World’s top beaches named by Flight Network

Qixingtan Beach, Taiwan

Happy New Year! 

The start of another year is a good time for must-see and must-do this that and the other lists, including places and experiences from around the world.

If you’re already planning a 2019 getaway somewhere special, online travel agency Flight Network has helpfully identified the top beaches across all continents with the support of 1,000 travel professionals. Judges included journalists, editors, bloggers and agencies. I was kindly asked for my own nominations. Being the well-seasoned traveller that I am, I was happy to oblige.

The index of 411 beaches is topped by perennial postcard favourite Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos, whose eye-searingly blue image has adorned office screensavers for decades (probably).

Shipwreck Beach is followed by Whitehaven Beach in Queensland, Hidden Beach in El Nido, Praia do Sancho in Pernambuco, and Tulum Beach in Quintana Roo – all suggesting that we all love a beach in the tropics more than anywhere.

Maya Bay in Phi Phi, Thailand, is curiously ranked 9th – while stunning, it’s currently closed to tourists, a victim of its own success.

A great beach needn’t be palm-fringed perfection, however. A suggestion of mine, Qixingtan Beach in Taiwan, was ranked 23rd among Asian beaches. It’s spectacular location, where 3,000 metre mountains drop sharply to meet crystal-clear waters of the Pacific, make it a winner in my eyes. 

In addition to listing beaches by continent, Flight Network has compiled untouched beaches and city beaches – the latter is useful if you’re planning to relocate as a digital nomad or professional this year. 

 You can see the full World’s Best Beaches for 2018 here.

Flight Network names World’s Best Journeys List for 2018

Road trip

As we head into summer (or winter, depending on your hemisphere), we can allow ourselves a respite from the usual to recharge body and soul.

They say that travel broadens the mind, and the most rewarding travel in my experience is through the trips themselves – hiking, biking, road trips, and boat rides, and whatever else that takes your fancy to get from A to B.

It’s one reason why digital nomads do what they do; you can either work from an office, or mix things up a little and do what you have to do while island-hopping across the Andaman.

Of course, some trips are better than others – anti-clockwise on the M25 isn’t the most inspiring journey in the world – which is why the FlightNetwork and more than 500 travel journalists, agencies, bloggers and editors┬ácame together to create the World’s Best Journeys list for 2018.

I consider myself a reasonably well-travelled person, but looking at the list of 50 journeys from around the world, I have a lot of catching up to do. Cruise to Alaska, yep – done that, and it’s a hai to the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo, but I have only completed bits and pieces from the others listed.

It’s tempting to say these are timeless trips. They are not. The world is changing quickly, and destinations such as Greenland, Alaska, Antarctica and Mont Blanc will not be the same with ice in retreat. Better to travel sooner rather than later – other things in life can wait.

Here are FlightNetwork‘s top 20:

  1. Expedition to Antarctica
  2. Cruise the Galapagos Islands
  3. Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway
  4. Trek to Machu Picchu
  5. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
  6. Drive Iceland’s Ring Road
  7. Cruise to Alaska
  8. Camino de Santiago
  9. Sail the Greek Islands
  10. Drive the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia
  11. Road Trip on Route 66
  12. Fjord Cruise in Norway
  13. Amazon River Cruise
  14. Explore the Italian Countryside
  15. Travel the Silk Road
  16. Drive the Amalfi Coast
  17. French Polynesia Coast
  18. Safari in Kruger National Park
  19. Drive the Great Ocean Road
  20. Hike along Cinque Terre

As for my own favourite journeys, it’s the usual smorgasbord of landscapes and experiences that were more personal than anything.

They included the road trip from Madrid to Almeria when I was a 20 year old student, joining others in drinking red wine as olive groves led to high mountain sierra; driving through the ember-hued Scottish Highlands during twilight having just scaled Ben Nevis; and seeing the jungle-clad Perhentian islands come into view as my buttocks collided repeatedly with the speedboat; among others.

FlightNetwork‘s list of top 50 journeys, that includes galleries and info on how to get to destinations (at the end of the day, FlightNetwork is an online travel agency), can be seen here.