10 Gorgeous Beaches with the Clearest Water in the World

You don't need a crystal ball to tell you where your next vacation will be when you have these crystal clear waters waiting for you. Start packing!

1/10 View as List

Porto Katsiki—Lefkada, Greece

01-greece-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World-80454742-Anastasios-KandrisAnastasios Kandris/Shutterstock
Porto Katsiki Beach (which was formerly said to only be accessible by goats—hence its Greek translation of "Goat Port") is located on an island called Lefkada in the Ionian Sea. It can only be reached by taking narrow roads, which are usually congested with traffic, followed by walking down a small, winding staircase alongside a cliff. Taxi-boats are perhaps the least complex way to reach this secluded paradise. But rest assured, the journey is worthwhile. In fact, it is considered to be one of the 10 best beaches in the Mediterranean. (If you're looking for a closer, family-friendly destination, these are the best family beaches in the U.S. and Caribbean.)

 Fulhadhoo—Goidhoo, Maldives

02-maldives-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World_657452791-Michal-SenkMichal Senk/Shutterstock
Fulhadhoo is an island located in the middle of the alluring Indian Ocean. This island is ideal for those who truly want to see life through a native islander's eyes. Located two hours away by speedboat from the Maldivian mainland, with no tourist attractions and only one hotel, this is a true tropical getaway. With that in mind, travelers must abide by the natives' rules, which include no bikinis allowed outside of the west beach and the consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited. Surrounded by palm trees, coral reefs, colorful fish, and other marine life, you'll be finding every reason keep exploring the Maldives—like booking a reservation at this underwater restaurant

Ipil Beach—El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines

03-philippines-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World_600090101-Galyna-AndrushkoGalyna Andrushko/Shutterstock
Ipil Beach is known to be free of tourists and many travelers find that they are the only ones on the beach during their visit, with the exception of some locals. Visitors can expect to see monkeys, a plethora of chromatic coral, palm trees, and friendly turtles. The backdrop of the mountains makes for incredible scenery, and the sunset is said to be remarkable. (If you can't make it to the Philippines, check out any of these gorgeous beaches in the U.S.)

Dam Trau—Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Vietnam

04-vietnam-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World_423296596-Jimmy-TranJimmy Tran/Shutterstock
Dam Trau Beach is fairly close to an airport, so visitors can expect to see some occasional low-flying planes. (Speaking of planes, here's how to make the long flight there a first-class experience.) Otherwise, the beach is surrounded by parts of a tropical jungle, a forest plentiful with bamboo, and pine trees, offering visitors an enchanting feel of being in their own little world. Dam Trau can be reached by a rather bumpy and muddy road, which ultimately opens up to an incredible view of the sea, three small beach restaurants, hammocks, fine white sand, and little to no tourists. 

Devil's Bay—Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

05-virgin-islands-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World_494427157-abbyweaveoabbyweaveo/Shutterstock
Devil's Bay can be reached by boat, an easy walk down a path, or a 30-minute hike through the Baths, which requires a great deal of climbing and crawling around granite boulders. Pro tip: If you choose the hiking path, it'll have amazing benefits for your brain! Regardless of how you get there, these crystal clear waters will make you wonder why you've never visited before. The boulders at Devil's Bay also make the paradise unique, forming arches, grottos, tidal pools, tunnels, and, of course, the maze on the way down. They also make for an interesting dive around and down the sides of the boulders that are partially submerged in the water.

Elephant Beach—Havelock Island, India

Perhaps best known for its water sports, Elephant Beach is definitely a destination for adventure-seekers. Scuba diving, snorkeling (the vibrant reef starts at just 5 feet deep), trekking, riding in a seaplane, fishing, glass-bottomed boat rides, and even sea walking (where visitors are provided with a helmet to breathe underwater while they explore the seafloor).

Rabbit Beach—Sicily, Italy

07-italy-shutterstock_Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World-Giuseppe-TracaGiuseppe Traca/Shutterstock
Rated the best beach in the world by TripAdvisor in 2013, this island in Italy is located 105 miles away from the mainland. Aside from its beauty, history is engraved in its rocky grottos. Once inhabited by Arabs, Greeks, and Romans, scuba-diving in these waters could lead to the discovery of historic remains (similar to this underwater sculpture park!). History isn't just located at the bottom of the ocean though, visitors can spot prehistoric huts ashore and hike through astounding, lush trails. Fun fact: There aren't actually that many rabbits.

Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach—Zakynthos, Greece

08-greece-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World_550112938-Michail-Makarov-FTMichail Makarov/Shutterstock
Originally known as Agios Georgios, Shipwreck Beach (also known as Navagio Beach) is quite literally a beach with a shipwreck washed ashore. (Did you know there are thousands of shipwrecks under Lake Eerie?) While the mysterious shipwreck (with many legends surrounding its placement) is what predominantly lures in the crowds, the beach's clear waters is another draw. The only way to reach this beach is by sea, but the view from the hiking trails and the tourist platform at the top of the cliffs above is what's really spellbinding. 

Tropic of Cancer Beach—Little Exuma, Bahamas

09-bahamas-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World_500528359-jpattjpatt/Shutterstock
Tropic of Cancer Beach (also known as Pelican Beach) is the longest beach on Little Exuma, with a span of over a mile. It can be reached after venturing down a long, dirt road. The water is especially transparent with no obstructions like coral or rocks. With a lack of vendors and tourists (due to its hidden location), this beach is a true oasis.

Hanauma Bay—Honolulu, Hawaii

10-hawaii-Beaches With the Clearest Water in the World_121434379-Sanchai-KumarSanchai Kumar/Shutterstock
Rated the #1 beach in the U.S. in 2013, Hanauma Bay should be obligatory on your beach bucket list. Created by a volcanic eruption tens of thousands of years ago and located on Oahu Island, this bay is a marine life conservation area. Prior to first-timers entering the bay area, everyone is required to watch a nine-minute video about conserving marine life and preservation. Three thousand visitors (used to be 10,000 or more before there was a population control rule put into place) make their way to Honolulu every day to spend time with the exotic marine life, tranquil waves, and glistening white sand—and the reason why is clear (just like the water). To prepare for your Hawaiian getaway, brush up on these popular Hawaiian phrases.

1/10 View as List

Become more interesting every week!

The Reader's Digest "Read Up" Newsletter

We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.