We all love those powder white sands lapped by crystal clear waters, but there’s also a few beaches out there with a more quirky beauty to them. We’ve searched high and low for the world’s most unusual ones.
- Chandipur Beach, India
While the best beaches of India are mostly found in Goa, in Odisha you’ll find the incredible Chandipur beach. It’s also known as the ‘vanishing beach’ due to the sea receding 5 km along the seashore. It’s a sight to behold, the water disappearing in front of your eye to leave a peaceful serene landscape.
As the sea fades away it leaves behind all manner of things including shells, driftwood, crabs, and starfish. As people venture over the sea bed, it gives the illusion they are walking on water. Once the sea has retreated local fishermen head out to trawl for the unfortunate fish left behind.
- Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland
While black beaches are an attribute of volcanic islands, Iceland’s most famous one has to be Reynisfjara beach. It is found on the south coast just next to the fishing town of Vik. It’s wild, rugged and majestic, the stormy North Atlantic crashing against the ink-black shore, lined with tall cliffs built of hexagonal-shaped basalt columns. In the sea through the mist, you’ll be able to see three towering black basalt columns called Reynisdrangar. If Icelandic folklore is to be believed, these stacks are trolls who turned to stone when surprised by the rising sun.
Don’t rely on cloudless skies and dazzling sun for this beach to look beautiful. A touch of mist and a slightly overcast sky adds to the spectacular look of this dramatic beach. And of course one of the most magical times to be here is during a winter’s night. The beach is the perfect natural backdrop to watch the Northern Lights. A word of warning – the sea is particularly treacherous with it advised for visitors never to turn their back on the waves.
- Red Sand Beach, Galapagos Islands
Rábida Island is one of the most volcanically varied islands of the Galapagos archipelago and is mostly made up of spatter cone lava. Over the years this has eroded to show shades of fiery red and maroon brown, the flaming colors due to the high iron content. The sand of the island’s beaches is a striking hue of vermilion, the line of verdant green cactus and bushes behind it contrasting beautifully.
Despite only being a tiny island it’s full of flora and fauna, much of which can be found on the beach. You’ll be met by lounging sea lions, the playful animals taking a break from sunbathing to have a nosy as you arrive. It’s home to some of the rarest birds of the islands, including the Galapagos hawk, with a flamingo lagoon just behind the beach.
- Boulders Beach, South Africa
Think of penguins in their natural habitat and you’ll probably envision the proud walk of the Empire penguin across the icy wonderland of Antarctica. It’s unlikely you would think of meeting these charming birds on the shores of South Africa. Nevertheless, this is what is in store for those who head to Boulders Beach, a one-hour drive from the centre of Cape Town.
This beach is the only place you can get close to African penguins and watch as they waddle along the shore. They are nicknamed the ‘jackass’ penguin due to their distinctive mating call, similar to that of a donkey. The ancient boulders along the coastline protect the penguins, and you, from the sea wind and waves making for ideal conditions to watch the penguins paddle in the clear waters of False Bay.