Soft white sand, impossibly blue bath-warm waters, a smattering of palm fronds for shade and an ice cold cocktail in hand – the perfect beach experience. It’s about as close as we get to the picture postcard image of a relaxing vacation, and luckily for us, the world is overflowing with them.

But where to go? Which to visit? Are you looking to zone out with a good book and only the sound of lapping waves for company? Or are you all about the action and want to swim, surf or parasail?

Looking at a range of factors from visitor ratings, average air and water temperatures and average number of sunny days to proximity to restaurants, hotels, bars and nightlife, Alpha Travel Insurance has ranked a comprehensive top ten of the world’s best beaches.