Black sand beaches are rare and special, and if you’re wondering where the best ones in the world are, then you’re definitely in the right place!
This guide covers all the best black sand beaches on our planet, from the spectacular volcanic beaches of Stromboli to the best black beaches of Iceland. Although they’re all famous and adored for the presence of black sand, each of the lovely beaches is unique in its way and offers something different to all its visitors.
Read on to learn more about the best black sand beaches in the world, and add your favorite ones to your bucket list!
Lovina Beach is a famous black sand beach on Bali’s northwest coast. It is perhaps one of the island’s best-kept secrets since for some reason it doesn’t get nearly as many visitors as some of the other famous landmarks in Bali.
The word is getting out about Lovina Beach, so we highly recommend you plan a visit to the stunning black sand beach before the influx of tourists damages its biological integrity.
In addition to gorgeous black sand and mesmerizing nature, Lovina Beach is also very popular for snorkeling, diving, and dolphin-watching. Dolphin tours are the main reason why this black beach is getting discovered by more people, and they are one of the best things to do on the entire island.
Langkawi Island is the largest of some 100 islands in the Langkawi Archipelago, and it’s known for its lovely beaches. Most of them are beautiful white sand beaches, but there’s also Pantai Pasir Hitam – the island’s only black sand beach.
It’s popularly known as the Black Sand Beach, but that name is a misnomer since this charming beach doesn’t feature true black sand. It’s more like the beach features white sand mixed with black dust, which makes it even more special.
Perissa Beach in Santorini is one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in the world. The beach is situated at the base of Mesa Vouno, just some 13 kilometers southeast of Fira.
The volcanic sand of this remarkable beach is one of the best-known attractions on the island, and Perissa Beach is often very busy. It has all the amenities you need for a relaxing day on the beach, from comfortable sun loungers to DJs and live entertainment.
Piha Beach is located in New Zealand’s north island area, just some 45 minutes outside of Auckland city. The mesmerizing black sand beach is very popular with locals, and especially among those who enjoy surfing, thanks to the impressive waves.
This is one of the best surfing beaches in New Zealand, and it’s suitable for surfers of all skill levels. However, it’s important to keep track of weather conditions – if the waves get too high and the current becomes too strong, it’s best to leave the surfing to the pros.
In addition to excellent surfing, New Zealand’s best beach is also popular for hiking trails and panoramic views. Just a 10-minute walk away from this fascinating black beach is the Kitekite waterfall, which is even more impressive than the tall waves and the fine sand one encounters at Piha Beach.
If you end up visiting Piha Beach, you should definitely try to see Karekare Beach as well. They’re only a 20-minute drive apart, and both are so stunning that they’re certainly worth the time.
Just like Piha Beach, the Karekare Beach boasts beautiful black sand, exciting hiking trails, and a chance to see some mesmerizing waterfalls. The Karekare Falls are just a few minutes away from this beach, and they’re truly an astonishing sight.
Also, it’s worth noting that Karekare Beach is known for its gorgeous, unspoiled nature. You won’t find any restaurants or bars here, nor will you see any loungers available for rent. There’s just the vast stretch of black sand, breathtakingly beautiful New Zealand landscapes, and a lot of towering cliffs.
Iceland has quite a lot of active volcanoes, and such a high volcanic activity is the primary reason why this island country is home to the most black sand beaches in the world.
The Vik Beach is one of the best black sand beaches in Iceland, and quite famous there too. It’s situated on the island’s southern coast. This stunning beach is a photographer’s dream, not just because of the black sand but also because of the spectacular landscapes that surround it.
This mesmerizing beach is also known as Reynisfjara Beach, and it’s often called the most beautiful black sand beach in the world. With hexagonal basalt columns, tall cliffs jutting out of the sea, and the possibility of seeing Aurora Borealis, it’s practically impossible to disagree with that statement.
Playa Jardín in Puerto de la Cruz is one of many black sand beaches in Spain’s Canary Islands. The black sand is just one of the many attractions on this fascinating beach – the lovely beach is also known for the San Felipe Castle, lush gardens with palm trees and cacti, and the countless eateries nearby.
Tenerife’s Playa Jardín features black sand, lava rocks, and some of the best swimming on the island. It’s worth noting that this volcanic island is the largest in the Canary Islands, and it’s very popular for its many resorts and excellent nightlife.
In addition to that, it’s possible to hike to the spectacular Mount Teide volcano, which is mostly responsible for the island’s black sand beaches. There’s even a cable car that transports passengers to the top of the active volcano, for some of the best views that can be experienced in the Canary Islands.
Black Sands Beach in California is a very large beach north of Shelter Cove. It’s worth noting that there are a few different beaches that are named Black Sands Beach – this one is directly below the town of Shelter Cove in Whitethorn. The other Black Sands Beach is in Marin Forest Reserve near San Francisco, and it’s much smaller and less impressive.
The Whitethorn beach is known for fine black sand, lava formations, and impressive ocean views. However, it’s not a great beach for swimming, mostly because of the strong currents and the shark presence in the area.
The beach is easily accessible by a short hiking trail that starts in the cliffs above the beach, and there’s a parking lot directly above the beach. It’s worth noting that this beach is huge – it stretches all the way to the Mattole River campground, which is about 40 miles north of the main Black Sands Beach area.
Punalu’u Beach is located on the southeastern Kau coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, and it’s one of the state’s best black sand beaches, if not the best one. It’s part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and it’s known for beautiful black sand, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and exciting hiking trails.
Coconut palms line this stunning black sand beach, which promises some of the most impressive views you can experience in the state of Hawaii.
The vast Punalu’u Beach is easily accessible and features some of the best swimming and snorkeling in this part of the island. It’s also very popular for picnics and camping, but it’s worth noting that you require a special permit if you want to spend a night on this stunning black sand beach.
Martinique Island is a French overseas territory in the Caribbean. It’s one of the Lesser Antilles Island, and it is known for mountainous relief. There’s an active volcano on the island, which is the main reason why this stunning Caribbean Island has one of the best black sand beaches in the world.
Saint-Pierre is an arrondissement of the island’s west coast that encompasses the Mt Pelée volcano and the Saint-Pierre town. Saint-Pierre beach is a public beach in this town, and one of the highlights of the island.
Although the beach is popular with tourists, it’s almost never crowded. It’s the perfect place on the island to enjoy a spectacular sunset while sipping on a cold cocktail.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that the town of Saint Pierre suffered a series of catastrophic eruptions in 1902, which is one of the key reasons why there’s a black sand beach in the town. There’s a Memorial Museum dedicated to the eruption just above the black sandy beach, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Martinique’s first capital city.
Miho No Matsubara is a seven-kilometer black sand beach on Japan’s Miho peninsula. The beach is part of Tenninmori Park, so it’s just one of the fun things you can do in the area!
In addition to the fine black sand, the beach also features black pebbles and other volcanic materials. A pine forest in its background provides an excellent barrier from the busy city, plus it’s full of fun things to do and see. Hiking trails, beautiful trees, and stone monuments are some of the highlights of the park with pine trees, in addition to the breathtaking views.
On a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji from this dark sand beach, so mentioning spectacular scenic views is a must.
Playa Negra is a stunning beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico, which features a mixture of white and black sand. The concentration of black sand is higher in certain parts of the beach, and it’s pretty impressive to observe how the different colors merge together.
The spectacular Playa Negra is one of the best hidden gems in Vieques. It’s almost never crowded, so it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway. That’s mostly because the beach is hidden away, and it can only be accessed by hiking trails.
The stark contrast between the azure water and dark sand is mesmerizing, and reason enough to make the effort to visit Puerto Rico’s mesmerizing Playa Negra.
Cahuita is a small village on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It’s known for the Cahuita National Park and Punta Cahuita, which feature some of Costa Rica’s best beaches.
The country’s Caribbean Coast is home to many beautiful white sand beaches, as well as Playa Negra – a vast black sand beach popular for surfing, swimming, and beach vacations.
The dark sand beach is the best spot in Cahuita for swimming, thanks to the clean and calm water. But the water is not always calm, and the waves can get quite big, making this spectacular black beach a great option for those who are just getting into surfing.
Anse Chastanet is a beautiful black sand beach in Saint Lucia. Situated on the island’s southwestern coast, this laid-back beach is popular for swimming, snorkeling, and spectacular panoramic views. The Anse Chastanet resort officially owns this beach, but it is open to the general public and anyone can access it.
The black beach is also known for the spectacular coral reef, which offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the Caribbean. It’s worth noting that the beach is easily accessible by both road and boat, so planning a trip to Saint Lucia’s only black sand beach should be pretty easy.
In addition to that, it’s worth noting that the Anse Chastanet beach is connected to the Anse Mamin beach with a coastal walkway. The latter is a more traditional white sand beach with palm trees and tall rock formations. The short walk is definitely worth doing if only for the scenic views you’ll experience while strolling from one of Saint Lucia’s best beaches to the other.
Out of all the black sand beaches in Iceland, Diamond Beach is perhaps the most impressive one. And not even for the stunning black sand, but more so because of the huge iceberg fragments that can be found scattered all over the beach.
At first glance, they look just like massive diamonds, but upon closer inspection, it’s easy to notice that they’re just fragments of ice from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
This mesmerizing black beach is situated on Iceland’s southeast coast, about 200 kilometers away from Vik and its spectacular black sand beaches.
If you need to pick just one black sand beach to see in Iceland, you’ll have a hard time deciding between this fascinating natural attraction, and the one with the impressive geometric columns. But if you have a couple of hours to spare, you can visit both in one afternoon!
Italy’s volcanic island of Stromboli is home to quite a few mesmerizing black sand beaches. Ficogrande is the largest and most easily accessible one, and definitely the best beach on the island to visit if you want to see some magnificent volcanic black sand.
Although fine sand dominates the island’s busiest beach, it’s also possible to find lots of volcanic rock in some parts of Ficogrande. Small pebbles and gravel are common on the beach, but there are big stretches that are only covered with fine black sand.
A large pier divides this huge black beach in two, and it’s worth noting that it is possible to rent lounge chairs and umbrellas on either side of the beach. You can access the beach for free, but you will need to pay for loungers.
On top of that, this is one of the most popular attractions on the island of Stromboli, so there are quite a few hotels and restaurants very close to the beach. If you’re up for a relaxing beach vacation, Spiaggia di Ficogrande is certainly a place you’ll hardly regret visiting.
Lafayette Beach is a beautiful black sand beach in Tahiti, popular for swimming, surfing, and pristine nature. If you want to escape the crowds, admire pretty views, and try to catch some powerful waves, you should definitely take the time to visit Lafayette Beach.
There aren’t any loungers, toilets, or bars on this beach, making it perfect for people who want to enjoy some peace and quiet. The lack of popular amenities also means that there won’t be too many other people here, which is exactly why it’s the perfect place for visitors who want to be away from the crowds.
Although the beach isn’t the most popular spot on the island, it’s certainly worth visiting. It’s not just the best black sand beach in Tahiti, but in the entire Pacific Ocean, which certainly counts for something!
Kamari Beach is another fascinating black sand beach on Santorini Island in Greece. It’s separated from Parissa Beach by the mountain ruins of the Ancient City of Thera – it’s not a bad idea to hike to this historical landmark if you want to get a good view of Santorini’s best black beaches and decide which one is more appealing to you.
Kamari Beach features black sand, pebbles, thatched umbrellas, and comfortable lounge chairs, as well as quite a few beach bars and nearby hotels. In fact, there’s an entire resort town of Kamari here, which happens to be one of the most popular vacation destinations on this Greek island.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.