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Europe Beats the Caribbean in Tripadvisor’s Battle of the Beaches

Europe Beats the Caribbean in Tripadvisor’s Battle of the Beaches

Europe is officially home to the top three beaches in the world, out-ranking famous beach destinations like the Caribbean and Hawaii.

That’s according to Tripadvisor’s “Best of the Best Beaches” Travelers’ Choice Award for 2024. After analyzing millions of reviews left by real and recent visitors over the past year, the travel site found that Portugal, Italy, and Spain now boast the highest-rated stretches of shoreline.

Ka‘anapali Beach in Lahaina, Hawaii, came in fourth place, while the best-ranked Caribbean beach – Turks and Caicos’ Grace Bay Beach – had to settle for fifth.

The Tides Are Changing for Top-Ranked Shorelines

The Caribbean welcomed 23.62 million international arrivals in 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Yet there was a notable absence of the region’s beaches from podium positions in this year’s Tripadvisor award.

This is “a sign that some travelers are eager to swap typical resort vacations for the coastlines of Portugal, Italy, and beyond,” says Sarah Firshein, Head of Editorial at Tripadvisor, in a news release.

According to CNN, the top 10 list for the last three years has had three Caribbean entries: Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos, Varadero Beach in Cuba, and Eagle Beach in Aruba.

However, they have all slipped steadily down the rankings.

In 2022, they ranked first, second, and fifth, respectively. In 2023, Eagle Beach was runner-up, Grace Bay came fifth, and Varadero Beach was ninth. In 2024, Grace Bay stayed put, while Eagle Beach dropped to eighth position, and Varadero fell to tenth.

Europe Emerged on Top for 2024

Climbing the rankings from No. 6 in 2023, Praia da Falésia, found on Portugal’s south coast, is now the best beach in the world.

Praia da Falésia translates in English to Cliff Beach. Its colorful cliffs provide a striking backdrop to a six-kilometer crescent of golden sand and cerulean waters. It’s located in the heart of the Algarve and surrounded by the small fishing town of Olhos de Agua, meaning “eyes of the water.”

The beach’s Tripadvisor listing reveals its popularity among swimmers, bodysurfers, sunbathers, and walkers, especially on sunny days. It’s received Blue Flag recognition for its cleanliness and offers free parking, although it’s also easily accessible by public transport.

Similar beauty awaits at the world’s second-best beach, Spiaggia dei Conigli. Located on Lampedusa, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea, its name translates to “Rabbit Beach.”

However, visitors are more likely to encounter Caretta caretta, or loggerhead sea turtles, which come ashore to lay their eggs here. Besides marine life, Spiaggia dei Conigli is famous for its white sand and warm, crystal-clear waters, which are ideal for snorkeling.

La Concha Beach in Donastia-San Sebastián on Spain’s north coast claimed bronze. This large arc of golden sand falls right in the city, making it a popular spot for local and visiting beach lovers. Clear blue water, a lively atmosphere, and all the city’s amenities add to the appeal.

In 2023, Praia da Falésia and Spiaggia dei Conigli placed fourth and eighth in the top 10, respectively, while La Concha Beach didn’t feature.

Beaches in the United States Ranked Higher

U.S. beaches have fared well in previous years. In 2023, only Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach made the top 10. That same stretch of sand in Hawaii rose from tenth to fourth place this year.

A former getaway for Hawaiian royalty, Ka’anapali is a famous three-mile sandy beach with clear waters and lush, verdant surroundings.

It’s also renowned for the daily cliff diving ritual at Pu’u Keka’a or Black Rock. At sunset, someone lights torches along the cliff at the beach’s northern end before launching into the water below.

Meanwhile, the white sand, clear waters, family-friendly atmosphere, and endless activities took Florida’s Siesta Beach from No. 11 in 2023 to No. 9 this year.

A third U.S. beach deserves an honorable mention. Poipu Beach Park in Kauai, Hawaii, came fourteenth. It was right behind Reynisfjara Beach in Vik, Iceland — an iconic stretch of black sand featured in Game of Thrones and ranked No. 4 in 2023.

Beach Vacations Maintain Global Popularity

Although Europe, the Caribbean, and America again dominated Tripadvisor’s “Best of the Best Beaches” award, the 25 highest-rated shorelines encompass 18 countries across five continents.

Beaches in the Seychelles and Australia also ranked in the top 10. Mexico and Brazil feature multiple times, and stretches of sand in Indonesia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, and Tanzania made the list. This diverse set of destinations demonstrates the enduring popularity of beaches worldwide.

“It’s clear that our community absolutely loves them,” says Firshein.

By DANNY NEWMAN/Citizen Tribune

Originally published on, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.

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