Every time someone says the word ‘beach’, it reminds me of visuals of people relaxing on their recliners under colourful umbrellas, with a summer drink in their hand, kids building sandcastles near the shore and a group of youngsters enjoying a water sport. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?
And for those of you who still don’t feel excited by this scenario, what if I tell you about ‘Pink Sand’ beaches? Yes, they exist and are Mother Nature’s reality — rare, unusual and striking — these beaches are a photographer’s dream. If the turquoise and sea-green hues weren’t enough to take our breath away, pairing them with sands that boast cotton candy hues just takes it to another level. Moreover, photographs clicked on these beaches cannot compare to any Instagram filter.
Now, you must wonder what gives these beaches this whimsical shade of pink. A tiny marine creature called foraminiferan lives in the coral reefs surrounding the beach. It has a red and pink shell that it leaves behind on the sand, along with the coral pieces, which gives the beach this pink hue. There are only a few such beaches around the globe, and that just adds to their allure.
Here is a list of places around the world where you can visit these mystical beaches:
Elafonissi Beach — Crete, Greece
Elafonissi beach is the most popular for its quaint feel and isn’t just amazing for the picturesque drive from the nearest town, Chania, but is also a great spot for a family day trip. It’s great for a swim and for walks along the long stretches of the pretty beach. The sand there is a mix of pale pink and white and has the softest footing you’ll find on beaches lining the Mediterranean Sea. To add to its charm of natural beauty, it is surrounded by 110 different plant species, extraordinary shells, small coves and incredible rock formations. It has all the amenities of a vacation beach, with a parking lot, nearby washrooms, and it also has that appeal of a remote oasis, given that its location is removed from major cities. Part of the beach is connected to the mainland, and during low tide, it can easily be reached on foot because the water between the two islands is that shallow and sometimes even non-existent.
While exploring Elafonisi, visitors are likely to find a cedar forest with secluded beaches meant for skinny-dipping. It can get packed during July-August, so plan your trip accordingly. The area is protected, which helps maintain its natural beauty — so remember to leave nothing behind. You can also visit the Maritime Museum of Crete or the Byzantine Collection nearby — a lovely museum with many paintings, mosaics and artefacts. Both are in the historic old town, a great place to walk before you head off to the beach. Chania International Airport or the Port of Souda are your best options if you want to reach Crete. You’re less likely to find accommodation in the nearby vicinity, so you’ll have to plan a day trip from Chania.
Balos Lagoon — Crete, Greece
Balos lagoon is believed to be fit for royalty. Fun fact: Princess Diana and Prince Charles visited it during their honeymoon in 1981 — so if you’re looking for destinations to visit for your honeymoon, you must take notes. It is also the beach with the pinkest sand among all the others due to an abundance of crushed seashells and is deemed one of Crete’s best beaches. The beach is famous for its beautiful and vividly clear turquoise blue water, which often gets regular visits from sea turtles and monk seals. It can get congested during summer because of many visitors flocking in. The water is very shallow and calm, so if you go a little further, there’s an opportunity for snorkelling too.
Getting to Balos lagoon requires a bit of planning; one can access the beach by driving the 10 km dirt road, but walking to the beach will take about 25 minutes; you can also take the ferry from the port in Kissamos, making it convenient to visit this spot. However, members of the elite may arrive by a private yacht. For adventure seekers, there’s also an option to trek in from Kaliviani, which takes about 3 hours. Blue Palace Resort is the best place for accommodation, set on a lucid pebble beach; it’s a family-run resort with features like wooden fishing boats and its own open-air cinema.
Elbow Beach — Bermuda
Elbow beach is a marvel, yet it’s much quieter compared to other popular beaches in Bermuda. The surrounding coral reefs also protect swimmers since they prevent the beach from getting any waves and keeping it calm for you to view the various colourful fish that glide by. There are also off-shore shipwrecks for snorkelling adventures and an option to lounge around on the coral-coloured sand without bumping into too many tourists. Travellers can also enjoy a private half-mile stretch of the pink sand beach at the adjacent Elbow Beach Bermuda Restaurant & Spa; there are also on-site amenities like tennis courts, a private yacht and multiple restaurants and Bermuda’s largest free-form pool.
Horseshoe Bay Beach — Bermuda
Horseshoe Bay beach is a renowned cruise ship destination and is always bustling (but don’t worry, you’ll still have fun), compared to the neighbouring private beaches, and is famous for the unique and beautiful contrast between the pastel-pink sand and bright blue water and sky. Named after its shape, Horseshoe Bay is surrounded by limestone cliffs, reefs perfect for snorkelling (which is only recommended for tough swimmers because of rough waters) and coastline trails leading to other beaches. During the high season, you’ll always find a lifeguard on duty, and there’s always a concession stand to keep you satiated. Despite it being packed, you’ll actually enjoy spending your day here. There are several beaches located nearby, and there are many hiking trails, too.
There are numerous resorts and villas at a short distance from the shore, so it will be easy to find accommodation with a little hunting. If you take a flight, you’ll arrive at L.F. Wade International Airport. If you’re aboard a cruise ship, you’ll disembark in the territorial capital, Hamilton – you can spend some time here exploring and getting a sense of the local culture.
Lombok Island — Indonesia
Indonesia is one of the most popular tourist destinations globally, and the pink sand beaches are just a bonus.
Lombok Island is a short ferry ride from Bali, and few are aware of this; the beaches need a little island hopping, and it is advised that you plan your visit. One of the less prominent and secluded beaches is the Tangsi Beach; its sand is an eye-popping pink and is near a fishing village on the island’s eastern side. The water here is serene, which makes it the perfect swim destination for those with kids. However, this part of the island isn’t well-known to tourists. It is further surrounded by cliffs and hills, making it a scenic location. The best time to click photographs here is during the early morning when the colours are really bright. Senggigi is Lombok’s main arrival hub and is the busiest destination; it is an hour drive from Lombok airport. It is likewise the most developed area on the island; the place is slow-paced and is good to stay for its combination of beach and water sports, restaurants and nightlife.
Komodo Island — Indonesia
Komodo Island is one of the islands that makes up Komodo National Park in Indonesia, and the nearest town is accessible only by boat. It’s the least visited spot for its two beautiful pink beaches, but tourists usually visit it to see the eponymous Komodo dragons. You’re less likely to find a holiday spot this scenic, between the coral-lined waters and bright green hills in the distance. The first beach is on Komodo Island, and the locals call it Pantai Merah – it is surrounded by rustic-red volcanic hills and lush forests. Another beach is called Serai, and even though you’ll be able to see the pink colour of the sand only at a certain time of the day, you’re less likely to find a unique spot like this. A hidden gem, Serai island, is further away from civilization. You can reach here only by boat, which anchors a few meters from the shoreline to protect the coral reefs below. The snorkelling world is incredibly picturesque and boasts of a colourful underworld; if you’re lucky enough, some manta rays might sweep past you. Unlike Pantai Merah, you will see the colours of the beach for a full 12 hours.
Part of the Komodo National Park‘s pink beach has vibrant underwater coral gardens and shallow waters, perfect for snorkelling, kayaking, scuba diving and swimming. In fact, it’s the best for those who are just learning to dive or snorkel. Moreover, you may even capture some stunning pictures during sunset. If you wish to explore the island for several days, seek accommodation before departing for the park. There are several hotels in and around Labuan Bajo, though travellers usually acquire accommodation with locals.
Playa de Ses Illetes — Spain
Playa de Ses Illetes is one of the most stunning beaches in Europe, and it’s perfect for unwinding from the experience that is Ibiza. One can take a ferry to get there. It may look white from afar; you’ll notice pink stones when you see it closely. Its natural beauty draws tourists from across the globe, and it also has excellent amenities and fine restaurants. The beach is set within a conservation area, which helps in protecting the perfect shore. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday, you’ll definitely not be disappointed.
Formentera Beach — Spain
Formentera is the smallest and southernmost island in Spain’s Balearic Islands archipelago, and a huge draw among tourists due to its charming natural scenery. It is the perfect place for that lovely Mediterranean atmosphere without the resort-goers thronging there. Only after reaching this part of Spain will you realize why the pink sand beach attracts so many global travellers. With stunning views and luxuriously elegant restaurants, including the Michelin star restaurant — Can Dani, this beach attracts many yacht owners and fashionistas. The restaurants are expensive, so pack a meal for yourself instead. Easy access is provided by ferry service from Valencia or Denia, and once you decamp from the small island, you’ll find a relaxed pace. There are many resort areas and hotels where you will find accommodation.
Crane Beach — Barbados
Crane Beach has been regularly voted as the best Caribbean beach in many popular travel magazine polls and is located on the rugged east coast of Barbados. You’ll know once you see the contrast between the pale pink sands, vibrant turquoise waters and lush coconut groves. It is also known as the most enchanting location and very famous for its boogie boarding waves. Nevertheless, you’ll have to carry your own boogie board if you wish to surf. The best way to reach here will be through the plush hilltop retreat, the Crane Resort – Caribbean’s longest-operating hotel, where you can descend to the beach in a gorgeous glass elevator. Resort guests are provided with free umbrellas and lounge chairs that other tourists have to rent, and the restaurants inside offer a range of cuisines. This beach has an eastward orientation; it will be perfect for a sunrise stroll and watch the dawn break over the horizon.
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island — Bahamas
Pink Sand Beach is located along the eastern Atlantic Ocean and has been made a global sensation by Hollywood personalities who made it their chosen getaway. It is easily accessible from the continental United States or Cuba; they are the perfect example of a Caribbean vacation – astounding scenery, coconut drinks, rum and a great place for some wondrous sunrise photographs – a 3-mile stretch of pale pink sand and gentle seas. It’s effortless to spend several days here, and that’s why it’s among the top pink sand beaches in the world. The coral reefs, calm and shallow waters, and small waves make it an ideal place to go for swimming and snorkelling. Fishing is another popular activity here, and the Pink Sands Resort sits on the beach, which gives you access to sweeping ocean panoramas from luxurious colonial-style cottages.
Although it’s difficult to travel, given the current situation, we are sure you’ll love to add these beaches to your bucket list before you plan for your next holiday! Bon Voyage, Amigos!