Harbour Island, Bahamas
Photo: Ellen Rooney/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis
Harbour Island is most renowned for its beautiful Pink Sand Beach, located along its eastern Atlantic Ocean side. The incredible pale pink colour of the sand comes from microscopic coral insects, known as Foraminifera, which have a bright pink or red shell full of holes through which it extends pseudopodia, footings that it uses to attach itself and feed. Foraminifera are among the most abundant single cell organisms in the ocean and play a significant role in the environment. These animals live on the underside of reefs, like the nearby Devil’s Backbone, on the sea floors, beneath rocks, and in caves. After the insect dies, the wave action crushes the bodies and washes the remains ashore and mixes it in with the sand and bits of coral. The pink stands out more in the wet sand at the water’s edge. Unlike other parts of the world, the sand here is always cool, so you can walk about freely with bare feet.
Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece
Photo: Instagram antho.nine
Elafonisi is actually an island, separated from the southwest coast of Crete, by a shallow, warm lagoon and a sandbar that is submerged under about one meter of water at most during high tide. The beach on the mainland and on the part of the sandbar that is never submerged is populated by hundreds of beach chairs and umbrellas and thousands of tourists in the high season. It is an internationally classified nature reserve. There’s no shade and because beach chairs and umbrellas are not permitted, fewer people make their way to it. The island is a mile long, ending in a rocky outcrop and weird, freestanding towers of rock formed by wind and water. It’s home to more than 100 rare plants including summer flowering sea daffodils and winter-flowering bulb Androcymbium rechingeri. The wide, shallow lagoon is a shelter for rare loggerhead sea turtles.
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain
The idyllic island of Formentera is a less-crowded alternative to nearby Ibiza, and the stunning Playa de Ses Illetes is its most fashionable beach, going on for miles along the coastline. Spectacular views, clear and shallow water, luxury yachts moored on the horizon, with a relaxed vibe, this beach is ideal all year round. During the busier summer months there are stalls and vendors to offer drinks, snacks and sunbathing essentials.
Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
Photo: George Oze
Named for its curving shape, popular Horseshoe Bay Beach boasts Bermuda’s trademark translucent, strikingly blue waters and “pretty in pink” sands. The beautiful rosy shade results from a blend of crushed shells, coral and calcium carbonate called red Foraminifera. Dramatic rock formations surround Horseshoe Bay, with hidden caves and tucked-away coves awaiting your discovery. Climb to the top of the tallest rock formation to catch stellar sunrises to start your day.
Crane Beach, Barbados
Located on the rugged South East coast of Barbados, the pink shoreline of Crane Beach is flanked by lush vegetation and turquoise waters. The beach is known for its boogieboard-ready waves, and luxe hotels where you can dry off after pulling yourself out of your beach chair.
Although situated on the Atlantic Ocean, Crane Beach is perfect for swimming or wading in the shore, and also provides fun waves and breakers for the body surfer and boogie boarder. The waves can be a little dangerous for really small children so parental caution is advised.
Balos Bay, Crete, Greece
Easily one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Balos Bay stuns with pinkish-white sands (because of millions of crushed shells) and shallow pools of bright blue saltwater. And if you’re in the market for a honeymoon destination, you’ll be following in the royal footsteps of Prince Charles and Princess Diana—they reportedly visited this spot after their 1981 wedding. Beyond the rocks at the boundaries of the lagoon, the water is deeper and colder, ideal for a snorkelling. The lagoon and the wider area, with rare species of flora and fauna, are protected.
Spiaggia Rosa, Budelli, Sardinia
You’d think that pink beaches only existed in the mind of Dr. Seuss, but on the Italian island of Budelli, they’re a reality. At the Italian Mediterranean’s magical Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach), a unique melange of marine matter gives the sand a peculiar pink pigment. Spiaggia Rosa is one of the few places on the planet to have pink sand. As a result, it’s one of the most unique and paradisiacal spots on the Italian Mediterranean. The brilliant color of Spiaggia Rosa comes from a concoction of crushed fossils, crystals, coral, and dead marine creatures, which blend together to tint the sand with a rosy blush.
Back in 1994, the Italian government had to permanently close the site off to visitors, due to the crowds disturbing the coral beach. You can still admire the iconic shore from neighboring Spiaggia di Cavalieri.
Pink Beach, Komodo, Indonesia
Pink Beach, or Pantai Merah Muda in Bahasa Indonesia, is one the many fascinating attractions of Komodo National Park area in Eastern Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. This beach is unique since the color of its sand is a striking pink color that would emanate every time the sand gets wet from a crashing wave. The beautiful color comes from the red pigment on the coral produced by a microorganism called Foraminifera. The result is a stretch of sandy beach that shine with such a dazzling beauty that enthralled every visiting tourist. It is, in fact, the most well-known beach in Komodo Island National Park area, on account of its untouched and isolated natural beauty.