We all need oceanside chillaxing, crystal clear waters, salty swims and lashings of sunshine in our life (and maybe a cocktail or two to wash it all down), so grab your bikini and get ready to lounge, because here are Bali's best beaches for your sun-soaked bucket list.
Cool ocean breezes, salty hair, sun-kissed skin and that book you’ve been dying to get stuck into for months – beach life doesn’t get much better than that, right? Well, here in paradise, we like to add in a few sunset cocktails to our palm-studded seaside hangs, a couple of postcard-perfect hidden bays, world-class surfing and a never-ending trail of unspoiled coral reefs, because Bali is blessed with countless natural wonders, and we’ve taken the liberty to explore the very best of them. After all, someone had to do it…
So pack your sunscreen, wrap up your sarong and prep your summer playlist, because you’ll want to tick off Bali’s 15 best beaches, from secret bays with the ultimate surf waves, to the most family-friendly waters and dreamy diving destinations. Holiday mode is officially on!
1. Seminyak Beach – best for the hedonists
If you want to be in the heart of Bali’s oceanfront action, then Seminyak Beach is the place for you. Along this impressive 5km stretch of powdery white sand, you’ll find beach bars aplenty, five-star hotels and restaurants just footsteps from the waves, and world-famous beach clubs dotting the sand. Beginning on the outskirts of crazy Kuta, trailing all the way up to the coastal corners of Canggu, Seminyak Beach is a holiday destination in itself. Learn to surf in the gentle whitewash of the waves, soak up the sunshine on a squishy sun bed, or settle into a comfy, colourful beanbag at La Plancha for a round of sundowners – Ibiza-style beats included.
2. Balangan Beach – best for surf & sunbathing
Located in the South of Bali on the Bukit Peninsula, Balangan Beach is best known amongst the island’s surfing crowds and those looking for a laid back beach experience without the throng of touristic beach clubs. Ocean babies can enjoy the aquamarine waters at high tide, and sunbathers can lie beneath the many loungers and umbrellas that line the sandy beach. This quiet strip is still fairly underdeveloped with just a few local warungs [little wooden shacks serving home-cooked Indonesian food and icy cold Bintangs], and since it’s blessed with awesome waves for both beginners and pros, Balangan is for the surfy, backpacker types who prefer cool tropical vibes over a pumping party scene.
3. Echo Beach – best for people watching
What was once the go-to destination for a romantic beachfront barbecue has now become one of the coolest oceanfront spots to see and be seen. Echo Beach is the watering hole of Canggu [quite literally] with countless surf spots in every direction and shabby-chic bars dotted along the black sands to enjoy the views. And what a view there is. Expect gorgeous beach babes in their Brazilian-cut bikinis, scruffy haired surfer dudes with sun-kissed bods, and beloved Bali dogs with their expat owners taking a sunset stroll. This lively, community-vibe coastline goes from a playground of sun and surf by day, to a wild party spot by night. Bring an acoustic guitar for extra street cred, and don’t forget some dog treats.
4. Sundays Beach Club – best for exclusivity
Another South Bali gem, Sundays Beach Club at the Ungasan Clifftop Resort boasts a private white sand bay, stunning turquoise blue waters and an offshore coral reef housing Nemo and his friends. Hidden discretely at the bottom of a dramatic cliff face, this paradisal spot can only be reached by an inclinator taking you directly to the club. Don’t miss the bonfires on the beach at sunset, and come hungry because you’ll want to tuck into the delicious island-inspired menu by famed Aussie chef, James Viles. Just be sure to leave enough space for some serious water-based frolicking, like snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking the crystal clear waters.
5. White Sand Beach (Pasir Putih) – best for road trippers
Pasir Putih, also known as White Sand Beach, is a remote, off-the-beaten-path beach that rewards the most adventurous of road trippers. It’s located on the East Coast of Bali, near to the village of Candidasa, and with its pristine soft white sands that dramatically contrast to its volcanic black sand neighbours, it seriously stands out. When you see the “white sand beach” sign, follow the dirt track until you reach the carpark. You’ll spot the line up of local seafood BBQ stalls [perfect for a sea view lunch] and the calm, clear waters that make White Sand Beach a lovely spot for swimmers, too.
6. Jimbaran Bay – best for seafood sunsets
This long, expansive, soft white sand beach is not only well known for its gorgeous scenery [the glittering sands stretch for a full 3km], but also as the spot where local fishermen sell their fresh-from-the-net fish each morning at the bustling markets. As the island’s seafood hub, it’s no surprise then that you’ll also find a number of beachfront barbecues dotted along the coastline, cooking up the day’s catch for your grazing pleasure as the sun sets. For a romantic seafood dinner, head to the bay before dark and choose your ocean treats straight from the water tanks to devour just a few minutes later, or if it’s sunshine you’re after, find a quiet spot away from the stalls and enjoy the calm waters from dawn until dusk.
7. Padang Padang Beach – best for bay-watching
You might recognise this beautiful bay from the ever-famous “Eat, Pray, Love” movie, where Julia Roberts falls head over heels for her Brazilian hunk. Chances are, you’ll fall in love here too, not only with the bronzed surfer crowds, but with the calm cove-like waters rolling off the bright white bay, framed by dramatic rock formations and bordered by world-class waves. Though Padang Padang is a relatively small beach about 10 minutes north of Uluwatu, the setting is simply stunning. The best time to visit is early in the morning around sunrise when you can see Padang Padang in all its dazzling, natural glory, and before the throng of visitors descend on this spot in the hope of spotting Ms Roberts.
8. Suluban Beach – best for secret swims
This dreamy destination might well be directly below the famous and bustling Single Fin bar and the main access point to the world-renowned Uluwatu surf break, but come low tide, this spot at Suluban Beach is a true hidden treasure, and the best for a secret swim. Set against stunning dramatic cliffs, the water here is as turquoise as it gets. To access this little piece of paradise, you’ll need to walk down the steps at Uluwatu, through the caves and onto the sand. Remember, when it’s high tide this swimming spot is inaccessible, so you’ll need to check the tide times for your trip here, and don’t forget to pack your bathers.
9. Karma Beach – best for beach-chic babes
Part of the stunning Karma Kandara Resort, this luxury and private beach spot brings the vibes of a swanky Mediterranean island with crowds of trendy globe trotters looking for exclusivity in a totally chic setting. The sea is a perfect shade of azure blue and great for snorkelling and water sports, while the crescent white sands are sprinkled with beach babes and their baes sipping on designer cocktails, playing a spot of beach volleyball, or simply bronzing beneath the beach-chic cabanas and tucking into delicious wood-fired pizzas from the natural bamboo restaurant. Heaven is officially a place on earth.
10. Bingin Beach – best for boho vibes & epic surf
Look out for the signs made of recycled wood, or follow the small groups of Bali’s cool crowds with surf boards in-hand and the lack of shoes or sandals on their feet. Bingin Beach is a boho hideaway that’s hard to find unless you know where you’re going, or who to follow. With perfect waves and small sandy coves for swimming at low tide, this cliff-base beach is a favourite for Bali’s sun soakers and surfers. You’ll need to be relatively fit to get to and from the beach [there are uneven, rocky steps from the top of the cliff to the sands], but your efforts will certainly be rewarded. Dozens of affordable beach stays line the cliffside, too, making this a good spot for budget trips or just a good old, no-frills sunset Bintang on a blanket. There are some great healthy cafes here too, perfect for a post-surf refuel and insta-ready sunsets.
11. Gunung Payung – best for postcard-perfect pics
Gunung Payung, also known as Secret Beach, is the epitome of a picture-perfect, postcard paradise. In fact, we were a little hesitant to include this in our roundup, since we’d like to keep this little treasure to ourselves. Alas, we can’t keep this gem a secret. Think powder white sands, warm tropical waters that are as flat as a duck pond at low-tide, and if you’re lucky, not another human in sight. This beach isn’t for the faint-hearted though. It’s a 301 step trek up and down [we counted] and once you’re down there, there’s no restaurants for refreshment or shady sun beds, just one local guy who sometimes has a cool-box with cold water and Cokes, and if he’s feeling strong enough, will also bring his single sun bed and umbrella down from the top carpark for the day for hire. It’s well worth it though, just don’t forget to hydrate.
12. Nusa Dua Beach – best for a family day out
A seemingly endless stretch of powder white perfection, Nusa Dua Beach is so flawless, it almost looks manmade. It borders the coastline of Nusa Dua’s resort area, fringed by manicured lawns and five-star hotels that have been tastefully sheltered by palm trees and natural building materials. Not only are the beaches impeccably clean and the waters calm, the shoreline is full of family-friendly restaurants, activities and even a shopping complex, so it’s the ideal destination for a fun-filled family day out that won’t leave the little ones hot and bothered thanks to plenty of places to cool off and recharge.
13. Balian Beach – best for surfing
Home to a growing number of expat crowds and surf fanatics, Balian Beach draws in the cool crowds with its pounding surf, instagram-friendly dunes and knolls, and new boho cafes and bars popping up every other day – all of which just so happen to overlook the world-class waves from the towering cliff face above. Whether you simply stroll along the sprawling black sands, brave the water or kick back with a sunset beer post-surf, Balian Beach has an undeniable charm that keeps us coming back every other weekend, and it just so happens to sit in prime position on Bali’s west-facing sunset coast, too…
14. Amed Beach – best for diving
With black sands and soaring volcanoes on the horizon, Amed isn’t your typical beachfront vista, but boy is it a good’un. Sitting on Bali’s northeastern coast, Amed is known for its dramatic landscapes that guarantee some awe-inspiring holiday pics. And if you’re into diving or snorkelling, Amed is also home to one of the island’s most vibrant reefs – a coral garden that’s as colourful as it is popular. An adventure beneath the waves here often involves a trip to nearby Tulamben, too, to explore the sunken US Liberty Shipwreck that’s teaming with life and aquatic beauty. You’ll definitely want an underwater camera for this one…
15. Nusa Lembongan – best for day trippers
When you feel like you’ve ventured to all of Bali’s beaches, swam in all of its seas and soaked up all of its sunshine, head to Sanur’s main harbour and hop on a 30 minute fast boat over to the neighbouring island of Nusa Lembongan. As Bali’s lesser-known and quieter sibling, Nusa Lembongan has a whole host of stunning beaches that are almost untouched. Dream Beach is one of the most famous [and loveliest], and though it’s garnered quite a bit of tourist attention in recent years, it’s still no match to mainland Bali. Hire a scooter to really explore this teeny island’s coastline, and look out for Mushroom Bay, Sandy Bay and Paradise Beach. The names say it all.