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Santorini beaches

Due to the facts that Santorini is a Volcanic island its beaches are unique in Greece having the characteristics of the black volcanic sand and pebbles. Of course do not expect to find in Santorini golden sand beaches like those of other Greek islands like Naxos, Mykonos,Ios or the white sand beaches like in Lefkada.

The most famous beaches of Santorini, Perisa and Kamari, located at the east part of the island. There are some smaller ones at the north east like Koloumbos beach and a bit further the Vourvoulos beach. To the South east of the island are red beach (Kokini paralia) and the white beach (accesible by boat) near to the famous archaeological site of Akrotiri. From Emporios village there is access to the beach and the marina of Glyfada which is the main marina of Santorini.

In Oia you will find the Amoudi beach ideal for those that like snorkelling,. In the area you will find some nice fish taverns. At the Armeni beach you can enjoy grilled octopus in the local tavern and dive into the deep blue waters.. Due to the slightly difficult access these beaches and the narrow rocky shoreline they are not as crowded as the beaches on the east coast. Ammouda is a tiny harbour below the cliffs of Oia with fishing boats, one tiny hotel, restaurants and fish tavernas right on the water’s edge. There is also a path which leads around the base of the mountain where you can dive, swim and sunbathe on the rocks. There is also a large rock a few metres out from the shore with a little church on top of it. Until Oia was destroyed by the earthquake in 1956, Ammouda was the main port for Santorini and for centuries the pumice and wines of the Island were exported from here. The sea here is clean and crystal clear and very refreshing if you have decided to arrive here by walking down the steps. Ammouda port can be reached either by walking down the 200 plus steps, by taking a donkey ride from the top to the bottom, or by car or boat. If you decide to drive down, however, be warned that the cliff road from Oia at the top is very narrow and winding with a lot of traffic going both ways – taking a donkey is much more fun. You can also take a boat ride from Ammouda either to the opposite island of Thirassia or to the little harbour of Armeni further to the west of the foot of Oia.

Armenaki: is another little harbour situated between Armeni and Ammouda. It does not have any shops or restaurants but because of this it is much quieter and the landscape is completely untouched. The perfect place for a quiet swim. It is less easy to reach and the climb down can be a bit tricky. The pathway down can be located close to the EOT Information centre in Oia.

Santorini beach on the north east coastA few kilometres east of Oia is the beach of Mavropetra on the north east part of Santorini. Further south from Mavropetra are the beaches of Baxedes, Koloubo and Pori beach, all accesible by car. After Pori if you want to get to the long stretch of beaches as they continue to the south east you must drive to Vourvoulos and from there to Vourvoulos beach.

The beach of Pigadia,Karterados and Monolithos are close to Fyra and located north of Santorini Airport. Monolithos beach is well organised with umbrellas, beach beds and water sport facilities as well as the beaches to the north and south like the beach of Agia Paraskevi the last one before the popular beach of Kamari.

Kamari beach is the most upmarket beach of Santorini and it stretches between restaurants, cafes, pensions and hotels on one side the road and the beach at the other side. It has all the aspects of a package holiday resort. There are many water sport activities including wind surfing.

Perissa beachThe beach of Perissa has a lower profile then Kamari and is more popular amongst young people and backpackers due to the fact that near the beach you will find cheaper accommodation in rooms, pensions and in the local campsite. The prices also in the local bars and restaurants are cheaper here. The beach of Perivolos in fact is an extension of Perissa, it is more quite nad has as well bars and restaurants. In fact the kilometres long stretch of beaches on the East cost of Santorini from Mavropetra to Perivolos and Vlihada have the common elements of crystal blue water, grey sand and pumice, and the innumerable thatched umbrellas. If you take the east coast road that leads to Oia you will find many small remote beaches ideal for wind surfing and diving.

Monolithos Beach:
The beach of Monolithos is next to Kamari beach. It is much quieter and less touristy than Kamari beach and is ideal for families with young children as the water is shallower than many other beaches in Santorini and there is also a children’s playground and a basketball court on the beach. The black pebble beach has sun beds and umbrellas as well as the natural shade offered by tamarisk trees. It is easily reached by bus and is also very close to Santorini’s airport. However, unlike Parissa and Kamari, it does not have the shelter from strong winds.

Kokinni Ammos or Red Beach:

Kokinni means red in Greek. Red Beach lies on the south west of the island, close to the ancient Minoan town of Akrotiri and about 12km south west of Fira. It is possible to reach this fascinating beach by road although it involves a 10 minute walk, a small part of it down a gravely slope. Alternatively, it can be reached by caiques (small fishing boats) which depart several times a day during the summer from the ports of Fira and also the port of Akrotiri.
The name ‘red beach’ comes from the unique red lava cliffs which drop down to the beach which is comprised of red and black pebbles and coarse sand. The colours of the cliffs and the beach contrast splendidly with the sparkling blue sea, making Red Beach an amazingly beautiful place in a dramatic setting. In 1968, Red Beach was the chosen location for European hippies who lived in the ancient Roman catacombs. Many of these caves are now used as café/canteens.
The beach and the water here are beautifully warm. It can get quite busy during high season however because Red Beach is quite small, so if you are visiting during this time, it is better to get to the beach early in the morning. The beach is sheltered from the winds and can get quite hot, so ensure you have plenty of sun cream and a hat. Although the northern summer winds can create some good waves, Red Beach tends to be calmer when the sea is rough at Kamari. Getting into the sea can be quite tricky in some places as the rocky, uneven surface can be quite slippery. Look for the corridor of large pebbles that have been laid out for easier access into the water. Once in the sea, due to the interesting rock formations and plentiful marine life, you will find plenty to occupy yourself if you have brought your snorkelling or scuba diving equipment with you. Although very popular, it is not an organised beach as such because of its slightly out of the way location and, as such, its facilities are quite basic. It does, however, offer sun beds and umbrella shade for a charge of 8 euros and there are makeshift canteens on the beach, some set up in the ancient Roman catacombs, for refreshments. Many of these refreshment places get their supplies by fishing boats drawing up in the bay. It is also possible to visit the nearby ‘White Beach’ by boat from the Red Beach. The only toilet facilities at present are a number of Portaloos, which during the busiest summer period can be rather unsanitary. Red Beach, nevertheless, is still worth adding to your itinerary, even if you just take a walk down the path to admire the stunning dramatic red cliffs and beach.
Getting to Red Beach: Buses leave regularly from Fira and the journey takes approximately 20 minutes. The bus can also be caught from Oia which is right up in the northern part of Santorini. Red Beach is near the ancient Minoan town of Akrotiri and is only a short ten minute walk from this archaeological site. The bus will stop at Akrotiri and Red Beach will be signposted down a road to the right. Continue down this road for a short distance, passing a taverna and ending at a white church, Agios Nikolaos, at the edge of the cliff. You then need to follow a trail over the rocks and down to the beach. This is the part where you should take care because it can be a bit slippery and unstable. Here, if you intend to stay on the beach, you can see a smaller beach area that is not crowded with sun beds and umbrellas. Alternatively, you may decide to give the beach a miss and just enjoy the stunning views and the amazing red cliffs soaring behind you – an experience rarely encountered on a Greek island.

Aspri Ammos or White Beach.
Aspri means white in Greek. The name White Beach derives from the spectacular white cliffs that surround the beach. It is located at the southern tip of the island, some 14km from Fira, and is exactly adjacent to Red Beach. If you stand on the cliffs leading down from Red Beach you can see the rocks gradually turning to white and this culminates in this stunning little cove. The general environment is fairly similar to Red Beach but instead of a spectacular backdrop of soaring red cliffs, White Beach is surrounded by soaring white rocky cliffs. The beach itself is comprised of black sand and white and grey large pebbles. Like Red Beach, it too is quite small but it is less busy because, unless you are an experienced rock climber, the only way to get there is by a 20 minute boat ride from Akrotiri or Red Beach itself. Having reached the bay, the only way to access the shore is by wading through the waist deep waters, so it isn’t the kind of beach to visit if you are loaded down with beach bags, buggies, cool boxes, umbrellas and other beach paraphernalia. The facilities on the beach are few, consisting of a few sun beds and umbrellas and a refreshment canteen. Prices are rather expensive because there is no competition. For example, renting the sun bed and umbrella for the day will set you back around 8 euros, so it is a good idea to take a picnic with you that can be easily transported. Ensure you have plenty of water and don’t forget the sun cream and hat. The white environment means that the sun is reflected a lot and it is easy to get quite sunburnt if you are not careful. The bay is fantastic for snorkelling as there are many underwater caves, nooks and crannies to explore. However, the sea shelves quite deeply and getting into it from the shore is a bit tricky because it can be quite rocky. Because of this and the lack of facilities it is not the best place for families with young children. However, the boat trip from Akrotiri itself is great fun, offering amazing views of both the Red and White Beaches and their remarkable cliffs.

In between Red Beach and White Beach is Kampia beach. It can be reached by taking a dirt path from the Red Beach. It is less busy than the other two beaches and the refreshingly cold sea is at its clearest here.

Perissa Beach Video

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