Santorini is one of the most popular Greek islands. Each year it is the destination for young travellers looking to have fun and the perfect spot for couples and families looking for relaxation and tranquillity in beautiful landscapes like no other. But what makes the bays of Santorini so special? Keep in mind that Santorini is a volcanic island, which is why many of its beaches are black. The island has a unique composition since it was destroyed around 1600 BC by a volcanic eruption that changed its topography forever. The legend says that it was precisely this catastrophe that inspired Plato to narrate the myth of Atlantis.
The island of Santorini is filled with beaches and wonderful places to visit. It attracts both young travellers, who have increased in numbers in recent years, especially because of the island's lively nightlife, and adults, who bring thousands of families with children to Greece every year. Santorini's unique landscape makes it one of the top-visited Greek islands.
Santorini is a unique island. Its history, its unspoiled nature mixed with bars, restaurants and clubs that have emerged in recent years, make Santorini a fascinating destination for thousands of travellers every year. The cool summer weather, never getting too hot, combined with the sea winds have turned the island into an ideal destination for surfers from all over Europe.
Let’s discover the top, must-see 15 beaches to visit while in Santorini:
- Nea Kameni
- Palea Kameni
- Perissa Beach
- Perivolos Beach
- Amoudi Bay
- Exo Gialos
- Kamari Beach
- Red Beach
- Kambia Beach
- White Beach
- Mesa Pigadia
- Koloumbos Beach
Nea Kameni is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, in the bay of Santorini. This uninhabited island, which during summer is covered with small red succulent plants, attracts curious tourists every year, who are fascinated by its history and its formation. Nea Kameni, together with sister island Palea Kameni, were born from volcanic eruptions over the last two millennia. It's quite small with a diameter of about two kilometres, which allows tourists to enjoy and capture every little detail of this extraordinary island, even during a short visit.
Nea Kameni is constantly monitored by the scientists of the Santorini Volcano Monitoring Institute and is considered a protected scientific site. The volcano is still active, as proven by the presence of some hot springs. The last eruption dates back to 1950.
The island is surrounded by rather dark waters, due to the presence of manganese and iron, especially known for their therapeutic properties.
Palea Kameni is Nea Kameni's sister island. It too was formed by the eruptions of the Santorini volcano between 197 BC and 47 AD. The volcanic activity of the island ceased around the end of the first century AD and then resumed in 726 and again in 1500, when Nea Kameni was formed. The island is located south-west of Nea Kameni: unlike the latter, which is totally uninhabited, Palea Kameni has some buildings, including a church. However, only one person lives there - the famous Sostice Arvanitis, whose story has been told by many newspapers - together with a herd of goats grazing on the island, even if the vegetation is very scarce.
Due to the lack of good harbours, most recreational boats do not stop on the island. However, there are some that allow tourists to bathe in the wonderful hot springs, the thermal waters of Palea Kameni notorious for their warm temperature. The island's picturesque landscape allows the traveller to immerse in mythological-like scenery, which is why thousands of travellers every year keep touring these magnificent volcanic islands.
Perissa is considered the most beautiful beach in Santorini. It is about three kilometres long and is known as the 'black beach' for the colour of the small pebbles and volcanic sand scattered throughout the bay. Every year Perissa is the favourite destination of travellers, and it is no coincidence that a whole series of services have developed around it to make the holiday more comfortable: rental of sunbeds, umbrellas, deck chairs, restaurants, bars, clubs, boutiques and shops, have arisen around this strip of sand washed by the sea.
Perissa is especially loved by young tourists who, around 6 pm, start to crowd the beach bars where DJs play music until late at night. But it is also very popular with families, especially because of the crystal-clear waters offering all the benefits of being at the beach in total relaxation.
Perivolos beach, like Perissa, is also a black beach due to the presence of volcanic sand. The difference is that this beach is much darker, with crystal blue waters that make it perfect for those who want to snorkel and discover the wonders of the Aegean Sea. Unlike Perissa, Perivolos is much quieter and not particularly crowded. For this reason, it is beloved by families who prefer its calmer environment rather than more festive beaches of Santorini.
Over the years, many clubs and restaurants have emerged around the beach where travellers can taste the famous Greek specialities of the island of Santorini. Although this part of the island is the quietest, there is no shortage of nightclubs, so partygoers can still enjoy some nightlife.
Amoudi Bay is one of the most popular places on the island of Santorini, where you can get a taste of the authentic soul of Greece. In addition to bathing in one of the bays with the clearest sea on the island, you can visit the surrounding area, full of typical buildings and enjoy the island foods in absolute calm and relaxation. Here you can taste the local fresh fish, a real speciality of the village of Oia. The main attraction? Octopuses left to dry in the sun.
The bay is small and finding a spot can be difficult, but every effort will be rewarded by the emerald green water surrounding the pebble beach. It is advisable to have shoes to avoid foot injuries. The path to reach Amoudi Bay is arduous, and there are 300 steps up on the way back. Alternatively, you catch a donkey ride, another true tourist attraction on the island of Santorini.
A quiet pebble beach, Exo Gialos is a pleasant surprise for those who stay in Santorini. An isolated bay that is not usually crowded with tourists, and for this reason often chosen by families. Also, the many restaurants and beach rental services make it a perfect choice for those who travel with children and prefer all the comforts.
Like Perissa and Perivolos, Exo Gialos is also characterized by black sand that contrasts with the blue waters, offering a stunning landscape for the eyes of those who are lucky enough to venture on these shores. Needless to say, it is advisable to do some snorkelling and see the beauty of the seabed hidden under the waters of Santorini.
Monolithos is another beautiful beach of black volcanic sand. The crystal-clear waters and comforts of beach rentals make it a perfect destination for young people and families looking for a quiet place.
Monolithos is particularly suitable for sports lovers. The beach features a large sports park for all kinds of activities, including paved court volleyball, beach volleyball and soccer. Water sports are also a must: kiteboarding, windsurfing and surfing are available. Indeed, Monolithos is chosen by groups of surfers looking to catch the best waves.
Kamari Beach is located along the southeast coast of Santorini, close to Perissa Beach, from which it is separated by Mesa Vouno, a huge rock that borders the two bays. Kamari Beach is usually crowded and lively with many restaurants and nightclubs for some after-dinner fun. Like other beaches on the island, you'll see the characteristic black volcanic sand, typical of Santorini.
The huge rock that divides Kamari beach from Perissa Beach is one of the most beautiful views of Santorini, making it one of the busiest beaches, too.
Red Beach is the only red sand beach in Santorini, made from lava that erupted from the volcano. Red Beach is located a short distance from the archaeological site of Akrotiri: the bay, wedged between two huge red cliffs, is dotted with volcanic lava sand mixed with black pebbles. The crystal-clear waters and the rocks that come out of the water make it one of the most beautiful beaches in Santorini. Getting there is not easy. You have to walk for about ten minutes on a path that overlooks the cliff, but the view is well worth the effort.
Since this is a very famous beach, Red Beach is always very crowded. And given its small size, finding a place is not easy. However, it's worth a visit to this spectacular, one of a kind, red sand beach.
Vlychada is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches for nudists. With its unusual natural shape, Vlychada is reminiscent of a lunar landscape due to the wind-drenched rock wall that stands on the beach and makes you think you're on another planet. While less touristy than Red or White Beach, it certainly doesn’t fall short. In Vlychada there are only two serviced areas, while the rest is a free public beach. This makes it appreciated by travellers eager to immerse themselves in nature.
Vlychada is unique and has nothing in common with any other Santorini beach. It is definitely a must-see during a trip to Santorini.
A bit difficult to get to because of the two kilometres of unpaved road that lead to this very small pebble beach. A wooden walkway was built to make the walk to the water easier. But the rough path is worth it to visit this corner of paradise that it Kambia Beach, where calm reigns supreme and total relaxation is assured.
The water is crystal clear, and you can even catch a boat ride to visit Red Beach and other nearby beaches. We do not recommend the two-kilometre journey required without a reliable car or scooter, so make sure you have a suitable vehicle.
It feels like the Caribbean, but instead, this is White Beach, the wonderful white sand beach of Santorini. It can only be reached by sea and is known for its wild landscape. White Beach takes its name from the white cliffs that stand behind the small coastline, and thanks to the transparent and crystal-clear sea that make them look even whiter. White Beach is full of caves and coves to visit and snorkelling can be a unique experience because it is difficult for people to reach the bay in periods other than summer. And for this reason, its seabed is particularly lush. It is advisable to wear a pair of rock shoes to walk on the pebble beach as well as on the rocky shore.
Mesa Pigadia is also known as the Black Beach for the black pebbles along the bay. Breath-taking views, beautiful sea and picturesque coastline, Mesa Pigadia is perfect for those who want to escape from the hordes of tourists. Reachable through an unpaved road, this beach is larger than Red Beach and White Beach. As with the other beaches of the island, it is advisable to have rock shoes to avoid hurting your feet. The beach is equipped with typical rentals, such as umbrellas and chairs, and a tavern for refreshments.
Definitely the wildest beach on the island, Koloumbos Beach consists of a public beach and a serviced beach, so that you can freely choose the solution that best suits your needs. This bay is also completely black - no sand, just pebbles - and overlooks a mirror of crystal blue sea that contrasts with the dark shore. The seabed is rocky, so it is advisable not to bathe in rough waters.
Close to a small hill, in a quiet setting in the village of Oia, lies the beach of Baxedes. This sheltered bay, small in size and almost hidden from the daily life of the island, is the perfect solution for those who want to escape from the chaos of other beaches on the island of Santorini. The sea here is crystal clear and perfect for snorkelling, with a rocky seabed and a pebble shore. Here, relaxation is assured and tranquillity reigns supreme, which makes Baxedes a very suitable place for couples looking for a bit of peace.
Visit Santorini with Costa Cruises
Take advantage of a Costa Cruise to relax on the beautiful beaches of Santorini: Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni, Perissa and Perivolos, between dark sand and crystal-clear waters. Indulge in the charm of this island!