Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach) | Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach)

La Maddalena, Italy

Crushed coral and crystals give the sand its signature coloration.  


You’d think that pink beaches only existed in the mind of Dr. Seuss, but on the Italian island of Budelli, they’re a reality. At the Italian Mediterranean’s magical Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach), a unique melange of marine matter gives the sand a peculiar pink pigment.

Spiaggia Rosa is one of the few places on the planet to have pink sand. As a result, it’s one of the most unique and paradisiacal spots on the Italian Mediterranean. The brilliant color of Spiaggia Rosa comes from a concoction of crushed fossils, crystals, coral, and dead marine creatures, which blend together to tint the sand with a rosy blush.

In the past, the beach at Budelli was a lot more pink. But decades ago, when tourism to Budelli began to surge, visitors began to steal the pink sand to sell it elsewhere or keep it as a souvenir. This depleted the amount of pink sand on the beach, and as a result, the Italian government made it illegal for any tourists to set foot on the beach in 1994 to preserve the beach’s brilliant hue.

During the summer, visitors are allowed to take day trips to the island as long as they stay off Spiaggia Rosa. They can look, but not touch, the beautiful sand.

When it comes to protecting the pink sand of Budelli, the Italian government doesn’t mess around. When New Zealand banker Michael Harte attempted to establish an eco-friendly resort and biological observatory on the island in 2013, the Italian government responded by blocking his proposal in an effort to preserve the environment. Hopefully, with efforts like these, the pink sand of Budelli will not wash away for a long time.

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