Image of Perissa beach Santorini

7 Best Beaches in Santorini Greece

Welcome to my guide to the best beaches in Santorini!

Santorini is best known for its breathtaking caldera landscape, with its white churches, blue domes and stunning sunsets.

But we found many other things to do in Santorini during our recent visit, especially exploring the numerous Santorini beaches around the coast.

The best beaches on Santorini are spectacular, mostly made up of volcanic black sand and pebbles. You won’t find any golden sands here. The beaches on Santorini have more of a dramatic kind of beauty, the vivid volcanic cliffs coming in shades of red, black white and more.

Our guide to the best Santorini beaches takes you all around the coast, including to the one elusive caldera beach. Some of them may even make great bases for your Santorini holidays. Enjoy!

Image of the Volcano Tavern on Perissa Beach in Santorini
The Volcano Tavern is one of many on the strip running along Perissa beach

Best Beaches in Santorini

1. Perissa Beach – Best Santorini Beach for Facilities, Swimming & Families

Image of Perissa beach in Santorini Greece
Perissa beach is at the foot of an impressive cliff

Perissa is probably the best-known black sand beach Santorini has. If you’re happy staying away from the caldera, Perissa is also one of the best places in Santorini to stay.

It also has the widest choice of Santorini hotels outside the caldera villages. The Fira to Perissa bus service is one of the most frequent on the island, so it’s easy to reach.

Perissa beach Santorini is the most ‘organised’ beach on the island, with a good selection of bars, cafes and restaurants along the strip. Each of these runs an adjacent section of the beach.

If you order drinks or food, you can use the umbrellas and sun loungers free of charge. Otherwise you pay a flat fee of 15 euros for the day. There are also sections of free public beach between some of the paid sections.

The setting of Perissa beach is beautiful. It’s on a flat section of land with a dramatic cliff at the northern end, rearing out of the sea. If you like your beaches fairly busy, it’s well worth including in your Santorini trip.

The black sand Santorini beaches are composed of gets incredibly hot, so bring some footwear to walk around the beach.

2. Perivolos Beach

Perivolos Beach is the southern continuation of Perissa beach. Like Perissa, it’s one of the best Santorini beach resorts, with a laid-back vibe and plenty of bars, restaurants and beach umbrellas to choose from.

We visited in summer, and it wasn’t quite as busy as Perissa. As well as soaking up the sun, sipping on cocktails or supping on a cold Mythos beer, there are some more strenuous Santorini activities on here. You can jet ski Santorini waters – a great way to get a different view of the Santorini coast.

3. Vlychada Beach Santorini

Image of sun shades and loungers on Vlychada beach in Santorini
Sun shades and the splendour of Vlychada Beach

If you love beaches, one of the best things to do in Santorini is to visit Vlychada – sometimes spelt Vlichada – beach. It’s situated in the south of the island, at the end of a long sweep of black sand, backed by a line of spectacular cliffs.

The rocks have been weathered and contorted into some fantastic formations. It’s a true Santorini must see, and on balance, possibly all round the best Santorini beach.

Vlychada is just about off the beaten path Santorini.  The beach has just one café bar, nestled into the corner beneath the cliff. There are two paid sections, with acres of free sand to roam and set up wherever you wish, all with the amazing rocky backdrop.

There’s also a picturesque fishing harbour at the eastern end of the beach, and a former tomato canning factory that’s now the Tomato Industrial Museum. There are also a couple of clifftop tavernas selling fresh seafood caught by the boats directly below. One of the top beaches in Santorini, for sure.

4. Caldera Beach Santorini

Image of Caldera beach Sand harbour in Santorini
Santorini Caldera Beach also serves as a small harbour

Every beach we’ve mentioned so far is either on the south or east coast of Santorini. The topography of the Santorini caldera isn’t conducive to the formation of beaches, but there is one – Caldera Beach – you can reach.

It’s below Akrotiri, one of the main Santorini villages, down a steep road with two tight hairpin bends. The final stretch reveals a classic Santorini caldera view, sweeping north past Megalochori and Fira to Oia in the distant north of the island.

There’s a stretch of 150-200 metres of black sand and pebbles, and another area that serves as a small harbour. The water is crystal-clear, and Caldera Beach is one of the best places for snorkelling in Santorini. Unsurprisingly, Santorini Dive Centre are also based here.

See Also: Three Bells Of Fira – the best sunset spot in Santorini

5. Black Beach Santorini

Image of Black Beach in Santorini with houses built into cliffs
Houses built into the cliffs on Black Beach

All the beaches on Santorini have black (some would say pencil grey) sand, and this remote beach has long been named after the colour of its sand. Mesa Pigadia beach is a few kilometres west of Akrotiri, on the south coast of the peninsula.

It’s one of our favourite things to see in Santorini, but one of the hardest to reach. Only four buses a day pass nearby, and even then, there’s a 1 km walk down a dirt road to the beach.

All this combines to make this one of the best places to get away from the crowds in Santorini. There’s a taverna on the beach, a dozen or so umbrellas and sunbeds for hire, and a restaurant on the hill above.

A dramatic white cliff dominates one end of the beach. Just beyond this is White Beach Santorini, which is only accessible by boat.

6. Red Beach Santorini

Image  of people on Red Beach Santorini in Greece
People bathing on Red Beach on Santorini

Apart from the caldera, one of the most popular Santorini attractions is the Akrotiri Red Beach on the south of the island. It’s the most beautiful beach in Santorini, with much of the appeal the contrast between the red sand and cliffs and the clear turquoise sea. The beach is easy to reach, with regular buses from Fira stopping at Akrotiri beach, a ten-minute walk away.

The one drawback is that the beach is prone to landslips. Nobody has been hurt – yet. We go into a lot more detail on the safety of the beach in our article on Red Beach Santorini. I opted not to visit the beach itself, preferring to enjoy one of the best views in Santorini from the cliff path instead.

See Also: 18 of the Most Beautiful Beaches In Europe

7. Akrotiri Beach Santorini

Image of Akrotiri beach on Santorini island Greece
Akrotiri Beach and its tavernas

Akrotiri beach doesn’t feature in many a Santorini guide. It’s a mile or so (2 km) south of Akrotiri village, on the south coast of the island. It’s 100 metres down the hill from the Akrotiri prehistoric village site, and barely a five-minute walk from Red Beach.

Akrotiri beach tends to get overlooked because most visitors there have come to see Red Beach. The buses for Red Beach terminate at the roundabout right next to Akrotiri beach, and the passengers tend to head straight there.

You could never claim that Akrotiri beach is the best beach in Santorini, but it does get overlooked more than it should. It’s like most other Santorini black sand beaches, a mixture of sand, pebbles and rocks. It also has a great selection of tavernas above the beach, including Dolphin taverna, which also cater for visitors to Red Beach.

Santorini Beaches Map

To help you plan your time in Santorini I created this map to show all the Santorini beaches  I’ve mentioned in this article.    

image of a google map showing the location of seven best beaches in Santorini Greece

I created this map in google maps. If you click on the map it will take you to google maps where you can see the index and make the map bigger. You will be able to save the map and view it offline. You will also be able to get directions and distances to all the beaches.

Best Beaches In Santorini Guide – Final Words

I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the best beaches in Santorini and find it useful while planning your trip to the island.

There are some great black sand beaches around the island. Check out my guide to Perissa Beach and its neighbour Perivolos. These and Kamari Beach are the most ‘organised’ on the island.

My favourite is probably Vlychada Beach, which has a stunning landscape and great laid-back atmosphere. I also recommend some of the smaller, less-frequented Santorini beaches nearby.

Check out my guide to Black Beach Santorini, also known as Mesa Pigadia. It’s a couple of miles away beyond Akrotiri, down a dirt road off the road to the lighthouse. Caldera Beach is also worth a visit, especially if you like things quiet.

Also take a look at my guide to the remarkable red sand beach, known as Kokkini Paralia or Santorini Red Beach. It’s close to the Akrotiri archeological site, but but don’t venture beyond the clifftop viewpoint as the beach is unsafe due to unstable cliffs.

Also take a look at my guide to the best villages in Santorini to visit. If you’re spending time in the southern part of the island, two of the most beautiful, Pyrgos and Emporio are close by. Both are unspoiled and very quiet – a world away from the sunset crowds at Oia.

While visiting the island, I also suggest seeking out some picturesque Santorini churches. In my Churches in Santorini guide I show you the most beautiful churches around the island, including the gorgeous Three Bells of Fira church in Firostefani.

While visiting the Santorini caldera villages, check out my Santorini sunset guide. Santorini sunsets are among the best sunsets in Europe, and in my guide I show you all the best places to see one.

Need more inspiration for your trip? You may enjoy my other Greece guides and travel resources:

Image of David Angel found of Delve into Europe Travel Blog / Website

David Angel is a British photographer, writer and historian. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe. He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times.  David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.