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Beaches with a difference

The seaside is a delight at the best of times. The calming sound of the sea, stretches of sand and soul-replenishing vistas are common enough to give beaches their restorative reputation – and even when the sand isn’t postcard-perfect, coast still often trumps no coast.

But play with the formula a little and they become even more delightful.

Thankfully this curious planet of ours has plenty of examples where slight differences have led to some fascinating and very unique beaches.

So if you’re a bona fide beach bum who prefers sea views to city views here are the Flexicover team's favourite unusual beaches to lay your hat, and your towel, and your bucket and spade, and your picnic basket...

Spiaggia di Sabbia Nera, Sicily, Italy

Sicily is blessed with incredible beaches all around its plentiful coastline but its best beach is hidden in Vulcano in the far reaches of the Aeolian Islands and accessible by frequent tour boats. Its namesake volcano gives the island unique properties, including a natural, beachside Jacuzzi, and Valle dei Mostri (Valley of the Monsters), which is an area of creepy-looking rock formations. But the most awe-inspiring area is Spiaggia di Sabbia Nera, which translates directly to Black Sand Beach. Created by volcanic activity the grainy black sand contrasts incredibly with the blue sea that surrounds it explaining why it’s an increasingly popular tourist spot.

Ylströnd Beach, Iceland

The idea of going swimming in a country that calls itself Iceland would bring chills to even the most hardened of swimmers. But Ylströnd is a beach unto itself. Making the most of the geothermal waters on the Bay of Nauthólsvík, in 2001 a bright spark shipped in sand and created the walls for a lagoon, enabling the hot, natural waters to mix with the ice-cold sea waters. It means that all year around, swimmers can enjoy beach action in freezing cold, warm or hot water temperatures, with good facilities for changing and enjoying the day included in the entry price.

Sugar Beach, Toronto, Canada

You could almost count the number of major city beaches on your hands; because of construction, pollution and price, beaches in the world’s most important areas are a rarity. But Canada does things differently. Instead of using every inch of their seafront as a commodity, they created a man-made beach instead, with the express purpose of letting all its residents enjoy the view. Named after the refinery by its entrance, the sugar theme continues with its demerara sand, pink umbrellas and stripy rocks. It’s not a beach for swimming but ideal for soaking up the sun during Toronto’s predictably warm summer months.

Singing Beach, Massachusetts, USA

Full disclosure: there’s no singing. The name might suggest a beach whose sea breeze creates a beautiful noise to relax sun seekers even more than usual. But this beach, a 45-minute drive from Boston or an hour on the MTA, is more of a squeaky beach than a singing beach. Caused by the grains of sand which bear the exact properties to cause noise when they rub against the layer below, the phenomenon means the beach is becoming more of an attraction than it has room for. To avoid the busiest (and noisiest) times, get there before 11am.

Padangbai, Indonesia

Located by Bali, Padangbai is a popular choice for those who prefer its small-town peace and quiet, plus a beach that really comes alive at night thanks to its bioluminescent plankton. These tiny sea creatures emit light when disturbed so an ideal way to view this wondrous trait is to snorkel at night. The disturbance in the water feeds oxygen to the organisms, causing them to light up in a similar manner to fireflies, surrounding you with blue light in an otherwise black seascape. There are a few other places to see this if Padangbai isn’t on your travels: the Maldives, Jamaica and Puerto Rico also boast glowing seas.

Whether you’re tempted to try out one of these more unusual beaches or are happy to stick to the more standard kind, it’s good to know that Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.