20 unique beaches with unexpected colours
There are few things in life that are better than a beautiful beach. The clear blue sky, the verdant waters, and the bright yellow sand. That is, of course, unless you swap out the usual golden grains in favour of something altogether more colourful. From black and purple to red and green, the world is full of beaches in a kaleidoscope of colours.
Red Beach, Santorini
Beautiful and bewildering in equal measure, Santorini is filled with brilliantly coloured beaches from jet black shores to fire red coves. These spectacular sands were created as a result of volcanic activity that helped form the island thousands of years ago.
Porto Covo, Portugal
Located two hours south of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, the stunning red sand beaches of this small fishing village are even more beautiful at sunset, when a kaleidoscope of colours comes out as the sun drops below the horizon.
Clearwater Beach, USA
It’s not just the water that’s clear on this beautiful Florida beach—the sand is also spectacular. The bright white beach is so soft that it looks like sugar, which is no doubt why it’s consistently ranked as the number one beach in America and celebrated as part of a 10-day festival that takes place every year.
Playa Negra, Costa Rica
You don’t need to speak Spanish to guess that this brilliant beach is named after the black stuff that covers its shoreline. And while the black sand found on this stretch of ocean near the sleepy town of Cahuita might be stunning to look at, it probably gets pretty hot under foot when that Caribbean sun is at its high point.
Black Sands Beach, USA
This stretch of jet black sand is located in Shelter Cove, California. Beloved by walkers, it’s ironically located on a stretch of shoreline known as California’s Lost Coast. Let’s hope the ramblers have better luck staying on track.
Hyams Beach, Australia
Among the red, purple, black, and green sands you’ll find on this list of incredibly colourful beaches, you might think that a stretch of white shoreline is a tad boring. But this isn’t just any old white sand. This is the whitest sand on the planet, as recognized by the Guinness World Records.
Pfeiffer Beach, USA
Traditionally, sand gets its colour from quartz, but a high concentration of garnet—a precious stone that’s been used in jewellery and decorative items since the Bronze Age—is what gives California’s stunning Pfeiffer Beach its purple hue.
Glass Beach, USA
We all know that glass is made out of sand, but did you know that there’s also a beach where the sand is made out of glass? Yes, the circle has been completed at the aptly named Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, a former city dump where the shoreline is made up of multicoloured glass, worn down by the ocean over the years.
Diamond Beach, Iceland
Sadly, Diamond Beach is not a stretch of shoreline covered in precious gems. Instead, the diamond refers to the crystal-clear icebergs that wash ashore on its black sand beaches. The result is a beautiful contrast in colours that attracts photographers from across the globe.
Harbour Island, Bahamas
This tropical paradise has bright blue skies, crystal-clear waters, and sands as pink as your skin after a few too many hours on the sun lounger. Yes, the shoreline that surrounds this tropical oasis is bright pink on account of an abundance of microscopic coral insects called foraminifera, which are among the most abundant single-celled organisms in the ocean.
Papakolea Beach, USA
Located on Big Island, Hawaii, Papakolea is one of only four green sand beaches in the world. This stunning stretch of sand gets its murky colour from the island’s volcanic past and is caused by the erosion of a substance known as olivine.
Kaihalulu Beach, USA
Green isn’t the only pigment you’ll find on Hawaii’s shorelines. America’s Pacific paradise is also home to the crimson-coloured sands of Kaihalulu Beach, which contrast beautifully with the bright blue waters and vibrant green forests that the beach is sandwiched between. The beach’s deep red-black colour is caused by deposits of iron in the nearby hillside, which constantly erode and bleed into the sand like rust.
Punalu’u Beach, USA
We’ve had red and green—now it’s time for Hawaii’s famous black beach, Punalu’u. The sand’s unique pigmentation is once again thanks to the island’s volcanic past and was created by lava that cooled in the ocean and was eventually ground into sand.
Muriwai Beach, New Zealand
Volcanic activity is to thank for the long stretches of sand that make up New Zealand’s Muriwai Beach, a destination that’s beloved by surfers, sun worshippers, and artists alike. It’s also a popular haunt for gannets, who flock there in the thousands to nest.
Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda
Named after its crescent shape, the pretty pink sand that stretches across this picturesque piece of Bermudan coastline is the result of a mix of crushed shells, coral, and calcium carbonate that create the subtle pigmentation.
Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland
Perhaps the most famous of Iceland’s black beaches, Reynisfjara is set against a backdrop of enormous basalt stacks that catch the eye almost as much as the stand itself. It’s no surprise then that this stunning stretch of shoreline was voted as one of the most picturesque non-tropical beaches in the world.
Ir-Ramla Bay, Malta
Literally translated as the Red Sandy Beach, Malta’s Ir-Ramla Bay is a stunning stretch of shoreline that’s beloved by tourists for its soft sand and vibrant colours. It’s not just great to look at though. The beach is also an important historical site as, alongside Roman remains that lie beneath its surface, this cove is said to be the location of the cave referenced by Homer in The Odyssey.
Argyle Shore, Canada
The Great White North isn’t a part of the world that you traditionally associate with stunning beaches, but the Argyle Shore on Prince Edward Island is doing its best to change that. The beautiful bright red-coloured beach located on the country’s East Coast is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets.
Rockaway Beach, USA
This popular beach on the Californian coast is filled with rich chocolate-coloured sand that’s formed as a result of eroded limestone mixing with volcanic stone from the hillsides that surround it.
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