Ask any traveller and they will tell you that some of their most memorable moments travelling have been by the coast. Whether driving alongside coastlines in a drop-top or flying overhead, it is not a stretch to say that the coastlines are some of the most captivating and beautiful features of our blue planet.
Human civilisation has always been drawn to these spaces for survival so the cultures and infrastructure that can be found along the coastline are as varied, beautiful and dramatically different as the coastlines themselves.
WATCH: Winners of the 'Wow Beach' category in the World's Best Beach Awards will have you longing for summer
Where land and water meet, plants, animals and human beings have long existed. These near mystical, awe-inspiring and enchanting places make time seem arbitrary in the face of nature’s consistent clash between land and sea.
From ocean to ocean, continent to continent and city to city, arguably no other geographical feature of our planet has so proudly brought together the best elements of life on earth.
According to CNN, these are 16 of the world’s best coastline destinations:
Garden Route, South Africa
With a wide range of topography, vegetation, wildlife and outdoor activities, there are ample reasons for travellers to savour and take in the majesty of the Garden Route. This proudly South African icon takes its name from the indigenous vegetation and lush forests that cover much of the hills and valleys. With great little towns
, adventure activities
and cultural events
galore - there are many reasons to make the Garden Route the next place for you to explore.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Cinque Terre, Italy
The Italian Riviera is in no short supply of rugged coastlines with charming little towns and villages but the shores of Cinque Terre truly are something special. This heavenly location (today a UNESCO World Heritage site) is comprised of five fishing communities clustered together. With limited road networks and well-preserved architecture, travellers can enjoy this largely unspoiled destination and explore its hiking trails, secluded beaches and stunning coastal views.(Photo: iStock)
WATCH: Explore the Amalfi Coast’s 'Path of the Gods'
Turquoise Coast, Turkey
Known in antiquity as Lycia, this little corner along southwest Turkey is perhaps one of the most underrated highlights of the beautiful coastline-filled Mediterranean Sea. This paradise set between Antalya and Fethiye is staggeringly beautiful, with a name as befitting as any. The turquoise waters are met by a sandy shore with a dense forested area serving as a backdrop. (Photo: iStock)
MUST SEE: Quick guide to Turkey: Easy eVisa travel for South Africans
Big Sur, California
Good old California. Redwoods, raw maritime beauty and great weather - Cali has it all. Big Sur is one place to enjoy the spectacular coastline of this beautiful American state with unspoiled views.
PICS: Would you take a 35-hour train trip on this US coastal journey?
Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland
Incredibly popular today for its role in one of the world's most popular television series, the area has and is widely revered for its dramatic natural beauty. A must-see is the Giant's Causeway. This space blurs history and myth like no other place on earth and is one of the most remarkable sites along the Antrim Coast. This geological wonder was formed during intense volcanic activity that took place over 60 million years ago.
Malabar Coast, India
Once known for its wealthy seaports, the Malabar Coast today is today geared toward coastal relaxation and tourist developments. With dazzling beaches, palm-shaded beaches and a substantial offering of coastline and beaches, the Malabar Coast is well worth exploring.
SEE: India to get transport system at near-supersonic speeds as Richard Branson announces Hyperloop plan
Great Ocean Road, Australia
Stretching 243 kilometres between Torquay and Warrnambool, the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most famous routes travelled by road. Travellers moving along this road will be taken past small pockets of rainforest, tranquil seaside towns and sheer limestone cliffs to name but a few sights. Renowned for the Twelve Apostle sea stacks, this is a must-see coastline destination to cross off of your bucket list. (Photo: iStock)
SEE: How to avoid being a digi-bandit: Man booted back home for offensive phone videos after landing in Australia
Na Pali Coast, Hawaii
The Na Pali Coast gives off some serious uncharted territory, pioneering vibes with is cliffs that rise steeply into the sky while the ocean crashes into its sides. With jungle waterfalls, valleys and white-sandy beaches unlike anywhere else in the world, travellers here are able to engage with what little primordial wonder still exists on the planet.
WATCH: New Hawaii coastline formed as volcano's lava flows into ocean
Andaman Coast, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar
While the Andaman Coast is most commonly associated with Thailand's southwest shore, it actually extends all the way from southern Myanmar to northern Malaysia. It is truly a dream-like coastline with pure white beaches of soft sand, turquoise waters, verdant jungle-covered isles and limestone cliffs begging to be climbed. With popular beach resorts, world-class dive sites, waterfalls and caves there is plenty to see and do on this coastline.
MUST SEE: Quick guide to Thailand: Visa free travel for South Africans
Beagle Channel, Chile and Argentina
Beagle Channel is named after the Royal Navy ship that took Charles Darwin on his voyages. This chilly area is marked by a unique assortment of flora and fauna including penguins and sea lions. With snow-capped peaks and untouched shores, the Beagle Channel is a marvel of nature.
MUST SEE: Quick Guide to Argentina: Visa-free travel for South Africans
Riviera Maya, Mexico
White-sand beaches, ancient seaside Mayan ruins and natural limestone caverns (cenotes) make Riviera Maya one of the best coastal destinations on the planet. When you manage to pick your jaw up from the floor, make sure to get into the waters and swim with the marine life in the world's second longest barrier reef.
SEE: The Rent Vent: Accommodating everyone on a Mexico beach vacation
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
A list of coastlines would not be complete without some Adriatic magic. Dotted with small medieval towns, jewel-like waters, dramatic limestone mountains and a balmy Mediterranean climate - what more do you need to know before you head on up to the Dalmatian Coast?
MUST SEE: Quick Guide to Croatia: Experience old-world charm in a coastal paradise
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Sparsely populated and pristine, the Raja Ampat Islands, comprised of more than 1500 islands, is a traveller's dream island destination. This destination at the far eastern end of Indonesia is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty from steep, lush islands, white-sand beaches, lagoons and turquoise waters. (Photo: iStock)
MUST SEE: Quick guide to Indonesia: Visa-free travel for South Africans
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Alaska, commonly associated with ice, orcas and slowly drifting glaciers is home to one of the best coastlines in the world. Kena Fjords National Park
was created in 1980 to protect some of Alaska's most awe-inspiring and unspoiled, rugged wilderness. Whales, bear, moose, and the gargantuan Harding Ice Field of glaciers make this a must-see destination. (Photo: iStock)
WATCH: Cruise through the arctic waters of Alaska and Antarctica in six-star luxury
Costa Verde, Brazil
Sometimes referred to as the 'Green Coast', this spectacular coastal destination in Brazil, between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, is noted for its verdant forests and a coast that is spangled with secluded stretches of beach and small towns.
MUST SEE: Quick Guide to Brazil: Visa-free travel for South Africans