MNN Galleries

8 spectacular beaches with unusually colored sand

2 of 10

Elafonisi, Crete

Elafonisi Beach, which sits on a point on the southwest coast of the island of Crete, is one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. The shallow warm waters of a lagoon on one side of Elafonisi draw many families, while the main beach scene is found on the sea side of the point. Lifeguards, umbrellas, snack bars, and plenty of sunbathers create a typical Greek island beach scene. There is also a small offshore island. Though it is part of a protected nature preserve, it is possible to actually walk through the shallow water to this untouched land mass. 

The sands of Elafonisi are white is some places and have a distinct pink hue in others. The rose colored sands are caused by particles from pink coral and shells that have been ground into fine sand by years of erosion. The beach is a popular summertime tourist destination, but it is still possible to have a secluded beach experience on the pink sands if you are willing to travel offseason.