At Stressless, our Norwegian heritage leads us to believe that we know a thing or two about rugged coastlines and beautiful beaches. Norway’s coastline touches three seas—the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. Our mainland coastline, with its many fjords and islands, is the second longest in the world. With summer winding down and fall around the corner, we want to embark on a journey to the five best beaches in the world, to dream about where we can stress less next time we leave the comfort of our Stressless recliner to explore the many wonders of this world.
Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
This beach is spectacular and has quite the story behind its name. Navagio beach is located on the Greek island of Zakynthos, west of Athens. The name means shipwreck in English because of rusted ship remains that grace the sandy landscape. On October 2, 1980, a 157-foot vessel named MV Panagiotis was stranded by its Turkish crew on the sands of Navagio beach because they were smuggling cigarettes for the mafia and being chased by the Greek Navy in rough conditions. Rumor has it that they ran and hid, leaving all their goods and their ship behind. This unique history, along with the breathtaking views, limestone cliffs and brilliant blue water, make this beach one of the world’s best and a must-see!
Uig Sands, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Uig Sands does not offer the clear blue waters that many of the other featured beaches do, but it has a rich history and its backdrop of emerald-green mountain ranges is a sight unmatched. In 1831, Malcolm MacLeod of Pennydonald discovered a Viking Chess set in a small stone chamber at the edge of the beach. Inside were 93 chess pieces made of husks of Walrus teeth, also known as Norse ivory. It is thought that the pieces were most likely made by Norwegians during the 12th century when the Norse ruled Scotland. Today, 11 of the pieces are showcased at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, and 82 are located at the British Museum in London. Not only were these chessmen found at Uig beach, but so was the biggest sapphire ever found in Scotland. The beach offers magnificent sights and is within walking distance of cafes and shops.
Ora Beach, Indonesia
Pantai Ora or Ora beach is located on the island of Seram, Maluku Tengah. Many refer to this location as Heaven on Earth, and when you see a picture of it, you will understand why. Its clear blue water, large mountain peaks and exclusivity make this beach one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. Ora beach is in the remote village of Saleman in Central Maluku and is home to the Ora Beach Resort which has six wooden cottages right on top of the water. The ocean is alive with colorful coral reefs and fish, all which you can see while looking at or swimming in the water. The area is also known for its flocks of bats, which emerge at dusk from a cave above the village, supposedly bearing the souls of human ancestors.
Awaroa Beach, South Island, New Zealand
This is a spot that can be appreciated for its beauty and for the feel-good story behind why it remains a public beach. In 2016, the beach went up for private sale, and, as locals and regular visitors caught wind, 39,000 people came together and opened their pocketbooks in an attempt to purchase the land and keep it public. In just three weeks, nearly $3 million was raised and the beach was purchased by its own people. The beach is referred to as a gift from New Zealanders to New Zealanders and remains open to the public today. It is easy when you see the gorgeous waters, white sand and enclosing mountains, to understand why South Island residents wanted to keep the beach open for all Kiwis to enjoy.
Honopu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
If you are a good swimmer, this beach is for you. Kauai has the most miles of beach per mile of coastline of any of the Hawaiian islands. Yet, the only legal way to access this secluded point on Kauai’s Na Pali coast is by strapping on some fins (you’ll need them) and making your way through the Pacific Ocean, either from neighboring Kalalau Beach or from an offshore boat. On Kauai, only 10 percent of the island is accessible by road. And this beach is so secluded that you can’t even reach it by foot. No landing of any aircraft, boat, kayak or even surfboard is allowed at Honopu Beach, making it one of the most remote beaches in the world. However, once you make it there, you’ll be rewarded with the famous Honopu arch, a stone arch separating two small sandy coves. Surely one of the most peaceful beaches around and the perfect place to stress less.
So pack your swimsuit and sunscreen and hop on a plane to experience the world’s best beaches, according to Stressless. When you get home, your favorite recliner will be waiting for you—to savor your sun-kissed memories and plan your next adventure!