These striking pink sand beaches provide the ultimate holiday photo opportunity
What’s more beautiful than a picture-perfect beach? The answer: a picture-perfect pink sand beach.
No, it’s not the stuff of fantasy – pink sand beaches are a very real (and spectacularly beautiful) thing. Found at specific locations around the world, the striking hue is due to a combination of crushed coral and remnants of a calcium carbonate called red foraminifera washing ashore.
Whilst it won’t feel any different between your toes, a snap on a pink sand beach will definitely set your holiday pictures apart. Here are the best around the world to add to your travel wish-list…
Harbour Island, The Bahamas
Best pink sand beach for: Swimming and horse riding
Stretching for more than three miles, Harbour Island‘s pink beach is the perfect place to lose yourself for the day.
Outlying reefs offer up large swathes of shallow, relatively calm waters – making this an ideal spot for snorkelling or swimming. Horseback riding is another popular activity.
It’s also worth noting that the sand here is cool year-round, so you can slip off your sandals the moment you arrive.
Where to stay: The Pink Sands Resort stretches over an impressive 20 acres and has three miles of pink sand beach. Accommodation features elegantly furnished private cottages, and guests have access to two tennis courts, a freshwater pool and an on-site restaurant and bar.
Pink Sand Beach, Rangiroa, Tahiti
Best pink sand beach for: Diving
Also known as Les Sables Roses, this remote beach is located on the island of Rangiroa, the world’s the second largest coral atoll (a ring-shaped coral reef). With more than 20 species of shark, wild dolphins and an array of colourful fish, it’s a winning destination for divers and snorkelers.
Just under an hour’s flight from mainland Tahiti, Rangiroa is also home to Domaine Dominique Auroy, the world’s only coral winery where vines are grown directly on the coral atoll.
It’s also within easy reach of Motu Teta, a small island with a villa and guest house available exclusively for private rental.
Where to stay: Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort sits alongside a black sand beach and is set amid lush tropical gardens. Each room boasts a private balcony, affording amazing views over Matavai Bay. On-site facilities include a spa, waterfront restaurant and bar, while Tahitian dancing is just one of the available daily activities.
Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
Best pink sand beach for: Families
Located on the South Shore of this British Island Territory, visitors are instantly charmed by this stunning stretch of beach. The main beach, whose name reflects its curved shape, stretches for a quarter mile and is flanked by quieter coves such as Port Royal Cove (pictured).
Boogie boards, paddleboards and snorkelling equipment can be hired, while adventurous types can climb the imposing rock formations and explore the surrounding coves.
Where to stay: It’s all about the views at the four-star beach-side resort The Reefs – whether from the infinity pool, the floor-to-ceiling windows of the restaurant, or the private ocean-side balconies.
Elbow Beach, Bermuda
Best pink sand beach for: Snorkelling
Another popular South Shore beach, Elbow Beach – named because of it’s gentle curve – is just a few minutes drive from Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton. Sun loungers and snorkelling equipment are readily available for hire, and the coral reef that gives the beach its colour teams with all manner of sea life.
Visitors can also take guided tours of the nearby Pollockshields shipwreck, a British vessel that departed Cardiff during World War One before being caught in a severe hurricane, eventually striking a reef off Elbow Beach.
Where to stay: Located on the North Shore but just four minutes drive from Elbow Beach, Newstead Belmont Resort and Spa features a selection of elegantly styled studios and suites. Guests receive a complimentary round of golf at the resort’s course, plus access to the on-site spa.
Pink Beach, Komodo, Indonesia
Best pink sand beach for: Wildlife lovers
Komodo takes its name from its most well known inhabitant, the Komodo Dragon – the world’s largest living lizard – and is one of the three islands that make up the Komodo National Park. But this majestic animal isn’t the only sight worth seeing.
The waters surrounding Pink Beach are teaming with thousands of colourful fish and a variety of coral, making it an ideal choice for snorkelers and divers alike.
The area surrounding the beach is uninhabited, so pack a picnic and a beach towel if you’re planning to make a day of it.
Where to stay: Komodo’s Pink Beach is reached by boat from the fishing town of Labuan Bajo in neighbouring Flores. Fifteen minutes north lies the four-star Paltaran Komodo Beach Resort. Here, the sumptuous shoreside cottages feature private outdoor bathtubs and direct access to peaceful Waecicu Beach.
Crane Beach, Barbados
Best pink sand beach for: Couples
Crane Beach is one of this Caribbean island’s hidden gems, and is regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. It’s a mecca for boogie boarders thanks to its powerful Atlantic waves, but couples will also find plenty to love too.
At the beach’s west end lies The Crane Resort & Residence. The first resort on the island, this luxury residence is particularly popular with newlyweds thanks to its dedicated honeymoon package and romantic location.
Where to stay: Each 19th century-style room at The Crane Resort features high ceilings, a four poster bed and marble bathroom with a whirlpool tub. The resort also has an art gallery, four restaurants and lighted swimming pools.
Balos Bay, Crete, Greece
Best pink sand beach for: Seal spotting
The Bay of Balos and its lagoon are among the most visited – and photographed – places on Crete. Shallow, clear water makes this an ideal swimming location, and its status as a haven for the protected monk seal and the loggerhead sea turtle adds to the attraction. Top tip: April is one of the best times to visit.
The bay can be reached by road or you can take a boat from Kissamos town. Further afield lies the peninsula of Tigani, home to a small chapel and impressive surrounding views from the top of its hill.
Where to stay: Villas and apartments – rather than hotels – are the norm in Kissamos. Villa Archontariki is a great option for a luxury family stay. Located just 900 yards from the beach, it has a private pool, barbecue area and a beautiful garden of lemon trees, palms and bougainvilleas.
Pink Sand Beach, Barbuda
Best pink sand beach for: Escaping the crowds
Located on the South-West coast of this small island (one of two main islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Antiqua and Barbuda), Pink Sand Beach covers a glorious eight miles.
Looking to avoid the crowds? The driest months (December to April) are most popular with tourists. Visit outside of these and you may encounter some rain in the evenings, but – with 97% of the population living on Antigua – you’ll likely find the beach practically deserted.
Where to stay: The Oceanpoint Resort & Spa is located in St John’s, Antigua, one of the key departure points for boats to Barbuda. All rooms at this adults-only resort have a private balcony or terrace. Facilities include a spa and wellness centre, outdoor pool and a beach-front restaurant.
Spiaggia Rosa, Budelli, Sardinia
Best pink sand beach for: Boat tripping
Located on Budelli, one of seven islands in the Maddalena archipelago, Spiaggia Rosa – ‘pink beach’ in Italian – is open to visitors during the summer months.
Sadly it’s no longer possible to set foot on the beach due to environmental concerns, however the view is just as enchanting from the water. Book a day-long boat tour of the archipelago; in addition to seeing the famous beach, you’ll also have the chance to swim in the emerald-coloured waters and enjoy lunch on board.
The archipelago is home to both whales and dolphins – sighting either might just compensate for the fact you can’t spend time on the beach.
Where to stay: Boat trips depart from Palau on Sardinia’s north-eastern coastline. Just 30 minutes south lies Sandalia Boutique Hotel, a modern property with rooms decorated in muted beach tones and an impressive glass-encased outdoor pool.