The best beaches in Bali

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 11.06.2024

From dramatically rugged coastline scenery to great sweeps of golden sand and lovely white coves, Bali’s beaches have long drawn visitors to its shores. The beaches here tick all boxes, whether you’re after world-class waves to surf, crystal clear waters for diving, or simply days digging your toes into fine sand. We've put together this list of the best beaches in Bali so you know where to direct your beach towel and snorkel gear.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok, your essential guide for visiting Bali.

1. Nusa Dua for the ultimate luxury

Bali’s most carefully designed high-end beach resort luxuriates along a coastal stretch of reclaimed mangrove swamps some 14km southeast of Kuta. What draws most visitors to Nusa Dua is one of the best beaches in Bali: a long ribbon of mostly pale gold sand, though a reef is exposed at low tide if you’re swimming.

Halfway down the shoreline, the land blossoms out into two little clumps, or “islands” (Nusa Dua means “Two Islands”), with a temple standing on each one.

Experience this stunning tailor-made trip to Bali's Beaches and Temples. Marvel at ancient temples like Tanah Lot and Pura Besakih, soak in stunning sunsets, stroll bare-footed along the best beaches in Bali, and haggle at local markets – experience all of this, and much more, with this unique trip!

Find more accommodation options to stay near Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua, Bali © Daniel-James Clarke / Shutterstock

Nusa Dua - one of the best beaches in Bali © Daniel-James Clarke / Shutterstock

2. Jimbaran Bay for seafood and more

With its crescent of golden sand and upmarket hotels, Jimbaran is a quieter alternative to Nusa Dua. Easy access to the airport makes it a handy first- or last-night destination. Tourism aside, its raison d’être, however, is fish. Every morning at dawn the town’s fishermen return from the sea with hundreds of kilos for sale at an enjoyable covered fish market in Kedonganan, at the northern end of Jimbaran Beach.

It’s at its best around 6–7 am, but stays open all day – the stallholders are used to sightseers. Even if you don’t see it, you can taste the day’s catch when it is served at the plethora of beach warung and cafés that specialize in grilled seafood along, what's locally called, Muaya Beach.

The island of Bali is one of the most attractive destinations in Indonesia. To find equally wonderful options for your holiday read our guide to unforgettable Indonesian islands.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Jimbaran Bay

Secret Jimbaran beach, Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Secret Jimbaran Beach, Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

3. Crystal Bay for divers

A postcard-perfect nook of white-sand beach and outstandingly clear water, Crystal Bay is a popular dive site with operators from Nusa Lembongan. Most come in the morning, so if you are here in the afternoon, you’re likely to have the water to yourself.

There’s good snorkelling here, too, and a shrine on an offshore islet. That said, currents in the bay can be fierce in certain tide states.

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Rough Guide tip: The journey only begins when you reach your destination. Find out how to get to Indonesia.

Crystal bay coastline and beach, Nusa Penida island, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Crystal bay coastline and Beach, Nusa Penida Island, Indonesia © Shutterstock

4. Kuta Beach for a fantastic sunset

The reason everyone comes to Kuta is the beach. Vast and although not quite so glorious as it once was, it’s still a gentle curve of pale sand that stretches for 8km from Tuban to Canggu, its breakers luring amateur and experienced surfers alike.

It’s also the venue for the much-lauded Kuta sunsets; at their blood-red best in April, but streaky-pink at any time of year and the stuff sundowners are made of – whether you choose cocktails in a hip bar or just a cold Bintang on plastic seats.

Looking for some unusual holiday destinations in Indonesia? You may find some useful ideas in our guide to Indonesia beyond Bali: 7 places off the tourist trail.

Find more accommodation options to stay near Kuta beach

Umbrellas at Kuta Beach © Chris Howey / Shutterstock

Umbrellas at Kuta Beach © Chris Howey / Shutterstock

5. Yeh Gangga Beach for dramatic scenes

The coast west of Tabanan is a barely-touched stretch of black sand notable for weird rock formations offshore, making it one of the best beaches in Bali. The most appealing (and developed) section is at Yeh Gangga, which has emerged as something of a luxury hideaway in recent years.

The currents make the sea too dangerous for swimming, but it’s a dramatic scene, punctuated by huge rocks, and the beach stretches for miles in both directions.

This tailor-made trip to the best of Bali will take you from modern-day Bali to the traditional one. Bali has many adventures to offer, tour the countryside with a Vespa or glide through the hidden canyons. You will also be able to enjoy visits to enchanting villages, where you can take in the local way of life.

Yeh Gangga Beach - Massive sacred rock on sunny day on Bali - Indonesia © Shutterstock

Yeh Gangga Beach - Massive sacred rock on sunny day on Bali - Indonesia © Shutterstock

6. Padang Padang for those who love to surf

Padang Padang is a gorgeous beach notched in the Bukit’s high cliffs that’s safe for swimming. It was used as a location in the film Eat, Pray, Love (Julia Roberts meets her beau here).

However, its fame – and the reason for all the restaurants and guesthouses – is the eponymous surf break, one of the most exciting waves in Indonesia, not least because of a kink in the final section. This is one of the best places to visit for beach surfers. And not far off, at Pantai Suluban, lie the legendary Uluwatu waves.

Discover Indonesia's diversity beyond the beaches with our guide to the best things to do in Indonesia.

Padang Padang beach surfers © Wonderful Nature / Shutterstock

Padang Padang beach surfers © Wonderful Nature / Shutterstock

7. Pasir Putih for something more remote

Nine kilometres northeast of Candi Dasa lies the famously beautiful Pasir Putih (White Sand Bay). The less-than-straightforward access, via a steep and rutted track, is part of the appeal. The black-and-whitish-sand bay feels wild and remote, backed by palms and forest remnants, and sheltered by rocky headlands. The aquamarine water is perfect for swimming and the reef just offshore offers decent snorkelling.

Rough Guides tip: To have a chance to explore everything that you are interested in in Bali also read our guide on how many days are best to spend here.

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Beach waves at Pasir Putih, a secluded beach in Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Beach waves at Pasir Putih, a secluded beach in Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

8. Balian black sand beach

As ever in Bali, surfers got here first – Balian Beach has the most consistent left-hand breaks in West Bali, with larger waves breaking behind off a shelf and gentler peaks inshore. But whether surfer or not this is still one of the best beaches in Bali – its mellow village may well be the most relaxed escape on the west coast.

There’s no hustle, no tourist shops, just low-key accommodation, a few warungs and a beach bar, and the sense of a shared secret. Get here soon – the building is on the up. The caveat to all this is that a vicious rip inshore makes; heed local advice or be content to paddle at low tide.

To better prepare for your dream trip to Bali, study our list of Bali travel tips.

Balian-beach © Gekko Gallery / Shutterstock

Balian beach © Gekko Gallery / Shutterstock

9. Jungutbatu for stunning views

Strung out along the northwest coast, the village of Jungutbatu spreads out along the beachfront from its core of accommodation and restaurants.

The beach may be no great shakes for swimming but it looks gorgeous: a strip of white sand that arcs before an aqua sea filled with wooden boats and rectangular seaweed plots. It’s an ideal place for sunset drinks or just for losing days gazing out to Bali’s Gunung Agung on the northwestern horizon.

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island of Lembongan and Jungutbatu village, Bali © Shutterstock

Island of Lembongan and Jungutbatu village, Bali © Shutterstock

10. Pemuteran — low-key and lovely

A Lovina before tourism took hold, Pemuteran lives a double life as a fishing village and a low-key holiday getaway. Alongside idling on the beach – a ribbon of black and biscuit-colour sand which arcs for a kilometre or so – Pemuteran is known for its snorkelling and diving.

More than a dozen reefs are within easy reach of the shore – Pemuteran has the largest shallow-reef area in Bali – and the seas are calm so there’s a site to suit all abilities. The marine life is varied, too. From turtles, giant clams and manta rays, to the very occasional whale shark, making this ideal even amongst the best beaches in Bali.

Explore all the possibilities of travelling to the island that beckons all year round with our guide to the best time to visit Bali.

Aerial view of Pemuteran green coastline in Bali © Shutterstock

Aerial view of Pemuteran green coastline in Bali © Shutterstock

11. Virgin Beach - one of the best beaches in Bali for relaxing away from the crowds

Virgin Beach is located in the eastern part of Bali, which is renowned for its unique beauty and is a must-see during your Bali trip. The beach got its name because it is fairly unpopular and unspoilt by tourist crowds. However, it is one of the best beaches in Bali, where you can enjoy the sound of the waves in peace.

To find out how to get to the beach, ask the locals for directions, but note that they call it "Perasi Beach" as it is located in Perasi Village. Public transport does not go directly to the beach, so it is worth considering renting a vehicle.

Ready to explore Bali? Plan your transportation with our in-depth guide.

Virgin beach in Bali Indonesia © Shutterstock

Virgin Beach in Bali Indonesia © Shutterstock

12. Balangan Beach for a private oasis

Given its proximity to the luxury resorts in Jimbaran – even the hulking Dreamland Beach, just around the headland – Balangan is a surprise. It’s the bit the developers haven’t got around to yet. A wonderful cove beach of golden sand that draws travellers and surfers.

Above the beach are some ramshackle surfer warung and a cluster of guesthouses, with new accommodation opening all the time in the hills around. The shallow reef offshore powers a speedy left-hand break at high tide but can make swimming dicey; depending on the swell direction, the far southern end of the beach usually provides most shelter.

Balangan Beach in Bali © Shutterstock

Balangan Beach in Bali © Shutterstock

13. Amed — great for its offshore reefs

The entire 15km stretch of coast from Culik to Aas in the far east of Bali is known as Amed, although this is the name of just one of several villages in an area of peaceful bays, clear waters, and dramatically undulating topography. As more people seek to escape crowds, Amed has become an important – yet still rural – tourism centre.

Visitors are drawn by the region’s impressive offshore reefs, which offer great snorkelling and diving, and facilities are mushrooming, with accommodation now available in every village bay. Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is now a popular pastime and progressive beach outlets rent them. If a more relaxing holiday is what you're after you'll find an abundance of yoga classes.

Discover a new you with this rejuvenating Bali-based tailor-made yoga retreat. Enjoy personalized yoga and meditation classes, together with revitalising Ayurvedic treatments, all in idyllic surroundings. The cuisine is a treat for all the senses; you will also have the chance to explore the temples of Bali.

Find more accommodation options to stay near Amed

View of Agung volcano from the ocean,  Amed, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

View of Agung volcano from the ocean, Amed, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

14. Melasti Beach — a true paradise

If you're looking for one of the best beaches in Bali, Melasti Beach is exactly what you need. This beach is a true paradise, located an hour's drive from Kuta, a popular Bali resort. Melasti Beach is attractive because it is safe to swim in, and has crystal clear water, so you can enjoy the views of the bottom and high waves on the beach are extremely rare.

The beach is particularly beautiful during sunset when the romantic landscape is coloured crimson. The coast is also very popular for snorkelling, the local sea life is not afraid of people so you can see the underwater world even without a mask.

Melasti beach, Bali © Shutterstock

Melasti Beach, Bali © Shutterstock

15. Seminyak for restless waves

Bali’s best-known beach area, the Kuta–Legian–Seminyak strip, is a 6km sweep of golden sand that draws an incongruous mix of visitors drawn by its fashionable restaurants and boutiques. The beaches of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak share the same shoreline and flow seamlessly into one another, but the differences are quite noticeable.

The main feature of Seminyak Beach is its restless waves, which attract the young people who make up the majority of beach visitors. The combination of golden sand and perfect waves makes it one of the best beaches in Bali for surfing.

Find more accommodation options to stay near Seminyak

Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia © Shutterstock

16. Sanur for shopping and more

The length of Sanur’s 5km shoreline is fronted by a shady, paved esplanade. There are far worse ways to while away a day than to wander (or cycle) down the coast in search of your personal paradise, stopping off for lunch at the abundant warung and restaurants, then pausing for a cool sunset Bintang on the return.

The empty stretch just south of Batu Jimbar is the quietest. Wherever you end up, the views are great: on a clear day, Gunung Agung's profile soars northeast while out to sea you might just make out Nusa Penida's cliffs.

Find more accommodation options to stay near Sanur

Traditional fishing boats on a beach in Sanur on Bali © Shutterstock

Traditional fishing boats on a beach in Sanur on Bali © Shutterstock

17. Kelingking for diving and snorkelling

Not to be overlooked, the south coast has more wonders to behold. Manta Point is a prime diving and snorkelling spot for a year-round chance to swim among these giant, gentle creatures and a recorded 250 fish species.

If you’re not up for getting wet, you can sometimes spot them from Kelingking Beach, where a rock bearing a close resemblance to a T-Rex breaches the sea and Broken Beach with its wrap-around arch eroded over eons. From Broken Beach, you can walk to Angel’s Billabong for a dip in a calm tide pool. Do stick close to the shore when swimming or snorkelling and be aware that there are strong currents further out.

With its golden coastline and azure waves, Bali is perfect for a family trip. Looking for more inspiring family holiday ideas? Find some inspiration in our guide to the best places to go with kids.

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida Bali © Shutterstock

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida Bali © Shutterstock

Ready for a trip to Bali? Check out the snapshot of The Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok. If you travel further in Indonesia, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in Indonesia. For inspiration use the itineraries from our local travel experts. A bit more hands-on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Bali without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

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Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 11.06.2024

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