Posted on 02/10/2021

#Nature #Portugal

The 18 most unusual beaches in the world

Far from the classic white or golden sands, these 18 beaches adopt colors and shapes that are unlike anything you've ever seen! There's sand of every color with reds, greens, and pinks. Even their strange rock formations will make you see Mother Nature a little differently! Get some inspiration for a beach vacation like never before.

Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

Facing the cliffs of Mount Reynisfjall, this black sand beach is like a roadmap of Iceland's volcanic origins. According to legend, columns of lava carved by the water are trolls that were turned to stone in a line near the beach. Although they're the product of a natural phenomenon, their strange shape will certainly make you believe in fairy tales! - Natala Standret/123RF

Foxy Beach, South Africa

Penguins have made a home for themselves in this part of South Africa's coastline. After spending the day on the sand at Boulder Beach, take a walk along the boardwalk to view the penguins on Foxy Beach. The water temperature is often around 15 C in summer, so follow the penguins' lead and get swimming! - Calapre Pocholo/123RF

Moeraki, New Zealand

Like the eggs of giant dragons ready to hatch, these imposing boulders scattered on Moeraki Beach in New Zealand have an almost perfectly spherical shape and weigh several tons. The boulders started forming about 60 million years ago from mud eroded from the cliffs. With the continual erosion of the coastline, there will most likely be even more boulders lining the shore in a few million years! - fakruljamil/123RF

Harbour Island, Bahamas

Pink is said to be the most soothing color for the human eye and mind. Combine this with and idyllic sandy beach and you've got a recipe for relaxation! This Bahamian beach is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the world. Its colour is due to its coral composition and to the shells of microscopic bright pink or red marine invertebrates. - Zhang Ziliang/123RF

Punta Suarez, Galapagos

On this beach in the Galapagos, your neighbors won't be sunbathing on a towel. Sea lions, not humans, are the most common inhabitants of this beach on Espanola Island, but you don't have to worry about them being too nosy! The sea lions and other wildlife here generally keep to themselves. You can also expect to see some marine iguanas and albatross. - donyanedomam/123RF

Whitehaven Beach, Australia

100% pure sand! With unparalleled purity, this beach on the famed Whitsunday Island is accessible only by boat and extends over 4 miles. Far from everything and everyone, Whitehaven Beach is located smack in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. Even if you're not keen on scuba diving, the brilliant white sand is a feast for the eyes. Just don't forget your sunnies. - Luca Mason/123rf

Benagil Beach, Portugal

Heading back to Europe, Benagil Beach is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the Algarve coast where the erosion of the sea has formed a network of caves. This is one of the most photographed places in Portugal, and there are plenty of options for excursions by boat, kayak or paddleboard. - tagstiles/123RF

Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

Worthy of a science fiction film, this spectacle of electric blue water is none other than the work of millions of bioluminescent phytoplankton, a microorganism present on the surface of the water. Vaadhoo Island is famous for its aquatic light show, but the phenomenon can also be found in other parts of the world like Puerto Rico and India. A visit here will make you believe you're swimming among the stars. - pawelgphoto/123RF

Pink Beach, Komodo Island, Indonesia

This pink beach gets its color from microscopic organisms called Foraminifera. These organisms produce the pigment that causes coral reefs to turn red, and the same pigment also appears in the sand of the beach! Komodo Island itself is also famous for being home to the Komodo dragon, which is the world's largest lizard. With giant reptiles and prismatic beaches, it doesn't get any more surreal than this! - Calapre Pocholo/123RF

Navagio Beach, Greece

Navagio Beach in Greece is like a real-life treasure hunt. The wreck on the sand has become a social media favorite, and legend has it that the ship was wrecked by smugglers. The ship and its cargo of contraband cigarettes allegedly ran aground in 1980 while fleeing the Navy. The beach is only accessible by boat, adding to its mysterious allure. - galeja/123RF

Hamelin Pool, Australia

Have you ever considered swimming among living fossils? The oldest and largest living fossils on Earth can be found at the Hamelin Pool. Located within the Shark Bay World Heritage Area in Western Australia, the stromatolites formed 3.7 billion years ago and Shark Bay is home to the largest concentration of them in the world. Get a glimpse of them from afar or take a special tour to swim with them up close and personal. - sellphoto1/123RF

Panjin Red Beach, China

This isn't your typical beach as it's not exactly sand that covers its banks. It's actually a brilliant scarlet marine algae that covers all of Panjin National Reserve in China. The algae, Suaeda salsa grows best in saline-alkali soil, which the region has in abundance. During autumn these plants bloom, turning the Panjin Red Beach a rich, vibrant red! A small section of this beach is open to tourists. - bigtree777/123rf

Glass Beach, California, USA

This beach appears to be covered in brilliant gemstones, but the reality is much different. Once upon a time, this sliver of the California shoreline was littered with garbage. The area was used as a dump site by the state government until the mid-1960s. When the dump was finally closed, official cleanup attempts removed many of the larger metal items like cars and appliances. Nature has reclaimed the rest of the beach, turning what was once trash into a rich kaleidoscope of sea glass. - Charles Wollertz/123RF

Punalu'u Beach Park, Hawaii, USA

Located at the southeastern edge of the island of Hawaii, Punalu'u Beach is composed of black volcanic sand that can get really hot in the Hawaii sun! It's not ideal for swimming due to the sharp rocks near the shore, but the main draw of this beach is its numerous green sea turtles! - Jaromir Urbanek/123RF

Pebble Beach Golf Course, California

This golf course has hosted the US Open five times, and it's hard to imagine a more idyllic setting. It's considered the number one public golf course in the United States, and with the pounding Pacific Ocean right at your back, it's easy to see why. The course has been around for 100 years, and it's a delight for both golf enthusiasts and non-players alike. - isogood/123RF

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

You don't have to go far to experience the watery wonders of Mother Nature! These 40,000 hexagonal, basalt columns can reach almost 40 feet in height. The Giant's Causeway attracted 1.5 million visitors in 2018, and its allure is only expected to grow. While they may not be the work of a giant, that doesn't make their curious shape any less fascinating. - obencem/123RF

Mont St Michel, France

This beach may not be for lounging due to the quicksand in certain areas, but that doesn't detract from its idyllic beauty. The showstopper here is actually a manmade wonder: a Benedictine abbey dating back to the 10th century. At low tide visit the abbey and take a guided walk of the bay, and at high tide admire the abbey from afar as it becomes inaccessible. - jakobradlgruber/123RF

Papakolea Beach, Hawaii, USA

If you still haven't been tickled pink but white and gold aren't your colors, try this Hawaiian slice of paradise. Papakolea Beach sees life in green! The sand owes its unusual color to the presence of olivine, a transparent green mineral. The beach is a rare and exceptional site since it's one of only four in the world. The others can be found in Guam, the Galapagos and Norway. - Gerold Grotelueschen/123RF