30 Places With the Bluest Water on Earth

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By: Lisa Evans
Published: July 10, 2017
Last Update: Nov 28, 2022

Let’s not get into the whole mundane debate as to whether water is actually “blue”, and instead simply celebrate the visual, and ostensibly blue feast that so many of the world’s waters give us.

Yep, we’ve strived to find no fewer than 30 places across the globe where you will find water at its gloriously bluest. Sit back, relax and have a tall drink as we guide you through them.

Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

It's fair to say that the Phi Phi Islands have been late bloomers among popular holiday isles - as late as the early 1990s, you would have needed to be a pretty adventurous traveller to contemplate coming here.

Thailand-Phi Phi Island

So much has changed, with visitors to Phuket and Krabi alike making it a priority to check these islands out, especially on account of their marvellously clear waters.

Valley of the Five Lakes, Poland

For waters that really are nigh-on as clear as glass, it’s difficult to look beyond these breathtaking five alpine lakes nestled way up in the High Tatras mountain range, along the border of Poland and Slovakia.

Poland-Valley of 5 Lakes

The biggest of those lakes is known as Morskie Oko, or “Eye of the Sea”. It’s been named one of the most beautiful lakes on the planet by The Wall Street Journal, and that’s quite the honour.

Zamami, Japan

Given the reports that more than 90% of the almost 1,000 people living on this Okinawan island chain are employed in the tourism sector, it might surprise you to learn that it only really became a destination in the years following the Second World War.Zamami, Japan

Zamami’s modest size and amazingly clear water have been real assets over the years, enabling visitors to get a good view of humpback whales in the spring and winter.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The idea of the distant, exotic idyll may seem more a subject of fantasy these days than real life, but there are still some parts of the world that live up to said fantasy – and Bora Bora is one of them.Bora Bora, French Polynesia

You’ll get to experience all manner of vibrant shades in the water here, while all of the small thatched-roof huts only further cement the image of a true escapist’s paradise.

Wineglass Bay, Australia

You won't find many natural environments in Australia that set your jaw dropping to the floor as fast as Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania.Wineglass Bay, Australia

There's something about the combination of white sand, sapphire sea and pink and grey granite peaks that just can't be beaten by those seeking the ultimate aesthetic experience on their vacation Down Under.

Koh Lanta, Thailand

Koh Lanta – which you’ll find to the west of the Thai mainland in the Andaman Sea – is already one of the country’s most gorgeous islands, even before you consider the remarkably clear, albeit swallow, waters waiting to be discovered by visitors to its pretty beaches.

Thailand-Koh Lanta

But it’s the deeper water of the local diving spots that offers the greatest rewards, including astounding views of vibrant fish and ornate coral reefs.

Primosten, Croatia

Croatia is far from the obvious European country to which to head for gorgeous beaches, but that doesn’t mean it’s exactly lacking them. Head to the Adriatic coast, and you’ll be more than spoilt for wondrous, escapist choice.Primosten, Croatia

Primosten makes this list on the grounds that it offers clearer and more inviting water than basically anywhere else on the continent – and the enchanting nearby countryside doesn’t exactly harm its claim to be an underrated destination.

Bodrum, Turkey

There are definitely many more reasons to head to such a historic port city as Bodrum than simply the visual appeal of its waters, but for the sake of this article, let’s dwell on the latter for a moment.Bodrum, Turkey

For more than a millennium, visitors have been drawn to the astoundingly clear waters accessible in this part of southwest Turkey. The boats even look like they’re hovering above, rather than on the water.

Rio da Prata, Bonito, Brazil

If you love vivid transparency in your chosen waters, then we suspect you will adore the rivers surrounding the Bonito municipality in Brazil. This is so because of the high concentration of underground limestone that acts like a natural filter.Rio da Prata, Bonito, Brazil

You’ll find no shortage of shimmering golden Dorados in the Rio da Prata, not to mention Piraputangas with their distinctive yellow fins – it really is a snorkeler’s paradise.

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

"Perhentian" translates as "stopping point" in Malay, and why wouldn't these lovely islands in Besut District, Terengganu be such a thing?

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Their white sand beaches are an obvious reason for their appeal, but the stunning crystalline water is another one. It's the perfect place to spy all manner of coral, reef-fish, jellyfish, sea-turtles and small sharks.

Ayia Napa, Cyprus

Avid sun-seekers have long headed to this Mediterranean resort town on Cyprus's southeast coast, and its most frequented beach is unquestionably Nissi Beach, which offers not only golden sands, but also clean, clear and shallow water.Ayia Napa, Cyprus

As a matter of fact, you could be walking for up to 100 metres into the water without it even going higher than your waist.

Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park has plenty to marvel at even before you consider the beautiful Jenny Lake that so nicely complements the magnificent Teton Mountain Range.Jenny Lake, Wyoming

This lake that came to be during the most recent glacial period scores highly for clarity, so it’s a captivating place to observe aquatic life. While the water never gets greatly warm here, it’s perfectly hospitable after a tough day’s hiking.

Laghi di Fusine, Italy

Unfortunately, the water in these two glacial lakes about a mile from the Italian border with Slovenia is generally way too cold for swimming, although that doesn’t mean you can’t admire its clarity from the (relative) comfort of a rented rowboat.Laghi de Fusine, Italy

It’s the larger of these lakes that tends to draw the most tourists, many of whom also love to take advantage of the nearby hiking paths.

Panari Island, Okinawa, Japan

You might think that truly isolated idyllic holiday islands don’t really exist these days, but you’d be wrong. Get in touch with the right private tour company, and this small, but gorgeously-formed island is certainly an option.Panari Island, Okinawa, Japan

Whether you’re most enticed by the thought of incredibly rich marine life or an almost complete absence of civilisation, Panari Island is a must-visit natural beauty.

Lampedusa, Italy

Fans of accessibly shallow waters and colourful marine life are consistently drawn to Lampedusa, which is one of the Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, southern Italy.Lampedusa, Italy

Dolphins are among the most alluring inhabitants of the island's surrounding waters, which are so clear and turquoise that you won't be able to resist donning some scuba diving equipment to take a closer look.

Blue Lake, New Zealand

Whether you know it as Blue Lake or the slightly less easily pronounced Rotomairewhenua, what you need to know is that it’s the world’s clearest lake, offering underwater visibility of up to 262 feet.Rotomairewhenua

Swimming here must be astounding, then, right? Alas, we don’t know. The Maori locals consider the lake sacred (or tapu), so you aren’t allowed to take a dip. At least you can still admire, mouth agape.

Havelock Island, Andaman Islands

You might have expected the largest of the Andaman Islands to also attract plenty of visitors, and you'd be right - although the delectable teal waters to be found off its white sand seaside should also make it obvious why that is the case.havelock ispland

You won't be shocked to learn that it's also quite the hotspot for scuba diving.

The Maldives

The 26 Indian Ocean coral atolls that constitute the Maldives will seemingly always be seen as a holiday paradise, and it's fair to say that the turquoise and deep blue waters in this corner of the world have a lot to do with that.The Maldives

These remarkable islands form lagoons that are clearer than any you could hope to find anywhere else on the globe. Needless to say, they are also a water sports hotspot.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

It's impossible to speak of the third-largest and second most populous of the British Virgin Islands without also referring to the unusual geologic formation known as 'The Baths', which comprises jaw-dropping formations, grottos and pools. The latter offer beautifully crystal clear water.

British Virgin Islands, Virgin Gorda

Unsurprisingly, it's an area that also attracts no shortage of avid swimmers and snorkelers.

Exuma, Bahamas

More than 360 islands make up this truly captivating part of the Bahamas, and the incredibly clear blue bathwater is largely responsible for it being so enchanting.Exuma, Bahamas

Head to Big Major Cay if you fancy having a paddle with feral pigs, sample the frequently utterly tranquil Tropic of Cancer beach or just marvel at the colour, clarity and temperature of the water that you will find throughout Exuma.

Los Roques, Venezuela

The archipelago known as Los Roques National Park encompasses more than 300 islands and cays surrounding a lagoon measuring some 400 square kilometres.Los Roques, Venezuela

The national park was created in the early '70s in recognition of the stunningly beautiful and ecologically important marine ecosystem here, consisting of seagrass beds, mangroves and coral reefs that you simply have to see to believe.

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

This island designated as a national park and situated off the coast of Costa Rica really does redefine 'uninhabited' - well, as long as you ignore the permanent Costa Rican Park Rangers' station.Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Come to think of it, even they aren't the only people here, as it also offers amazing scuba-diving opportunities in the company of schooling hammerhead sharks.

Jaco Island, East Timor

A inevitably large proportion of the world's most inviting and bluest waters are to be found in pretty much desolate places, and the uninhabited island of Jaco - also sometimes known as Jako - in East Timor is another to fit neatly into this category.Jaco Island, East Timor

This island in the Lesser Sunda Islands group is regarded as holy by the local natives, but that doesn't prevent many intrepid tourists heading here for diving and swimming.

Cala Macarelleta, Menorca, Spain

Menorca might not be the first place you’d look for secluded beaches rather than those permanently thronged with tourists, but hey – this world can be a surprising one at times.Cala Macarelleta, Menorca, Spain

We’re referring specifically to the Cala Macarelleta beach, to which you’ll need to spend 30 minutes walking if on land. Its clear turquoise waters, rugged rocky scenery and lush green vegetation make it well worth the effort.

Hvar, Croatia

The southern Dalmatian Coast is hardly short of jaw-dropping beaches, but we can’t fail to mention the especially stunning ones the island of Hvar can offer. Their waters are so clear, in fact, that you’d probably presume you were in a hotel pool if it wasn’t for the majestic natural scenery.Hvar, Croatia

The 2,700 sunlight hours that Hvar typically enjoys per year will only help you to see everything in even more vivid fashion.

Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

Legend states that the 108 lakes you’ll find across the Jiuzhaigou Valley nature reserve came to be due to a goddess dropping the mirror that her lover gave her, resulting in it shattering into 108 pieces.Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

We could certainly believe that these enchantingly scenic lakes were created in such a way, particularly on the evidence of Five Flower Lake and Five Color Pond, the transparent waters and vivid hues of which really are must-sees.

Koh Lipe, Thailand

In the Andaman Sea in close proximity to the Malaysian border, can be found this inviting Thai island renowned for its coral-rich waters.Koh Lipe, Thailand

Fans of clearer, calmer and shallower water than that accessible at many of the other destinations on this list will be more than happy with this part of Southern Thailand, not least as they will have four main beaches from which to choose.

Sabah, Malaysia

Malaysia’s most eastern state takes up the northern part of the island of Borneo, and there’s no question that its beaches are one of its greatest selling points as a holiday destination.Sabah, Malaysia

The waters here really do fit the definition of ‘crystal clear’, while the very shallow shore lines of some of the beaches makes it a good choice if you prefer strolling through ankle-deep water to out-and-out swimming.

To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa

This is definitely one of the weirder inclusions on this list. Basically, it's a natural swimming hole into which you descend via a ladder, and it's even cooler than that sounds - particularly given the impressively clear water.ToSua Ocean Trench, Samoa

In the unlikely event that you get a little bored of the distinctiveness of the actual swimming experience here, you might be tempted to check out the beautiful coloured gardens that surround it.

Marsa Matruoh, Egypt

This is another unforgettable beach paradise in a location that isn't exactly the first to come to mind for many Western sun-seekers.Marsa Matruoh, Egypt

Marsa Matruoh is situated some 150 miles west of Alexandria and has long been renowned for its beautiful, soft white sandy beaches, although its crystal-clear water is undoubtedly another big part of its appeal.

So, there you have it - 30 parts of the world where you'll find water that is some of the bluest of the blue, and so many more attractions besides. What are your thoughts on the above list? Are there others that you think simply have to be included? Be our guest and make your suggestions!