The beaches in Santorini are much different than other beaches in Greece due to their special geological features. Red and black volcanic pebbles lay the shores of Santorini beaches and cliffs provide a picturesque ambience of unique beauty. The most famous of Santorini beaches is the Red beach, while particularly popular are Perissa beach, Kamari beach and Perivolos beach.
Highlights of Santorini Beaches
- Phos The Boutique is the best beach resort in Santorini. Resort is a 5-star luxury hotel, perched on the edge of the Caldera in Akrotiri offering unobstructed Caldera views. Phos The Boutique is situated 3.5 km away from Athinios Port and 11 km away from Santorini Airport. The vibrant capital of the island, Fira is 7 km away.
- Santorini beaches are composed of volcanic sand and pebbles. Very unique and beautiful to look at but they’re not the best beaches in Greece with idyllic white sand.
- The best Santorini beach hotels are located in Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos.
- Visitors shouldn’t come to Santorini primarily for the beaches – they should come for the volcano, boat tours, incredible views, wine, hikes, nightlife, and great food.
- Swimming in the crystal clear blue water is refreshing and wonderful. (Since the beaches have coarse sand there’s little dust to cloud the water.)
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Map of Santorini Beaches
The 11 Best Beaches in Santorini
Our favorite beaches in Santorini are Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos. Great destinations to swim, most places to rent beach chairs, and lots of good places to eat. High quality beach resorts are plentiful (some hotels have their own private beaches. – most resorts are across a small road from the sea).
Santorini is a tremendous island. Its being volcanic distinguishes it from other greek islands. For this reason, Santorini beaches do not have very nice sea sand, it may not have blue water like other Greek islands. But this island is unique in the world.
Since Santorini is a volcanic island, the sands on its beaches are black. For this reason, when the sun is at the top in summer, this black sand heats up very fast. Therefore, if you want to walk on the beach, we recommend you to wear sandals or beach shoes.
Although the beaches of Santorini are not similar to the beaches in other Greek islands, the soil and sand structure consisting of volcanic layers of this magnificent island will amaze you.
Besides that, the sea water in Santorini will be good for your skin, I guess because it is a volcanic island. In our experience, we think that the water here is different from the sea water of other Greek islands.
Caldera is located on the west coast of Santorini. The beaches are on the east and southeast side of the island. You should plan this when deciding where to stay before your trip to Santorini. Which one, close to the beaches or the caldera view? This is an important step for Santorini accommodation.
It’s an easy drive or bus ride from Fira (the main town on Santorini) to get to the beaches (Kamari is the closest) so as much as I love the beaches I still recommend staying in Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, or Oia as these towns have the stunning caldera (volcano) views that make Santorini so unique.
(It does take an extra bus journey to go from Firostefani, Imerovigli, or Oia to the beaches as it requires changing buses in Fira. Renting a car is the best way to explore the island and this is especially so if you’re not staying in Fira.)
If you’re looking for nightlife you’re best to base yourself in Fira as that’s where all the clubs are found on Santorini. But the beaches of Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos do have restaurant/bars that stay busy late into the night. But for clubbing, that’s Fira.
The most upscale and touristy of the beach towns. The path along the beach is a fun and relaxing place to stroll in the evening. Lots of places to eat and drink. Kamari has a very fun vibe and one of the most family-friendly towns on Santorini. Close to the airport (but not so close as to worry about noise). It’s the closest of any of the beaches (with hotels) to Fira and the caldera. If I were to stay at a beach town it would be Kamari.
Perissa and Perivolos Beaches are essentially one very long beach that caters to the backpacker crowd and party scene (beach style, not clubs) but still has a wide range of accommodations and restaurants. The beach becomes progressively quieter as you move south towards a third beach, Agios Georgios. (It’s much farther from Perissa or Perivolos to Fira than it is from Kamari to Fira.)
At some point as you move south the name changes from Perissa to Perivolos (and then to Agios Georgios) but the sand and the vibe is essentially the same. The density of hotels and restaurants declines and it’s possible to have long stretches of beach to yourself.
The pebbly sand here is red and the backdrop is stunning. There’s not a lot here besides the unique scenery (though ancient Akrotiri is 5 minutes away and definitely worth a visit in its own right). Red Beach is 20 minute drive south of Fira and the walk down to the beach can be steep for some. Warning: There have been reports of some falling rock on the path down to the beach so … uhm, watch for falling rock as you walk down to the beach … or just take pictures from a distance and skip actually walking to the beach.
Recommended Hotels near Red Beach: Astarte Suites (luxury)
Monolithos Beach (a few km north of Kamari) has the nicest sand and most family-friendly beach on Santorini (unlike other beaches you can make sandcastles here). Very quiet with a small collection of hotels and restaurants. The shallow slope of the seafloor make it better for kids than the steep drop-offs at Perissa and Kamari. There’s a small play area for the kids on the sand. It’s nice here (but I wouldn’t recommend staying here), so don’t be expecting a lot of action. If you have a rental car and a few kids it might be worth an afternoon but most people would probably describe it as “dead”.
The best swimming spot on Santorini – but not a beach. Take the path down from Oia to the Ammoudi port (where the restaurants are) then turn left and walk along the water’s edge for 5 minutes. (You can also drive down and park near the restaurants.) Then jump from the rocks into beautiful blue water. There’s a small island that you can swim out to that has glorious views of the caldera. The walk along the sea edge can be tricky in spots and there have been reports of falling rock.
The white rocks that encircle Vourvoulos beach create a beautiful landscape. The beach itself is expansive enough to never feel too busy, and it is decked out with sunbeds and umbrellas. The beach lacks the beach bars and outdoor activities that can be found at many of Santorini’s other beaches, but this just means you can unwind in peace and indulge in your summer read. Don’t miss the picturesque fishing port nearby, dotted with taverns known to serve some of the tastiest food in Santorini.
The dramatic white cliffs that encircle this small beach create an otherworldly geological backdrop to your day at the seaside. Swim in the calm of the cove, or stretch out on a sunbed at this little slice of paradise. Aside from a cave canteen, there aren’t any restaurants or extra facilities, so be sure to bring some supplies with you. Located near Red Beach, you’ll need to hop onboard a taxi boat to get here.
Recommended Hotels near White Beach: Elements of Caldera Suites (moderate) • Pancratium Villas & Suites (moderate) • Melidonia Suites (moderate) • CAPE 9 Villas & Suites (luxury) • Apanemo Hotel & Suites (moderate)
On the southern side of Santorini lies secluded Eros Beach, surrounded by breathtaking cliffs naturally carved by the wind. Drift off under a straw umbrella or take a refreshing dip in the clear water, away from the crowds and commercialism of some of Santorini’s more touristy beaches. Along the pebbly shore, a trendy beach bar plays ambient music and offers excellent cocktails and Greek coffee. This laid-back option, accessible by car along a dirt road, is worth the trip.
Get away from it all and embrace the peace in wild, natural beauty on this long stretch of beach, 4km (2.5mi) from Oia. A real hidden gem shaded by small cliffs, it’s a haven for holidaymakers looking to escape the tourist traps. No facilities are provided here so come prepared if you want to spend the day in this spot, which is only accessible by car. Bear in mind also that Columbο is a nudist-friendly beach.
Exo Gialos Beach
For a beach accessible on foot from Fira, make a beeline to this small harbour, only 2km (1.2mi) from town. On either side of the port are two black sand and pebble beaches, where you can admire Santorini’s trademark rock formations. One side offers sunbeds, bars and a seafood restaurant, while the other is nearly untouched – meaning you can simply turn up with your towel and umbrella to sunbathe or swim at your leisure.
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