Iceland Jokulsarlon Summer Sunset 2011

8 unique beaches you have to see to believe


Sandy white beaches drenched in sunshine, overlooking a crystal blue ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see, and flanked by rows of palm trees even, are probably the stuff most of our day dreams are made of. But did you know that there are a bunch of exotic beaches around the world that don't fit this conventional postcard-perfect picture, but are no less idyllic and bucket-list worthy? Our search of must-see unusual beaches yielded some amazing results. Beach worshippers, you'll want to travel to these awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind destinations asap:

Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas

This beach boast three miles of perfectly pink (yes, pink!) sand, and gentle, warm waters. The colour derives from thousands of broken coral pieces left behind by tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells that live in the surrounding reefs. Located on one of the Bahamas' smaller islands, Harbour Island, this setting just oozes relaxation and romance.

Benagil Beach, Portugal

Benagil is a small fishing village located in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is sought-after by tourists for its magnificent cathedral-like cave, which is right next to the beach, but can only be accessed by sea. The limestone dome of the cave has an opening, or eye, at the top which allows the sunlight to cascade beautifully on the sand.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

The interesting formations on this beach occurred over 50 million years ago when basalt lava rose to the surface. After it cooled, it began to crack into the amazing interlocking columns that can be seen today. The mythical explanation goes that two giants fought on this stretch of coast, causing the surface to look like a surreal puzzle.

Hot water beach, New Zealand

Hot water isn't something you would normally associate with a beach, but exactly what you'll find at this beach on Mercury Bay along New Zealand's Pacific coast. Visitors can hire a spade to dig hot pools out of the sand at low tide near the rocks and in places where steam can be seen rising from the open sea at high tide.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

This is a glacial lagoon forming a beach in south-east Iceland. The chunks of snow-white glaciers on the black volcanic sand make for a picture of a perfect match and spectacular contrast in one frame. Also called Diamond Beach by the locals, because the ice cubes that wash up on the shore resemble this gem when illuminated by light.

Bioluminescent Beach, Maldives

No doubt you want to be on this beach for a festive occasion, because the water is a party all by itself! The lights on the sandy shores of this Maldives beach are caused by a bioluminescent phytoplankton. Individually, these creatures are too small to see, but gathered together they create a magical light show.

 

 

Vanishing Beach, India

On the Chandipur Beach in eastern India, you'll see the sea disappear in front of your eyes. Here the sea recedes by as much as five kilometres every day, not just wowing the onlooker but also offering an opportunity to literally walk into the sea.

Boulders Beach, South Africa

At Boulders Beach just outside Cape Town in South Africa, you can get up close and personal with the large resident African Penguin colony, a truly unique experience. Also adding to the charm are the huge granite rock formations, or boulders, after which the beach is named, sheltering it from wind and tides.