Black, white, red: a guide to Santorini
Top 9 beaches in Santorini

Black, white, red: a guide to Santorini's beaches

To come to Santorini and not visit a beach is a big omission. There are few beaches in the world so unusual, and on the volcanic island they are literally «black, white, red».

On the beaches of Santorini you can find sand of the most unusual colors, depending on the impurities in them. The island is small, so in one day you can visit beaches with white, red and black sand and even take some with you as a souvenir — it is not forbidden to take it out of the country in Greece.

The most convenient way to travel between the beaches is by rented car, and the most interesting way is to kayak between them, see them from the water and have a picnic somewhere between the rocks. And the cheapest way to get to the beaches is by bus. Bus schedule.

The main beaches of the island are located on its eastern side, south and north. The west coast is a steep cliff, which is uncomfortable to walk down to the water.

There are more than 20 beaches on the island, and I will tell you about the most interesting and popular ones. People go there for colorful photos and swimming in the sea, where the bottom of the sand is black slabs of volcanic lava instead of the usual yellow sand.

Best beaches in Santorini

Black beaches

There are many black beaches, but the most famous are two: in Perissa and in Kamari. These two towns are separated by a mountain on which the Ancient Thira (Αρχαία Θήρα) is located. To get from one to the other, you have to go around the mountain or use water transportation.

Perissa Beach (Περίσσα)

Perrissa is a small resort village 15 km from the capital, Fira (Θήρα). The beach in Perrissa is wide and long, stretching along the Aegean coast for almost 7 km.

It is very clean and calm. The beach is protected from the wind and waves by the rock of Mesa Vuno (Μέσα Βουνό). The sand is fine, black or dark gray — it gets very hot in the sun, so you can’t run barefoot. The bottom is very unusual: the stone slabs are frozen volcanic lava. The depth starts practically at the shore.

Perissa beach has a good infrastructure, many beach cafes that provide free umbrellas and sunbeds to their visitors. There are sports and recreation equipment rentals, diving centers, stores and nightclubs.

You can get to Perissa by bus from Fira for 2,4 € or by renting a car.

Mesa Vuno Rock in Perissa.
Mesa Vuno Rock in Perissa.

Perivolos Beach (Παραλία Περίβολος)

To the west, Perissa beach flows imperceptibly into Perivolos, so the sand is just as black. However, there are fewer people, so there is more space. There is also less of everything else — hotels, clubs and entertainment. Those who prefer privacy to noise and easy accessibility come here.

The beaches of Perissa and Perivolos flow seamlessly one into the other
The beaches of Perissa and Perivolos flow seamlessly one into the other

Kamari Beach (Καμάρι)

Kamari is a fairly developed resort 10 km from Fira. The reason for its popularity is the local beach, which has the European Blue Flag and stretches for 8 km along the coast. The black volcanic sand here is mixed with pebbles, so it is coarser than in Perissa. The sea is quite deep, so children should be supervised carefully.

Kamari Beach has everything you need to have a great time: plenty of restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, a diving club and a special children’s zone where animators entertain the kids. Also from here you can perfectly see how airplanes take off and land at Santorini airport.

You can get to Kamari by bus from Fira for 1,8 € or by rented transportation.

Airplanes regularly fly over Kamari Beach
Airplanes regularly fly over Kamari Beach

Monolithos Beach (Παραλία Μονόλιθος)

This is the closest beach to the airport — only 800 meters between them, so you can pass the time here while waiting for your flight. The beach is equipped with sun loungers and umbrellas, showers, changing cabins, cafes and taverns.

Monolitos has a comfortable smooth entrance to the water, soft dark gray sand and a children’s playground, so there are many families with children here. Among the disadvantages is only its lack of protection from the wind: sand that periodically rises into the air can cause discomfort.

You can get to Monolithos Beach by bus from Fira. The fare is 1.8 €.

Vlihada Beach (Παραλία Βλυχάδα)

In my opinion, this is the most picturesque beach of Santorini. It is surrounded by bizarrely shaped rocks and is reminiscent of Turkish Cappadocia. It is located in the southern part of the island in the village of the same name. The place is quite quiet and secluded, so nudists sometimes rest in the far part of the beach.

The entrance to the sea is gentle, the coastline is long — 2.5 km, but not too wide. There are umbrellas, deck chairs and several cafes on the beach.

The bus from Fira costs 2,5 € and runs 2 times a day.

Baxedes Beach (Παραλία Μπαξέδες)

It is located near the town of Ia (Οία) in the northern part of the island. It is much less frequented by tourists, so you can find here lovers of secluded vacations and surfing, because on the beach of Baxedes there is plenty of wind and high waves. You can rent equipment right on the beach and book a diving tour here.

Baxedes Beach can be reached by bus from Fira to Ia, which runs an alternative route once or twice a day during the season. You need to get off at the Παράδεισος stop. But I recommend getting here by car — it’s much more convenient.

Cape Columbo Beach (Cape Columbo)

Even fewer tourists know about this beach, because it is not so easy to get here — you will have to walk. The beach is wild, unequipped, and there is a large accumulation of stones in the water, so it is quite realistic to snorkel here. Because of the proximity of the caldera, the water in the sea is especially warm. The entrance to the water is quite gentle, but the depth begins almost at the shore.

The only way to get to the beach is by car, which you will have to leave at the headland and then walk down to the coast on a path.

Red Beach

Kokkini Paralia beach is named red after the color of the cliffs that girdle the seashore and the pebbles that cover the surface of the beach. The beach is very picturesque — you can take great photos here!

In the high season there is no place to fall down — the whole small beach is covered with umbrellas and sun beds, cafes are open, there are more people per unit area than in Perissa or Kamari. In the low season, all of this is gone.

The red beach is not far from Akrotiri (Ακρωτήρι), so you can combine a visit to the beach with a tour of the ruins of the ancient city. To get there by public transportation, you need to take a bus from Fira to Aktotiri (fare 2 €). Then you have to walk to the right along the sea to the church of St. Nicholas (700 — 800 m), from which a path starts (about 200 m) and leads directly to the beach. The path is not very comfortable, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

For 35 € you can book an all-day excursion to Red Beach, Perivolos and Akrotiri, departing from anywhere on the island.

View of Red Beach from above
View of Red Beach from above
The rocks at Red Beach have an unusual terracotta color - hence the name of the beach
The rocks at Red Beach have an unusual terracotta color — hence the name of the beach

White Beach

This beach is not easy to reach, so it is not so popular among tourists. It is not possible to reach this beach by land, so you will have to take a boat from Akrotiri harbor.

The small beach is named White Beach due to the majestic white cliffs surrounding its secluded bay. The entrance to the sea is not very comfortable — large stones and stone slabs. There is practically no infrastructure on the White Beach, but you can rent deck chairs and umbrellas and have snacks and drinks at the food stall.

Santorini is not the most popular beach resort in Greece: there are much more economical beaches on the Greek islands, with soft sand and smooth water entry. But Santorini’s beaches are the most unusual in Greece. People come here for romantic vacations and honeymoons, and take away impressive Instagram photos and memories of romantic sunsets.

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