Hit the blissful beaches of Santorini – a volcanic island with colourful sands, azure waters and activities for water sports enthusiasts. Each of Santorini’s beaches offer a different vibe and pace, so Culture Trip put together a guide to the best.
Spectacular beaches and dramatic scenery characterise Santorini’s coastline: the island’s volcanic sand and pebbles, crystalline waters and rocky landscape form an extraordinary natural area for beachgoers to explore. Whether you’re seeking a secluded swim, a vibrant cosmopolitan resort or more energetic activities, the best beaches on Santorini will not disappoint.
This world-famous beach is a feast for the eyes. The backdrop of red volcanic rocks not only make for stunning scenery, but also offer shelter from the gusty Aegean winds. Here you can snorkel or sunbathe on the loungers provided by the numerous tavernas and beach bars. There is a car park nearby, but you can also travel by bus from Fira, or take the water taxi from the nearby village and ancient site of Akrotiri. Make sure to pack appropriate footwear, as the beach is accessible via a rugged downhill path.
There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer on this unspoilt black sand beach. Even so, it’s rarely crowded. In addition to kitesurfing, basketball and volleyball, the beach has no shortage of sunbeds and places to grab a traditional bite or Greek coffee. The peaceful atmosphere is family-orientated, with the shallow waters ideal for paddling. Located on Santorini’s eastern coast, Monolithos is accessible by bus or car.
Soak up idyllic views of the Santorini caldera from this vast black lava sand and pebble beach. This lively beach is equipped with sunbeds and shower facilities, water sports options, beach volleyball courts and extensive options for eating and drinking – from local tavernas to chic beachfront cafés and lively beach bars. Buses to Perivolos depart regularly from Fira.
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.
At this lively, Blue-Flag-awarded beach, visitors lounge on their sunbeds until sunset, indulging in cocktails and the soundtrack provided by international DJs playing at the hip beach bars. It’s also a hot spot for water sports, whether it’s jet skis or banana boats that appeal. Visitors can also visit the ruins of Ancient Thira. Small taxi boats connect Perissa to Kamari, as does a regular bus service.
Diving into the crystal-clear water is a highlight at this Blue-Flag-awarded beach, only six kilometres (3.37 miles) from Fira. Located in the seaside village of Kamari, the beach sits at the foot of the Mesa Vouno Mountain and can be reached by bus or car. The clean beachfront has serene spots to grab shade and solitude under the trees; it’s also well equipped with comfortable sunbeds and umbrellas. Dive into activities such as snorkelling, wind surfing or paddle boarding. Cafés and restaurants line the beachside strip, along with quaint gift shops worth taking a peek at. Combine outdoor dining with a movie under the stars at the local outdoor movie theatre, Cine Kamari.
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.
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 Koloumbos is a nudist-friendly 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.