It seems we are drawn to places that are associated with colors: green landscapes, blue seas, white snow-capped mountains, turquoise-tiled mosques, yellow fields of sunflowers, and red ones of tulips. As you read each one of these descriptions, I bet you immediately had a picture in your head. But pink? That is a color associated with little girls, and not with travel destinations, right?
Yet, once you start looking, you could create an entire photo album full of pink places. So, why not? Channel your inner Barbie and embrace pink. There are some absolutely stunning pink destinations out there that must be seen to be believed.
My list focuses on pink places that are either natural or historic, not hotels, cafes, or shops, of which there are too many to mention. The places on this list were not decorated with pink to attract Instagrammers but will certainly attract travelers who are more likely to stop and soak up the stunning sights, maybe even forgetting to take pictures of the spectacle unfurling in front of them.
1. Fly Over A Pink Lake In Australia
Lake Hillier is probably the best-known pink destination. It’s a truly Barbie-pink lake in Western Australia, set off perfectly by green bushland surrounding it and the blue ocean in the background. While impressive from the ground, the best way to really appreciate this lake is by flying over it. The reason for the color is not fully known, although its salinity and the presence of Dunaliella salina microalgae are thought to be behind it.
Pro Tip: While Lake Hillier is the most famous, there are plenty of other pink lakes around the globe. One I was impressed by was Lac Rose, the pink lake near Dakar in Senegal. It is saltier than the Dead Sea, and you can float on pinkness. Want to visit Lake Hillier? Here’s exactly how to see Australia’s bubblegum pink lake.
2. Feel Welcome In Jaipur, India
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, a state in northern India that is brimming with incredible sights. Many forts stand above the city, from Amer Fort to Nahargarh, while the Jantar Mantar Observatory offers many an optical illusion. The most-photographed building, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, sits close to amazing palaces that once housed splendid maharajas. And it was one of those maharajas, Maharajah Ram Singh, who is responsible for Jaipur being known as the pink city. Because pink is the color of hospitality, he quite literally had the town painted pink back in 1876 when the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria visited India on a tour.
Pro Tip: Go for a drink or lunch at the City Palace, and while you are there, buy the book A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur by Gayatri Devi, which will give you incredible insight into what life was like as a maharani in Jaipur.
3. Celebrate Hanami In Kyoto, Japan
When nature decides to go pink, the world watches, or, in the case of Japan, celebrates Hanami, the watching of the cherry blossom. With daily cherry blossom updates in March and April as to when the tender blossoms can be expected to fully open, plus workers getting a day off to go out and immerse themselves in the blossoms, this celebration is taken seriously. I have been lucky enough to once get to Japan on the day before the flowers opened and enjoy the full festival while there, by pure chance. The masses of pink are utterly amazing, especially in Kyoto, where entire paths are roofed by blossoming trees into the distance.
Pro Tip: Washington D.C. has a cherry blossom festival as well, and if you happen to be in France in spring, be sure to check out the cherry orchard of the Chateau de Sceaux, near Paris.
4. Watch The Changing Of The Colors At Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
If you think tree leaves changing color in fall are impressive, you haven’t seen the bushes at Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki on Honshu Island, Japan, some 2.5 hours outside of Tokyo. This nearly 900-acre park is planted with seasonal colors, so there is always something to see, every season. But as we are interested in all things pink, we can ignore the fields of blue flowers in spring and jump straight to fall. During summer and early fall, the iconic kochia bushes look like little green tufts of grass, but as fall progresses, the color changes and turns into a pinky red that is simply stunning.
Pro Tip: For the best of the color, visit in early to mid-October.
5. Get Pink Decor Inspiration From Flamingos In Kenya
Go into any home decor or gift shop anywhere in the world, and you will find at least a thing or two decorated with flamingos. Who doesn’t love those bright pink birds that just scream summer? If you want your fill of real flamingoes, a veritable pink flock of feathers, then either pop over to Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya, which used to be the place for flamingos, but has seen a decrease in numbers over the last few years, or visit the flamingo lagoon in Dubai, where the birds stalk around against the backdrop of the very modern skyline. If you’re in a beachy mood, there’s also Flamingo Beach on Aruba, where the birds even come up to you to say hello.
Pro Tip: Flamingos are gregarious birds and love a crowd. Of other flamingos. That is why you tend to rarely see just one flamingo. And a flock of flamingos is called, among other terms, a flamboyance. For more flamingo-sighting opportunities, read up on six places to see flamingos in the wild.
6. Joie De Vivre In The Ville Rose, France
Toulouse, in the southwest of France, has the moniker La Ville Rose, or the pink city, and is magical when sunset sets off the orangey-pink hues of the buildings. Since Roman times, buildings in Toulouse have been constructed with pink terracotta bricks. Normally brick alone is not pink, yet here, the high levels of iron oxide in the clay ensure that there is that a pink shimmer in the air, and each building has a slightly different hue.
Pro Tip: Making a beautiful color-coordinated match, Toulouse is not only the Pink City, but also the City of Violets. Here, the delicate flowers are made into everything from candies to liqueurs.
7. Get Enchanted By A Pink Fairytale Castle In Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Craigievar Castle is a pink castle — a proper little picture-perfect pink castle in northern Scotland, some 25 miles from Aberdeen. Standing in a large park and woodland, the castle has turrets and knights’ armor inside in its museum. All that it’s missing is a unicorn and a princess. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you found those on the relaxing two-mile Hill Trail, which is an easy walk around the area that’ll take you just over one hour.
Pro Tip: You can get married in the castle, or at least stay the night in a cottage on the grounds.
8. Marvel At A Historic Pink Church In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Tan Dinh Church in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the locals still call it, is the city’s oldest Catholic church, dating back to 1864. After starting off as a small chapel, the church has been added onto and improved upon over the years, giving it its unique mix of architectural styles ranging from Roman to gothic and baroque. It was in 1957 that the exterior was painted pink. But the surprise is the inside, which is painted in an even more vivid pink. It is like standing inside a wedding cake and will be an absolute thrill for pink lovers.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the nearby market, and try to go to the church on the weekend, as many newlyweds go in their finery to have their picture taken in front of the church, which makes for great people watching and maybe even a photo opportunity.
9. Dip Your Toes Into Pink Sand In The Bahamas
Pink Sand Beach in the Bahamas lives up to its name. It’s a perfect 3.5-mile-long beach with fine pink sand. Located on the eastern Atlantic Ocean side of Harbour Island, the beach is quite literally picture-perfect, and lots of tourists are drawn to pose on the sand. The white sand is mixed with the darker pink crushed shells of tiny microorganisms, resulting in a perfectly soft pink. If you are staying on Paradise Island, you can hop a ferry across to Pink Sand Beach.
Pro Tip: If this beach is not easily accessible to you, maybe Bermuda is better? Lovely pink Horseshoe Bay Beach is waiting for you there.