Playa de Gulpiyuri ranks as one of the smallest, yet most amazing, beaches in the world. It is actually an inland beach, not one accompanying a river.
This remarkable geological feature is located near Llanes, Spain, on the northern coast of the country, and forms part of Spain’s Regional Network of Protected Natural Areas.
It also holds the distinction of having been named a natural monument, as well. Playa de Gulpiyuri also, quite understandably, forms an extremely popular tourist attraction in the region.
However, it can be difficult to locate and reach (which helps to preserve it). It remains one of the few hidden beaches in the world, yet most experts believe it to be the only one of its kind on earth that has a fully tidal nature.
Playa de Gulpiyuri Geological Characteristics
The remarkably picturesque (don’t forget unique) Playa de Gulpiyuri also constitutes perhaps the smallest ocean beach on earth. This simply provides further proof that tiny can be beautiful. It measures roughly 131 ft (40 m) in length, while its width averages approximately 65.5 ft (20 m) when the tide is at its lowest.
It formed a mere 328 ft (100 m) from the Cantabrian Sea. The reason for its fully tidal nature is the existence of a network of small underground tunnels connecting it to the ocean. This direct link to its source actually allows for the creation of minor wave activity.
But its uniqueness does not end there. Playa de Gulpiyuri also sits tucked away in a small hollow area, set into the ground. This hollow region itself lies situated almost perfectly in the center of a lovely green meadow.
Playa de Gulpiyuri Formation and Preservation
The remarkable Playa de Gulpiyuri was actually formed by the combination of two separate natural events, which doesn’t happen every day.
To begin with, the endless activity of the ocean waves carved several small tunnels into the sea cliffs. Then (and scientists are uncertain of when it happened) a naturally occurring sinkhole formed. Over time, the relentless motion of the waves washed away the debris and deposited sand, and thus a beach was formed.
The site is not widely advertised, to help protect it. However, tourists from around the world visiting the area hear about it from local inhabitants and inundate it during warmer parts of the year.