Where to find the world’s most un­touched beaches

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - OBITUARIES - BY MARY FORGIONE Los An­ge­les Times

Beaches can be so much more than the in­ter­sec­tion of sand and sea. On­line travel agency Flight­net­work asked more than 1,000 travel pro­fes­sion­als where to find the world’s most un­touched beaches. These six topped the list of 50 (which you can check out at World’s Best Beaches for 2018).

ICE­LAND

Tourists usu­ally take a dip in the Blue La­goon’s nat­u­rally hot wa­ters. Less well known to out­siders is a black-sand beach with clear-blue wa­ters at the base of Ves­tra­horn Moun­tain on the coun­try’s south­east coast. The draw here is pho­tograph­ing the un­spoiled land­scape. When wa­ters are calm, you can snap a per­fect re­flec­tion of the moun­tains, or, if you’re lucky, the North­ern Lights. Re­search driv­ing di­rec­tions to the Stokksnes penin­sula and the near­est town of Höfn; Google Maps won’t help much. You pay a small fee to en­ter the beach.

Info: Visit Vat­na­jokull

GREECE

Agio­farago Beach won’t be found on a usual tour of the Greek is­lands. You have to cross a gorge ringed by steep walls on foot (or take a boat) to get to this spot on the south­west coast of Crete, the coun­try’s fifth­largest is­land. Your re­ward: a fine peb­ble beach, azure wa­ters, a rock arch you can swim un­der, and cliffs you can climb for wide-an­gle views. This is a place whose caves are still in­hab­ited by monks. Stop at St. An­thony’s chapel on the way to the beach to fill bot­tles with fresh wa­ter.

Info: Cre­tan Beaches

ORE­GON

Can­non Beach is the only U.S. site to rank in the top 50, and with good rea­son. You can eas­ily walk to the fa­mous Haystack Rock and other rock for­ma­tions amid 4 miles of sandy beach. There are tide­pools to ex­plore and, from May to La­bor Day, tufted puffins nest­ing and rais­ing their young on Haystack (vol­un­teer guards of­fer scopes and in­ter­pre­tive in­for­ma­tion while keep­ing vis­i­tors from get­ting too close). Keep walking to see more of the rugged coast, such as a wa­ter­fall and sea caves at Hug Point about 3 miles south.

Info: Can­non Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce

AUS­TRALIA

Wine­glass Bay on the east coast of Tas­mania not far from Ho­bart usu­ally stakes a spot on best beach lists. Here’s the catch: You have to walk about two and a half hours to what many guides prom­ise is an empty beach with epic scenery. White sand at the base of pink and gray gran­ite moun­tains pro­vides the back­drop to a shel­tered stretch of sparkling wa­ter where you can swim, sea kayak or con­tinue to ex­plore on foot.

Info: aus­tralia.com

POR­TU­GAL

There’s no ho­tels, restau­rants or shops at Mal­hao Beach in the coun­try’s Al­garve re­gion, mak­ing this one of the most nat­u­ral beaches around. Golden sand and rock for­ma­tions jut­ting out into the ocean are the stars of this coastal stretch. Body board­ers and surfers will find good waves but strong rip cur­rents too. Take time to hike and ex­plore the cliffs.

Info: Travel in Por­tu­gal

SOUTH AFRICA

Cof­fee Bay is on the Wild Coast, which refers to a stretch of land the coun­try’s Eastern Coast prov­ince. Back­pack­ers and oth­ers seek­ing so­lace come to check out the area’s dark-rock cliffs and white sand beaches. Hole in the Wall, where a nat­u­ral hole has been carved out of an ocean­side for­ma­tion, is a must­see. And the name? Cof­fee beans sup­pos­edly washed ashore from a ship, but the trees never re­ally took hold.

Info: sa-venues.com

COLIN MURPHEY Daily As­to­rian

Ore­gon’s Can­non Beach, with its fa­mous Haystack Rock, was the only U.S. site to rank in the top 50 un­touched beaches in the world.

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