Best beaches in Santorini
Santorini’s beaches are an attraction themselves, with some of the world’s most unique stretches thanks to the volcanic eruptions that shaped the island while providing its extraordinary beauty. They come in a diverse array of hues and styles, with sandy and pebbly beaches that are black, white, and even red. There are plenty of organized beaches with cosmopolitan appeal and all the facilities you need along with more tranquil, lesser-known gems in remote areas for peaceful relaxation. The clear sapphire waters that frame them are ideal for swimming, especially between June and mid-October when the sea is comfortably warm.
With many things to see and do here, Santorini isn’t the place travelers come to spend their entire vacations on the beach, but that’s certainly an option. One of the best ways to experience them is to enjoy a day or two of beach-hopping, discovering your own personal favorite, particularly among these fabulous stretches.
Perissa and Perivolos, the Black Sand Beach
Perissa and Perivolos are basically one long stretch of beach, with Perissa the north end of the long black stretch of Perivolos. While it’s a mix of pebbles and sand, the further south you go the sandier it is. This is the most popular beach area, with the pair often referred to as the Black Sand Beach.
It’s organized with comfy couches, plenty of sunbeds, opportunities to play beach volleyball or just relax and sip cocktails, although it does have a bit of a party vibe with some beach clubs here. As the bars close earlier than they do in the capital, it’s fairly quiet at night. Perissa is where you’ll want to be for water sports like jet skiing and it also tends to attract the most locals. If you’re staying in Fira it’s easy to reach by bus, especially in the summer when it runs every 30 minutes.
Another one of the most easily accessible and popular of Santorini’s beaches, Kamari is one of the most family-friendly on the island, a long, black, pebbly and sandy stretch with plenty of umbrellas and sunbeds. It’s close to Perissa, separated only by Mesa Vouna hill – you can easily travel to one from the other by hiking or via water taxi which runs several times each day.
You’ll also have some outstanding diving opportunities from the rock that overlooks Kamari, located to the right while gazing out at the sea. There are many beach bars, cafes, tavernas, and restaurants when you’re in need of a drink or a meal. Regular bus service will bring you here from Fira as well, or you can drive yourself, it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to reach.
Red Beach is arguably the most famous beach on the island, a tourist attraction near the village of Akrotiri with its unique fiery-colored cliffs disintegrating into scarlet sands at the bottom. They stretch out to the edge of the clear blue waters, creating a striking contrast. Many people simply come to capture photos as there isn’t much here to do other than enjoy the sight and the photo-op.
You might want to simply take pictures from a distance as it’s a steep walk along the path to the beach and occasionally falling rocks present a risk to those who wander down it. You’ll also need shoes that can handle the rough terrain and flip flops won’t cut it. Another option is to join one of the sailing tours as most stop here as it’s accessible by boat, and you’ll have time to swim or sunbathe.
One of the most secluded, longest and peaceful beaches on the island, Koloumbos is for those who want to get away from it all, escaping the tourist crowds to enjoy a relaxing day where you can have a large stretch all to yourself.
There are no busses that will get you here and while you can take a taxi, it’s likely to be a bit pricey. The best way to get here is by car, quad, or bike. For some, it may be worth renting a car just to experience as it’s the only nudist friendly stretch you’ll find in Santorini. Plus, it will be just you, the pebbly black beach, rocks, and gorgeous cobalt waters, even during the busy season.
Monolithos is also reached by car (including taxis), offering some of the best sands on the island. It’s a wide, long beach close to the airport but not so close that you’ll hear the planes. It’s organized with umbrellas and sunbeds, while a number of restaurants and tavernas offer a tasty bite to eat, primarily focused on fresh seafood and fish. This is the one of the best for those who want to enjoy water sports, particularly kite surfing. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how, the instructors at Santorini Kite will get you up and going in no time.
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