7 of the World's Most Beautiful Red Sand Beaches
Red sand typically indicates that there is a significant quantity of iron nearby, either in the earth or deposited over years of volcanic activity. Some red beaches (like Kokkini Beach, in Greece) are even flanked by dramatic carmine cliffs.
Related: Where on Earth to Find Rare, Black Sand Beaches
Visiting one of these seven gorgeous red sand beaches — which are found in diverse destinations ranging from Hawaii to Italy, and even eastern Canada — is like traveling to a Martian landscape. Only you never even have to leave Earth's atmosphere.
Kaihalulu Beach in Hawaii
At Ka’uiki Head, on the island of Maui, there is an isolated and remote stretch of sand known as Kaihalulu Beach. Though finding your way here is a serious journey, the sight of some of the world’s reddest sand is a breathtaking reward. High iron content in the surrounding area has led to the deep crimson hue of Kaihalulu Beach. But it also means the sands are rough, and appropriate footwear is advisable.
Cavendish Beach in Canada
Thanks to iron-rich soils, there are some 500 miles of reddish coastline on the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island. Even the surrounding cliffside is a dark vermilion. An added plus? The famed Anne of Green Gables house is nearby.
Porto Covo Beach in Portugal
Two hours south of Lisbon is Porto Covo, a small fishing village in Portugal’s Alentejo region. The sand at Porto Covo’s main beach is red with a charred orange tint that becomes even more vibrant when the sun sets over the Atlantic. Book a room at the new Cabeça da Cabra property: a former schoolhouse transformed into a charming B&B.
Kokkini Beach in Greece
At Kokkini Beach on Santorini, nearly vertical volcanic cliffs seem to plunge directly into the Mediterranean — and are made to look even more red when compared to the turquoise waters. Kokkini Beach can be reached either by boat or a short (albeit steep) walk.
Ramla I-Hamra in Malta
Ramla Bay lies on the northern coast of Gozo (one of Malta’s 21 islands) and its beachfront is colored a burnt, orange-red — a particularly striking tone set against the electric blue sea. Because it's nestled at the bottom of a valley, Ramla I-Hamra beach is also a sanctuary for wildlife and vegetation.
Porto Ferro in Italy
Though more orange than red, Porto Ferro, on the western coast of Sardinia, is a beguiling sight. Ferro means “iron” in Italian, making this destination's name particularly appropriate. Abundant iron particles in the sands of Porto Ferro mix with limestone, bright coral pieces, and volcanic residue to give this beach its unusual appearance.