TRAVEL BLOG

Santorini, Greece | Beaches | Baxedes-Paradeisos Beach

Baxedes-Paradeisos Beach

Baxedes-Paradisos near Oia with dark sands, volcanic rock, and shallow waters, ideal for families with young children. There are also hotels and tavernas close by.

 

 

Santorini, Greece | Beaches | Avis Beach

Avis Beach

If you’re in search of wind-based water sports, visit the pebbly Avis beach south of Monolithos, which gets quite windy so it’s an excellent spot for windsurfing.

 

Santorini, Greece | Beaches | Armeni Beach

Armeni Beach

If you like your beaches private there’s the small Armeni beach near Oia with crystalline waters. It’s difficult to access with 291 steps down to it (by foot or donkey) but can also be reached by boat for the easy option!

Santorini, Greece | Beaches | Amoudi Bay


Amoudi Bay

Amoudi Bay is a port below Oia, in the northwest, which is highly rated for its natural beauty, and some say the best place to swim on the island. Red cliffs rise from the sea, and there are many seaside tavernas that serve fresh fish.  There are lots of bars/restaurants around the bay serving local cuisine.

 

Santorini, Greece | Beaches | Almyra

Almyra

Almyra, a secluded beach whose cliffs are dotted in circular craters and can be accessed using a small road starting near Akrotiri village.

Santorini, Greece | Bars | Akrotiri Beach


Akrotiri Beach

A small pebbly beach with fish tavernas and a cafe.

Santorini, Greece | Bars | Js Travel Guide


Santorini Bars

Famous for its windmills, baby-blue rooftops and stunning sunsets, Santorini boasts a dry climate and almost year-round sunshine.

The crescent-shaped Mediterranean island, 120 miles to the southeast of Greece, is the result of one of history’s biggest volcanic explosions.

Although not known as a ‘party’ island, Santorini has an abundance of nightlife that will suit most partygoers. Santorini’s capital Fira is probably best known for nightlife, though there are spots across the island that will keep everyone entertained into the early hours.

Holidaymakers wishing to dance the night away can do so at the bigger clubs. Revellers who want to relax can visit the bars that perch on the cliff overlooking Santorini’s caldera, the crater caused by the massive volcanic eruption 3,600 years ago.

There are many bars scattered across the island, some of which can be found in traditional Greek tavernas, and some of which have English owners, for those wanting a taste of home. Sports fans will find bars that show a number of different sports, and there are endless beach-bars for sun-worshippers.

Venues play a wide range of music – from house to motown and jazz to rock – and serve a bar-long list of drinks, from fresh fruit and champagne cocktails to wine made on the island and locally-brewed beer.

Bars

Groove Bar Kamari, found in the south-easterly village, is the top-rated nightspot on the island. Its English owners were married on Santorini in 2006 and moved there in 2007.

A sports and music bar, Groove Bar Kamari shows a range of sports on multiple screens, from European football to F1, and plays music such as northern soul, motown, rock and blues. They also boast a pool table, dart board, an Xbox, and live music, comedy and quiz nights.

There are a number of bars that will impress party-goers at Kamari Beach. There’s Love Boat Bar located on the promenade, Mango Cocktail Bar hosts live music, Hook Bar offers fresh seafood and drinks, while Sky Lounge, a restaurant and bar, has an open-terrace overlooking the sea. It boasts a large selection of wine, live music and full-moon parties, and can host wedding receptions.

Tango Bar is on the caldera at capital Fira, and some have called it the most glamorous bar on the cliff. The bar offers fresh fruit cocktails in front of the sunset, top tunes that change from night to night, table service in all seating areas, and is suitable for groups of friends, bachelor parties and pre-wedding parties.

Franco’s faces the caldera at Fira, too, and so has great views of the Santorinian sunset. For these reasons, it is expensive and busy most evenings. It serves champagne-cocktails, plays a range of music, from classical to pop, and is a good spot for couples.

Art Café is a relaxed bar in Fira where music is played at a muted volume, helping those wanting to indulge in conversation. If you are after jazz, the Kira Thira bar will be for you. It has welcomed tourists, travellers and locals with music and sangria for more than 30 years.

Tropical Bar is another popular night-time attraction in Fira as you can enjoy cheap drinks on the outdoor balcony with views of the setting sun. The Pure Coffee Bar is in the city centre offers coffee, cocktails and wine, while Casablanca Soul is a cocktail and absinthe bar playing house, soul and funk music, and features DJs and live bands.

Located in Oia, Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar has enviable sunset views. In fact, its owners say that ‘lioyerma’ is ‘sunset’ in Greek. The pool-bar provides wine, fresh cocktails, spirits, coffees and snacks in a venue suitable for wedding ceremonies. Bob’s Bar is on the opposite side of the island to Oia, at Perissa in the southeast, and offers alcoholic delights and a selection of smoothies.

Nightclubs

In the top-three highest-rated nightspots on Santorini, Town Club has been part of Fira’s nightlife for more than 25 years. The club’s staff members are multilingual and there is ‘happy hour’ every day, as well as cocktail and shot of the day. There are also regular special events, such as theme parties and guest DJs, and the club can cater for bachelor and birthday parties, with special prices for groups of 12 or more.

Those looking for traditional Greek dancing should try Ellenes, a club in Fira, where revellers tend to head after midnight. Enigma, 50 metres from the main square of Fira, has been called the most popular ‘modern’ club in Santorini. It opened in 1979, serves cocktails, and plays mainstream and house music.

Koo Club is on the caldera cliff at Fira and is reportedly the biggest of the ‘modern’ clubs in Santorini. Open for 26 years, it has three bars outside amid palm trees.

Tithora is a rock club in Fira popular with a younger crowd, who head-bang the night away, while Albatross Beach Club, on Kamari beach, hosts DJs, live acoustic music and full-moon parties.

Festivals

Visitors to Santorini in July and September may want to sample events at the Santorini Jazz Festival and the International Music Festival of Santorini.

Santorini Jazz Festival is held in July and attracts jazz lovers and the best performers from Greece and across the world. The annual festival is in Kamari with many performances on the beach.

The 33rd International Music Festival of Santorini, happening throughout September, will comprise six concerts. Artists from Greece and the world scene will treat audiences to renditions of classical music, as well as jazz. Audiences can expect opera singers, pianists, violinists, guitarists and whole music groups.

 

Santorini, Greece | Restaurants | Js Travel Guide

Santorini Restaurants

Famous for its windmills, baby-blue rooftops and stunning sunsets, Santorini boasts a dry climate and almost year-round sunshine.

The crescent-shaped Mediterranean island, 120 miles to the southeast of Greece, is the result of one of history’s biggest volcanic explosions, 3,600 years ago.

Santorini boasts an array of restaurants to enjoy, ranging from those that serve domestic dishes – featuring vegetables from the island’s famous volcanic soil and seafood from the Aegean – to meals from mainland Greece, Crete and the wider Mediterranean.

Those hungry for British, French and Italian cuisine are well catered for, and food from slightly further afield is also on offer, such as American, Mexican and South American favourites.

Seafood fans will undoubtedly be in food heaven, vegetarians and vegans will find something to their taste, and those searching for some café culture will leave Santorini satisfied.

Greek cuisine

Metaxi Mas, in Exo Gonia, is one of the highest-rating restaurants on Santorini. They serve a classic Santorini salad, using seasonal ingredients; local dishes with fava beans and white aubergine; and cuisine from Crete, all of which can be washed down with raki, in a friendly environment.

To Psaraki is another top restaurant, found at the port at Vlychada. It serves simple Mediterranean dishes, with a focus on seafood and Santorinian ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, capers and round courgettes.

On the seafront in Perissa, Tranquilo offers traditional Mediterranean cuisine alongside vegetarian and vegan dishes. Their salads are a must-try. Food is served in a relaxed setting, with hammocks, sunbeds and even yoga classes available.

Also in Perissa is the Cyclades Tavern Restaurant, in the shopping centre. They serve colourful cuisine in a romantic atmosphere, including classic Greek dishes such as moussaka; meat and fish dishes, and seasonal salads. They also have a kids’ menu.

Salt & Pepper, on the main Fira-to-Firostefani road, is one of the best-rated restaurants in Fira, Santorini’s capital. It offers Greek dishes in a traditional taverna setting. Also in Fira is Naoussa Restaurant on the caldera cliffs, so diners can enjoy classic Greek cuisine with views of the sea and sunset.

Armenistis Tavern in Exo Gialos rates highly for its authenticity and Greek dishes, while Anogi, in Imerovigli, serves up local food, such as sardines, calamari and lamb shank, in a child-friendly environment.

Mediterranean dishes

Noma Kuzina Mediterra is on the beach road in Perissa and specialises in Mediterranean cuisine and seafood. It only opened in June 2012 but it’s already one of the top-rated restaurants in the area.

Sky Lounge has an open-terrace overlooking the sea on Kamari Beach. It offers Mediterranean food and more traditional dishes, a large wine list, live music and full-moon parties, and can also host wedding receptions.

Taverna Sellada and Atmosphere Lounge Restaurant are in Kamari, too. Taverna Sellada is 200 metres from the beach and rates highly for its classic Greek cuisine, and Mediterranean and vegetarian food; while Atmosphere Lounge Restaurant is on the promenade, providing Mediterranean, seafood and steak dishes, with breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner options.

Volcano Blue is on the caldera in Fira, so boasts breathtaking views and Mediterranean, seafood and traditional Greek dishes, with feta cheese, ouzo and Santorinian vegetables.

Ochre Restaurant is on the edge of Oia, and some say is the best restaurant in town. Known for its beautiful view, Ochre Restaurant is perfect for couples and suitable for bigger groups, with its two outdoor areas on different levels, café and snack area, and main dining-area.

European food

Pyrgos Taverna, in Pyrgos village, has been serving vegetables from Santorini’s volcanic soil, seafood from the Aegean and quality meats for 25 years, in a traditional courtyard with cobblestones and Cycladic touches.

Poseidon Restaurant can be found on the black sand beach at Kamari. It offers up fresh fish and famous Greek recipes and wine, for lunch, dinner and breakfast. Located in Imerovigli, Blue Note offers lovingly-prepared Greek, European and international specialities, including seafood and lobster, with views of the sunset, port, volcano and the isle of Thirassia.

For French food, try the rooftop Taverna Camille Stefani in Fira, and for Italian options, the following will be of interest. Prince Restaurant on Kamari Beach offers pizza, pasta and risotto; Sunshine Pasta Fresca, also on Kamari Beach, boasts fresh Italian and Mediterranean dishes from 11am till midnight; and Sapore di Mare, on Perissa Beach, specialises in serving up Italian favourites.

International

The previously-mentioned Atmosphere Lounge Restaurant rates highly for its international food, as does Black Stone, both found in Kamari.

Black Stone serves Mediterranean and international cuisine at its promenade location, and is known for its excellent selection of beer with more than 35 different brews available.

Katharos Lounge on Katharos Beach and Flora are two top-rated restaurants in Oia. Katharos Lounge has Mediterranean and international food available, and a lively atmosphere, with music and beachside parties; and Flora provides international and Italian food, and is known for its tasty milkshakes.

On the main square in Fira, Mama’s House serves up Greek, Mediterranean, Australian and American food, such as pancakes and maple syrup, French toast, hash browns and steak and eggs, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or there’s Sphinx Restaurant, which has been showcasing top Santorinian products and Aegean seafood from a restored mansion since 1991.

Kapari Wine Restaurant in Imerovigli offers Mediterranean dishes and local cuisine, alongside a wide range of wines, while visitors can enjoy juices, coffee, finger food and music in the Kapari Bar, all with caldera views. Or, for something a little more exotic, try Kiwi, a Thai restaurant in Kamari.

British

There are two restaurants that are British-themed on Santorini.

The Liver Bird Café in Kamari takes its name from the symbol of a certain Merseyside city, and serves up full English breakfasts and cups of tea, where children are welcome; and the Highlander Bar in Fira serves up Scottish – and British – food and drink.

Seafood

Many restaurants on Santorini serve up seafood. The following are some of the best.

Ellis Restaurant overlooks the caldera in Fira. It offers traditional and modern food, and combinations of both, surrounded by stunning scenery.

Aegialos is on the beach in Exo Gialos and serves great seafood and romantic setting, but some say that Fratzeskos Fish Tavern, in Perissa, serves the best seafood in town.

Sea Side by Notos, on the beach in Perivolos, offers contemporary and creative seafood dishes, such as moussaka with shrimp and crab, and a dish with mussels, shrimp and olives served with vine-leave pesto. Another seaside restaurant is Captain Antonis on Red Beach, in the southwest of Santorini; while in the northwest, Dimitri’s Ammoudi Taverna at Ammoudi Bay specialises in seafood.

Cafés

Pelican Kipos can be found in the middle of Fira. Visitors can sample coffee and food and drink in the café’s relaxing garden alongside palm trees, pergolas and flowers. Those wanting something stronger can check out the beer list, or try one of more than 200 wines from the café’s cellar, inside a 400-year-old cave. The Pure Coffee Bar is also in Fira and offers a range of coffee and cocktails.

In Perissa, The Lazy Lizard is a café and bar that opened in May 2013, while Chocolat is a café close to the beach, which specialises in crêpes and other desserts as well as pasta.

Kings Cafe Restaurant is on the beach in Kamari. It provides coffee and breakfast, fresh juices, snacks and drinks that customers can enjoy on sunbeds, Mediterranean dishes in the restaurant, and music in the evening.

Elixir Cafe Bar Restaurant is on Kamari Beach, too, and offers Greek and Santorinian specialities, pizza and dessert; it is known for its tasty crepes. In Perivolos, Taxidi is a beach bar that offers snacks, live music and wine-tasting.

American, Mexican and South American

Palia Kameni Cocktail Bar overlooks the caldera in Fira; it opened in 1976, has impressive views, and offers American and Brazilian food, and cocktails.

For American-style dishes, head to the previously mentioned Noma Kuzina Mediterra, on the Perissa Beach road which has great burgers, or Mama’s House in Fira offering breakfasts such as pancakes.

Tropical Bar also provides food from the US in Fira, as does Just 4 Beer Bar Restaurant, in Kamari, which has a long list of Greek and international beers, and a menu with burgers, barbecue chicken wings, and fish and chips for Brits.

Senor Zorba is the highest-rating restaurant in Pyrgos, located on the caldera cliffs. It provides predominately Mexican food, including burritos, tacos and nachos as well as international and American food, such as barbecue ribs.

Pizza

Many restaurants on Santorini offer pizza, but the following are highly rated by visitors.

The pizzas and Italian food of Scirocco in Perissa are highly recommended; while Village Pizza, in Emporio, offers pizza and pasta.

Aquarius Restaurant at Perissa Beach is a pizzeria as well, which sells pasta, seafood and Greek dishes, and has a sea view. On the same beach is Mermaid Pizzeria offering seafood and traditional Greek meals, too.

Noma Kuzina Mediterra, on the beach road in Perissa, Just 4 Beer Bar Restaurant, Kings Cafe Restaurant and Elixir Cafe Bar Restaurant in Kamari, all rate highly for their pizzas.

Vegetarian

The previously-mentioned Tranquilo, on Perissa seafront, Taverna Sellada, 200 metres from Kamari Beach, and the rooftop Taverna Camille Stefani, in Fira, provide vegetarian dishes; as does Nectar and Ambrosia, which has a caldera view in Oia, and The Beach Bar, on Perissa Beach, which also offers vegan food, live bands, DJs and parties.

Santorini, Greece | Attractions| Js Travel Guide


Santorini Attractions

Famous for its windmills, baby-blue rooftops and stunning sunsets, Santorini boasts a dry climate and almost year-round sunshine.

The crescent-shaped Mediterranean island, 120 miles to the southeast of Greece, is the result of one of history’s biggest volcanic explosions.

Despite its small size, there are plenty of things to do on Santorini. There are a number of ways to see the island ­– from boat, minibus, or the back of a donkey – though most say it is best viewed from the water.

Santorini has real historic pedigree: the huge volcanic explosion 3,600 years ago caused part of the island to sink, feeding into the legend of Atlantis. There are many museums available for those wanting to know Santorini’s story.

Most of the outdoor activities and sports available involve the sea, and there are also water-parks and other entertainment for families with children. Those wishing to fully unwind can visit Santorini’s many spas, and there are lots of shops for souvenir-hunters.

Sightseeing and Excursions

The best way to tour the island of Santorini and its islets is by boat but there are also a range of specialised tours such as wine tasting and photography tours.

The Bella Aurora & Thalassa Tour company shares its name with its two sailing boats. They offer a one-day volcano tour and caldera cruise, from Fira to the port at Nea Kameni and the volcano, before taking in hot springs and the isle of Thirassia.

Spiridakos Sailing & Yacht Day Cruises provide specialist catamaran sailing, and daytime and sunset luxury-motor-yacht cruises around Santorini and the surrounding Greek islands.

The Santorini Sailing Center, established in 1991, offers four yachts and a range of sailing routes, allowing customers to cruise for days around the Greek islands or just a few hours around Santorini.

Santorini is a photographer’s paradise. Santorini Photo Day Tours is run by a professional photographer who provides private driving-tours ranging from four hours to a day- or a week-long.

OceanWave Private Santorini Day Tours also offer private tours in fully air-conditioned vehicles. Experienced English-speaking guides can take guests to the island’s less-trodden locations.

Run by a licensed tour-guide with 15 years’ experience, Santorini Private Day Tours offers tailor-made tours around the island and allows visitors to decide what they would like to see.

Foodies will be hungry to sample Santorini Food and Wine Connection, which has created a series of culinary tours around Santorini, showing off the island’s best food and wine. They are based in Oia, offer dedicated wine tours, wine and food tours, some with cooking classes, and customised events to meet everyone’s needs.

Likewise, Santorini Wine Tour, in Fira, takes holidaymakers around three traditional wineries to try wines made from indigenous grape varieties, and provides cooking and tasting experiences.

There is also a cable car that runs from sea level at Santorini Port – from where you can also ride a donkey up the cliffs – past multicoloured rocks towards Fira, 220 metres above.

Historical and Natural Sites

The archaeological site of Ancient Thera is a Dorian settlement with Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine ruins, including temples and a theatre. The site, a must for history buffs, is in Kamari, and at a height of 396 metres it offers great views.

Alternatively, the ruins at Akrotiri provide an insight into ancient life: the Minoan settlement was preserved beneath volcanic ash and started to be excavated in 1967. Discoveries such as frescoes and ceramics are now displayed at the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira. The ruins can be found in the south of Santorini.

There are also ruins of a Byzantine castle at Oia, and the Monastery of the Prophet Εlias, near Pyrgos, affords outstanding views.

Amoudi Bay is a port near Oia that rates highly for its natural beauty, where many go to eat fish. Some say it is the best place for swimming on the island.

Museums

Santorini’s rich history is evident in the number of museums on offer.

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira houses finds excavated at Akrotiri, including wall paintings and a gold ibex figurine from the 17th century BC. The exhibition stretches from prehistoric Santorini to the 18th and 17th centuries BC, when the city of Akrotiri was one of the most important settlements on the Aegean.

Santorini Wine Museum is in a 300-metre-long cave, eight metres below ground. It took the Koutsoyannopoulos family, fourth-generation winemakers, 21 years to create the museum, which demonstrates the history of Santorini’s wine and vine growers from 1660 to 1970, with an audio guide in 14 languages.

The Santozeum Museum is a non-profit museum and exhibition space in Fira. It explores how contemporary art-practices relate to those of ancient times, produces its own publications, and broadcasts with Santorini seismology teams, sharing live earthquake and volcano data.

Also in Fira is the Lignos Folklore Museum, which dates from 1861. It survived the earthquake in 1956 and was restored in 1973, and now houses antique furniture and family heirlooms. In the courtyard there are often traditional folklore events, book launches and games.

The Megaro Gyzi museum, in Fira, withstood the earthquake, too, and has photographs showing scenes before and after the quake. The centre is in a 17th century mansion and was founded in 1980, financed by the Catholic Diocese of Santorini.

Sea-dogs will love the Maritime Museum of Oia, containing historic naval items Captain Antonis Dakoronias started collecting in 1951. The museum was founded in 1956 and has been found at the captain’s home since 1990. Its displays include rare figureheads, mariners’ chests, and watercolours of old sailboats.

Sports & recreation

Most of the sports and recreational activities available on Santorini involve the water.

Santorini Sailing offers catamaran tours for small and large groups, for half a day or longer, and water-sports such as snorkelling.

Santorini Sea Kayak organises excursions in single and double kayaks to some of Santorini’s most pristine and remote locations. Adventurers can swim in hot springs, snorkel, and enjoy gourmet food on sandy beaches. They also offer rock climbing for all abilities by Perissa beach.

Sunset Oia offers boat, motor-yacht charter and luxury-yacht rentals as well as organising private tours and honeymoon and wedding cruises.

Several dive companies operate on Santorini. Aegean Divers offer at least 32 different diving spots around Santorini, with the majority in the west and southwest, and some near the volcano. The dive-centre provides individual and group packages, scuba diving for beginners, and boat dives for experienced divers.

Mediterranean Dive Club has been showing visitors the hidden wonders of Santorini since 1998, and has three speedboats for excursions; while Navys Waterworld Dive Centre was set up in 2005 on Kamari Beach to provide scuba diving and snorkelling activities. They run daily diving excursions for all levels of diver, and snorkel-safaris around the cliffs and volcanic landscape.

There are also breathtaking walks and hiking trails on Santorini, including one that runs from capital Fira to Oia, along the caldera cliffs.

Entertainment

A highly-rated attraction on Santorini is its Open Air Cinema in Kamari, which follows the Ancient Greek tradition of outdoor entertainment and theatre. Since 1987 the cinema has provided top films, a garden-party atmosphere, and a full bar. It is open from June to October and also hosts cultural events.

There is another cinema, Villaggio Cinema, at Kamari Shopping Center, which shows films in 3D, and is open year-round and air conditioned.

Escape Land in Kamari is perfect for keeping kids entertained, offering mini bowling and pool tables, plus darts, table tennis and table football. It also has a playroom for children and a bar for adults.

Shopping

Shops on Santorini can supply a range of beautiful holiday mementos.

In capital Fira you’ll find Fabio Zardi Floral Design & Decoration, which is run by an Italian designer and decorator. The company can provide bouquets and flowers and decorations for holidaymakers and special occasions, such as weddings and dinners.

Atlantis Books in Oia is a quirky shop that opened in 2004. It boasts a range of books, has hosted readings and food- and film-festivals, and tempts customers in with a sign saying, ‘Rent a cat – €5 a day’.

For those with a creative streak, Aegean Designs in Firostefani offer year-round textile art classes, which give visitors the chance to create hand-painted linen art and buy pieces as souvenirs.

There are also a number of galleries and spaces selling art. Tzamia-Krystalla Gallery in Fira has exhibited contemporary Greek art and paintings, ceramics and jewellery, and sold art, gifts and souvenirs since 1995.

Alternatively Art Space in Exo Gonia hosts artworks from Greek and international artists. Its exhibition hall is the cellars and distillery of a former winery, dating from 1861. The space is carved into pumice rock and now houses a modern winery whose products are for sale.

Boutari Winery opened in 1989 and has been producing high-quality wines by combining modern and traditional techniques ever since. The winery, near Megalochori village, is open for tours and can accommodate 1,600 tonnes of grape annually.

Water-based fun

Santorini Waterpark at Perissa beach provides three swimming pools with sun beds and umbrellas, and three slides, two of which are specially designed for children. There is also a café and restaurant.

Spas

There a several spas on Santorini for those wanting to make their holiday especially relaxing, and the following three are highly rated.

Caldera Massages Studio & Spa is carved into the caldera at Oia. It opened in 2006 to offer massages, beauty treatments and a sunset terrace with sea views, in a tranquil and peaceful location.

The Fish Spa Kangal Wellness Center in Fira ​has a team of specialists dedicated to relaxation and luxury. It allows guests to create their own combination of treatments, which can include a fish spa, in which toothless fish suck the dead cells from skin and give a mini-massage.

Kissingfish Santorini, also in Fira, offers a similar treatment with fish, a fun way to take care of your feet.

Santorini, Greece | Beaches | Js Travel Guide


Santorini

Santorini Beaches

Famous for its windmills, baby-blue rooftops and stunning sunsets, Santorini boasts a dry climate and almost year-round sunshine.

The crescent-shaped Mediterranean island, 120 miles to the southeast of Greece, is the result of one of history’s biggest volcanic explosions, 3,600 years ago. This eruption carved a bowl-like caldera, or crater, which forms a lagoon in the west of the island, surrounded on three sides by 980ft multicoloured cliffs.

Because of these cliffs, the majority of beaches are on the north, east and south coasts of the island. Santorini’s beaches will have something for everyone. There are those with amazingly colourful backdrops and cliffs – such as Red Beach and White Beach – some with excellent opportunities for swimming, and some with shallower waters, for families with small children.

There are many opportunities for relaxation – most beaches on Santorini have tavernas and bars, and those looking to stay active by playing sport in the sand will not be disappointed.

Lively beaches

There are plenty of beaches around Santorini with amenities and attractions galore.

Perissa beach in the southeast of Santorini has been named one of the top-ten beaches in Greece. It is a fine black-sand beach separated from close-by Kamari by the Mesa Vouno mountain, on top of which is the archaeological site Ancient Thera. The beach boasts all the usual amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, beach bars and tavernas.

To the north of Perissa is Kamari beach. One of the most well-known beaches in all of the Cyclades island group, it’s very popular with tourists who come to enjoy its dark sand and clear waters. There are restaurants, shops and cafés on the coastal footpath, which is closed to vehicles in the summer.

Family friendly

If you want somewhere safe to take your little ones, there are a couple of family friendly beaches.

In the east of Santorini is the black-sand beach, Monolithos. Its shallow waters, playground, and football, basketball and beach volleyball courts mean it’s great for children. There are also cafés, tavernas, mini-markets and hotels nearby.

Or there’s Baxedes-Paradisos near Oia with dark sands, volcanic rock, and shallow waters, ideal for families with young children. There are also hotels and tavernas close by.

Scenic beaches

There are a myriad of beaches from where you can admire the island’s dramatic volcanic scenery.

Red Beach in the south of Santorini is perhaps the most famous on Santorini for its beauty. The backdrop to the beach is a sweeping volcanic cliff, Martian in colour. Red and black pebbles lie scattered about. It can be reached by road from the village of Akrotiri, and so is near the ancient site of the same name.

Or there’s Vlychada boastsing big volcanic rocks in a variety of different shapes, created over centuries by the rain and wind. As it’s a lengthy beach it rarely gets crowded and you can enjoy facilities such as a beach bar, sunbeds and umbrellas, and there is a small port with tavernas. Similarly there’s Karterados beach, featuring large rocks sculpted by the elements and small black pebbles.

Columbus is a quiet beach popular with nudists, in the northeast of Santorini, with red and black pebbles and a large rock for shade. There are no sunbeds or umbrellas, so visitors have to rely on the rock to cool down, or bring their own supplies. Not far to the east is the underwater volcano Culumbus, which last exploded in 1650. The crater it left is two kilometres in diameter and 500 metres deep in places.

Thermi beach has black pebbles, pumice and volcanic rock as well as geothermal springs, where there once were baths. This beach can be reached by foot by following the cobbled road and path starting close to Ta Thermi pizzeria, near Megalochori village.

Amoudi Bay is a port below Oia, in the northwest, which is highly rated for its natural beauty, and some say the best place to swim on the island. Red cliffs rise from the sea, and there are many seaside tavernas that serve fresh fish.

Pure Bliss

There are many secluded beaches where you can get some peace and quiet. You may have to work hard to find them though.

White Beach is in a cove very close to Red Beach and also has black pebbles, but as the name suggests, its cliffs are white. It’s fairly small, though there are umbrellas and sunbeds, and it has large rocks, pumice stones and crystal-clear waters. The beach can be reached by path from neighbouring beach Kambia, or from Red Beach. If you get peckish, visit the small Akrotiri beach with fish tavernas and a café.

Mesa Pigadia is a beach in the south, from where you can reach White Beach through a cave. It has little white pebbles, pumice rocks, and structures built into the rock for storing fishermen’s boats, which have colourful doors, as does Vourvoulos, a black-pebbled beach northeast of capital Fira. Both have sun loungers, umbrellas and tavernas. Try Taverna Mesa Pigadia at the beach of the same name.

If you like your beaches private there’s the small Armeni beach near Oia with crystalline waters. It’s difficult to access but can be reached by boat. Or there’s Almyra, a secluded beach whose cliffs are dotted in circular craters and can be accessed using a small road starting near Akrotiri village. The isolated Plaka beach, near Megalochori village can be reached by travelling downhill for quite some time past the Virgin Mary of Plaka church and the former baths.

Watersports

The popular Perivolos beach is a long, black sand beach to the south of Perissa. Wave Sports water sports centre offers scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, canoeing and SUP. Aside from water sports beachgoers can enjoy volleyball, cafes, bars, tavernas and ouzeries – small tavernas serving ouzo and snacks.

The previously mentioned Perissa Beach is great for water sports. The Wave Sports water sports centre based here too and there’s also the Santorini Waterpark nearby which has three swimming pools and three slides, two of which are specially designed for children, and a café and restaurant.

Kamari Beach is ideal for water sports. Seek out FBI Water Sports and you can enjoy of range of activities including waterskiing wakeboarding, kneeboarding, banana boat rides and kite boarding. If you’re in search of wind-based water sports, visit the pebbly Avis beach south of Monolithos, which gets quite windy so it’s an excellent spot for windsurfing.

12