Santorini is a firm fixture in people's minds when it comes to Greek Island getaways, but it's not renowned for its beaches. Think Santorini and it's more likely that you'll picture white buildings with blue trims, luxury cliffside accommodation and those famous Santorini sunsets. And while it's true that you'll find better beaches on other Greek islands, that doesn't mean a visit to Santorini can't fulfil your shore-seeking desires.
The beaches here are volcanic and run the gamut of colours and types, from rocky coves to classic gold to red and even black sand. To help you plonk yourself on the right stretch of sand, here's our guide to the best beaches in Santorini.
1. Sunbathe at Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach is a striking strip of black sand one of the best beaches in Santorini for lazy sunbathing. Situated at the base of Mesa Vouno Mountain, it’s easy to get here via bus from the main town of Fira (13km away). Perissa is always popular, and there are plenty of lounge chairs to accommodate all (expect to pay or buy your drinks and snacks from the same place in exchange).
If you're into watersports you can get your fix here, with everything from parasailing to wind surfing and more. Perissa has a range of beach cafes, bars and restaurants and attracts a lively crowd, from families to backpackers.
Travelling in Greece check out our list of the best things to do in Greece.
2. Enjoy the clear waters of Perivolos Beach
Santorini’s Perivolos Beach is essentially a continuation of Perissa, so it’s got a very similar look, with black sand plus deep and clear water. You'll find similar facilities too, from watersports to sun loungers. If anything, Perivolos has a younger vibe than Perissa, with plenty of nightlife on offer. Still, if you’re keen to find a quieter spot, that won’t be a problem, just head downstream from the main drag.
- Dona Beach Resort
Where to stay near Perissa and Perivolos Beaches:
Set 200 m from Perissa Beach, Dona Beach Resort offers a garden, a terrace and air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi.
- Filoxenia Luxury Villas
Featuring a seasonal outdoor pool, Filoxenia Luxury Villas in Perissa offers accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking for guests who drive.
- Oasis calm apartment with an amazing sea view
Set in Perissa, a few steps from Perissa Beach and 1.5 km from Perivolos Beach, Oasis's calm apartment with an amazing sea view offers free WiFi and air conditioning. The property features mountain views and is 9.4 km from the Archaeological Site of Akrotiri and 11 km from Santorini Port.
3. The beautiful pebbles of Red Beach
With its vivid blue water enclosed by red rock formations and red-pink volcanic pebbles and sand, Santorini's Red Beach (or Kokkini Paralia in Greek) is definitely one of the most unique and beautiful on the island. It's located close to the village of Akrotiri (there's an ancient Minoan site nearby that's worth stopping at) and just 11km from Fira.
The walk down to the beach from the carpark is a little unsteady along a steep gravel path, but it's only for a few minutes and the views you're rewarded with are well worth the effort . Make sure to stock up on food and water before you set out, as there are no facilities at the beach apart from back-to-basics reading, swimming and snorkelling (bring your mask!).
- Summer Lovers Villa
- Admiral's House Santorini
Where to stay near the Red beach:
Boasting an outdoor pool and stunning views over the Caldera, the volcano and the sea, Summer Lovers Suites is located in Akrotiri, 400 m from the White Beach. It also includes 3 outdoor hot tubs and a hammam. Free WiFi and private parking is also featured.
Red Beach is 1.2 km from Summer Lovers Villa, while Archaeological Site of Akrotiri is a 15-minute walk from the property. Santorini International Airport is 9 km away.
Featuring a balcony with sea views, a garden and a terrace, Admiral's House Santorini can be found in Akrotiri, close to Akrotiri Beach and 2.9 km from Red Beach. The air-conditioned accommodation is 1.4 km from Caldera Beach, and guests benefit from private parking available on site and free WiFi.
4. Kamari Beach - one of the best beaches in Santorini for families
Remember when we mentioned Mesa Vouno Mountain earlier? Well, on the other side of that same mountain you'll find Kamari Beach. Kamari has full facilities and a quieter feel than either Perivolos or Perissa, though there's still has enough beach bars to keep you entertained. For families, it’s one of the best Santorini beaches. with a promenade that’s great for a stroll lined with shops and restaurants.
If you are looking for a beach holiday in Greece, also explore our guide to the best beaches in Crete.
- Seaside by Manos
- Kamari Beach Houses with Balcony and Garden
Where to stay near Kamari beach:
Set in Kamari, Seaside by Manos offers beachfront accommodation a few steps from Kamari Beach and offers various facilities, such as a restaurant, a bar and a garden. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation features room service and free WiFi.
Set 200 m from Kamari Beach, Kamari Beach Houses with Balcony and Garden offers a garden, a terrace and accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi.
5. Vlychada Beach - the White beach
Otherwise known as ‘White beach’ because of its unique pale rock formations that look like sculptures in the cliff face, Vlychada Beach is another gem in the southeast of the island and easily one of the best Santorini beaches. You won’t find any watersports or noisy bars or restaurants here – the vibe is very relaxed. It's well set up for visitors, with sun loungers, umbrellas, and a café, and it’s easily accessible from Fira by bus (13km away).
- Family Village Santorini
- Klimata House - Private Jacuzzi Pool & BBQ Villa
Where to stay near Vlychada Beach:
Set 100 m from Vlychada Beach, Family Village Santorini offers a restaurant, a garden and air-conditioned accommodation with a patio and free WiFi.
Located in Vlychada Beach, a few steps from Vlychada Beach and 7.5 km from Archaeological Site of Akrotiri, Klimata House - Private Jacuzzi Pool & BBQ Villa offers a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and air conditioning. This villa features a private pool, a garden, barbecue facilities, free WiFi and free private parking.
6. For something different — Ammoudi Bay
Not technically a beach, but one of the best swimming spots in Santorini and something a bit different for your time on the island. From the town of Oia take the path down to Ammoudi port, turn left and walk along the water's edge until you encounter a small bay with rocks.
These are perfect launchpad for jumping into the clear water – as you'll no doubt see from the many other people doing just that. There's also a small island to swim out to for stunning views of Santorini.
- Casa Sigala volcano view
- Oia Sea Cave
Where to stay near Ammoudi Bay:
Located 5 km from Cape Columbo Beach, Casa Sigala volcano view offers a terrace, and air-conditioned accommodation with a patio and free WiFi.
Situated in Oia, within less than 1 km of Katharos Beach and 11 km of Archaeological Museum of Thera, Oia Sea Cave offers accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning and a terrace. The property is 24 km from Archaeological Site of Akrotiri and 25 km from Volcano.
7. Monolithos Beach - one of the best Santorini beaches
The quiet beach of Monolithos lies about 9 kilometers from Fira, on the east coast of Santorini. It was named after a big rock upon which the church of Agios Ioannis is built. Monolithos is not far from the popular Kamari Beach but is much more peaceful and less crowded. The beach is easily accessible by rented car or by bus.
Thanks to the shallow waters and the playground area Monolithos Beach is realy suitable for young children, so it's a nice family-oriented holiday destination. It is a typical beach of Santorini, long enough with black and grey sand and crystal clear waters.
While planning your trip to Greece take note of our list of tips for travelling in Greece.
Monolithos beach, Santorini island © Allard One/Shutterstock
- Studio Kocis
- Blue White Residence
Where to stay near Monolithos Beach:
Boasting garden views, Studio Kocis features accommodation with a patio and a kettle, around 1.7 km from Agia Paraskevi Beach. Set less than 1 km from Monolithos Beach, the property offers a bar and free private parking.
Located less than 1 km from Monolithos Beach, Blue White Residence offers accommodation with a balcony, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and a garden. The accommodation features a spa bath and a hot tub.
8. The caves of Vourvoulos Beach
Vourvoulos Beach (Paralia Vourvoulos) is located near the small port of Vourvoulou On the east coast, south of Xiropigado beach.
The rocks surrounding the beach have formed into various shapes. Many of them hide small caves. The surface of the area is covered with dark, volcanic sand mixed with gravel and larger pebbles. The bottom of the sea looks similar here, with the difference that you can come across sea urchins, so it's better to wear protecting shoes when entering the water.
9. Enjoy secluded Eros Beach
Eros is a secluded beach in southern Santorini. It is located 9 kilometers from Fira and to get there you have to follow a dirt road that leads to a restricted parking area. The best feature of this Santorini beach is the staggering white-brown cliffs that encircle it. They have been naturally sculptured by the waves and the wind and they create one of the most breathtaking views in Santorini.
10. Kambia Beach — one of the most popular Santorini beaches
Kambia Beach is located in Akrotiri village at the south west coast of Santorini. It's a small beach with crystal clear water surrounded by cliffs that provide partial natural shade.
Kambia Beach is not one of the most popular Santorini beaches, making it a great place for a secluded holiday. The combination of serenity, clear waters and beautiful scenery provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy defferent aspects of Santorini.
- The Lighthouse Sunset View Suites
- Serenity Blue (Cave house)
Where to stay near Kambia beach:
Set 1.1 km from Kokkinopetra Beach, The Lighthouse Sunset View Suites offers a garden, a terrace and air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi. White Beach is 2.2 km from the accommodation, while Kambia Beach is 2.9 km away. The nearest airport is Santorini International Airport, 15 km from The Lighthouse Sunset View Suites.
Kambia Beach is 1.6 km from Serenity Blue (Cave house), while Archaeological Site of Akrotiri is 5.7 km away. The nearest airport is Santorini International, 15 km from the accommodation, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
11. Caldera Beach - the most popular diving Santorini beach
Caldera is a very picturesque beach from which you can observe the flooded with water caldera the very name of the beach came from. Caldera beach is one of the most popular Santorini beaches among scuba divers. The water in this area is very clear, but be aware it gets deep rapidly.
- Akrotiri Cove
- Arco Bianco Suites
Where to stay near Caldera beach:
Set in Akrotiri, within 700 m of Caldera Beach and 1.8 km of Akrotiri Beach, Akrotiri Cove offers accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning and a terrace. It is located 2.6 km from Red Beach and offers a tour desk.
Set less than 1 km from Caldera Beach in Akrotiri, Arco Bianco Suites offers accommodation with air conditioning and free WiFi. Akrotiri Beach is 1.5 km from the accommodation, while Red Beach is 2.2 km away. The nearest airport is Santorini International Airport, 12 km from Arco Bianco Suites.
12. For a truly beautiful beach — Katharos Beach
Katharos Beach can undoubtedly be referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches on the northwest of the Santorini. Please note that there are no beach facilities, no changing cabins, no showers or toilets and no rented sun loungers. Despite this, the beach offers great views and a relaxing break for couples, as well as great diving spots.
- The Sunset Windmill
- The Exotic Cave Suite
Where to stay near Katharos Beach:
Situated in Oia, 1.1 km from Katharos Beach and 11 km from Archaeological Museum of Thera, The Sunset Windmill features air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi. It is located 21 km from Santorini Port and provides a tour desk.
Situated in Oia, 1.1 km from Katharos Beach and 11 km from Archaeological Museum of Thera, The Exotic Cave Suite provides accommodation with amenities such as free WiFi and a flat-screen TV. The property has sea and city views, and is 21 km from Santorini Port.
Santorini is one of the best destinations in Greece. Explore our list of the best things to do and see in Greece.
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Top image: View over Red beach and the coast © Olga Gavrilova/Shutterstock