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21 dreamy destinations where you can see the bluest water in the world

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 09/07/2018 Laura Hampson

Girls play with sand on beach © Provided by Shutterstock Girls play with sand on beach We may be smack, bang in the middle of a muggy heatwave, but that doesn't mean we can't dream of being somewhere tropical.

From hidden water holes in the Pacific Islands to isles off the coast of Colombia and an island inhabited by swimming pigs, these are the locales where you can find some of the bluest waters in the world.

1. Cala Macarelleta, Menorca, Spain

a flock of birds flying over a body of water © Provided by Evening Standard Limited On the south western side of Menorca, this bay is a stunning mix of turquoise water and white sand beaches. The waters are shallow and clear which makes it a perfect swimming spot for families and you can usually get return flights for around £60.

2. Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) While New Zealand is on the opposite side of the world, once you get there you’ll see magic around every corner.

This little slice of paradise is called the Abel Tasman National Park, close to Nelson at the top of the South Island, it covers 231 square kilometres of land where you can go for walks and kayak through the pristine waters. Note: if you’re kayaking, watch out for the seals. They love to jump up on your kayak and hitch a ride.

3. Exuma, Bahamas

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) No visit to the Bahamas is complete without a stop at Exuma, a.k.a the pig beach. The district of Exuma is an archipelago of 365 islands, located just south of Nassau and only 40 minutes from Florida, USA. And the pigs have their own island and can often be found swimming in the lush waters.

4. Maldives

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) The Maldives has become the go-to destination for cashed-up honeymooners of recent years with every man and his new bride staying in an over-water bungalow, ‘gramming the sun setting over the ocean.

But what makes the Maldives so spectacular are the waters that surround the islands. Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are composed of 26 atolls and over 1,000 coral islands. Snorkelling is a must-do during your stay in the Maldives.

5. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

(Laura Hampson) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Laura Hampson) Hands down one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes can be visited at any time during the year – summer for warm weather, autumn for the changing leaves, winter for the snow-topped trees and spring for gorgeous blooms. But one thing stays consistent, the water is crystal blue all year round.

6. Belize

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) On the eastern coast of Central America you will find Belize, and its many beautiful blue beaches. Offshore you will find the massive Belize Barrier Reed, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands and home to rich marine life. While there, you need to visit the one blue hole to rule them all, Belize’s ‘Great Blue Hole’ - a giant submarine sinkhole that is 318 metres across and 124 metres deep.

7. Five Flower Lake, JiuhaiGou, China

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) China’s Five Flower Lake is part of the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area which is a world heritage site. The crystal clear blue waters show many ancient tree trunks that have fallen and now lie under the surface.

8. Arkoudaki beach near Lakka, Paxos, Ionian islands, Greece

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) While a trip to any of the Greek Islands will give you shimmering waters, the island of Paxos is one of the most stunning. Paxos’ Arkoudaki beach is small, secluded and rocky, and you have to follow a path to get down to it. Perfect if you don’t like sharing a beach with hundreds of other sun worshippers. 

9. Lagos in Ponta da Piedade, Algarve region, Portugal

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) No trip to the Algarve region of Portugal is complete without a swim in Lagos. With beaches stretching along the coast, you’ll find golden sands and clear water for as far as the eye can see - and you can get relatively cheap flights to Faro from London, to which Lagos is a short bus ride away.

10. Lake Attersee, Austria

(Laura Hampson) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Laura Hampson) Just outside of Salzburg (of Sound of Music fame) you will find Lake Attersee. Quintessentially Austrian, the lake is dotted with old-timey houses and in the summer fills with families coming for a swim on its shores. Make sure you go for a walk around the perimeter of the lake to find some hidden swimming spots.

Related: Things to research before travelling to new country (provided by Buzz60)

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11. Sua Ocean Trench, Upolu, Samoa

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Throughout all of the pacific islands you will find gorgeous, tropical waters but perhaps none so Instagram-worthy as Samoa’s Sua Ocean Trench. You need to climb down a ladder to reach the 30 metre deep swimming hole and bask in the beauty of it all.

12. Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta Canada

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) It feels like all of our friends are currently in Thailand, Japan or Canada – with Banff National Park being the must-see attraction of the moment. A highlight of Banff is Peyto Lake, a glacier-fed lake which was named after trail guide Bill Peyto.

The lake is an incredulous 2.8 kilometres long and is best seen from Bow Summit – for the iconic picture.

13. Blue Hole, Vanuatu

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) The Nanda Blue Hole (also known as Jackie's Blue Hole) is one of the most spectacular blue holes in Vanuatu. Located among the pacific islands, Vanuatu’s island of Santo is where you can find most of the nation’s blue holes. The Nanda Blue Hole, a lagoon and natural spring, is complete with a rope swing for thrill seekers.

14. Broome, Australia

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) While the west coast of Australia is the least-visited, it’s arguably the most beautiful. Less populated with more serene landscape and beaches, you’ll find bright blue waters in beaches near Broome. And with Qantas offering direct flights from London to Perth from April, visiting Western Australia has never been easier.

15. Lake Kayangan, Coron, Palawan Philippines

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Only accessible by a steep 10-minute climb, the waters of Lake Kayangan are nestled into the mountain walls. While the area can get quite busy, the water is like no other.

16. Thailand

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Thailand is filled with gorgeous waters but perhaps none so much as the islands off Phuket: Koh Tao and Koh Samui. Tourist havens, these islands will let you experience the party side of Phuket with a relaxing beach holiday thrown in the mix.

17. Islas del Rosario, Cartagena, Colombia

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Also referred to as the Corales Islas del Rosario, it is an archipelago located off the coast of Colombia and one of 46 Natural National Parks in Colombia. Think gorgeous beaches, fresh seafood and endless sun.

18. Island of Havelock on Andaman and Nicobar islands, India

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Known for its snorkelling and scuba diving, Havelock Island is the most popular of the Andaman Islands. If donning an oxygen tank isn’t your thing, then try a glass-bottomed boat to show you the incredible marine life.

19. Zanzibar, Tanzania

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa. With just five main roads, Zanzibar would definitely be an off-the-beaten-track experience but the powder white beaches, barrier reefs and the UNESCO World heritage site of Stone Town make it a must-visit.

20. Seychelles

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Before the Maldives, there were the Seychelles. The Seychelles are an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa and home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves.

21. St. John Island, US Virgin Islands

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Located in the picturesque Caribbean Sea, St. John is the smallest of the three US Virgin Islands. More than half of this island is covered by the Virgin Islands National Park, home to a number of wildlife including migratory birds like hummingbirds and cuckoos. In the blue waters, you’ll find mangroves and even spot the dolphins that inhabit the bays.

Related: Best solo travel destinations in Europe (provided by StarsInsider)



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