The Best Beaches on Santorini, Greece

The backdrop of red volcanic rocks is a big draw to the Red Beach on Santorini
The backdrop of red volcanic rocks is a big draw to the Red Beach on Santorini | © Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Dimitra Sotirchos

Hit the blissful beaches of Santorini – a volcanic island with colourful sands, azure waters and activities for watersports enthusiasts. Each of the beaches on Santorini offers a different vibe and pace, so Culture Trip put together a guide to the best.

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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.

Red Beach

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 a 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.

Monolithos

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 a Greek coffee. The peaceful atmosphere is family-orientated, and the shallow waters are ideal for paddling. Located on Santorini’s eastern coast, Monolithos is accessible by bus or car.

Perivolos

Soak up idyllic views of the Santorini caldera from this vast beach with black lava sand and pebbles. This lively beach is equipped with sunbeds and shower facilities, watersports options, beach volleyball courts and extensive options for eating and drinking – from local tavernas to chic beachfront cafes and lively beach bars. Buses to Perivolos depart regularly from Fira.

Vourvoulos

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 the other beaches on Santorini, 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 on Santorini.

Perissa

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 watersports, 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.

Kamari Beach

Diving into the crystal-clear water is a highlight at this Blue Flag beach, only 6km (3.4mi) 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, windsurfing or paddleboarding. Cafes 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.

White Beach

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 on board a taxi boat to get here.

Eros Beach

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 the more touristy beaches on Santorini. 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.

Koloumbos

Get away from it all, and embrace the peace in the 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.

Exo Gialos

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.

For some more inspiration on how to spend your time on Santorini, we’ve compiled some handy lists of the best things to see and do around here as well as the best towns and villages to visit. And, whether you fancy a stay at a swanky luxury hotel or a more wallet-friendly budget accommodation, we’ve also got you covered. Food-wise, we highly recommend visiting at least one of the best restaurants on the island for some mouthwatering delights.

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