You know that whimsical shade of pink we’re talking about.
Now imagine tropical palm-lined beaches with hot sun, turquoise water, and the pinkest sand you ever did see.
That’s right. There are several pink beaches just waiting to welcome you on your next holiday.
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As magical as it seems, there is a scientific explanation behind this rare and gorgeous anomaly. While the reason varies from place to place, pink-hued sand is often caused by coral, shells, rock, the presence of a microscopic organisms with a pinkish-red shells like foraminifera, or a combination of these things.
So where might one find these mystical pink beaches?
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
This pink beach is Insta-famous — and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to delivering all the colourful sand that its name promises, the three-mile stretch also offers excellent restaurants, elegant resorts, and all kinds of amenities for travellers. Don’t miss a stroll through the local fishing town and market!
Elbow Beach, Bermuda
Surprisingly, this dazzling pink beach is much more serene than other popular Bermudan beaches. The surrounding coral reefs provide protection for swimmers. Not to mention, there are off-shore shipwrecks nearby for epic snorkelling adventures. While there are restaurants and bars available on the strip, you’ll find several more at the adjacent Elbow Beach Bermuda Resort & Spa. The resort also boasts a private half-mile stretch of pink sand goodness, plus a private yacht, tennis courts, and Bermuda’s largest free-form pool.
Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
(Sorry Vancouverites, we’re not talking about where you catch the ferry.)
Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay is a renowned cruise ship destination. While it may be bustling in comparison to its neighbouring private beaches, a visit is well worth it for a unique contrast of pink-hued sand between bright blue water and sky.
Crane Beach, Barbados
If Barbados isn’t on your bucket list, reading this article will change that. Crane beach lies on the rugged east coast of the island and is famous for its boogie boarding waves. Let them carry you to shore, where you’ll be greeted by lush foliage and luxurious hotels. Speaking of which, do yourself a favour and book a room at The Crane, the Caribbean’s longest-operating hotel, where you can descend to a rose-coloured beach in a gorgeous glass elevator.
Spiaggia Rosa, Budelli, Sardinia, Italy
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This pink beach lies in the La Maddalena National Park on the uninhabited island of Budelli. The sand started losing its whimsical pink colour in 1994, forcing the Italian government to close the site. Luckily, Spiaggia Rosa revived itself and its pink shade—derived from a combination of coral, shells, and granite—has returned. The beach remains closed to protect its precious sands, meaning Spiaggia Rosa is best admired by boat, from its next-door neighbour Spiaggia di Cavalieri, or through the Instagram account of Budelli’s independent resident and caretaker, Mauro Morandi.
Pro Tip: Save on airfare and enjoy views from your couch by catching Spiaggia Rosa in the 1964 film Red Desert.
Balos Bay, Crete, Greece
This stunning beach is fit for royalty. No really. Princess Diana and Prince Charles reportedly visited Balos Bay during their honeymoon in 1981. Follow in their footsteps to be rewarded with stretches of rose-coloured sand and sparkling seas. You can access the beach by taking a ferry from the mainland and driving a 10km dirt road. Adventure-seekers can also arrive via 3-hour trek from Kaliviani.
Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece
Out of the way from Greece’s go-to cities, Elafonisi retains the feel of a remote oasis without sacrificing on useful amenities like a parking lot and restrooms. The beach, located in a protected zone on the southwest of Crete, gets its cotton candy colour from broken shells. Wade out into Elafonisi’s shallow waters or stroll the sandbar for a perfect vantage point to capture this beach in all its pinkness. Or, find yourself a slice of secluded sand by exploring the surrounding cedar forest, caves, and rock formations.
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain
For those who need to unwind after the experience that is Ibiza, head to Playa de Ses Illetes. With stunning views and ritzy restaurants, including Formentera’s only Michelin-starred establishment Can Dani, it’s no wonder this beach attracts yacht-owners and fashionistas.
Check out Laura Ferrara’s guide if you don’t believe us.
Pink Beach, Komodo, Indonesia
If giant lizards aren’t really your thing, don’t worry. There’s plenty more to do on the uninhabited island of Komodo—and that includes luxuriating on a stunning pink beach. It’s even been named Pink Beach (or “Pantai Merah” in Indonesian) so you can’t miss it. A part of Komodo Natural Park, this little slice of heaven is sandwiched between lush rolling hills and coral-filled waters, which are perfect for swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, and kayaking.
Just watch out for Komodo dragons.
Pink Sand Beach, Santa Cruz Island, Philippines
Only accessible by boat, this pink haven gets its colour from crush red pipe coral. It’s a prized destination amongst snorkelers and scuba divers alike, who take advantage of the clear waters and great visibility. The island is protected so there are no overnight accommodations. There are some amenities for day-trippers including covered huts but visitors should pack their own food and water (and pack them out too!) While you’re there, be sure to check out the island’s mangrove-filled lagoon and say hello to the local villagers.
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, USA
If you’re driving the coast of California, don’t miss a glimpse of this purple-and-pink sand beach. Most visible after a rain, the sand’s unique colour comes from the magnificent rock formations that line the rugged coast. While Pfeiffer is not the best swimming destination due to strong waves and razor-sharp rocks (not to mention the chilly Pacific), it is a dog-friendly beach and its easy scrambles make for epic viewpoints.
Red Sand Beach, Maui, USA
Okay, so it’s not exactly pink. The reward is still an other-worldly sight: a secluded beach that gets its martian colour from eroding lava cinder cliffs. Recommended only for experienced hikers, this hidden Hawaiian gem requires a somewhat sketchy trek along a sheer cliff edge. Make your way there (carefully!) to join locals, birdwatchers, nudists, and eccentrics alike.
If you’re holidaying within Canada and can’t make it to one these gorgeous pink beaches, don’t worry, go chase a pink waterfall instead!