Black sand juxtaposed against white, foamy water is a magnificent sight that can only be fully appreciated in person. Although you can easily find photographs of this natural, midnight-hued marvel, these pictures can’t properly do it justice—you just have to experience the beauty firsthand. With that said, here are 6 beaches with black sand, worthy of an in-person visit!

6 Incredible Black Sand Beaches

1. Monólithos

Situated on the historical Greek island Santorini, Monólithos is a lovely beach ideal for families with young children. This beach features clear, shallow water suitable for wading, a recreational area with a playground, and long stretches of stunning black sand. After spending a day soaking up the sun, visitors can dine at one of several excellent seafood restaurants nearby.

Fun fact: Santorini is known for its spectacular architecture replete with whitewashed, cubical houses and other structures. These buildings nicely contrast the colorful sand of the island’s many beaches.

Location: Santorini, Greece

2. Miho no Matsubara

Bordered by thousands of fragrant pine trees, the beach at Miho no Matsubara is a unique place where the dense, green forest meets gorgeous, midnight-colored sand. Moreover, Mount Fuji, an active volcano that serves as Japan’s tallest peak, is clearly visible from the coastline.

Fun fact: Because of its proximity to Mount Fuji, Miho no Matsubara is associated with UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Location: Shizuoka, Japan

3. Reynisfjara, Iceland

Regarded as one of Iceland’s greatest black sand beaches, Reynisfjara boasts remarkable rock formations including Gardar, a cliff composed of basalt columns, and Reynisdrangar, a series of basalt sea stacks. Due to the strong, volatile currents at this beach, travelers should be cautious during their visit.

Fun fact: Beach-loving bird enthusiasts will enjoy spotting numerous different birds such as puffins, fulmars, and guillemots.

Location: Vík, Iceland

4. Playa Negra

When translated from Spanish to English, Playa Negra literally means “black beach” which makes sense since its coast is lined with dark-hued sand. Aside from the wonderful black pebbles, Playa Negra is famous for its impressive waves that attract the most avid surfers. This beach also spotlights marvelous eateries offering a diverse array of cuisines including Peruvian, French, and Mexican.

Fun fact: This beach was featured as a primary filming location in the cult classic documentary The Endless Summer II (1994).

Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica

5. Samyang Beach

Positioned on an island disconnected from mainland South Korea, Samyang Beach remains a hidden gem. It’s one of those rare beaches that is both very clean and free from being overcrowded by tourists. Consequently, visitors can enjoy a quiet stroll across the sparkling, black dunes or take a dip in the calm seawater.

Fun fact: During the summer, locals take pleasure in burying themselves in the iron-rich sand as it is believed to have therapeutic benefits.

Location: Jeju, South Korea

6. Punalu'u Beach

Also known as Black Sand Beach, Punalu'u Beach attained its black sand after lava flowed into the ocean and produced basalt. With exceptionally cold fresh water and a rocky beach, Punalu'u Beach may not be the best place for swimming, but it’s perfect for admiring the black sand as well as endangered hawksbill and green turtles that often bask on the shore.

Fun fact: Legend says that visitors who remove sand or rocks from Punalu'u Beach are cursed by Pele, the Fire Goddess. The curse can only be lifted by returning the rocks to the beach.

Location: Big Island, Hawaii

This article was written by Justina Tran.