Greek Guide

 

Santorini Beaches Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Santorini isn't renowned for its beaches but the long stretches of black volcanic sand on the east coast have a certain appeal. Many package holidaymakers make the main beachfront resort of Kamari their permanent base for their entire holiday. But even if you're staying in this popular holiday resort, don't miss out on the chance of a swim in the magnificent Caldera on the other side of the island. The very idea of the massive sunken volcano suddenly erupting beneath you is enough to give you an adrenaline rush!

Kamari, 10 kilometres south east of Fira, was the first beach to be developed as a major holiday resort and is by far the busiest of all the island's beaches. It's in a wonderful natural setting, at the base of the cliffs which rise sharply to the archaeological site of Ancient Thira, but the crowds tend to become overwhelming in July and August. This is Santorini's longest beach, flanked by tavernas, music bars, hotels and night clubs. The black volcanic pebbles become unbearably hot at the height of the summer so bring a mat and wear your sandals down to the sea. A variety of watersports and activities are on offer here including scuba diving courtesy of the Volcano Diving Centre which caters for all abilities.

Perissa Beach, to the south of Kamari, is another black sandy beach with plenty of tourist facilities which inevitably lead to over crowding in peak season. Its greatest natural asset is the huge Mesa Vouno rock rising out of the sea a particularly impressive sight when lit up at night. The Mediterranean Dive Club at Perissa offers volcano and wreck dives.

To escape the crowds, try Monolithos Beach a small, sheltered and relatively "untouristy" beach near the airport. There are a couple of tavernas alongside the beach which is popular with families.

Probably the most unusual and beautiful beach on the island is Red Beach near the ancient site of Akrotiri on the south coast. The beach takes its name from the red cliffs and small volcanic pebbles which shimmer beneath the surface of the crystal clear water. You can take a caique (small ferry) from here to the other main beaches on the east coast.

At Ammoudi, hundreds of feet below the village of Ia in the north of the island, you can take the plunge right into the waters of the Caldera.

Take a boat excursion from the port of Fira and you'll be able to swim in the hot springs of the volcanic islet of Palea Kameni. Most excursions involve a stop at the neighbouring islet of Nea Kameni where you can climb to the top of a still active volcano before plunging into the Caldera to cool off. Despite the constant arrival of excursion boats, the islet is mercifully free of tourist facilities so you'll have to jump off the boat to swim or scramble over the rocks into the water.