“Paradise” is a word that often gets tossed around when describing Bali, and for good reason. This famous island in Indonesia is known for its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and vast selection of beaches. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the best beaches in Bali.
While Bali may look small on the map, this unassuming island packs a lot in and it’s definitely one of the top places to visit in the country. In addition to its many excellent beaches, the island also has volcanoes, lakes, hot springs, forests, waterfalls, and more. With a few days here, you can take in a little bit of everything.
Bali is one of those places in Indonesia (and the world) that has a tendency to suck people in. I can speak from experience at the magnetic power this place has.
After visiting twice for a few weeks each time, I decided to apply for a program to live there for a year while learning the language and culture. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Bali.
If you’re ready to start planning your own dream trip to the Island of the Gods, read on to find the right Bali beach (or five) for you!
1. Seminyak Beach
- Good beach for swimming, boogie-boarding, or beginner/intermediate surfing
We’re kicking off our list of the best beaches in Bali with one of my personal favorites — Seminyak. Also known as Double Six, this is one of the most happening spots on the island.
There’s a lot to love about this trendy Bali beach town. There’s plenty of space here to just lay your towel down in the sand, and it’s not hard to find sun loungers and umbrellas if you want a bit more comfort.
Seminyak Beach has waves, but they’re not huge. This makes it a fine spot for swimming, boogie-boarding, or beginner-intermediate level surfing. There are plenty of places that rent surfboards and even a few surf schools if you need some guidance.
Another reason to love the Seminyak area is the abundance of great restaurants, accommodation options and beach clubs. Grab a colorful beanbag at the beachside La Plancha or head up to the Double 6 Rooftop for some incredible views. There’s nothing quite like a sunset cocktail and seafood dinner on Seminyak Beach.
If you’re planning to spend New Year’s Eve in Bali, Seminyak is an excellent choice. Your options here range from a NYE gala party at places like Cocoon Beach Club to just making your own party on the beach with a cheap bottle of rum and coconut. I went with the latter and we had an absolute blast watching the fireworks with a huge crowd of revelers.
2. Uluwatu Beach (one of the best beaches in Bali for surfing)
- Known for great surfing
Bali has long been a top destination for surfers thanks to places like Uluwatu Beach. Located at the far southern end of the island on the Bukit peninsula, this is a legendary surfing spot. It should be noted that while many know it as Uluwatu Beach, it’s technically called Suluban.
This area of Bukit is called Uluwatu in reference to the famous cliffside temple. Visiting Uluwatu Temple and seeing the kecak performance there at sunset is an absolute must in Bali — just watch out for those cheeky monkeys who love to snatch sunglasses and phones!
People come from all over the world to ride the waves at this surfing mecca. You’ll have to work hard for them, though! In order to access Uluwatu and many other beaches on the peninsula, you have to walk down a long and steep staircase. This is definitely not the best Bali beach for those with mobility issues or people traveling with young children.
For surfers, it’s definitely well worth the effort to get down to Uluwatu Beach. Seeing as how I can’t surf to save my life, I’m going to send you to this excellent and detailed post from Surf Indonesia about all the waves you can ride here.
Those who are not surfing should plan to visit Uluwatu Beach at low tide. It’s not exactly the best place for sunbathing, but it’s a beautiful spot to explore when the waves aren’t crashing. Be sure to check the tide chart before heading down here so you can time your visit accordingly.
3. Virgin Beach
- One of the best beaches in Bali for swimming
This next one takes a while to reach, but it’s worth the effort. Pasir Putih is located on the northeast coast and is definitely one of the best beaches in Bali to visit.
Also known as the Virgin Beach, this gorgeous stretch of white sand is rare in this part of the island. Most of the beaches in East Bali are black, volcanic sand and aren’t exactly the best for lounging on.
There’s not a whole lot going on here, but that’s the beauty of the place. There are a few simple warung (local restaurants) on the beach that will let you use their chairs if you order something. These places may not look like much, but they cook up some amazing grilled fish and they are super friendly.
This part of the island doesn’t get waves, so this isn’t the place for boogie-boarding or surfing. It is, however, a great spot to do a bit of snorkeling. You can bring your own or rent one from one of the restaurants.
4. Nusa Lembongan Beach
- A good place for snorkelling, scuba diving, and surfing and swimming
For the next Bali beach on our list, we’re actually traveling off the main island. You see, there are three smaller islands just off the southwest coast that are still considered part of Bali!
These are known as the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, and Penida) and they are easily visited on a day trip. On Nusa Lembongan, you’ll find quite a few beaches to choose from. The main beach is Jungutbatu, which is where you’ll find a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, and bars.
Actually, the Nusa Islands are known for excellent snorkeling, diving, and surfing. You can actually base yourself in Candidasa and go on dive excursions from there. Check out our article here to learn about diving around the Nusa Islands from Candidasa.
Nusa Lembongan is home to several dive shops and surfing schools to get you set up. The surf breaks here are better suited for more experienced riders, as they all break over coral reefs.
There are many other beautiful beaches worth exploring on Lembongan. With a rented scooter, you can easily visit Mushroom Beach, Sandy Bay, Dream Beach, Coconut Beach (which is one of the best beaches in Bali for families), and more. There’s enough to see and do here to warrant spending a few nights on the island, and it’s far more enjoyable once all the day-trippers have left anyways!
5. Canggu Beach
- A good beach for surfing, watching sunset and having a drink
Another Bali beach that’s wildly popular with surfers is Canggu. It’s located north of Seminyak and is also easily reached from the airport. This area has been developing rapidly over the past few years and Canggu is now a hot spot for digital nomads and yogis.
Canggu is actually home to a few different beaches. From south to north, there’s Berawa, Neyelan, Batu Bolong, Echo Beach, and finally Pererenan. Each beach has its own unique vibe and offers different things.
The beaches here have dark grey or black sand and these aren’t the best beaches in Bali for swimming, as the waves can be really rough. As such, you’ll find the Canggu beaches far less crowded than the ones further south.
Berawa has a few restaurants and bars, and you can also rent boards and loungers here for a reasonable price. This is a great beach to go to if you just want to enjoy some surfing or boogie-boarding without the crowds and touts.
When you look up “Canggu Beach” on Google Maps, it takes you to Batu Bolong. There’s a lot more action here, thanks in large part to Old Man’s. This is one of the coolest bars in all of Bali and the perfect place to party after a big day out on the water.
Take a video tour of Canggu in our “Streets, Beats & Eats” show.
6. Bingin Beach
Next on our list of the best beaches in Bali is Bingin. This is another beach located below the towering cliffs of the Bukit peninsula. Once again, you’ll need to put forth a decent amount of effort to reach this stunning Bali beach!
Bingin truly is a hidden gem, in that it’s honestly a bit hard to find. You zig-zag your way down a maze of narrow alleyways passing several different guesthouses and warung before you finally find the motorbike parking area. Cars can’t make it back here, so you’re either on two wheels or on foot.
Eventually, you finally reach the winding staircase that takes you down to the beach. The fact that it’s so hard to reach turns off a lot of people, which is great for those looking to experience a Bali beach without hordes of hard-partying tourists.
Even though it’s tiny and tough to get to, Bingin is still home to quite a few guesthouses, restaurants, and surf shops. They definitely cater to surfers, as the challenging waves here are what spurred the development of a tourism industry in the first place. For more advanced surfers looking for a more traditional option for a Bali beach, Bingin is an excellent choice.
7. Sanur Beach
- Good beach for swimming, relaxing, walking
This next Bali beach holds a special place in my heart. Sanur is a sleepy fishing town on the southeast coast of Bali and it’s where I lived for most of my year on the island.
Despite having a very substantial tourism scene, Sanur remains at its heart a traditional Balinese village. Traffic comes to a standstill here quite often when processions go through the streets, and there’s a massive performance and parade for the Balinese New Year.
Every summer, the town hosts a traditional kite festival. If it is “real Bali” that you seek (whatever that means), Sanur is a great choice.
While many decry Sanur as being too boring – its nickname is actually “Snore” – I find that to be far from the truth. Sure, there are no gnarly waves or rowdy beach clubs here, but that’s precisely why I and many others love it.
The beaches here are nice, the water is calm, and there are several places with sun loungers and umbrellas available. There’s a long path along the beach that makes for the perfect place to go for a leisurely stroll in the morning or evening. It’s one of the few places in Bali where you can enjoy a walk without fear of being run over by a motorbike.
While surfing isn’t really possible over here, you can still go jet-skiing, SUPing, snorkeling, or diving from Sanur beach. There are also a few excellent yoga studios on the beachfront.
One of the best ways to experience Sanur is on a bike tour. The folks at Sanur Cycle Tours are good friends of mine and they run some amazing bike trips around the area. I took quite a few and my personal favorite was their Jurassic Park tour that visits an abandoned amusement park.
8. Jimbaran Beach
- A good beach for swimming and dining
This next Bali beach is definitely the easiest one to reach from the airport. In fact, Jimbaran Beach starts just south of the runway. You can be chilling on the beach with a cold one in hand in no time!
This beach is part of the narrow isthmus that connects the mainland to the Bukit peninsula. As such, it’s a very convenient place to base yourself for exploration of South Bali. With a scooter, you can be in either Kuta or Nusa Dua in under half an hour.
Most of the access points for the various beaches in Bukit can be reached in under an hour, but you still get the amenities of the mainland. There are plenty of options in Jimbaran for accommodation, dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Jimbaran Beach is a pretty mellow place in terms of both the ocean and the vibes. There aren’t big waves here at all, so this definitely isn’t high on the radar of surfers. If you’re a total beginner, though, this is a good place to try it out. Most people are content with just lounging on the beach here, so it’s one of the more laid back places on this list.
The highlight of Jimbaran is definitely the nightly seafood market here. There are several excellent restaurants right on the beach, where you can take your pick from a variety of fresh seafood and have it cooked up to your liking. Wandering bands stroll the beach and take requests, making this one of the best beaches in Bali for a romantic dinner.
9. Lovina Beach
If you really want to escape the crowds, one of the best beaches in Bali to visit is Lovina. It’s located on the far north coast of the island, which feels worlds apart from the chaos of the south.
The name Lovina actually refers to a stretch of seven different villages along the northern coast of Bali. Beaches here are generally black sand and the water is very calm — this isn’t the Bali beach for you if you’re chasing waves. There is, however, some quality snorkeling and diving on tap up here.
Lovina’s biggest claim to fame is the dolphins that inhabit the waters around town. There’s even a statue of the aquatic mammals on the main beach. Basically everyone in Lovina can set you up on an early morning tour in search of dolphins.
From the airport, it’s about a 2.5-3-hour drive to reach Lovina Beach. If you end up renting a scooter/car or just hiring a driver, it’s worth it to add stops at the Jatiluwih rice terraces, Ulun Danu Beratan temple, and maybe even the Aling-Aling waterfall on your way.
Since it’s such a long trip, I don’t really recommend coming all the way here just for the afternoon. Lovina Beach is actually a great place to spend a few nights. There are plenty of options for accommodation here and the prices are very reasonable. Plus, it’s nice to experience a more authentic Bali beach town that’s devoid of McDonald’s and Starbucks.
10. Nusa Dua Beach
- One of the best beaches in Bali for swimming
Last but not least is Bali’s most luxurious beach, Nusa Dua. Located down on the northeast corner of the Bukit peninsula this area is known for its swanky resorts, upmarket shopping, and world-class golf course. In short, this is where the fabulous people stay!
Nusa Dua is very much a tourist enclave, as it’s actually a gated zone where you have to pass through security. While it may seem very exclusive, most of the beach is still public here. Even if you’re not staying at a 5-star hotel, it’s well worth it to visit Nusa Dua for an afternoon. This is one of the nicest beaches in Bali.
The beach in Nusa Dua is white sand and the water is great for swimming. If your idea of a perfect day at the beach involves a sun lounger, a few adult beverages, and a good book, this is the Bali beach for you.
There are a few things to do here. One of the highlights of visiting Nusa Dua is seeing the famous Waterblow. This is a point on the coast where waves crash into a rock formation in dramatic fashion. It’s also a very popular spot for photo ops, so you have to pay a small entrance fee to access the path.
Just because you’re at the beach doesn’t mean you can’t get a little culture. Nusa Dua is also home to a very underappreciated museum. The Pasifika Museum is a fantastic art museum that’s well worth getting out of the sun for a couple of hours to see. You can find Nusa Dua on the map here.
Ready for the Best Beaches in Bali?
As you can see, Bali is home to several fantastic beaches, each unique in their own way. Before we end this guide to the top beaches in Bali, I should take a moment to mention why one didn’t make the cut.
Noticeably missing from my list is Kuta Beach, which is the main tourist hub in Bali. This is far and away the most popular, crowded, and developed beach on the island.
It transformed from a tiny fishing town to a booming tourist destination in under 30 years, and the negative effects of this breakneck development are all too clear. As such, I can’t in good conscience recommend visiting Kuta Beach.
First of all, Kuta is plagued by traffic jams, scam artists, and petty crooks. The beach is overcrowded and not that nice, and the touts here are incessant. You are much better off spending your precious vacation days at any of the other Bali beaches on this list. Trust me.
The many other small beach towns on the island can use your support as well, and it’s much easier to directly support locals once you get out of the Kuta bubble.
My best advice is to rent a scooter or a car, or just hire the amazing local drivers and do a loop of the island to visit as many of the amazing beaches as you can!
Have you been beach hopping in Bali? Which beach was your favorite? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Note: Images in this article are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
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