10 most popular beaches in the world

10 most popular beaches in the world
PHOTO: Shutterstock

This article was originally published on the global travel search engine Skyscanner.

Dreaming of days dozing in the sun, supine on your beach towel, with no distractions but the relaxing sound of lapping waves and a good book? Well, you might not fancy any of these popular patches of paradise.

They are the world's most crowded stretches of sand and for good reason: they're stunning and there's lots to see and do, from water-sports to people watching.

You'll have to fight to find your place, but it will be totally worth it: the clear waters will make you want to wake up at dawn to and grab the best spot - or maybe just tip a beach boy to throw down a towel for you on the sly while you stock up on your hotel's buffet breakfast.

Here are ten of the world's busiest beaches that you must visit at least once in your life. Keep an eye on the best flight prices, maybe by signing up to our price alerts emails, slather yourself in sunscreen and put on you're best bathing suit - we're going to the beach!

1. Polignano a Mare, Bari, Apulia, Italy

You can count on the town of Polignano a Mare, in the province of Bari, to provide beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and a charming atmosphere.

Situated on top a rocky cliff overlooking the sea, this is one of the most popular towns in the area and you can get there by flying to Bari's main airport and taking a 20 minute train ride.

Unsurprisingly, the beach is teeming with people at all times of the day.

To break away from the hordes why not enjoy a seafood dinner in one of the many restaurants along the beach - not quite on the sands but worth checking out for their seafood pastas and fresh catch of the day dishes is local favourite, Il Pescato Dispensa Di Mare, open for both lunch and dinner.

2. Scheveningen, Netherlands

Sheveningen is one of the most beautiful and popular beach resorts in Holland. Its shores are on the North Sea and are frequented by tourists coming from all over the world. If you love water sports you're in the right place - adrenaline junkies can get ther kicks windsurfing and kite boarding here.

If that's not your cup of tea you can always opt for a leisurely stroll along the pier, dine in one of the local restaurants near the waterfront or get your gald rags on for one of the frequent beach parties held here throughout the summer.

3. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Sicily

With its postcard views, rich marine life and a landscape that takes your breath away, Sicily has got to be on your holiday wishlist and the most popular beaches can be found on the island of Lampedusa, the largest of the Italian Pelagie Islands.

If you're in the area then check out Rabbit Beach in the south of the island, and go for a bit of snorkelling - with luck, you may come across some turtles, but you're guaranteed to see an array of colourful fishes occupying these waters.

If you're brave enough, take a dive off the top of the cliffs! 

4. Tropea, Calabria, Italy

Another Italian crowd-pleaser is the beach in Tropea, a small medieval city in Calabria (the toe of Italy's boot). This one's not for the faint-hearted however, as the blustery winds along the Tyrrhenian coast means swimmers should keep their wits about them.

But sun-worshippers flock here and it's particularly popular with Italian tourist from the north of the country.

Get in the sundowners and enjoy a cocktail from the top of the cliffs overlooking this gorgeous spot.

5. Marina Grande, Capri, Italy

The Marina Grande beach is sandwiched between two quays, and welcomes travellers into the port right on the Gulf of Naples. Look out at the glistening sea and watch the boats - by which we mean multi-million dollar yachts and other swanky sailing vessels - dock and depart from the harbour.

The Marina Grande is the largest beach on the island and an ideal starting point for a romantic tour by boat - take Gianni's boat out and explore this idyllic island's stunning shoreline, stopping at the White Grotto and Villa Malaparte along the way.

6. Nazare, Portugal

Nazare has managed to preserve many of its unique, traditional characteristics, making it one of the most popular holiday resorts in Portugal. To get the full effect of the beach's unique atmosphere, you want to head down on a Saturday afternoon during the summer months when families will be out enjoying the sands.

Alternatively, take a trip out to sea and learn about local fishing methods which have been used for generations and continue to be passed down. Make sure you take a trip to Sitio and head up the cliffs. It might be a trek, but the views are worth it!

7. Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ipanema (and it's girls, immortalised in the famous song once crooned by Frank Sinatra) is one of the world's most famous beaches. Here tourists, surfers and students all come together to take snaps of their toes in the golden sands, ride the waves or hang out with pals.

With its 9ft waves, endless sun and wild party scene, Ipanema certainly attracts large crowds, particularly at sunset which is one of the most picturesque times to visit. Settle in for the show as evening draws near and watch the day fade in the shadow of the Dois Irmãos mountain tothe west of Ipanema.

8. Biarritz, France

Time to get fancy: Biarritz is an elegant seaside town (no tacky Blackpool Pleasure Beach here) historically inhabited by the area's local aristocrats and society's well-to-do.

Today, holidaymakers come to ride the world-class waves, play a few rounds of golf or try their hand at cesta punta, a traditional sport loved by the locals and known as the world's fastest game. Warning: serious post-holiday blues may affect some people upon returning from this picture-perfect spot.

9. Valparaiso, Chile

In 2003 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and once you've visited you'll understand why - the town is full of colourful houses, original street art and murals, making it a bright and unique place to visit, with some sort of decoration on every corner. Valparaiso's bustling beach sits right on the Pacific Ocean.

For an idyllic afternoon, enjoy a manjar, a sweet milk-based dessert similar to a blancmange, whilst listening to the waves in one of the South Pacific's most important seaports.

10. Lloret de Mar, Spain

This is one of the most popular resorts in the Costa Brava, frequented for the most part by young Brits in search of sun, sand and cheap shots in some of Europe's livliest bars and nightclubs. But there's to to Lloret than lounging around working off a hangover: its beach is clean and surrounded by surprisingly pretty views.

It's a great spot to grab a selfie for the holiday Facebook status or to Whatsapp home to show everyone back in rainy Blighty what they're missing out on.

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