Bali is an Indonesian Island where volcanic peaks still dominate over the paddy fields where locals have grown their food for generations.
However, its beaches and coral reefs have resulted in the growth of a huge tourist economy, with visitors heading there not only from Australasia but also places much further afield.
Tropical sunshine is guaranteed, and with clear, warm waters, Bali’s beaches are a great place for a holiday.
The tourist infrastructure has developed to cater for visitors.
That means hotels and restaurants and a vibrant nightlife scene to let your hair down after a busy day on the beach, or enjoying water sports.
Let’s explore the best beaches in Bali:
1. Seminyak Beach, South Bali
If you are looking for some action when you take a holiday in Bali, head to the south – more precisely, to Seminyak, which lies between Kuta and Legian in the western conurbation.
There is a stretch of white sand five-kilometers long backed by bars, restaurants and top-quality hotels from where you can simply step out on to the beach.
It’s a great place to learn to surf because of the relatively gentle waves.
Seminyak is almost a holiday resort in itself.
If you don’t want to travel far, you can simply stay there for all you need from an active Bali holiday.
2. White Sand Beach (Pasir Putih), Candidasa, East Coast
This remote beach sometimes gets called Virgin Beach, which may be a result of its remoteness on the east coast.
It’s worth the effort to get there precisely because it’s off the beaten track.
Some beaches on Bali have volcanic black sand but not Pasir Putih, as its English name suggests.
It’s a great place for swimming, with calm and clear blue waters.
Local seafood and a range of other food is available at the beachfront restaurants, along with ice cold beer, so lunch is certainly not a problem.
You can hire a sun lounger for the day and even enjoy a massage right there on the sand.
There is a car park so you can drive to the beach from wherever you are staying.
This secret spot has minimal tourists, making it a nice respite from the packed beaches of southern Bali.
3. Nusa Dua Beach, South Bali
It’s hard to believe that nature can produce such perfection; the white sand could not be any more impressive.
Nusa Dua is a resort area of Bali, where there are fine hotels intermingled with lovely palm trees and beautifully-presented lawns.
It was once a mangrove area but has now become a reclaimed beach, all 14-kilometers of it.
There are still some mangroves and stunning orchids to enjoy.
The beach is very clean and the calm blue waters just as pristine.
It’s a great place for families, with friendly restaurants and good shopping, as well as a range of water sports.
There is also plenty of shade for those wanting a break from the sun.
4. Padang Padang Beach, Uluwatu
This beach found fame in a Julia Roberts film and it certainly deserves the recognition, as do many of the idyllic beaches of Bali.
It sits in a lovely bay that attracts sunbathers and surfers.
The waves make it ideal for surfers, who can enjoy the dramatic setting created by the rock formations.
The beach itself is fairly small but it’s worth rising early in the morning to see the sun rise above the horizon.
The crowds will start to appear and then it’s up to you whether you want to enjoy those crowds or find somewhere quieter to relax.
5. Jimbaran Bay Beach, South West Bali
This three-kilometer stretch of white sand is famous for its scenery, the fresh fish that local fishermen sell in the local market, and the sunsets.
Every tourist aims to have an album full of photographs to reinforce memories of a holiday; the sunset at Jimbaran Beach is a photograph that will be one of the highlights.
With such lovely fresh fish, the local BBQs are very well supported.
Combine the seafood with the sunset and there are few better places for a romantic dinner.
During the day, there will always be quiet areas of the beach for relaxing and taking in the sun’s rays.
6. Echo Beach, Canggu
Over the years, Echo Beach has changed from a fairly quiet spot with the odd BBQ to one of the trendiest places to go, with chic bars looking across the black volcanic sands.
There is no reason to be put off by the black sand, not when the sea is so blue and inviting.
It certainly has not put off bikini-clad girls and bronzed men frequenting the area.
By day, this beach is frequented by those enjoying the sun, and by night, it is a party spot where there is always something going on.
If you have a guitar or can play a musical instrument, you may get the chance to perform as the parties go on.
Canggu is exceptionally popular with digital nomads and the cool crowd – so you may find yourself stuck in a traffic jam as you head to the beach, no matter what time of day.
7. Sanur Beach, South East Bali
Sanur is a five-kilometer stretch of white sand that was discovered decades ago by rich expats, who selected this location for building elegant villas.
There is usually a gentle breeze to take the edge off the temperature.
There is a promenade the length of the beach, with upmarket cafes and resorts along it, and local fishing boats out of the water for repair.
It’s a great place for families to enjoy a day out, and early risers get the benefit of the sunrise.
The waves are fairly gentle, so it is not a place for surfers, but divers and snorkelers will enjoy the marine life under the waves.
8. Balangan Beach, Bukit Peninsula, South Bali
Balangan is one of the top surfing beaches in Bali.
Even those who don’t surf enjoy the laid-back atmosphere on this beach.
There are loungers and umbrellas for those just wanting to lie and relax with the sun’s rays while others enjoy the waves.
There are rustic restaurants serving local Indonesian food and ice-cold drinks.
The crowd tends to be primarily young backpackers, who are happy to just take in the environment with no worries about time and day.
The beach is only half a kilometer long, but if you add the cliffs and the reef, the setting is truly stunning.
9. Suluban Beach, Uluwatu
Uluwatu’s fame as a surfing destination is well established, and over time, word of mouth has resulted in Single Fin Bar becoming crazy busy.
This beach reveals itself when the tide goes out as a great place for simply relaxing or enjoying a quiet swim.
The background is the cliffs standing above beautiful, clear blue waters.
You will need to walk down quite a few steps to get to the beach, and you may want to explore the caves as you go.
You should check the tides, because when the tide is in you will not be able to enjoy the beach and swimming will be out of the question.
10. Medewi Beach, West Bali
Medewi Beach may not be especially well-known – in some ways, that helps tourists understand what Bali was like before significant tourist numbers arrived.
There are paddy fields and small villages on this stretch of coastline, so those wanting a quiet beach will do worse than head for Medewi.
It is a place popular with surfers but has yet to attract significant crowds.
Those who want to surf without being surrounded by other surfers should certainly check out Medewi Beach while they are on Bali.
The sunsets and fresh fish each day add to the enjoyment.
11. Balian Beach, West Bali
This beach has gained popularity with expats as well as visiting surfers.
The surf is always top quality, while the bars and cafes are well-supported.
There are great sand dunes, black and volcanic, to explore.
Some just go to enjoy a beer as the sun sets.
There are many regulars who head for Balian Beach at weekends as a matter of habit, even though the road is in poor condition.
It is on the same island as many very busy resorts, but it seems like a world away in a little area of the Island where the life of locals has barely changed in years.
12. Legian Beach, South Bali
This part of Bali and its beaches is the most popular with tourists.
It is fairly busy, though it manages to keep a laid-back feel.
The beach is white, and if you wish you can walk many kilometers in the soft sand.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants if you start out and want a break.
Accommodation is plentiful near Legian Beach and the nightlife after the sun goes down won’t disappoint you.
The name in Indonesian translates to ‘’sweet.’’ Your memories of a Bali holiday should truly be sweet if you immerse yourself in its beaches, including Legian.
13. Bingin Beach, Uluwatu
You may need help to find Bingin Beach, which has become another favorite with surfers.
People seeking the sun have also been attracted to the sandy coves where swimming is a delight.
You will need to be fairly fit to get down to the sand from the cliffs above – not to mention make the return trip.
There are steps, but it still takes some effort to get up and down.
Budget travelers have found the accommodation there fits their needs, and the fresh food on hand is enjoyed by everyone.
Sunset is a great time at Bingin, with the absence of crowds that flock to other beaches on the island a definite plus.
14. Pemuteran Beach, North West Bali
If you are nervous about swimming, Pemuteran Beach is definitely for you.
The largest shallow reef on Bali is found here, with waters calm enough to invite anyone in to swim.
The waters are clear, so divers and snorkelers head here to see the abundant marine life.
If you are lucky, you may see manta rays and turtles, as well as giant clams.
Luckier still, and you will come across a giant of the sea – the completely harmless whale shark.
The sands are volcanic but the setting with hills in the background makes it well worth the effort to pay it a visit.
15. Nusa Penida, off South East Bali
Finally, why not take a boat trip out to the island, Nusa Penida, with its stunning cliffs, turquoise waters, and sandy beaches? If you are fit, you will be pleased that you did.
It is not as developed as the mainland, but that can be an advantage.
There are basic roads on the island, but quiet bays, local cafes serving fresh food, and a landscape worth exploring.
The white sandy beach is called Kelingking in the South West of the island, below 400-meter cliffs.
The headland is limestone and covered in vegetation to add further color to the setting.