The Five Most Photogenic Beaches Around the World

The Five Most Photogenic Beaches Around the World

Seascapes have always been one of my favorite subjects to photograph. For most of my travels, I visit and photograph at least one spectacular coastline, and in this article, I share the five most photogenic beaches I have photographed so far.

I'm aware that the title of this article might be a bit of a stretch. After all, I haven't visited every beach in the world. That's not possible. The list I share below is personal, and it might even change in the future as I explore more coastlines during my travels. But, I'm sure you'll get some inspiration from it.

The Most Photogenic Beaches

Let me first make a distinction between photogenic and spectacular. The beaches I share below are not the most spectacular beaches I've visited so far. There are certainly more dramatic coastlines around the world.

But not every spectacular beach or coastline is also photogenic. I often find myself in places that look awesome. But for many, composing a photo that captures their raw beauty is difficult. There might be no good foreground, or the shape of the coastline might not allow for a balanced composition, for example.

With the beaches below, there's no lack of photographic opportunities. If you decide to visit, you still need to plan in time for scouting and finding the best vantage points. But it will not be too hard to find those.

Praia Da Adraga in Europe

I've visited Praia da Adraga multiple times during three visits to Portugal over the past 11 years. I can't get enough of it. The reason for that is not only the dramatic cliffs and spectacular sea stacks that line the length of this beach. What draws me back is its changing nature.

If you visit this beach during the winter months, it can look different every day. In 2011, during my first visit, the beach lost more than one meter of elevation during the week I spent in the area. At first, it was a sandy beach with only the largest sea stacks sticking out of the sand. Until the end of the week, wind and water had uncovered rocks everywhere.

Because of that, it's possible to come up with slightly different compositions during nearly every visit.

The best time to visit is, in my opinion, between late autumn and early spring. With the dynamic weather along the Portuguese coast, there's a good chance for dramatic light at sunset. In addition to that, you'll also get plenty of waves, which makes photographing this beach exciting.

As for the tides, I prefer to photograph Praia da Adraga during receding tide, starting the shoot when the tide is about halfway out.

Whisky Bay in Australia

In 2016, I traveled along Australia's east coast in a campervan for six weeks. I visited many spectacular coastlines along the way, including the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. But the beach I found to be the most photogenic was Whisky Bay in Wilson's Promontory Park.

I have a video available, in which I explain my planning for a sunset shoot at Whisky Bay. In it, you see the wealth of images I created in just one hour of photography during a spectacular sunset there.

That I was able to find so many compositions in such a short amount of time speaks for the photogenic nature of this beach.

If you ever want to photograph it, I recommend staying at the nearby Tidal River Campsite. From there, it's just a short drive over to Whisky Bay. You'll also want to make sure your visit coincides with low tide. Otherwise, you cannot explore the rocks on the right side of the beach.

Uvita Beach in Costa Rica

If your goal is to photograph a tropical beach lined by hundreds, if not thousands of palm trees, then Uvita beach is the right place to go. When we planned our travels through Costa Rica, I was skeptical about its photographic potential. Unlike Praia da Adraga or Whisky Bay, it doesn't boast rocks and sea stacks.

But the beauty of Uvita beach lies in its mirror-like sand. During low tide, you can create incredible reflection images along this beach. If you look closely, you'll find tiny details to use as foreground interest.

I was also able to create a photo there, which I had pre-visualized for many years already. One evening I took a massive panorama of the beach, in which the beach appears as an island. In this photo, you can see how massive Uvita beach is.

Since it's part of the Marino Ballena National Park, you have to pay a fee of $6 to enter the beach, and there are opening hours. If you purchase your ticket the day before, you can get in as early as 6 am the next morning. It gives you just enough time to get in for sunrise. But the best time to photograph it is during sunset.

I have a detailed article about Uvita available on my homepage. There I explain how to get there, where to stay, and what else to photograph in the area.

Bandon Beach in the USA

Unfortunately, I could only spend one evening at this magnificent beach in Oregon during a visit to the US back in 2013. One evening was much too short to do this beach justice. It's full of sea stacks of different sizes and shapes. It's a sheer endless amount of subjects.

One of the most picturesque sea stacks is the formation that looks like a wizard's hat. To photograph it properly, you have to time your photoshoot right. I was there during low tide, which allowed me to explore many of the rocks that litter the beach. But for more drama, I think an incoming tide would have been better.

The best time to photograph this west-facing beach is, similar to the other beaches in this article, during sunset. Weather-wise, you should avoid the hazy marine layer you'll often get in summer. It can kill any chance of a colorful sunset. As with Praia da Adraga, the time from late fall and early spring should bring the most dynamic weather.

Anse Source D'Argent on the Seychelles

To round off this article, I have a paradise beach for you. It's not without reason that Anse Source D'Argent was the set of the popular Bacardi add from 1991. With granite rocks jutting out of the crystal clear water and palm trees lining the coast, it's a dream not only for photographers.

Storms are taking their toll on this beach and other beaches of the Seychelles though. I have visited twice with a few years in between, and many of the palm trees you see in older images are long gone. Hence the best subjects are the granite rocks, of which there are plenty.

To get the most out of this beach photographically, head there between low and medium tide. High tide will make it hard to find any foreground, while on low tide, you can explore around the rocks to find captivating perspectives.

Because the beach faces towards the west, sunset is the best time to photograph it. By then, most of the day visitors should also have left, and if you catch a receding tide, there should also not be too many footprints.

Similar to Uvita beach, there's an entrance fee, which is currently around $8.

Now that I shared my favorite beaches, let's hear about yours in the comments.

Michael Breitung's picture

Michael Breitung is a freelance landscape and travel photographer from Germany. In the past 10 years he visited close to 30 countries to build his high quality portfolio and hone his skills as a photographer. He also has a growing Youtube channel, in which he shares the behind the scenes of his travels as well as his knowledge about photo editing.

Log in or register to post comments

I've only been to one of those, Whiskey Beach in Wilson's Prom. I thought the beach by Whale rock more memorable. I thought Haukland Beach in Lofoten the most beautiful beach I've been at. The are lots of beaches in Ireland much more beautiful than the examples above. Zanzibar has a number of beautiful beaches too. In the eye of the beholder I suppose.

Cape Town's beaches should be at the top of this list. Clifton, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Muizenberg just to name a few of the beaches European ad agencies fly to, to use in advertising for their own beaches.

They were on the list but someone stole the photos đŸ¤£

Let's add a few beaches: Playa de la ArnĂ­a in Cantabria, Playa de Campiechos in Asturia, Cala Mitjana in Menorca, Uttakleiv strand in Lofoten Islands, Elgol Beach in Scotland.

How about Iceland, some spectacular beaches there

guess it depends on what your looking for

Takapuna Beach, Auckland, New Zealand.
Fantastic view of Auckland's most recent volcano, Rangitoto Island.
Lovely golden sand.
New Zealand’s only example of a fossil forest preserved in a lava flow.

Whatipu (west of Oakland), Three sisters, Wharaiki and Motukiekie (low tide only) were my favorites! All practical empty in november.
And the famous Cathedral cove at sunset before the crowd.

The most beautiful coast line i've seem is the often overlooked (less touristy) Spanish Atlantic coast. From Basque country to Galicia. Many beaches with sea stacks, crazy shapes and colors and beautiful bays to choose from. And i agree with the Portuguese pick. The first beach south of that was magical too.
New Zealand had some incredible beaches (big as well). The wet and green northwest coast of south island was impressive. Some Oregon beaches, Frenchmen's cove on Jamaica and the black beaches at north east Bali also.