When you think of Bali, it’s easy to conjure images of powdery white sands lined with palm trees that stretch as far as the eye can see. But Bali’s geological landscape has a lot more to offer than the ubiquitous tropical pictures that grace the pages of travel brochures.
Bali’s diverse beachscapes are just one of the reasons the island is so unique. Among its most memorable varieties are Jurassic cliffs, coral reefs, and, of course, the black sands that wrap the coast from Lovina to Tanah Lot.
Black sand is a volcanic occurrence, and Bali is home to three volcanoes, with Indonesia boasting more active volcanoes than anywhere in the world. With eruptions as recent as 2017, it’s no surprise that Bali has more than a few black sand beaches that are as mysterious as they are majestic. For beach bums looking for something a little different, check out these seven black sand beaches in Bali that you have to visit.
Bali’s black sand beaches are scattered all across the island. But for the best volcanic sands and the darkest, sparkling shores, the north of Bali is a must-see. Bali’s volcanoes are concentrated close to the coast of Amed, so, unsurprisingly, this area benefits from a few mesmerizing black sand beaches.
Amed beach runs adjacent to the town’s main strip, with bars and restaurants lining the black beach to the backdrop of the Mount Agung volcano. Pollution and fisherman boats make it less than ideal for snorkeling. Still, the eastern shore is a playground for scuba divers, and the mountainous views from the shallow bay could rival that of Caribbean islands.
Head to the next bay along for Jemeluk Beach, where you’ll come across plenty of beach warungs, sun loungers, and snorkeling opportunities. Jemeluk Bay is a long stretch of shell-lined black sand on which you could easily spend the entire day.
Batu Bolong, Canggu
Met by touristy crowds and busy beach bars, the grey sands of Batu Bolong might be an initial put-off. But once you see past the hoards of dog walkers and beginner surfers, this vast sandy beach that stretches from Canggu to Seminyak becomes the perfect spot for a sunset coconut.
Batu Bolong is a surfer’s paradise with an iconic surf break and an abundance of restaurants and bars in the surrounding area. Canggu has attracted a vibrant hipster community of settlers and nomads over the last few decades, making the lively atmosphere even more alluring than its black sands.
There’s no shortage of beach warungs to sit and listen to the thumping DJ sets as the sun goes down. Head to The Lawn Beach Club and watch the world go by on the black sands below from the safety of a day bed.
Lovina is one of the busiest black sand beaches in Bali, and for good reason. With various bohemian beach bars, water sports, and activities, Lovina is relentless for beach hawkers. But if you know how to barter, braving these bustling shores is a must, as Lovina is home to one of the most magical attractions Bali has to offer.
The most significant pull factor to this laidback coastal town is dolphin watching. For as little as $5 per person, local fisherman boats will take you out to sea at the break of dawn to see Lovina’s almost guaranteed dolphin spectacular. Families of dolphins glide through the water and leap through the air as if performing for tourists.
Lovina’s dolphins are wild and abundant, and visitors can even swim and snorkel with them. Once you’ve recovered from the early start, stick around for a sunset stroll along the sparkling black sands.
Pantai Masceti Beach
For something a bit different, the east coast of Bali is home to Pantai Masceti, the most picturesque stretch of black sand that this side of the island has to offer. The pristine sands are virtually undisturbed by tourists, but you can still absorb the charm of beach village life.
Large rock formations meet rows of palm trees on this quiet and secluded coastline. Still situated in the south of Bali, Pantai Masceti can be easily visited from busier tourist areas like Kuta and Canggu. The beach is just a 35-minute drive from the rice paddies and waterfalls of Ubud, making it the perfect day out if you fancy a break from yoga and jungles.
For the best sunrises on the island, after Mount Batur, stay the night near Panta Masceti and watch the day come in over the black sands.
Tanah Lot is quiet, mystical, and a must-see for the most sparkling volcanic sands that glimmer in the midday sun. This area is best known for the Tanah Lot Temple, a 16th-century Hindu place of worship that has the dramatic appearance of floating on the water at high tide.
The temple was supposedly built because the founder of the Shaivite priesthood in Bali spent a night on the rock. Protected by the Balinese sea gods as he slept, the local fishermen built the temple as a shrine to honor these spirits.
You can watch the waves crash against the temple island from a nearby cliff terrace or take in one of the best sunsets in Bali from the secluded beach. Don’t miss Bali Beach Glamping for a unique luxury camping experience 10-minutes up the coast from the Tanah Lot temple. If you’re visiting for the day, pop in for a drink or a meal in exchange for free access to their beachfront infinity pool.
Pererenan and Sesesh Beach
A charming seaside village, Pererenan is just far enough removed from the party life of Canggu but close enough that you can get in on the action if you should so wish. Although just two bays up the coast from the infamous Batu Bolong and Echo Beach, Pererenan’s black sand beaches are often deserted but beautifully wild.
The Seseh Surf Community makes the most of these big breaks and hosts local surf competitions throughout the year. There are enough local vendors to find a Bintang to sip post-surf on the sultry black shores, but these beaches are pleasantly uncrowded and perfect for enjoying the sunset in silence.
Just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Canggu life, take in the majestic energy of the Bali Sea under the protection of the Hindu Pererenan statue.
Situated in the far northeast of the island, Tulamben is nestled between Mountain Batur and the north coast of Bali. You could be fooled into thinking Tulamben is a typical pebble-lined beach. But the rocky shores of this tourist hotspot are actually scattered with thousands of loose volcanic stones.
Aside from Tulamben being visual evidence of Bali’s rich volcanic history, the site is home to the wreck of the USS Liberty, a cargo ship used during WWI and WWII. This makes the area a popular diving spot, with the shallow wreck being easily visible. What makes this black sand beach so unique is how the famous wreck intertwines with Bali’s volcanic heritage. After a Japanese torpedo hit the USS Liberty, it was towed to shore to recover the cargo. But when Mount Agung erupted in 1963, lava flow pushed the wreck below the waves to where it now resides.
Due to the site’s popularity, Tulamben is lined with bars, restaurants, and fancy hotels, as well as unpretentious diving accommodation. Even if you’ve never tried your hand at scuba diving, the rich history of Tulamben makes it a top contender for your Bali bucket list.
Where are the black sand beaches in Bali?
You can find black sand beaches in Bali all along the coast, from Lovina in the north to Echo Beach in the southwest. Bali is home to three active volcanoes, and the black sands are a result of regular volcanic activity across the island. For this reason, you can find the darkest and most dazzling black sands close to where the volcanoes are concentrated in the north of Bali.
Why is the beach in Bali black?
The sand on the beaches in Bali is black because Bali is a volcanic island with multiple volcanoes and a long history of devastating eruptions. Basalt found in lava instantly hardens when it hits seawater. So, where lava has flowed from Bali’s volcanoes onto the beaches, the basalt has broken into coarse particles and taken over the shorelines. But not all of Bali’s beaches are black.
Mount Agung and Mount Batur are active volcanoes and have erupted several times in the last few decades. But the golden shores of Sanur and the white sand reefs of Uluwatu are still untouched by lava flow. One reason Bali’s landscape is so unique is that visitors can jump between golden sands, powdery white beaches, and black volcanic shores all in one day.
What is the best black sand beach in Bali?
While Bali’s various black sand beaches all promise mesmerizing shorelines, they differ in appeal. For the darkest black sands, visit the north of the island where Bali’s volcanoes are concentrated. Set in the shadow of Mount Agung, Amed’s black sands are rustic and picturesque. At the same time, Tulamben beach boasts a rocky shoreline with a rich diving culture. Lovina’s black sands are crowded, but this dolphin-watching hotspot is a must-see, and the Tanah Lot temple is as magical as the area’s glistening volcanic beach.