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.
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.
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- For luxury: Hilton Bali Resort
- For relaxing stays: Amnaya Resort Nusa Dua
Where to stay near Nusa Dua:
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.
- For stunning natural surroundings: La Joya Balangan Resort
- For breathtaking views: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Where to stay in Jimbaran Bay:
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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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
Enjoy a luxurious stay in Bali, with hand-picked 5 Star Hotels. This tailor-made trip to Royal Bali includes privately guided tours as well as leisure time, ideal for families with kids. Highlights include the sea temple Tanah Lot, Jatiluwih rice terraces and Uluwatu temple with its famous Kecak dance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
- For peaceful stays: Blue Karma Dijiwa Seminyak
- For modern stays: Tijili Seminyak
Where to stay near Seminyak:
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.
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.
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.
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