Tracking down the best beach in Nusa Penida was my top priority when I arrived onto the Indonesian island. Located a short ferry ride from mainland Bali, Nusa Penida shot to fame in recent years due to its wild, scenic coastline.
The beaches in Nusa Penida are far from ordinary. Diamond Beach and Kelingking Beach (also known as T-Rex Beach) feature sheer cliffs and formidable hikes. Limestone rock formations, including diamond-shaped wedges and sea arches, are dotted along the island’s coast. White sand and huge waves are almost a given.
When it comes to deciding the best beach in Nusa Penida, I’m aware that every traveller is looking for something different.
While I personally appreciate a challenging hike, other visitors may be looking for a more relaxing beach with sun beds and snorkelling spots. Similarly, while I adore tracking down lesser-known offbeat beaches in Nusa Penida, the popular beaches go down a treat on the Instagram feed or the family photo album.
The following beaches are the best beaches on Nusa Penida for every type of traveller. I’ve rounded up the best beach in Nusa Penida for scenery, relaxing, sunset, sunrise, and snorkelling.
I’ve also included beaches which feature less crowds – I’ve been on a mission to find offbeat beaches in Bali, and already written guides for offbeat beaches such as Bias Tugel Beach in Padangbai and Nunggalan Beach in Uluwatu.
How to Visit The Best Beaches in Nusa Penida
There are several ways to visit the best beaches in Nusa Penida.
The easiest way to access the island’s best beaches is by scooter. The first (and cheapest) option is to rent your own scooter. The second option is to hire a scooter driver, which is what I chose to do because I am not a confident scooter driver. Drivers are often available to book through your accommodation.
While it’s possible to visit most of the main beaches in Nusa Penida by car, there are some things you should take into consideration. The roads on the island are narrow, so they get clogged with traffic, increasing your journey time. The roads are also notoriously windy, so you’re more likely to experience motion sickness in a car.
The main downside of riding a scooter is that there is a higher risk that you could get into a road accident. If you’d rather avoid travelling by scooter for safety reasons, you can book a private hire car and driver.
Tours also provide a fuss-free way of visiting the best beaches in Nusa Penida. They have a set itinerary, which takes away some of your freedom to explore. However, they visit the island’s most famous beaches and viewpoints. They’re also a good option for solo travellers looking to make new friends.
The tours are usually split into a tour of the east coast and a tour of the west coast.
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The Most Famous Beach in Nusa Penida
There are two very famous beaches in Nusa Penida. They are Kelingking Beach and Diamond Beach.
When it comes to getting the perfect photograph, they are the best beaches to visit in Nusa Penida. You’ll need to arrive at the beaches early to avoid the crowds because everyone wants ‘the money shot’.
Kelingking Beach on the west coast of Nusa Penida
Diamond Beach on the east coast of Nusa Penida
QUICK ROUND-UP: The Best Beaches in Nusa Penida
The Best Beach in Nusa Penida on the West Coast
- Kelingking Beach – One of the best beaches in Nusa Penida for dramatic scenery and hiking.
- Crystal Bay – The best beach in Nusa Penida for sunset.
- Gamat Bay – The best beach in Nusa Penida for snorkelling.
- Broken Beach – One of the best beaches in Nusa Penida for dramatic scenery, but the beach itself is inaccessible.
- Tembeling Beach and Forest – A hard-to-reach destination with a small beach and natural swimming pools.
The Best Beach in Nusa Penida on the East Coast
- Diamond Beach – One of the best beaches in Nusa Penida for dramatic scenery and hiking.
- Atuh Beach – The best beach in Nusa Penida for relaxing.
- Suwehan Beach – The best offbeat beach in Nusa Penida.
The Best Beach in Nusa Penida on the North Coast
The west coast and east coast of Nusa Penida have the best beaches on the island. The beaches on the north coast of Nusa Penida are reminiscent of Kuta: long sandy stretches with minimal scenery and litter.
However, the island’s northern beaches generally have calmer waters, making them a good spot for snorkelling or swimming. Many of the island’s best dive sites are located on the north coast. There are regular sightings of molas, thresher sharks, turtles, puffer fish, and whale sharks on the north coast.
The Best Beach in Nusa Penida for Dramatic Scenery
1. Kelingking Beach
Highlights: Scenery, hiking, photography.
Located on the west coast of Nusa Penida, Kelingking Beach is one of the best beaches in Indonesia, let alone in Nusa Penida. The cliffs are commonly compared to the outline of a tyrannosaurus rex, which is why you’ll often hear it referred to as ‘T-Rex Beach’.
Instagram is partly responsible for its fame. The sheer green cliffs, blue water, and white sand lend themselves well to photography. The thin staircase running along the clifftop also looks particularly gnarly.
Completing the climb to and from the beach will give you some bragging rights. The lower section of the cliff walk requires a significant amount of bouldering. Be prepared to cling to a wobbly, makeshift bamboo railing erected by locals.
2. Diamond Beach
Highlights: Scenery, hiking, photography.
Diamond Beach is another famous beach on Nusa Penida. In the earlier days of fame, there was just a viewpoint over the beach. However, hardworking locals built a staircase into the side of the cliff, creating a challenging path to the beach (and a new vantage point for budding photographers).
Diamond Beach was named after the two distinctive diamond-shaped rock formations on the beach. The unique landscape and swaying palm trees make the beach one of the best beaches on Nusa Penida for hiking, photography, and scenery.
Located on the west coast, Diamond Beach is harder to get to than Kelingking Beach. However, Atuh Beach is accessible on the other side of the clifftop, so you can see two beaches in one trip. There are several warungs at the top of the cliff if you get hungry or thirsty.
It’s also a short scooter ride from Diamond Beach to the famous Rumah Pohon Treehouse and the Thousand Island Viewpoint.
3. Broken Beach
Highlights: Scenery, photography.
While Broken Beach isn’t as famous as Kelingking Beach or Diamond Beach, it is one of the most scenic viewpoints in Nusa Penida. The bay almost look as though a giant’s first has punched a hole into the cliffs. Blue waves are swept into a circular white-sand bay, which is enclosed by cliffs.
One section of the cliffs has collapsed, however, forming a horseshoe-shaped rock archway. The beach itself is not accessible, but the area is perfect for photography.
The Broken Beach viewpoint is a short, 10-minute stroll from Angel’s Billabong. Angel’s Billabong is a tidal pool fed by the open ocean. A striking blue-green in good weather (but murky after rain), the rock pool is a popular photography spot.
It’s possible to swim in the rock pool, but I wouldn’t recommend doing anything more than dipping your feet into the water. Several people have drowned at the site (and many more have been injured) because large waves often unexpectedly sweep over the pool, dragging swimmers out to sea or crashing them into the rocks. Stay safe!
The Best Offbeat Beach in Nusa Penida
1. Suwehan Beach
Highlights: Fewer tourists, scenery, hiking, photography.
Swimming: Wading is possible with caution.
I’m a big fan of an underdog, especially when it comes to beaches in Bali and Nusa Penida. Suwehan Beach is one of my favourite beaches yet. For over two hours, I had the beach completely to myself.
It’s so unvisited that even by scooter driver had no idea how to get there. When we arrived, he was so excited that he accompanied on the hike and asked me to take panoramas of himself on the beach to send to his friends.
Suwehan Beach features a diamond-shaped rock formation and silky white sand. There are fewer visitors. You should try to visit at low tide, otherwise you risk most of the sand being covered by the tide.
There’s a challenging half-an-hour hike to and from the beach. It has views over the beach and the surrounding coastline.
2. Tembeling Beach and Forest
Highlights: Few tourists, forest scenery, swimming, novelty.
Swimming: Available in the natural swimming pools.
Tembeling Beach and Forest wouldn’t be my first option for a beach day in Nusa Penida. However, if you’re looking for something a little different and somewhere less saturated with tourists, this offbeat destination fits the bill.
The site has a small beach with large waves. The natural swimming pools are the main attraction. Surrounded by the forest, where you might be lucky enough to spot a monkey or two, the swimming pools have formed naturally but are kept fresh by running water pipes set up by locals.
The best part about Tembeling Beach and Forest is that it is away from the usual tourist trail. You can expect less crowds.
The journey to get there is the only challenging part. The pools are accessible down a narrow, gravel track, which has a steep drop down into the forest on one side.
Unless you’re a very confident scooter driver, you should take advantage of the lifts offered by experienced local scooter drivers at the top of the path. They usually charge around 75,000 IDR for a return trip.
The Best Beach in Nusa Penida for Relaxing and Sunrise: Atuh Beach
Highlights: Scenery, easy access, family-friendly, relaxation, sunrise.
Swimming: Possible with caution.
Atuh Beach is one of the most easily accessible beaches on Nusa Penida. It is located on the other side of the cliffs from Diamond Beach. There are sunbeds and warungs, making it ideal for a more typical beach day. It’s a great option for families and those looking to relax.
If you’re looking for the best beach for sunrise on Nusa Penida, Atuh Beach should be your first pick too. It faces the east, so the sun rises over the ocean. When the sun rises, it bathes the rock arch and the water in golden light.
Atuh Beach is considered safer for swimmers than Diamond Beach or Kelingking Beach. Nevertheless, swimmers should exercise caution because strong currents can occasionally sweep through the bay. Stick to the shallower areas of the beach.
The Best Beach in Nusa Penida for Sunset: Crystal Bay
Highlights: Safe swimming, sunsets, food or drink, family-friendly, relaxation, easy to access.
Crystal Bay is one of the safest beaches in Nusa Penida for swimming. However, it’s best known for its beautiful sunsets. Facing the west, and easily accessible by road from the west of the island, many people gather there to watch the sun go down behind the sea.
Lined with warungs, Crystal Bay is a good dinner and drinks spot in the evening. In the day, you can also rent snorkelling equipment or bring your own.
Many snorkelling and diving tours stop at the beach throughout the day, so you probably won’t be the only snorkeller in the water.
Tip: Pandan Beach is a less-busy bay located half an hour’s walk over the hill. Ask a local for directions if you find Crystal Bay too busy or want to explore a more offbeat beach.
Nusa Penida also has several sunset bars. My favourite sunset bar is Amok Sunset Bar.
The Best Beach in Nusa Penida for Snorkelling: Gamat Bay
Highlights: Snorkelling, relaxing, easy access. Swimming: Yes.
Gamat Bay is located on the west coast of Nusa Penida. Like Crystal Bay, it’s easy to access. The only difference is that you must follow a short, simple trail after parking on the road.
Gamat Bay is accessible by boat and a common stop on snorkelling tours of the island. Instead of visiting the beach by scooter or car, you might want to consider joining a snorkelling tour to be in with the chance of spotting manta rays and mola mola.
If you want to snorkel independently, you can bring your own snorkelling equipment to Gamat Bay. However, you should be aware that there are sometimes strong currents at the beach, especially further out in the bay.
Boats have been known to rescue snorkelers in distress. You should be a confident swimmer. Fins or a lifejacket can increase your safety.
If you want to swim with manta rays on Nusa Penida, an essential activity is snorkelling at Manta Bay Nusa Penida.
The following tours visit Manta Bay and other popular snorkelling sites on the island, including Gamat Bay (my best-rated beach for snorkelling on Nusa Penida):
Where to stay in Nusa Penida
Best overall hostel
A sociable hostel with a cosy vibe. The bungalow-style dorms have access to two outdoor swimming pools and a restaurant.
Best budget hostel
Located on the gorgeous north coast of Nusa Penida, the cost-friendly hostel has a pool and a shared kitchen.
The Packer Box brings pod beds to the island. With a garden to chill in, it’s a great place to stay on the north coast of Nusa Penida.
The best hotels in Nusa Penida
Villa-style accommodation with access to a swimming pool with views of Bali’s volcano.
Bungalows a short drive from Crystal Bay, the best beach in Nusa Penida for sunset.
Rooms with a communal infinity pool and sea views.
Treat yourself to a room at Sea La Vie Resort: The four-star hotel is situated on the beach and has a luxurious infinity pool.
Nusa Penida’s beaches are known for their strong currents and big waves, so you should exercise caution when swimming at any beach on the island. The best beaches for swimming on Nusa Penida are Crystal Bay and Atuh Beach because they are considered to be the safest.
Gamat Bay and Crystal Bay are the best beaches in Nusa Penida for snorkelling.
I’m Katie, the owner of Escape Artist Katie. I have been travel writing since 2018, including writing for luxury travel magazines and publications such as Wanderlust.
As well as being a digital nomad who works and lives abroad permanently, I’m a big advocate for offbeat travel and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.