Santorini is definetely a dreamlike destination that combines stunning and untamed beaches of volcanic sand with majestic rock formations as their backdrop. Picture this: long stretches of paradise where every tourist’s desire is catered to. Today, I invite you to join me on a journey through what I believe to be the 15 absolute best beaches that Santorini has to offer.
While exploring the best beaches in Santorini, it’s worth considering the best areas to stay on the island for a truly immersive experience. Whichever area you choose, don’t forget to indulge in the best things Santorini has to offer, like exploring the volcanic caldera, savoring local cuisine, embarking on boat tours, and discovering the island’s rich history through archaeological sites.
1. Perissa Beach - A Haven for Families
Nestled on the southeastern coast, a mere 15 km away from the airport and 10 km from Athinios port, Perissa Beach reigns as one of the island’s most beloved and bustling shores. With its long expanse of volcanic black sand and crystal-clear waters, it holds a special place in the hearts of families seeking both fun and relaxation.
Located beneath the majestic Meso Vouno mountain, which acts as a natural divide between Perissa Beach and the coastal village of Kamari, this stretch of paradise is one of Santorini’s longest. In fact, it shares its coastline with Perivolos Beach, seamlessly flowing from one enchanting setting to another.
Perissa Beach boasts impeccable organization, catering to visitors of all ages. It proudly flies the Blue Flag, assuring its cleanliness and safety. You’ll find comfortable sun loungers and umbrellas dotting the shoreline, beckoning you to unwind and soak up the Mediterranean sun.
But there’s more! For the adventure seekers among us, a wide array of water sports awaits, including diving lessons, windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, and thrilling banana boat rides. As if that weren’t enough, there’s even a popular water park nearby, complete with slides and pools for both young and old.
When hunger strikes, or if you simply fancy a refreshing drink, the beach promenade teems with vibrant bars, cozy cafes, and inviting restaurants. Indulge in everything from a refreshing beverage to a delectable snack or a satisfying meal, all while gazing out at the azure sea.
And if you feel like exploring beyond the beach, the village of Perissa itself is adorned with local bars, charming restaurants, and delightful little shops, perfect for a bit of retail therapy and souvenir hunting. Should you wish to venture further, arranging bus and boat excursions is a breeze.
As the sun sets, Perissa comes alive with an enticing nightlife scene. Whether you stroll along the promenade or venture into the village, you’ll find a plethora of restaurants, bars, and even nightclubs, offering you the chance to revel in the magic of Santorini after dark. It’s here, along with Fira, that you’ll discover some of the island’s best nocturnal experiences.
Perissa Beach is just the beginning of our coastal odyssey. Join me as we uncover the hidden gems and paradise-worthy shores that Santorini has in store.
2. Red Beach - A Photographer's Delight
Venture south of the island, near the charming village of Akrotiri, and you’ll stumble upon one of Santorini’s most renowned beaches. The Red Beach is famous not for its sunbathing allure, but for its striking cliffs and rocks adorned in hues of fiery red.
As you step onto the shore, you’ll be mesmerized by the towering cliffs, painted in a rich rusty red. This vibrant color is a result of the iron-rich sediment that has settled here over countless millennia. It’s as if the earth itself has chosen to showcase its artistic side.
The beach offers a small area with sun loungers and umbrellas, but be warned, they fill up quickly during the peak season. For the more intrepid beachgoers, there are pebbled stretches of coastline where you can spread your towel and claim your own sandy oasis.
Facilities on the beach are minimal, so I recommend bringing your own drinks and snacks to keep you refreshed throughout the day. If you arrive by car, you’ll find a parking area atop the cliff, where a couple of quaint beach bars offer tantalizing treats and beverages.
Adjacent to the Red Beach, the village of Akrotiri boasts an impressive archaeological site on its outskirts. If you’re a history buff or simply fascinated by the island’s past, I highly recommend dedicating an hour or two to explore this ancient treasure trove.
Given its popularity, the Red Beach tends to get crowded quickly. My suggestion? Arrive early in the morning, capture some awe-inspiring photographs of the dramatic landscape, take a refreshing dip in the crystalline waters, and then venture off to other less crowded beaches. While it may not be the ideal spot for an entire day of sun-soaked bliss, it is an absolute must-visit for its photogenic allure and unique geological wonders. Keep in mind that the beach is a mix of sand and pebbles, and there are stones in the water, so come prepared.
3. White Beach - An Adventurer's Paradise
Nestled near the southern tip of the island, close to Akrotiri village and neighboring the Red Beach, lies the enigmatic White Beach.
Contrary to what its name suggests, this isn’t a pristine expanse of flawless white sand. Instead, it beckons with gray sands and pebbles, while an imposing stretch of towering white cliffs stands guard, rising vertically above the shore.
Reaching the White Beach is no easy feat. You’ll have to embark on a challenging rocky climb from the Red Beach or opt for a thrilling water taxi ride. It’s a beach that requires a bit of effort, but rest assured, the reward is worth it.
Popular among divers and adventurers alike, the White Beach entices visitors with its underwater wonders and tranquil atmosphere, offering a respite from the nearby bustling Red Beach. A few sun loungers and umbrellas can be found near a cozy beach bar, where you can quench your thirst with refreshing drinks and savor some delightful snacks. The limited facilities only enhance the sense of secluded adventure that awaits.
White Beach is a place where exploration and adventure are encouraged. Dive into the crystal-clear waters, immerse yourself in the fascinating marine world, or simply bask in the serenity of this tucked-away paradise. It’s a beach that calls upon the daring souls and promises an unforgettable experience amidst its raw beauty.
4. Cape Columbo Beach - Secluded Serenity
For those who crave the untamed beauty of a wild shoreline, venture to Cape Columbo. Located on the northeastern tip of the island, a mere 9 km from Fira and 15 km from the airport, it beckons with its allure of seclusion.
Picture this: a beach of black sand and pebbles tucked beneath awe-inspiring cliffs adorned with towering cypress trees and native vegetation. It’s as if nature itself painted a masterpiece on this pristine canvas.
Although public transportation is not readily available in the area, reaching Cape Columbo by car or motorcycle is relatively easy. As you make your way, be prepared for a lack of visitor amenities. Bring along a cooler filled with snacks and drinks if you plan to spend more than a couple of hours exploring the area.
The tranquil and wild character of this beach makes it an idyllic spot to lay your towel and let the world pass you by. Its secluded nature also attracts many naturists seeking a harmonious connection with their natural surroundings.
The beach owes its name to the submerged crater, Columbo, which erupted in the mid-16th century and remains active today, although the chances of another eruption are slim. Interestingly, you’ll notice that the sea in this area is warmer than usual, heated by the continuous underwater volcanic activity, adding a touch of enchantment to your swim.
Be mindful of occasional rockfalls, both large and small, and choose your sunbathing spot away from the cliffs, especially if there has been heavy rainfall the day before. Safety should always be a priority amidst the untamed beauty of Cape Columbo.
5. Vlychada Beach - A Family-Friendly Beach with all the Comforts
From its tranquil and secluded nature, Vlychada Beach has gradually transformed into a popular and vibrant destination. Situated on the southern coast, a mere 12 km from the island’s capital, Fira, and just 3 km from the village of Perivolos, it offers a delightful coastal escape.
Imagine a long expanse of gray sand and pebbles stretching around the bay, with dark gray cliffs and indigenous vegetation providing a dramatic backdrop. Vlychada Beach truly captivates with its contrasting hues and natural charm.
As you arrive, you’ll find a designated area where you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas, while a cozy beach bar offers refreshing drinks and snacks. This serviced zone spans a couple of hundred meters along the beach. Beyond that, it’s time to lay your towel on the sand and create your own little paradise.
Vlychada is also home to a small fishing port, where you’ll find a handful of excellent seafood restaurants. Indulge in the local catch and savor the flavors of the Aegean Sea.
As you approach the beach, you can’t miss the two tall chimneys that stand proudly. They are remnants of a tomato preparation and canning factory, now transformed into the Industrial Tomato Museum, a testament to the island’s rich history and culinary heritage. It’s a fascinating sight that adds a touch of nostalgia to this family-friendly destination.
Vlychada Beach offers the perfect blend of comfort and natural beauty, making it a beloved choice for families seeking a sun-soaked escape with all the necessary amenities. Let the rhythm of the sea guide you as you explore the wonders of this captivating shoreline.
6. Kamari Beach - Lively but also Family-Friendly
Nestled in front of the village of Kamari, this popular beach sits midway along the island’s eastern coast, a mere 6 km from Kamari Airport and 8 km from Fira, the vibrant capital of Santorini.
Separated from Perissa by the imposing Mount Vouno, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view from its peak and reveals the ancient ruins of Thera, Kamari Beach attracts families, children, and older beachgoers seeking a tranquil spot with all the necessary amenities.
Stretching over 5 km, Kamari Beach is not only one of Santorini’s most popular beaches, but also one of its longest. With its black volcanic sand, it proudly flies the Blue Flag, a testament to its pristine beauty and excellent facilities.
Here, you’ll find sun loungers, umbrellas, and attentive lifeguards ensuring your safety. A wide array of water sports awaits, from surfing and windsurfing to kitesurfing. There’s even a diving school and pedal boat rentals for those looking to explore beneath the surface.
For the more active beach enthusiasts, beach volleyball and a football field are conveniently located nearby, allowing you to embrace your competitive spirit amidst the sun-kissed sands.
Along the beach promenade, you’ll discover a vibrant array of shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. This bustling area is alive both day and night, offering endless opportunities for relaxation, entertainment, and culinary delights.
The village itself boasts a delightful selection of bars and restaurants, where you can savor homemade cuisine while enjoying local beers and wines in a more laid-back ambiance.
Accessing the beach and the village is a breeze, thanks to well-signposted roads and ample parking. Public transportation is also readily available, with regular bus services to Fira.
7. Ammoudi Bay - For Seafood Lovers
Positioned beneath the village of Oia on the northwest coast of the island, you’ll find the picturesque Ammoudi Bay. This charming little harbor, dominated by stunning red cliffs rising from the azure Aegean Sea, sets the stage for dreamy lunches and romantic dinners.
Now, it’s important to note that Ammoudi Bay is not a traditional beach. Rather, it’s a small harbor with rocky bathing areas. But don’t let that deter you, for its allure lies in the idyllic atmosphere and the delectable seafood awaiting your taste buds.
Immerse yourself in the pleasant ambiance, with the sea gently lapping against the harbor’s docks, the sun bouncing off whitewashed houses, and fishing boats, private yachts, and tourist vessels gently swaying in the water.
Lining the harbor, you’ll discover several charming cafes, tavernas, and seafood restaurants. Relax in the refreshing sea breeze as you savor delectable dishes and watch the world go by. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the finest spots to treat yourself to a feast of fish and seafood. Search for the tavern “Dimitris” and you will have the chance to enjoy the warm hospitality and the delicacies of an original greek tavern established in 1989.
At the end of the harbor, as you round the cape, you’ll reach the preferred area for swimmers. Roughly 100 meters from the shore, a large islet beckons thrill-seekers, enticing them to take exhilarating leaps into the sea.
You can reach Ammoudi Bay via a steep, stepped path from the village of Oia, a scenic journey that takes approximately 15 minutes on foot, or by taxi. If you’re driving a rental car, be aware that parking can be quite challenging in this area, but the enchanting experience that awaits is worth the effort.
8. Katharos Beach - A Secluded Retreat, Not Ideal for Young Children
If you’re staying in Oia, you have the opportunity to discover another gem among Santorini’s best beaches. Katharos is just a 20-minute walk away. Despite its proximity to Oia, it exudes a sense of isolation and tranquility.
With weathered and shadowy cliffs as its backdrop and a beach adorned with black sand and pebbles, Katharos lacks the usual facilities found on other beaches, save for a taverna along the path leading to the shore.
This taverna not only serves delicious vegan dishes but also remains open 24 hours a day, hosting beach parties and events during the enchanting nights of full moons.
If you arrive by car, there’s a parking area atop the cliff, from where you descend to the beach below.
Katharos holds a special allure for naturists and those seeking only the sound of the sea, the warmth of the sun, and splendid seclusion for their vacation. Moreover, it’s one of the island’s prime spots to witness breathtaking sunsets, casting a magical glow upon the horizon.
9. Perivolos Beach - The Ultimate Beach Experience, Day and Night
Nestled on the southeastern part of Santorini, Perivolos presents an alluring black sand beach without the pebbles and sharp rocks that often characterize the island’s shores. It caters heavily to the package tourism market, attracting visitors seeking a vibrant beach atmosphere.
Located a mere 12 km from Fira and 14 km from the airport, Perivolos stretches between Perissa and Agios Georgios, forming one of the longest sandy stretches on Santorini.
Abundant sun loungers and umbrellas dot the beach, while restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, hotels, apartments, and villas line the promenade, offering a plethora of options to satisfy your cravings.
Water sports enthusiasts will find plenty to indulge in, with various activities available throughout the day. Boat excursions and parties come and go, creating a lively atmosphere, all while vigilant lifeguards ensure safety along the beach.
Perivolos is a beach destination that brims with energy both day and night. In this regard, it shares a similar profile with Perissa. While it remains a favorite among the younger crowd, it also proves popular among families seeking a vibrant and entertaining seaside experience.
10. Agios Georgios - A Beach for All Ages
On the southeastern coast of Santorini, Agios Georgios marks the final stretch of the beach that encompasses Perissa and Perivolos. With its range of services and water sports activities, it’s a popular beach destination for visitors of all ages. The expanse of gray sand is spacious and long, accommodating a large number of beachgoers without feeling overly crowded.
Part of the beach is traversed by wooden boardwalks, providing easy access for disabled visitors and those in wheelchairs. As the beach gently slopes into the Aegean Sea’s blue depths, young children can happily splash about in the shallow waters under the watchful eye of lifeguards and their parents.
Along the beach, you’ll find a variety of tourist shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Take note of the best things to do in Santorini, as Agios Georgios offers a gateway to exciting experiences on the island.
11. Monolithos Beach - Family-Friendly
Located on the eastern coast, Monolithos is truly one of Santorini’s finest beaches. Its vast stretch of gray volcanic sand gently merges with the transparent blue waters of the Aegean Sea.
Featuring shallow waters, vigilant lifeguards, and a playground for the little ones, Monolithos is a beloved destination for families with young children. The northern part of the beach caters to water sports enthusiasts, offering a range of activities. In the center, a large sports complex invites you to enjoy beach volleyball, basketball, football, or table tennis. Meanwhile, the southern end of the beach provides sun loungers and umbrellas, ideal for those seeking pure relaxation, swimming, and sunbathing.
Strolling along the waterfront promenade, you’ll discover an array of cafes, shops, bars, and restaurants, ensuring that your beach day is filled with delightful indulgences.
12. Exo Gialos - A Local Beach with a Popular Restaurant
On the western coast of the island, just four kilometers east of the capital, Fira, Exo Gialos offers a tranquil beach experience without the crowds. It’s the epitome of a hidden gem, providing the essential comforts for a day of rest and relaxation by the sea.
With its dark volcanic sand and pebbles, Exo Gialos is framed by towering rock formations on one end and a small fishing port on the other. The beach offers a limited number of sun loungers and umbrellas, while a small bar and a renowned local restaurant on the port side attract visitors, hosting weddings and special occasions in a picturesque setting.
The menu features locally sourced ingredients, and the seafood is the freshest of the fresh, promising a culinary journey for your taste buds.
Just a few kilometers from Fira, reaching Exo Gialos is a breeze. A short car ride is all it takes, as the local road leads directly to the beach.
13. Baxedes Beach (Paradisos) - A Serene Escape
At the northernmost tip of Santorini, just 3 km from the village of Oia, lies Baxedes, also known as Paradisos Beach. This long stretch of beach, with its towering cliffs and dark sand mingled with pebbles, is a beloved destination for visitors seeking tranquility.
While there may not be much to keep the younger members of the family entertained, the beach gently slopes into the water, providing a safe haven for little ones—a rarity among some of Santorini’s shores. However, caution is advised on windy days when the sea may churn with powerful waves crashing onto the shore.
The name Baxedes derives from the Turkish word for “garden,” as the locals once made a living from the land, cultivating and selling an abundance of produce such as cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, peas, carrots, lettuce, and melons.
Towards one end of the beach, you’ll find several sun loungers and umbrellas, and along the shoreline, a couple of beach cafes. Access is easy by car, with off-road parking areas as you approach the beach.
14. Pori - A Natural Beach with a Traditional Greek Village
Pori Beach rests on the northeastern coast, a little over 6 km from the island’s capital. It’s a pristine slice of Santorini, surrounded by local farms, vineyards, and windmills.
Mass tourism has yet to reach this area, and the small pebble beach lacks amenities. It remains a favorite among locals on their leisurely days and the few visitors who seek out uncrowded, untamed shores.
From nearby resorts, reaching Pori by car is effortless, with ample parking available along the beach.
15. Mesa Pigadia - A Tranquil Beach for Escape Seekers
Nestled on the southwestern foothills of Santorini, adjacent to White Beach, lies the picturesque Mesa Pigadia Beach. With its customary backdrop of rugged cliffs adorned with lush vegetation, this beach of black pebbles gently curves for 200 meters around the bay.
Services are minimal, but a highly regarded seafood restaurant on the beach can supply drinks, snacks, and main meals, as well as offer sun loungers and umbrellas for rent.
Another intriguing piece of history that has vanished from most other beaches is the varkadies. If you look along the base of the cliffs, you’ll spot several brightly colored doors. These are the entrances to the varkadies, which in Greek means “boats” or “boat storerooms.” Local fishermen converted these caves to store their boats, nets, and other equipment.
Mesa Pigadia is located 4 km from Akrotiri. Leaving the main road, the beach is about a kilometer down a dirt path where ample parking can be found. Alternatively, you can reach it via water taxi from Akrotiri.
If you’re in search of a pleasant and peaceful beach to spend a few hours, Mesa Pigadia deserves a spot on your list of must-visit Santorini beaches.
So, there you have it—15 of the best beaches in Santorini. Some bustling with activity, surrounded by popular resorts, while others offer serene seclusion, far from the madding crowds.