A Guide to the Beaches near the Akrotiri Archaeological Site in Santorini

Caldera Beach Santorini

Caldera Beach Santorini at the caldera side of the island, is a pretty unique little beach, because on the western side of Santorini it is hard to find beaches. The high steep cliffs created by the volcanic eruptions make most beaches at the caldera inaccessible.

Lately, another beach at the caldera side of the island has been made accessible by dirt road, the Platis Gialos Beach.

White Beach Santorini near Akrotiri Archaeological site in Greece.
White Beach Santorini

You can read in detail about Caldera Beach Santorini and the other caldera beaches below!

This is a Guide to the Beaches in Santorini in the region of Akrotiri Santorini which you can visit while you are staying in Cape Akrotiri or the Akrotiri village, or maybe you are visiting the Akrotiri Excavations. If you have your own transport and you are staying in Fira or Oia you can easily explore the beaches of Cape Akrotiri, as Santorini is not a large island. A few of the beaches are even accessible by bus from Fira.

More Beaches near the Akrotiri Excavations

In the Akrotiri area, you will find a couple of other beaches. Some of them are off the beaten track beaches and you will need your own transport to get there. They are really worth visiting because of their extraordinary beauty. Some beaches are accessible by bus from the town of Fira or even by a little train from Perissa Beach, a beach more to the northeast of Akrotiri.

Akrotiri Red Beach

The world-famous Red Beach of Santorini is also close to Caldera Beach Santorini, though it’s on the opposite side. It doesn’t have a caldera view. But that’s not the only problem with the Red Beach as you can read later on.

Vlychada Beach Santorini – Eros Beach – White Beach – Kambia Beach – Black Beach (Mesa Pigadia Beach) – Platis Gialos Beach

Vlychada Beach and Eros Beach are two beaches surrounded by breathtaking pumice rocks that remind of a lunar landscape.

The White Beach is only accessible by boat. Kambia Beach is situated between the White Beach and the Red Beach. Mesa Pigadia Beach is another secluded beach which is also named Black Beach, not sure why because most of the beaches in Santorini have black sand. Platis Gialos Beach is another beach with a view of the caldera. This is the most accessible beach on the caldera side.

You can read in detail about these beaches below!

Black Sand Beach Santorini

Santorini is not a regular Greek island and neither are its beaches. All beaches have black sand instead of the white and golden sandy beaches you have seen elsewhere in Greece.

As far as we know there is no white sand beach in Santorini. This is due to the fact that the still active, but dormant, volcano of Santorini has exploded several times the last couple of centuries. The dark lava that flowed over the sea and beach eroded and formed beaches with black sand (sometimes red sand). The sand is also different in that it gets very hot. The good thing is that it doesn’t stick to your skin.

Read in our short blogpost more about the Cycladic Islands of Santorini (Thera), the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri and the remains of this city at the Akrotiri Archaeological Site.

For families with kids visiting Athens we created the blog post 50 Things to do in Athens with Kids with many inspiring and relaxing activities.

Black Beach Santorini – Confusion

There is some confusion about which is the “real” Black Beach in Santorini. As mentioned above, all beaches are more or less black colored, so actually they are all black beaches. The thing is that travel guides and travel companies use it as they like.

For instance, they refer to the beaches to the east of Fira as THE black beaches. These are Perissa Beach, Perivolos Beach and Kamari Beach.

The boat taxi’s near the Akrotiri archaeological site offer trips along White Beach, Black Beach, and Red Beach. They refer to the Mesa Pigadia Beach as the Black Beach.

It is a little confusing, but now you know!

Swimming in Santorini

The waters of Santorini are crystal clear and have a nice temperature. Beware that the sea can get very deep suddenly, even a few steps into the water from the shore!

When you visit the beaches in Santorini it is a good idea to wear water shoes and beach sandals. You will need beach sandals to move around on the beach. The black sand gets extremely hot, so you have to protect your feet from burning. Water shoes are a must for getting in and out of the sea at some beaches in Santorini. The volcanic rocks at the bottom of the sea can be slippery and sharp. With sea shoes, you will not have any problem to go for a swim.

Popular Santorini Beaches

Kamari Beach Santorini – Perivolos Beach Santorini – Perissa Beach Santorini

If you are looking for large organized beaches in Santorini with a full range of amenities don’t visit the beaches in the area of Akrotiri. Here you will not find luxury and facilities, but most interesting landscapes and sights, and more secluded, off the beaten track, quiet beaches. There are two exceptions though, and those are the exclusive Eros Beach and Platis Gialos Beach. They are privately located and have a luxurious ambiance.

Large beaches that offer all the facilities and entertainment are, for instance, located at the east coast, east of the town of Fira. At beaches like Kamari Beach, Perivolos Beach and Perissa Beach you will find in general a more cosmopolitan atmosphere than at the beaches around Akrotiri.

Kamari Beach Santorini in Greece
Kamari Beach Santorini

Read in our short blogpost more about the Cycladic Islands of Santorini (Thera), the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri and the remains of this city at the Akrotiri Archaeological Site.

Guide to the Beaches near Ancient Akrotiri

Beaches at the Caldera Side

It is hard to find beaches directly at the caldera because they are very difficult to reach. In the northern part of the Akrotiri area, there are two options.

Caldera Beach Santorini

  • Also called Akrotiri Beach and Balos Beach.
  • Located at the northern side of Cape Akrotiri, just below the ‘modern’ village of Akrotiri in the Balos Bay.
  • 9 km north of Akrotiri excavation site.
  • Great views over the caldera (the huge crater filled by the sea that measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi)), the volcano island complex of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni, the tiny island of Apronisi and the island of Therasia. Thera (the official name for Santorini) and Therasia were separated by the Thera volcano eruption. 
  • Stones at the beginning of the beach. Soft black sand at the rest of the beach.
  • Pine trees to provide shadow.
  • Pretty unknown beach, hence not crowded beach.
  • No sunbeds or umbrellas.
  • A cliff from which you can dive off into the water.
  • Lots of fishers boats.
  • Small tavern at the beginning of the beach.
  • Remezzo Diving Center is located here.
  • Great for snorkeling in Santorini.
  • From the beach, you can see the towns of Fira, Imerovigli, Finikia, and Oia on the other side of Santorini. They are built on top of the impressive cliffs that surround Santorini on three sides and have a height of 300 meters.
  • Just opposite of hotel Mathios Village
Caldera Beach Santorini

How to get to Caldera Beach

It is a small beach that can be reached by walking down a path from the main road in Akrotiri or by the dirt track that’s running down to the beach. Because the path is in a very bad condition and considered dangerous, it is advised to take the dirt road. It’s a slightly longer walk, but at least it is safe. It takes about 15 minutes and you have to descend about 500 meters. Of course, you can also drive to the beach along the same dirt track to spare you the ascend by foot when you want to return to Akrotiri. You can follow the road signs to the Remezzo Diving Center.

A quite challenging walk along the beach leads to a charming chapel built in the rocks. From here a steep path leads back up to Akrotiri village. We have no information about the condition and safety of this path.

Platis Gialos Beach Santorini

  • Recently made accessible (dirt road) remote beach at the caldera side.
  • At the northern part of Cape Akrotiri.
  • 5.5 km northwest of the Akrotiri Archaeological Site.
  • Black pebbles, red rocks, black sandy beach.
  • Beach bar and restaurant with all amenities (spacious cabanas, wifi, beach loungers, DJ parties): Captain Ted’s The Beach Santorini
  • Few rock-hewn houses
Platis Gialos Beach Santorini Beach Bar Captain Ted’s

From the Akrotiri Lighthouse (Faros), you pass the sign leading to Mesa Pigadia Beach. Turn right on the first dirt road. You can park at the end. After a walk of about ten minutes, you will reach Gialos Beach.

Caldera Beach Santorini is near the village of Akrotiri.
Akrotiri village not far from the Akrotiri Archaeological Site on Santorini Island in Greece

Beaches to the Southwest of the Akrotiri Archaeological Site

To the south of the village of Akrotiri, you will find a few beaches.

Some of these beaches can be reached by car, although sometimes you will have to leave the car and continue walking because the condition of the road won’t allow you to continue driving. You can also get to some of the beaches by taxi boat from the little harbor of Akrotiri, close to the Akrotiri excavation site. For about ten euros, a taxi boat will bring you to one of these beaches in around thirty minutes.

It is an incredible experience to see the different beaches and their white and red cliffs from the sea. It’s even more amazing to get off the boat and spend some time on one of the beaches.

Map of the beaches to the south and southwest of Akrotiri.

Red Beach Santorini

  • A small strip of beach covered with red pebbles and overshadowed by gigantic and steep blood-colored cliffs.
  • Very famous and hence crowded.
  • 1.5 km southwest of Akrotiri Archaeological Site.
  • Access is officially forbidden since 2013 by the authorities of Santorini Island because of dangerous landslides and rockfalls. You can take pictures from a distance.
  • From the adjacent Kambia Beach, you have alternative views on the red cliffs of the Red Beach.
  • Only accessible by foot or by boat.
Red Beach Santorini
The famous, but dangerous, Red Beach nearby Akrotiri on Santorini

Unfortunately, we cannot tell you to go for a swim or walk on the Santorini Red Beach. Even though Santorini Red Beach is of incomparable beauty, access to it has been officially forbidden by the authorities since 2013 because of accidents caused by landslides and subsequent rock falls.

There are warning signs at the access trail and the beach itself that inform the public about the dangers, but the thousands of tourists just ignore them. Some of them are even sunbathing right under the cliffs probably thinking it will not happen to them!

Even though the beach is officially off-limits for sunbathing, swimming and walking, the authorities have not yet installed physical barriers. Even worse, you can rent sunbeds, umbrellas and there is a food truck where you can buy a drink and snacks. Also, trips to the Santorini Red Beach are internationally and locally advertised by tour agencies.

In 2015 a letter was sent by the IMPIS or ISMOSAV (Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano) to the members of the Hotel Association Santorini to inform about the situation at the Red Beach in Akrotiri. It asked to inform clients that access to the Red Beach is extremely dangerous due to landslides. Guests should be informed to avoid any accident with incalculable consequences for the island. These warnings were published on TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet to inform tourists.

On April 13, 2018, there was another landslide on the southern end of the beach.

Luckily there were no accidents. The island authorities issued a press release to inform people that access to the Red Beach is forbidden. That is why many of the water taxis (still not all!) don’t allow passengers anymore to get off the boat at the Red Beach.

Read in our short blogpost more about the Cycladic Islands of Santorini (Thera), the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri and the remains of this city at the Akrotiri Archaeological Site.

Mesa Pigadia Beach Santorini (Black Beach Santorini)

  • A secluded beach that doesn’t get crowded.
  • Black sand and small white pebbles.
  • It’s called black beach because of a black cliff.
  • Surrounded by high cliffs.
  • 6 km west of Akrotiri Archaeological Site.
  • Umbrellas and sunbeds for rent.
  • A very good tavern with lovely food.
  • The shore of the beach is rocky and to get into the sea you will have to pass some boulders. Don’t forget to take your water shoes with you.
  • There is a nearby rock with an underwater cave of around 50 m where you can swim through.
  • Very clean water, great for snorkeling and diving.
  • There are organized boat trips to the beach.
  • This beach is accessible by car via a dirt road. You drive down from the Akrotiri Lighthouse (also called Faros) along a steep dirt track, a bumpy and dusty road of around two kilometers. Especially in the end, the road is fairly steep.
  • Better to take the taxi boat to this beach from Akrotiri harbor, Red Beach or White Beach.

Kambia Beach Santorini

  • Remote beach with pebbles.
  • Situated between the White Beach and Red Beach.
  • 6 km west of the Akrotiri Ruins.
  • Alternative views on the cliffs of Red Beach.
  • Very small beach in a cozy bay.
  • Sunbeds and umbrellas for rent.
  • Small tavern in front of the sea.
  • Good for snorkeling.
  • Lots of caterpillars in spring (hence “caterpillar” beach).
Kambia Beach Santorini

The bumpy dirt road leading to Kambia Beach is not an easy road. You can park your car halfway and walk the rest of the road.

From the Red Beach, there is a path that leads to Kambia Beach. This is a walk of about ten minutes. Though the Red Beach is officially not accessible.

White Beach Santorini

  • Even though it is called White Beach, do not expect a white sandy beach. On the contrary, the beach has black sand with big white and grey pebbles. It took its name from the white color of the gigantic limestone rocks towering above the beach.
  • Only accessible by boat.
  • Boats depart from the old harbor close to the archaeological site of Akrotiri. There are also boat trips to this beach from the larger beaches of Santorini at the east coast like Perissa Beach.
  • Boats come and go every 30 minutes until around 6:00 p.m.
  • Boats can’t get close to the White Beach because of the rocks, so the last meters to the shore you will have to get off the boat and swim or wade through the water. It’s only a few meters, but it’s better to be prepared. The water reaches until above your waist, so you will have to keep your bags above your head.
  • Few sunbeds and umbrellas.
  • No canteen, so bring your own food and drinks
  • Not greatest beach to bring small children.
White Beach is not a Caldera beach on Santorini, it's on the opposite side of the caldera.
View of the white rock of White Beach during the boat trip.

Santorini Beaches to the Southeast of the Akrotiri Excavations

Route from Akrotiri Ruins to Vlychada Beach on Santorini Island in Greece.

Eros Beach Santorini

  • A stunning backdrop of towering, pocked, pumice stone, white – brown cliffs.
  • Resembles the landscape in a Star Wars movie, very unreal scenery.
  • Luxurious, classy beach bar with good food: Theros Wave Bar
  • A secluded, small beach with black sand and small pebbles
  • 6 km southeast of Akrotiri Ruins.
  • The sea is deep with crystal clear sapphire-colored waters.
  • Away from the beach bar, there is enough space to lay out your towel or mat.
  • A continuation of the other beach with one of the most unreal sceneries in Santorini, Vlychada Beach. From there it’s a fifteen minutes walk to Eros Beach.
A must-see video of Eros Beach on Santorini!

This off the beaten track beach has a modern and classy beach bar and restaurant, which architecture is completely incorporated into the landscape. The atmosphere is trendy and luxurious. Renting a sunbed with umbrella costs between 10 to 60 euro a day, depending on how close to the beach you want to be. The decoration of the beach is beautiful with trendy lounge chairs and straw umbrellas.

Some people make reservations upfront for the lounge chairs because there are not too many. You can ask at your hotel to make a reservation for you.

If you don’t want to rent a sunbed you just take your own towel, food, and drinks and find a spot away from the lounge chairs of the beach bar. Beware of the hot sand though and make sure to take an umbrella with you because you will not find shaded places.

To reach the Eros Beach in the south of Santorini by car, ATV or scooter you will have to drive along a winding dirt road through an incredible, surreal landscape which looks like a small desert canyon. The high, uniquely shaped, rock formations make you feel you are on another planet or on the moon.

Vlychada Beach Santorini
Impressive cliffs at Vlychada Beach not far from Akrotiri.

Vlychada Beach Santorini

  • Moon landscape of majestic particularly shaped whitish rocks.
  • Also referred to as Gaudi beach because of the similarity of the rocks with Gaudi’s buildings.
  • One of the most interesting beaches to visit in Santorini.
  • Deep black thick volcanic sand and pebbles.
  • 8 km southeast of the Akrotiri ruins in Santorini
  • At the first part of the beach, there is a snack bar.
  • Sunbeds and umbrellas for rent.
  • You can walk for miles along the beach until you reach Eros Beach.
  • An unofficial nude section at remote parts.
  • Next to the harbor of the village of Vlychada where you can catch sunset cruises.
  • Vlychada village nearby.
  • Little train from Perissa Beach goes to Vlychada Beach.
  • Taverns in the area around the beach.
  • Next to Tomato Museum.
  • Walk from Vlychada Beach to Perivolos Beach: about 1 hour.
Santorini beaches.
Vlychada Beach Santorini.

Read in our short blogpost more about the Cycladic Islands of Santorini (Thera), the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri and the remains of this city at the Akrotiri Archaeological Site.

More Santorini Beaches close to the Akrotiri Excavations

Perissa Beach Santorini
Route from Akrotiri Archaeological Site to Perissa Beach in Santorini.

Perissa Beach Santorini

10 km east of the Akrotiri excavations.

Beaches on Santorini Island.
Perissa Beach Santorini.

Perivolos Beach Santorini

9 km east of the Akrotiri excavations.

Kamari Beach Santorini

13 km east of the Akrotiri excavations.

Kamari Beach Santorini
Kamari beach Santorini.

How to get to the beaches on Cape Akrotiri

Fira to Akrotiri Bus

If you are staying in the capital of Santorini, Fira, you can take the bus or car to go to the beaches at Cape Akrotiri.

KTEL is responsible for the regional and intercity buses in Greece. They also operate on Santorini and are called KTEL Thira (remember, Thira is the official Greek name for Santorini). At ktel-santorini.gr you can download and print the timetables.

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