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The 10 best beach holiday destinations for 2019

It may be mid-summer madness right now but if you’re anything like us, you’re still planning for those long months ahead, where the days are shorter and colder. 

Enter, 2019’s most popular beach break destinations, as voted by you guys as part of our wider 2019 Travel Trends poll (which you can clock the results of here). 

 

Sri Lanka

This tiny, tear-drop shaped island in the Indian Ocean is an absolute pocket rocket. Just an eight-hour drive from north to south, it manages to fit in eight UNESCO sites, 26 national parks and dozens upon dozens of beaches, hikes and tea plantations.

This means you can easily combine your beach break with incredible wildlife-watching opportunities, culture aplenty, lovely locals, beautiful temples and some pretty epic cuisine.

Where to go: Sri Lanka’s west coast has the sand, the palm trees and the surf to trigger the pamper muscles in any wandering traveller. The well-trodden beaches of Negombo, just north of the capital Colombo, is a major draw. To the south, the bouji boutiques of Bentota are peppered along a stretch of golden and uncrowded sands.

Backpackers can get party-happy at the popular town of Hikkaduwa (keep an eye out for turtles), and surfers can get surf-happy at way out east at Arugam Bay.

When to go: Sri Lanka has a lot of weather for such a small country. Despite its two monsoon seasons, it’s still a pretty good bet as a year-round destination.

If you’re after some much-needed beach time, booking a trip between January and April is your best bet. Temperatures hover around the mid-30s in April, the hottest and driest month of the year.

December through to January is a very busy time in Sri Lanka. So, although you can find quiet spots off the beaten track, you’ll need to book well in advance.

Interested? Read our Sri Lanka travel guide!

 

The Maldives

White sands, blue skies, crystal-clear waters and coral reefs teeming with life; we’ve all heard about The Maldives. Once solely the domain of honeymoon couples and high-flyers, the 1,200-strong island nation is now opening up more local islands for more budget-friendly travellers.

Top tip – hop aboard a traditional dhoni for a seven-day cruise, soak up the sun, snorkel in the clear waters and see these extraordinary islands from the sea, for a fraction of the price of one of the ultra-lux land-based resorts.

Where to go: With so many islands to choose from (around 200 are inhabited), it can be hard to know where to start when talking about The Maldives.

You’re bound to pass through the compact capital Male at some point, but why not join our Maldives Island Hopping Adventure? It’ll allow you the chance to explore some of the local islands, such as Maafushi, Guaridhoo and Hulhumale. Enjoy beach barbecues, dine with local families and cruise in search of dolphins – this is the life.

When to go: Peak season for The Maldives is between December and April when the climate is drier, it’s less windy and the weather is hotter.

It should be noted that each island in the archipelago has its own microclimate, but there are general patterns that occur throughout the year. May, June, October and November tend to have the most rain.

All sound too dreamy to be true? It isn’t, with cruises and island hopping tours starting from $1199, and hotel deals from $107 per night

 

Bali

Bali’s impossibly beautiful coastline has to be seen to be believed – no postcard can do it justice. With its azure seas, verdant rice paddies and coral-flecked beaches, it’s an island that has been a haven for sun-worshippers, yogis and surfers alike for many years.

Wake up on palm-fringed beaches, go hiking in lush jungles and party hard on Kuta’s infamous strip. Looking for something a bit more chilled? Crack open a Bintang and watch the sunset from the comfort of a hammock on any one of the other beaches, including those on the neighbouring Gili Islands – bliss.

Where to go: Bali is a beach lover’s paradise. Aside from the raucous nightly parties, most travellers head to Kuta for the vast beach and primo surf breaks. Down the coast, Seminyak and Legian offer a more laid-back version of their in-your-face neighbour; think yoga, five-star resorts and beach side massages.

On the other side of the coast, Sanur offers low-key beachside lounging, whereas the more mellow surroundings of Nusa Lembongan in the south, are THE place to be if you’re looking to ‘hang ten’… and swim with the resident turtles and manta rays.

When to go: The best time to visit Bali is generally during the winter months of May to August when the weather is at its driest and the days are long and sun-kissed. The surf’s up in Bali all year round, but the conditions change with the seasons. During the dry season (May-October), the easterly winds create ideal swells on the west coast. When it’s wet season (November-April), the change of wind direction gives the east coast its turn of epic breaks.

Check out our Bali holidays starting from $419 here – that’s flights and accommodation for a week – or get inspired some more with our Bali travel guide.

 

The Whitsundays

 
 
 
 
 
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An archipelago of 74 castaway islands dotted across the Coral Sea, The Whitsundays are one of Australia’s biggest draws.

Five of the islands have resorts, but the other 69 are deserted. This is where to go if you’re looking for back-to-nature basics. Snorkelling and sailing are the major draws to this region, and you’re practically guaranteed a chance to swim alongside some of the resident green turtles if you take a dip.

And just because it’s on the same patch of land you are right now, it doesn’t make it any less appealing. Whitehaven is claimed by many to be the Best Beach in the World… so why even leave Australia for your next beach escape!?

Where to go: The jumping off point to these beautiful ribbons of sand is Airlie Beach on the mainland, so it’s inevitable that you’ll end up here at some point. It’s a coastal hub and lively party town, so it’s a great place to meet other travellers and have a good time. From Airlie, there are plenty of options to explore the region, but hopping aboard a catamaran or yacht for a couple of days is the most popular option by far.

Whitehaven Beach is pretty much a given on most itineraries, but Hamilton and Daydream Islands are others that are pretty popular.

Looking for something pretty special? Don’t miss out on a flight over the aptly-named Heart Reef. Your Instagram followers will love it!

When to go: There’s no bad time to visit The Whitsundays per se, but you should be aware of ‘stinger season’ which runs from October through to May. The weather is beautiful at this time of year, but you’ll need to wear wetsuits in order to swim for your own safety.

 

Fiji

The word ‘paradise’ gets thrown around a fair bit, but if anywhere in the world was deserving of this description, it’s definitely Fiji. White sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and super-friendly locals are the order of the day here, and you’ll soon find yourself winding down to Fiji Time… (psst, it’s real sloooow). 

This is ‘castaway’ in the best sense of the word. Come to escape, re-energise or both.

Where to go: Your first port of call will likely be Nadi, situated on the western coast of Viti Levu. It’s a busy commercial town with plenty of backpacker spots, so it’s a great place to meet other travellers.

The beaches of the Coral Coast are not far away and are well worth a look, but if its paradise you’re after, then your best bet is the Yasawas or Mamanucas. Think picture-perfect beaches, underwater caves, manta rays and some pretty epic sunsets.

When to go: The best time to visit Fiji, and the most comfortable, is during the dry season between May and October.

The summer months from November to April are known as the wet season when temperatures rise to a fairly constant 31°C but with greatly increased humidity. Rainfall during these months is substantially higher so you should expect some pretty heavy showers at times.

Want more info? Check out our Fiji travel guide, or hop straight onto a Fiji beach break here.

 

Hawaii

With their palm-fringed beaches, mighty cliffs, fiery volcanoes and verdant rainforests, the islands of Hawaii boast some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere on Earth.

And it’s not all about the scenery. The surf is some of the best in the world, the beaches are to die for and friendly locals are more than happy to chat over a cocktail or two. Say “aloha” to Hawaii.

Where to go: Honolulu on Oahu is all about skyscrapers, surf beaches (hello Waikiki) and plenty of coconut cocktails. Don’t forget to wear your Hawaiian shirt.

Maui, to the north, is famous for its resorts and its adventure activities; think whale watching, surfing, diving and sailing. Life on Maui is lived outside, so grab it by the rocks and make the most of it!

Kaui is covered head to toe in tropical rainforest is where to go for scenery. Its landscapes are some of Hawaii’s most diverse; look familiar? That’s because ‘Jurassic Park’ was filmed here!

Big Island is all about tropical beaches, aquamarine waters and the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea (yep, really).

When to go: There’s no bad time to go to Hawaii per se, but between March and September sees the least rain and highest temperatures.

It’s wetter and marginally cooler during the rest of the year, though October through to November is when the islands are at their most peaceful. For surfers, January to March is your best bet.

Ready? Visit our full Hawaii travel guide 

 

Thailand

 
 
 
 
 
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Well-established on the traveller circuit, Thailand’s reputation already precedes it thanks to its temples, beaches, street food and sterling coral reefs. And with 514,000km squared if it, there’s plenty to go around.

Where to go: Thailand is hugely diverse, so there’s plenty to see and do whatever you fancy.

Bangkok is all about golden palaces, giant Buddhas, floating markets and 24-hour jollies on Khao San Road. The former pirate’s hangout of Koh Tao boasts some of the country’s best dive sites. Fingers crossed for whale sharks!

For the famous full-moon party, Koh Phangan is where it’s at; for something slightly more chill, head for rugged Koh Chang, unspoilt Koh Lanta or the warm and friendly island of Koh Yao Yai.

When to go: Thailand is great all year round, but sun-seekers may want to avoid the wet seasons. The Andaman Coast gets bursts of tropical rain April to October, the Gulf Islands from September to December.

Temperatures in the north are cool and dry from November to February, making it ideal for trekking.

Find out more with our Thailand travel guideor nab yourself a beach break right here.

 

Vanuatu

 
 
 
 
 
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An island archipelago situated right in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu is all about deserted beaches, rugged scenery and world class  diving.

But there’s a lot that makes Vanuatu unique from it’s other neighbours. Like the tribe that worships Prince Philip, the fact that bungy jumping was invented on Pentecost Island (the Kiwis just stole it), and the fact you can stay overnight right by the world’s most accessible active volcano. It’s also the world’s fourth happiest country – so get read to smile. 

Where to go: There are three main tourist destinations within the Vanuatu island chain: the islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo (commonly just “Santo”) and Tanna.

Facing a scenic bay sprinkled with islets, the compact and likeable capital, Port Vila on the island of Efate, provides a surprisingly broad range of places to stay and eat, some with a definite French flavour. 

Considerably less developed is Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island. Northwest of Efate, it attracts those looking for adventure and R&R in equal measure. Tanna is where to head if you’re looking for volcanoes, rainforests and empty beaches; Malekula on the other hand is where to go if you’re looking to really get-off-the-map.

When to go: April through to October is the best time to visit; days are balmy, there is plenty of sun and less chance of rain.

Avoid the tropical cyclone season which normally runs from November to March. Throughout this period there is a high risk of strong winds and heavy rains with associated flooding, landslides and road closures.

 

 

Greece

It’s a mad world out there, and we could all benefit from a tahini piece of paradise (get it?) now and again. Enter the Greek islands, bobbing away in the midst of the azure Aegean Sea and laden with all the good things. Like feta cheese, olives, sun, sand and mythical legends.

Whitewashed fishing villages and mouth-watering mezes take centre stage until sundown, then it’s on to ouzo and plate-cracking parties lasting til the hot pink sunrise. Yammas!

Where to go: Greece has 6,000 islands in total, all scattered across both the Aegean and Ionian Seas, so it can be hard to know where to start when planning a trip. Thankfully, only 227 are inhabited, so that makes things slightly easier.

Many see their introduction as the capital Athens, packed with museums, modish restaurants and ancient monuments. From there, it’s up to you. If you’re feeling flashy, make for the islands of Mykonos, Santorini or Ios. The nightlife here is legendary; hey, if it’s good enough for Lindsay Lohan, it’s good enough for you!

For something more chilled out, head west to the greener islands of Kefalonia, Corfu or Zakynthos. More popular with locals, these will also be slightly easier on the old wallet.

When to go: Generally speaking, the best time to visit Greece is during the Spring and early Summer (April to June) or Autumn (September to mid-October).

This way, you avoid the Summer high season (July and August) when hordes of tourists, inflated prices and scorching temperatures can make things uncomfortable.

Many islands shut down over the Winter, so double check if you’re wanting to visit during this period.

 

Croatia

The rumours are all true – Croatia is the coolest new holiday destination in Europe. Tucked in between central Europe and the Balkans with a Mediterranean coastline to boot, Italy’s neighbour Croatia doesn’t scrimp on anything.

The Adriatic Coastline, including heavy-hitters Split and Dubrovnik, take care of the cocktails, the parties, the world class music festivals and the yacht cruises. There’s also fresh seafood, colourful bays and some of Europe’s most beautiful seaside towns, framed by the imposing Dalmatian Mountains, all the way down this country.

Where to go: Nothing says ‘carefree summer’ quite like jumping on a boat and sailing around the Croatian Islands, known for their beaches, waterbomb-worthy waters.

Tie in picture-perfect beaches with culture in Split, Hvar and Dubrovnik, the so-called Pearl of the Adriatic. Fun fact: it’s where the Red Keep set from Game of Thrones is filmed! Look out Cersei Lannister…

When to go: Croatia’s weather follows two distinct patterns. The coast is typically Mediterranean with warm summers from June-September and mild winters.

Further inland, the weather pattern is typically continental; temperatures are hotter during the summer months, but winters can be freezing, particularly during the months of December, January and February.

 

So, where are you thinking? You see, we may be a youth travel company specialising in Round the World trips and high-octane adventures, but even we need to kick back and do nothing sometimes. Check our all of our flight and accommodation package deals here.