Not A Basic Beach

Thinking of going on a seaside vacay? Besides the usual suspects, these gorgeous colour-stained spots should also be on your radar.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Thinking of going on a seaside vacay? Besides the usual suspects, these gorgeous colour-stained spots should also be on your radar.


Hyams Beach, 

New South Wales, Australia 

The crystal clear waters isn’t the only striking thing about Australia’s Hyams Beach – according to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the beach with the whitest sand in the world. This spot is a three-hour drive from Canberra, and you can enjoy water activities such as paddle boating and kayaking there.

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Komodo Island 

East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia 

This beach is a girly childhood dream come true, with its pink cotton candy sand and sparkling turquoise water. The sand gets its colour from a red-hued coral that thrives in the shores nearby. Plus, you get a pretty incredible view of the Milky Way at night.

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Ramla Bay 

Gozo, Malta 

This gorgeous Mediterranean beach gets its vivid orange sand from high levels of iron. Be sure to explore the Calypso Cave when you’re there. Located in a cliff overlooking the beach, it’s said to be the same one mentioned in Homer’s The Odyssesy (where Calypso kept Odysseus as a prisoner of love for seven years).

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Papakolea Beach 

Big Island, Hawaii 

The main attraction of this beach is the olive-hued sand, which mainly consists of green crystals that have been washed out of a volcano. The journey to the beach is a little tough – it’s illegal to drive on the beach, so you’ll have to hike 4km from the nearest carpark to get there. There’s a high chance you’ll have the beach all to yourself since it’s pretty remote, so it’s definitely worth the trek! 

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Reynisfjara Beach 

Vik, Iceland 

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world, Reynisfjara beach is a must-visit if you’re in Iceland. The black sand is actually made up of shiny black pebbles and stones that were created when lava collided with the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is also home to huge rock pillars, and they are so mesmerizing that they were featured in Season 7 of Game of Thrones for the scenes at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, where the Night’s Watch guard The Wall. 

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Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur, California 

For perfect sunset shots for the ’gram, Pfeiffer Beach is the place to go. While the distinctive purple sand from mineral runoff washing down the hillside is the big draw,  there’s also the iconic “Keyhole Arch” – the ethereal orange glow that peeks through it at sunset is truly a sight to behold. 

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Santorini, Greece 

The stunning Red Beach gets its dark red colour from volcanic ashes. You can’t suntan and swim at this beach due to the risk of landslides, but many tourists still flock to the beach to snap pictures. The walk there is pretty dangerous too, since there are many rocks and crevices. For an easier access, hop onto one of the island’s yacht tours that will bring you to all of Santorini’s famous beaches.