Caldera Beach Santorini is unique among Santorini beaches. As its name suggests, it’s the one beach on the island that is actually on the caldera coast.
Santorini caldera is such a sought-after location. You’ve all seen the pictures – it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. Many people who visit Santorini seek out some of the best Santorini beaches, with their famous volcanic black sand. Yet this beach – on the caldera, with breathtaking coastal views – remains something of a Santorini secret.
Our curiosity was naturally piqued, so I sought out this hidden gem on my visit to Akrotiri village. Would it turn out to be one of the best Santorini attractions you’ve never heard of?
Only one way to find out!
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT CALDERA BEACH?
It’s the one bona fide beach with sand on the caldera that you can reach without having to resort to a boat. You can walk down to stunning Ammoudi Bay from Oia, but that’s just a place on the shoreline – not an actual beach.
The numerous other beaches on Santorini are spread along the north, east and south coasts of the island. The terrain there is much flatter and more conducive to beach formation and access. The caldera is lined with cliffs that are hundreds of metres high in places, with access to the shoreline difficult and beaches at a premium.
So if you insist on soaking up the sun on Santorini sand with a Santorini caldera view, this is the place to do it.
WHERE IS CALDERA BEACH ON SANTORINI?
Caldera Beach is just below the village of Akrotiri, on the southern rim of the island’s caldera coastline. It’s on the northern side of the Akrotiri peninsula, so as you travel down from Fira or elsewhere on the island, it’s on your right-hand side.
It’s easy to visit on the same day as the more famous Red Beach Santorini, which is on the opposite side of the peninsula.
WHAT ABOUT GETTING TO CALDERA BEACH IN SANTORINI?
Caldera Beach is fairly easy to reach. It’s just off the main access road from Fira to Akrotiri, and is close to the heart of the village. It can therefore be reached with your own transport or by the regular Santorini buses.
The right-hand turn to the Caldera Beach access road is 100 metres before the main junction in Akrotiri. This is where the two Fira to Akrotiri bus routes diverge. The buses to Red Beach go straight ahead, whereas the four that continue to the lighthouse (Pharos) and the wonderful Santorini Black Beach follow the right-hand turn at this point.
Some vehicles did take the road down to Caldera Beach from Akrotiri village. However, be warned: the condition of the road is not good. It’s a steep road with two tight hairpin turns. It is partly surfaced, but there are several large potholes along the way. It could do with further surfacing soon. I walked down – it’s less than ten minutes down to the beach, a little more climbing back up the hill.
If you walk down you get to appreciate the caldera views much more. Part of the beach comes into view before you reach the second hairpin bend. It’s a small harbour with 30-40 pleasure boats moored there.
FACILITIES AT SANTORINI CALDERA BEACH
Caldera Beach is a world away from the ‘organised’ beaches you’ll find elsewhere on Santorini, at places like Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari.
The beach is in two distinct sections. There is the small ‘harbour’ area close to where the boats are moored. This is where the lead shot with the boat was made. There was nobody else on this section of the beach, and I sat there for twenty minutes or so, drinking water and soaking up the tremendous view. The beach consists of black sand and pebbles, and the water is incredibly clean and clear.
You’ll also find a few houses, mainly decorated with maritime motifs, along this stretch of sand. Santorini Dive Centre is also located here, and a couple of trips departed in the time I was there.
The other section of beach is to the right of the ‘harbour’ area. As you descend the road down, this section of beach is partly hidden by trees. The stretch closest to the harbour is very narrow, and when I was there was almost hidden by the incoming tide.
The strip of sand further along, close to the cliff, is wider and better. Three or four families had settled for the day in this area. There’s a lot more space, and if you need to seek shade, the trees provide it.
There is a bar and restaurant, Remezzo, on the shoreline next to the harbour. You can pop in there if you need a coffee, a stronger drink or food. This will also enable you to use the WC if required. Otherwise it’s a trek back up the hill.
David Angel is a British writer and photographer who has been travelling and photographing the world for over 25 years. His work is regularly featured in worldwide media including the BBC, the Guardian, the Times and the Sunday Times.