Home to over 7,600 islands, the Philippines is a small island nation in Southeast Asia famous for its white sand beaches and friendly locals. It has only 2 seasons: wet and dry, but whenever you visit, there’s bound to be an island waiting to be explored. Hot summers or the dry season are in the months of March to May while the rest of the year experiences scattered rainfall or monsoons. Officially, monsoon season is around June to November with August to September still being a bit favourable where beachgoers are concerned. With so many beautiful islands to explore, we’ve narrowed the selection down to 4 of the best beaches in the Philippines to make your travel planning a bit easier. 

Boracay, Aklan

Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay
Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay’s private beach

An island of the Aklan province, Boracay is one of the most famous tourist hotspots in the Philippines—one of the first ones that won the hearts of international travellers too! Approximately 7 kilometres long with a land area of only 10.32 square kilometres, this relatively small island has a total of 17 beaches most with its famous powdery white sand. Home to some of the best beaches in the Philippines, the most famous beach in Boracay is White Beach followed by Puka Beach and Manoc-Manoc Beach on opposite ends, and Bulabog Beach on the opposite side of the island from White Beach.

How to get there: Boracay has 2 airports: Kalibo Airport and Caticlan Airport, with Caticlan providing easier access to Boracay. From Caticlan Airport, there will be a short ride to the jetty port, and from there, it will be around 15 minutes by boat. The same goes for Kalibo, only longer; 2 hours on land, and 30 minutes by boat. The island is also accessible via ferry from Batangas (a 3-hour drive from Manila) and Cebu which takes 9 hours and a little over 1 hour respectively.

Things to do: There are a multitude of activities to be enjoyed on the beach and in the water when in Boracay. Helmet diving, sailing, parasailing, banana boat rides, jet skiing, and paddle boarding are some fun activities in the water while driving an ATV, shopping, and getting massages are popular activities for tourists on land. At night, there are a number of bars and seaside chill-out places where you can enjoy dining out in the open or dancing to the latest beats.

Where to eat: D’Mall along White Beach features a wide range of restaurants ranging from local karinderias or eateries to more commercial food places. When in Boracay though, definitely drop by Nonie’s Restaurant on White Beach’s Station X where you can enjoy healthy offerings such as seafood and tofu salads or Filipino favourites like “bistek,” the locals’ take on beef steak. If you love breakfast, Sunny Side Cafe’s all-day breakfast theme is perfect for you. They’re famous for their bacon and mango grilled cheese sandwich! Last but not least, a trip to Boracay won’t be complete without an ice-cold fruit shake from Jonah’s Fruit Shake at Station 1. Perfect cooling companion as you explore the island!

Where to stay: Placing you within easier access to the foodie spots in Stations 1 to 3, The Lind Boracay is a premier oceanfront destination on Station 1 that offers 5-star rooms and service. All rooms and suites have elegant design, modern suites, and spacious living areas. This resort hotel also has its own outdoor pool and spa!

Shangri - La Boracay infinity pool
Shangri-La Boracay infinity pool
The Lind Boracay
The Lind Boracay
Boracay is one of the best beaches in the Philippines known for its fine white sand
Sailing in Boracay

If you want to take your beach holiday in the Philippines a notch higher and stay in 5-star Boracay hotels with private beaches, you’re going to love the beautiful rooms and suites at Shangri-La Boracay and Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay. Have the ultimate island life experience in the tree house villa of Shangri-La Boracay, or take a luxurious dip as you enjoy the view in the pool villas of Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay. Both of these luxury hotels have several dining options on-site, but the stations are also within walking distance if you want to explore more restaurants nearby.


Shangri - La Mactan near Cebu has one of the best beaches in the Philippines
The infinity pool at Shangri-La Mactan

The country’s first capital, Cebu is one of the Philippines’ historic centres. About an hour and 20 minutes by plane from Manila, Cebu is famous for its beaches, waterfalls, and temples, as well as whale shark and dolphin watching. Over 450 times bigger than Boracay, this narrow island province is also known as Asia’s Cradle of Christianity and has 167 islands with some of the best beaches in the Philippines for you to explore!

How to get there: Mactan-Cebu International Airport can be reached via international and local flights. By ferry, the travel time from Manila is over 30 hours, so getting there by plane is much preferred by most travellers.

Things to do: When in Cebu, make sure to visit historical sites like Magellan’s Cross, Cebu Taoist temple, and Basilica Minore del Santo Nino which is the first Roman Catholic church in the Philippines. You can also go canyoneering in Kawasan Falls, or go whale and dolphin watching around March to June. If you’re looking for beach adventures, snorkelling and SCUBA diving are popular activities in the area.

Where to eat: It’s an absolute must to try the local delicacy called “lechon” when in Cebu. Try these whole roasted pigs at Rico’s Lechon or House of Lechon for authentic Cebu-style lechon. For a romantic dinner, we’d suggest La Vie Parisienne which is also known as the little Paris of Cebu. They have a great wine selection and the restaurant really comes to life at night! For dessert, dried mangoes that are sold in markets will definitely do the trick.

Where to stay: Experience world-class hospitality while being steps away from Cebu’s beautiful shore at Shangri-La Mactan—set on an island next to Cebu City and just minutes away from the airport. Relax in beautifully appointed rooms, unwind at the outdoor pool, enjoy tasty offerings at Tides, or take a leisurely stroll on the beach. After a day of exploring, recharge with therapies at Chi, the on-site spa.

Kandaya Resort's quiet northern shoreline is one of the best beaches in the Philippines
Kandaya Resort

You can also stay at Kandaya Resort, away from the crowds on the northernmost tip of the island. This luxury destination resort boasts spacious rooms, suites, and pool villas while being a heartbeat away from the sandy white shore. On site, there’s a restaurant, bar, and lounge, and private dining experiences can be arranged on the beach too!

Siargao, Surigao del Norte

Nay Palad Hideaway is close to the best surf spots and best beaches in the Philippines
Nay Palad Hideaway’s woven roof and outdoor pool

Siargao is known for its laid-back island vibe and delicious food scene. This tropical island is located in the province of Surigao del Norte and is known for its stunning beaches and world-class surf breaks, making it the Philippines’ surfing capital. If you love surfing, the island hosts an annual international surfing competition around October—the Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup—which attracts some of the best surfers from around the world!

How to get there: There are several ways to get to Siargao, but the most common way is to fly from Manila or Cebu to the island’s only airport, Sayak Airport. From Manila, it’s about 1.5 hours and only 1 hour away from Cebu. Once you arrive at Sayak Airport, you can take a 30- to 45-minute tricycle or van ride to your hotel or resort in General Luna, which is the main tourist hub on the island. Private transfers can also be arranged depending on your booked accommodation. During your stay, getting around on a rented motorbike or tricycle is the most common way of exploring the island.

Things to do: Siargao is one of the surfing meccas of the Philippines and catching waves here is a must. Some of the best surf spots include Cloud 9, Stimpy’s, and Jacking Horse. Surrounded by small islands with crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches, you should also go island hopping and visit Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. Apart from swimming and snorkelling in the clear waters, you can also visit natural attractions such as the Magpopongko Rock Pools that show up during low tide, or enjoy the calm waters of Sugba Lagoon.

Where to eat: Apart from having some of the best beaches in the Philippines, the island is also known for its delicious seafood, particularly its fresh tuna and other fish caught daily by local fishermen. Mama’s Grill is an open-air BBQ joint considered a Siargao must-try. Mama’s Grill serves up fresh seafood, grilled meats, and local Filipino dishes. It’s a great spot to enjoy a casual dinner with friends. For foodie finds, try out Kermit Surf Resort’s mix of Italian and Filipino food, and the smoothies and bowls at Shaka Café. For a more special mood, Harana Surf Resort is known for its farm-to-table approach to dining with a menu that changes daily based on what’s fresh and in season. It’s a great spot for a romantic dinner or a special occasion!

Nay Palad Hideaway
Dining with a view at Nay Palad Hideaway

Where to stay: Nay Palad Hideaway is the premier resort in Siargao where luxury takes the forefront of guest experience. Tucked away in a grove of coconut trees and steps away from the white sand beach, Nay Palad Hideaway is one of the popular destinations for barefoot luxury in the Philippines. Set on the southeastern tip of Siargao, this luxury resort is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and a peaceful private bay where guests can enjoy both active water activities like surfing and calmer ones like paddle boarding and kayaking. Whether you choose to relax in the outdoor pool or get a whole-body pampering session at Hilot, the on-site spa, Nay Palad Hideaway will place you in the embrace of nature’s tranquillity.


Pangulasian Island Resort's golden shoreline is one of the best beaches in the Philippines
Pangulasian Island Resort

Famed for tourist hotspots such as El Nido and Coron, Palawan is one of the country’s most famous holiday destinations and is home to some of the best beaches in the Philippines. A long main island with over 1,800 islets surrounding it, this makes it one of the best destinations for those who love island hopping!

How to get there: There are several airports in the province of Palawan, but Puerto Princesa International Airport and El Nido Airport are considered the main gateways to these islands. Both airports are accessible via flights from Manila, Cebu, and Caticlan (Boracay). Although the island can also be reached by ferry from Manila, it takes over a day and would also depend on the weather and travel conditions, so air travel is the advised method to get there.

Things to do: First thing up the list is island hopping! Wherever in Palawan you stay, the local boatmen or bangkeros will have nearby islands they can take you to. Some islands are so small that the sandy shores sink during high tide and you can literally walk around them in a few minutes. Next, visit the lagoons. When in Coron, the famous lagoon is called Twin Lagoons which also happens to be a short trek away from the freshwater Kayangan Lake—up in the mountain! In El Nido, there are plenty of famous lagoons you can ask your boatmen to take you to including: Big and Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, and Hidden Lagoon. All boasting an otherworldly appeal. Kayaking, paddle boarding in shallow waters, and freediving are also popular activities on these islands.

Where to eat: When in El Nido, try out The Nesting Table which offers Filipino and Western dishes. It’s the on-site restaurant of The Birdhouse, a glamping spot on Marimegmeg Beach. If you love hearty vegan bowls, you’ll enjoy Happiness Beach Bar right on El Nido Beach. When in Coron, there are a lot of restaurants in Coron Town Proper but we recommend Get Real Bar and Restaurant which serves Mexican food and an assortment of finger foods. It’s also on the street where a lot of foodie places are located! Since a lot of resorts in Palawan are on (private) islands and come with on-site restaurants, the ones we recommended are the ones you can access on the main islands of El Nido and Coron.

Where to stay: Set on Pamalican Island, Amanpulo is a 5-star island paradise in Cuyo, Palawan. This private island has pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and plenty of back-to-nature experiences while spoiled with supreme comfort. Its casitas and villas are nestled in the island’s own little coconut tree jungle!

Cauayan Island Resort
Cauayan Island Resort
Amanpulo Palawan
Cauayan Island Resort's private beach
Cauayan Island Resort

Can’t choose between overwater or beach villas? Cauayan Island Resort is one of only a few resorts in the Philippines with over-water villas. Experience laid-back luxury and tranquil waters on this private island in El Nido where you can indulge yourself in that tropical island lifestyle. Another luxury stay in El Nido is Pangulasian Island Resort. An eco-luxury hotel with a marine sanctuary right at its doorstep! This all-villa resort has a predominantly Filipino design style and the island has a view of both the sunrise and sunset. Cool!

Cauayan Island Resort overwater villas near some of the best beaches in the Philippines
Overwater villas at Cauayan Island Resort

If you enjoyed our selection of restaurants and stays close to the best beaches in the Philippines, you’ll enjoy our full collection of luxury Philippine hotels and accommodation at viewretreats.com

Image credit: Shangri-La Boracay

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Powered by copious amounts of caffeine, Tracy is a cat lady who loves island hopping in Asia. A writer by profession and an interior designer at heart, she loves synergistic aesthetics that breathe life and character into spaces. She finds inspiration from the grand and the mundane, and dreams of living by the beach.