Pink sand is a rare beauty that only appears on select beaches throughout the world. The sand is pink or red because of nearby coral reefs, shell fragments or deposits from microscopic insects called foraminifera. You can visit a few of these beaches when you book a cruise in the Caribbean, Asia or the Mediterranean.
Take your friends or go by yourself to relax on the beach and take photos you’ll want to hang on your wall or post on social media. Discover the beauty and wonder of the 15 most stunning pink sand beaches in the world.
In This Article:
- Harbour Island, Bahamas
- Elafonissi Beach, Greece
- Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
- Pink Beach, Indonesia
- Crane Beach, Barbados
- Elbow Beach, Bermuda
- Pink Sand Beach, Barbuda
- Spiaggia Rosa, Italy
- Balos Bay, Greece
- Playa de Ses Illetes, Spain
- Pfeiffer Beach, California
- Red Sand Beach, Maui
- Tikehau, Tahiti
- Pachia Ammos, Greece
- Great Santa Cruz Island, Philippines
- Bask in the Beauty of a Pink Sand Beach on a Windstar Cruise
1. Harbour Island, Bahamas
Harbour Island is on the northwestern part of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Besides its pink sand, travelers enjoy visiting this area for its crystal clear water, long beaches and colorful coral reefs. If you embark on a Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas, you can walk along 3 1/2 miles of soft, cool, pink sand on this shore. The sand is pink due to the crushed shells of foraminifera.
Besides basking in the beach’s natural beauty, you can also go boating, snorkeling, fishing, diving and swimming in the clear turquoise water. Relax by sitting on the beach and taking in the breeze, tropical surroundings and ocean views. You may even spot some colonial cottages and eat at some delicious restaurants in the area.
2. Elafonissi Beach, Greece
The 1-mile-long Elafonissi Beach is on the southwestern side of Crete in Greece. Travelers flock to this location in the Mediterranean because of its warm, shallow water and pink sand beach. Discover more than 100 plant species, unique rock formations, hidden coves and one-of-a-kind shells — where the beach gets its pink color from — in the sandbar.
Since there’s a lifeguard on duty during peak season and the water is shallow in the sandbar, this beach is safe for swimming. Even though it has a parking lot, nearby bathrooms and other amenities you’d find at a popular destination, Elafonissi Beach feels like a private oasis because it’s not too close to any major cities. Take your camera or smartphone and capture the beautiful, relaxing scenery you’ll always want to remember.
3. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
Horseshoe Bay is in South Shore Park on the south coast of Bermuda, and it features a backdrop of glistening pink sand and breathtaking natural limestone cliffs. Its name comes from the shape of the beach, and it has a coastal trail that brings you to other local beaches. Explore this part of the Atlantic Ocean with exciting marine life, coral reefs and fish varieties on your next Caribbean cruise.
In addition to taking pictures and relaxing on the shore, you can play kickball or volleyball or go snorkeling, jogging or hiking. The water is also safe for swimming and exploring. You can even find local food and drinks at the on-site concession stand. Since Horseshoe Bay is such an attractive spot for travelers and cruisers, it’s best to visit early in the morning to skip the crowds.
4. Pink Beach, Indonesia
Pink Beach on Indonesia’s Komodo Island has pink sand from red pigments brought to shore from coral reefs. If you’re traveling through Southeast Asia on a cruise, you may enjoy exploring the underwater coral gardens and shallow waters where you can swim, snorkel, kayak and scuba dive.
The island is famous for the abundance of Komodo dragons living there, so you may find a few wandering around as you visit. Staying on land in this locale gives you a front-row seat to the natural beauty around you. The sunset is exceptionally breathtaking, with the sea and rock formations as a backdrop.
5. Crane Beach, Barbados
Crane Beach in the Caribbean island of Barbados is one of the best beaches worldwide, and it boasts rare pink sand on its tropical coasts. Though it was once a harbor, it’s now a popular spot for travelers to boogie board on the refreshing, blue waves.
The natural barrier of a coral reef creates a safe swimming area for visitors, and you may even spot some wildlife, such as sea turtles, in the clear turquoise water. There’s also usually a lifeguard on duty to give you more peace of mind during your stay. Sit back on a lounge chair as you take in the lush vegetation and stick your toes in the sparkling pink sand.
6. Elbow Beach, Bermuda
Elbow Beach in Bermuda is another excellent place to swim because of its offshore coral reefs that keep waves at a safe distance. Embark on a Caribbean cruise and take a casual stroll along this gently curving, mile-long pink sand beach on the South Shore of Bermuda. As a public beach, this site provides plenty of bars and restaurants to check out, as well as public restrooms. Go snorkeling or diving in the water and discover various fish, colorful reefs and unique shipwrecks.
Elbow Beach’s stunning appearance attracts visitors worldwide, but this site is much less crowded than Bermuda’s other beaches. Take advantage of the fact that there’s not a lot of foot traffic from other travelers in the area as you go snorkeling, diving and swimming.
7. Pink Sand Beach, Barbuda
Barbuda is one of two islands in the Caribbean that make up the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. This small piece of land only has one village on the entire island, so the hidden, private pink sand beaches are yours to explore. You can get a break from areas with more travelers on this island that isn’t as developed as the neighboring land of Antigua.
Take in the tropical palm trees as you relax with your feet in the pink sand. The island itself is only 62 square miles, but the pink sand shoreline takes up 17 miles. Besides enjoying the pink sand, you can also go swimming and snorkeling. There are a few caves, including one with tropical rainforest, and the Frigate Bird Sanctuary nearby. The sanctuary boasts about 100,000 birds.
8. Spiaggia Rosa, Italy
The Spiaggia Rosa in Italy is on the shore of Budelli Island, north of Sardinia in the Maddalena Archipelago. Only one person lives on the whole island. In fact, this area is off-limits to the public to preserve the beach’s pink sand. It gets its color from of a mixture of shells, coral and granite.
Instead of going to the beach itself, you can explore this beauty through the Spiaggia di Cavalieri next to it and other nearby beaches. As you catch a glimpse of this beautiful shoreline, be on the lookout for dolphins and whales that are popular in this area. You can also take a look at the Spiaggia Rosa on a boat or from a nearby cliff that offers a view above it.
9. Balos Bay, Greece
Step into a fantasy world with the pink sands, greenish-blue Mediterranean Sea and green rock structures in the distance that make up the beautiful Balos Bay in Greece. This beach is on the west side of the island of Crete, and it’s only accessible by car or by boat. If you happen to drive, you’ll need to walk about 20 minutes before you reach the beach, so it’s best to take a boat, especially if you’re considering a cruise through Greece.
Take a swim in the shallow, bright blue saltwater and bask in the natural beauty around you. Since this is a popular spot for people of all ages, it’s best to go in the morning and during off-peak seasons if you want to avoid the crowds.
10. Playa de Ses Illetes, Spain
This pink sand beach is located on Formentera, one of the Illes Balears off Spain’s west coast in the Mediterranean. If you’re exploring Ibiza, this beach is a short distance south of this famous region, and it tends to be less crowded. As part of the Ses Salines de Eivissa and Formentera Natural Park, Playa de Ses Illetes refers to the islets off the coast of this region.
Playa de Ses Illestes is a popular spot for watersports, including snorkeling, windsurfing, stand-up paddling, kitesurfing and sailing. After sticking your toes in the pink sand and making new friends on the coast, visit one of the island’s elegant restaurants for a bite of local seafood. Ca Na Pepa is an Italian restaurant close to the beach, and Can Dani is the only Michelin-starred restaurant on the island of Formentera.
11. Pfeiffer Beach, California
The United States is also home to an attractive beach with pink sand — the perfect photo-op spot if you’ve ever wanted to check out the West Coast. Pfeiffer Beach in California is located along the Big Sur coastline and is part of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Since it’s a little off the beaten path, it’s an excellent place to avoid crowds.
The best time to see the pinkish-purple sand is after it has rained. This secluded beach also boasts an 80-foot waterfall that overlooks granite cliffs, sea caves to explore and rock formations to climb and hike. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sunset between the Keyhole Arch, a naturally arched rock formation.
12. Red Sand Beach, Maui
The sand at the Red Sand Beach in Maui, Hawaii, is red instead of pink. Otherwise known as Kaihalulu Beach in Hawaiian, this location with stunning views has red sand because of the red lava cinder cliffs nearby that erode onto the shore.
This beach is best for experienced hikers because a landslide destroyed part of the trail. In addition to the red sand, you may also appreciate the surreal blue color of the water surrounding the island. Since this area isn’t suitable for everyone who may want to visit, it’s a great place to check out if you’re looking for a quiet place to travel.
13. Tikehau, Tahiti
Tikehau, Tahiti boasts an emerald-colored, oval-shaped lagoon surrounded by white and pink sand beaches. This picturesque location is about an hour’s plane right from Tahiti’s capital, Papeete, and it’s home to many dolphins, eagle rays, turtles and gray reef sharks. After digging your toes into the pink sand, go fishing, scuba diving, kayaking or snorkeling to explore the wildlife.
This area is perfect if you’re looking for something off the grid to explore away from the other travelers and attractions. The name means “peaceful landing,” and this area is a great place to visit for relaxing and finding peace and serenity as you walk along the pink shore.
14. Pachia Ammos, Greece
Another stunning pink sand beach in Crete is at the world-renowned Pachia Ammos. This Mediterranean beach features almost a full mile of pink and gold sands, and the mountains surrounding it provide a beautiful backdrop for taking pictures and relaxing by yourself or with friends.
After walking along the shore and admiring nature, you can participate in different watersports, get a drink at a local bar, play volleyball or rent a beach umbrella to sit on the sand. If you stay long enough, you may also get to see a breathtaking view of the sunset. If you want to explore a little more, you can also check out a church in a cave, ancient ruins or other sites in the area rich with history, natural beauty and culture.
15. Great Santa Cruz Island, Philippines
Pulverized red organ pipe coral is the reason behind the sand color of the shores of Great Santa Cruz Island in the Philippines. Since visitors can only access the island by boat, it’s best to visit when you’re on a cruise through the seas and oceans of Asia. Snorkeling and scuba diving are prime in this location because of the excellent visibility through the beach’s clear water.
There are plenty of natural wonders to behold in this exotic area. There are amenities such as covered huts and public bathrooms available, but visitors will need to pack water and food to spend a day at the beach. If you’re up for an adventure, consider exploring the small nearby village that includes a lagoon with mangroves.
Bask in the Beauty of a Pink Sand Beach on a Windstar Cruise
No matter which of these pink sand beaches you want to explore on your next vacation, you can check a few off your list by embarking on one of our exotic cruise destinations at Windstar Cruises. Find a scheduled cruise to the place where you want to relax on the beach or visit the historical landmarks in the area.
Our small, intimate ships provide access to port cities around the world that most larger cruise lines can’t reach to give you a memorable experience by yourself or with loved ones. Reach out to our representatives online when you’re ready to book your cruise!