Here at Bolsover Cruise Club, we’re suckers for soft white sands. British, Mediterranean, Caribbean, edged by cities in the Middle East and game reserves in Africa; we love each and every one. This said, we also know that exotic sands come in a whole host of colours, from the pink sands of Bermuda to the red sands of Santorini. With this in mind, we cast our attentions towards a darker hue, one that stands out spectacularly against blue oceans and green palm trees. From Hawaii to Lanzarote, Iceland to Alaska, here are our pick of the best black beaches in the world.
Treacherous rip currents make Punalu’u hazardous for those who venture in the water but that doesn’t stop locals and visitors alike venturing to the black sand beach for picnics on the rocky coastline. The main attraction for many are the Hawksbill and Green turtles that can be seen napping in droves on the sand, but the contrast again the vibrant green coconut palms, jet-hued sand and bright blue water are also rather photogenic.
El Golfo – Lanzarote
The black sand beach of El Golfo in Lanzarote is most famous for the Charco de los Clicos lagoon, which shines emerald green thanks to the algae that populate its waters. The lagoon, plus the weathered cliffs that tower above it, make for a prehistoric backdrop and one that is best appreciated whilst enjoying some of the best fish you will ever taste at the restaurants overlooking the beach.
Vik – Iceland
Perhaps one of the world’s most famous black sand beaches is Vik, located in the village of the same name in Iceland’s southernmost settlement. Whilst the icy Atlantic waters aren’t overly inviting to swim in, they look magnificent against the onyx sands, which were produced by the active Katla volcano that sits nearby. The volcano last erupted in 1918 and sits beneath the Myrdalsjokull glacier, but if you’re brave enough to risk the threat of eruption and flooding, the scenery is more than just reward. Look out for Vik’s puffin population too.
Anse Chastanet – St Lucia
St Lucia is one of a handful of islands in the Lesser Antilles that are home to black sand beaches and Anse Chastanet is amongst the most exclusive in all the Caribbean. Created by the dormant volcanoes that sit nearby, including those famous Pitons, this sheltered cove is lapped by turquoise waters and overshadowed by the peaks of Grand and Petit Piton, plus the lush greenery of the rainforest. It is an arresting sight for those who chase away the days amidst the jet black sands.
Point Venus – Tahiti
Tahiti is home to some of the world’s best black sand beaches but Point Venus is perhaps the most famous, thanks in part to Captain James Cook, who watched the transit of Venus there in 1769. The crew of the infamous ship Bounty first found dry land on the black sands of Point Venus and were reluctant to leave, such is the beauty of the area. Tahiti’s only lighthouse overlooks the beach and local kids can often be found playing football on the sand.
Prince William Sound – Alaska
Whilst only ¼ mile long, what the beach of Prince William Sound in Alaska lacks in size, it makes up for in spectacle. Icebergs are left stranded on the beach, icy blue tide water glaciers sit at its edge and snowy peaks soar 10,000ft above it, making for scenery that stops you in your tracks.
Photo credit: David Ellis
Lesser known than Punalu’u Beach but just as beautiful, Kehena sits in the Big Island’s Puna district. Known locally as Dolphin Beach, thanks to the spinner dolphins regularly spotted offshore, the sands attract yoga enthusiasts and artists in search of somewhere serene to practice their craft.
Photo credit: Silvia Schiavon
Muriwai – Auckland
Sitting on Auckland’s west coast, Muriwai is famous for its cliff-top colony of gannets, which reach into over 1200 pairs during breeding season. The rugged coastline stretches for miles and is located just an hour from downtown Auckland, making it perfect for a day-trip out of the city.