While we tend to envision a beautiful beach as having turquoise blue waters and soft white sand, there are plenty of colourful sand beaches in hues of pink, red, orange, purple, green, even black – which are a result of natural phenomena, such as volcanic activity or the sand mixing with coral fragments.

Here are five kaleidoscopic beaches around the world that prove that beauty comes in all shades and colours.

Pink Beach, Komodo Island, Indonesia. Image via Flickr/Laika ac

Pink Beach, Indonesia

Although it’s dubbed Pantai Merah (literally Red Beach) by the locals, the sand here is closer to a soft rosy pink. The colour is a result of coral reefs with red pigmentation washing ashore and mixing with the white sand. Pantai Merah is one of only two pink beaches in Indonesia, the other being Tangsi Beach in Lombok. Bermuda is also home to several famed pink beaches.

Kaimu Beach Park, Pahoa - panoramio
Kaimu’s black sand beach. Image via Bob Lindsell / Wikimedia Commons
Kaimu, Hawaii

Most black sand beaches are formed due to fragments of lava broken down into fine grains or existing white sands mixed with volcanic minerals.  They are therefore more common in places with volcanic activity, such as Hawaii and Iceland. A relatively new black sand beach can be found on Kaimu in Hawaii. Following a volcanic eruption in 1990 that covered the beach in lava, the ocean has since turned the black chunks into fine sand.

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, United States
Purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur. Image via Robert Brett/Wikimedia Commons. Robert Brett [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
Pfeiffer Beach, United States

On regular days, Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California looks breathtaking, but the real stunner is after a storm, when the quartz and manganese garnet deposits from the surrounding cliffs get washed down to the beach, turning the sands a vivid purple hue. Sunsets are gorgeous, especially with the beach’s gigantic keyhole arch.

Papakolea looking down
Green sand from olivine minerals on Papakolea Beach in Hawaii. Image via jonny-mt [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
Papakolea Beach, Hawaii

Green sand beaches are extremely rare, with only four known to exist around the world. Papakolea Beach in Hawaii gets its distinctive colour from olivine (a type of mineral) crystals, which are eroded from the island’s enclosing volcanic cone.

Kokkini Beach in Santorini, Greece. Image via Pixabay

Kokkini Beach, Greece

The deep crimson red of Kokkini Beach in Santorini, Greece evokes a Martian landscape, made even more vivid against the turquoise blue waters lapping against the shore. The sand is rich in iron from the surrounding hills and volcanic rocks. The beach is a busy tourist attraction with plenty of nightlife options and resorts in the area.