach on the island Instagrammable (no filter needed). Make sure to stop into one of the many beachfront oyster “cabanes,” or boardwalk shacks, to enjoy fresh-caught fruits de mer.
Despite high tourist traffic to the Algarve region, this tiny, secluded cove has (amazingly) remained somewhat under the radar. You won’t find any umbrellas, beach chairs, water sports, or beach bars here; just a golden lick of sand, cool crystalline waters, sea caves, and natural rock pools—which is precisely why you should visit. Added bonus? Thanks to the ochre cliffs on both sides of the beach, the water is always calm and perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Located on the sun-bleached southwestern coast of Menorca, the tranquil Cala Macarella is the ideal escape from the congested beaches of nearby Mallorca and Ibiza. Getting there is a trek: you can either hike two miles along the cliffs from nearby Cala Galdana, or drive on a rough and winding road from Ciutadella and hike an additional 20 minutes through a pine forest to get there (phew). But its ultra-fine sand and calm turquoise waters are well worth the effort.
Also known as Shipwreck Beach due to the ancient freighter buried at its center, Navagio is easily the most beautiful stretch of sand in Greece. It’s sheltered by sheer limestone cliffs and is so isolated that you can only access it by boat. While you can spend all day sunning on its powdery sands, its beauty is best appreciated from the viewing platform in the cliffs above (just follow the signs to the Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery).
Cañaveral, Arrecifes, La Piscina and El Cabo are 4 popular beaches to visit in Colombia’s Tayrona National Park. Travelers looking for beaches that are off-the-beaten-path should try one of these beach destinations, but remember to pack light. Cañaveral Beach is the only beach reachable by car. The other 3 beaches will require a hike to reach the sandy shore, which is ideal for eco-friendly tourists and backpackers.