10 ISA Study Abroad Destinations with the Coolest Beaches

By Kaitlyn Webster, Marketing Associate

Don’t want to be landlocked while you’re studying abroad? ISA had plenty of seaside locations for you to choose from! Whether you’re looking for great waves, white sand beaches, or a peaceful spot to study in the sun, here are the ten ISA study abroad destinations with the coolest beaches.

Gold coast surfers.

Gold Coast, Australia

Surfers Paradise is easily the most famous — and the most popular — beach on the Gold Coast. Ironically, it’s not known for its big waves, but for its beauty and proximity to restaurants, resorts, and great shopping. If you’re looking for a less crowded beach to work on your tan, Palm Beach is known for its cleanliness, and Kirra Beach is a great place to catch a wave.

Newcastle, Australia

Australia is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and Newcastle doesn’t disappoint! Merewether Beach is the go-to spot for surfers and Newcastle Beach is beloved by locals and tourists alike.

A bird’s eye view of a secluded Brazilian beach. (Photo by Zachary Wildofsky)

Florianópolis, Brazil

You’ll have no shortage of beaches to choose from if you study abroad in Florianópolis. The city is located on a scenic island in southeastern Brazil and is filled with plenty of natural wonders for you to explore, including over 42 beaches! Lagoinha do Leste has been a favorite spot of former ISA students and Praia Moçambique is a great getaway if you want to avoid tourists.

Suva, Fiji

If you’re looking for some of the best beaches in the world, look no further than Fiji. ISA’s study abroad program in the capital of Suva gives you easy access to beaches people travel to from all over the world. Go diving in Beqa Lagoon, which is part of an extinct volcano crater or spend the weekend at the tiny island of Caqalai and enjoy its crystal blue waters.

Althea Beach in Greece. (Photo by Rachel Gischia)

Athens, Greece

If you choose to study abroad in Athens, it is just a short drive from the coast. Kavouri is a great place to play Greece’s national sport of beach paddle ball and Althea Beach is a hidden gem just forty minutes south of the city. Of course, if you’re willing to travel, Santorini isn’t too far from the shores of mainland Greece…

Cape Town & Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Explore the beaches of South Africa and you’ll maybe see a penguin or two! African Penguins are known for hanging out at Boulders Beach in Cape Town, which means you could get up close and personal with a wild penguin! If that’s not enough to entice you, Milnerton Beach is a prime surf spot, and Little Bay, Bloubergstrand has amazing views of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was once held prisoner.

The city of Port Elizabeth is part of Nelson Mandela Bay, which boasts 40 km of scenic beaches. Humewood Beach is South Africa’s oldest blue flag beach and nearby Hobie Beach is the most popular stretch of coast in Port Elizabeth and the site of the famous Splash Festival.

Sunset over Santander’s coast. (Photo by Jana Schneider)

Santander, Spain

Located on the scenic Cantabrian coast, Santander was the summer home of the Spanish Royal Family. Needless to say, the beaches here are some of the best in Cantabria, including El Sardinero, which is two beaches in one and Playa del Camello, which is famous for its camel-shaped rock.

Auckland, New Zealand

You can’t go wrong studying abroad in New Zealand if you’re looking for outdoor adventure and picturesque coastlines. Auckland’s beaches are so beautiful, they’ve been featured in films, and with so much coastline, it’s easy to find a quiet spot to study. If you choose to study abroad in Auckland, be sure to check out a few of our favorite beaches: Karekare Beach, Piha Beach, and Mission Bay.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The beaches of Vietnam are some of the best-kept secrets in Southeast Asia. While you may have to travel a bit to reach some of the prime spots, it’s worth the trip! Adrenaline-seekers will love Mui Ne Beach, known for its strong winds which make for ideal windsurfing conditions. Phu Quoc Island is considered one of the most beautiful islands off the coast of Vietnam and will soon be covered in world-class resorts, so get there before the tourists do and enjoy this secluded spot.


If you’re interested in studying abroad, ISA can help you get started.

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