The island of Santorini is less known for its beaches which have the particularity, for most of them, to have black sand. The two main beach resorts on the island are Kamari and Perissa, with Kamari being the most popular.
From north to south:
Baxedes is the main beach at the northern end of Santorini. Located 3 km from the village of Oia, Baxedes is a quiet beach, with the usual black volcanic sand, ideal for those who like to avoid the "hussle and bussle" of the more popular beaches. However, a drawback is that the beach can suffer when the Meltemi wind blows. The beach is serviced by a few tavernas.
Koloumbo beach is next to Baxedes and mostly made up of white pebbles. If there is strong wind, this is one beach to miss.
Amoudi and Armeni
Amoudi and Armeni are two beautiful beaches, which are the main beaches for those staying in Oia. The attractive town is built on the edge of the cliff above the beach. Amoudi is directly below Oia, on the northwest tip of the island, while Armeni is a little further south.
Vourvoulos beach is a mere 7 km from Fira, located on the northeast coastline. The beach is sandy with a turquoise blue sea and in the right conditions; it is ideal for swimming and sun bathing. The plus of Vourvoulos beach is that it is among the lesser-known beaches of Santorini and therefore you can achieve some privacy and peace.
Regrettably though, the beach is not as well maintained as others on the island. Also, when the Meltemi blows, sunbathing can be unpleasant and the seas can become very rough.
Just north of Kamari and on the eastern coast is the beach of Monolithos, most popular with the locals. Here you will find more peace and quite than other Santorini beaches, but with all the facilities of the other beaches including a number of tavernas for drinks, snacks and meals.
If it"s a beach resort you are looking for on Santorini, then Kamari is the place for you. The black sandy beach, at least 8 km in length, is the main attraction of Kamari. On the seafront you will find hotels, restaurants, bars, discos and shops to please all tastes and budgets. In the day though, it can be quite sleepy and relaxed. A number of water sports are also available like water skiing, windsurfing and paddleboats. The town is connected by a frequent bus service to Fira.
Not far from the village is the archaeological site of Ancient Thira: Kamari was the most important strategic point on the island after the decline of Akrotiri in ancient times. Also of potential interest in Kamari is the church of Panagia Episkopi, which was built in 1100 AD. The best time to visit the church is on August 15th during the feast of the Virgin Mary, when the church celebrates with a large festival. If you are around on September 24th the church of Panagia Myrtidiotissa celebrates with a festival, where again the tourist are invited to dine and dance.
In the southern corner of the island is Perissa, known as another of the best beach resorts of Santorini. The beach is 7 km long and composed of black sand, this coupled with the clear deep blue sea create a stunning setting that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Seafront tavernas, hotels, camping facilities and trees for shade, add to the beach"s popularity. The beach offers one of the best water sports facilities on the island with windsurfing, water skiing and pedalos for hire.
The Byzantine church of Agia Irini (Saint Irene) is worth visiting and especially during August 29th and September 14th when festivals are held in honour of the patron saint of the island. Agia Irini died on the island while in exile in 304 AD. Another attraction in the area is Ancient Thira, which is not far from Perissa.
Perivolos is another of the quiet beaches on the island with small tavernas and apartments to let directly behind the beach. Sports facilities are available on the beach, which is located on the southern tip of the island.
Not far from the ancient site at Akrotiri, is Red Beach (also known as Kokini Paralia). You couldn"t ask for a more breathtaking setting for a swim. Soaring red lava cliffs that form a backdrop to the black sandy shore, with a clear turquoise sea, all add to the very picturesque setting for that day on the beach. If you like excursions, boats leave from Akrotiri to other beaches further down the southwest coast.
Situated at the southwest end of the island, 13 km from Fira, Vlihada is a very beautiful quiet beach and is a perfect spot for those wishing to avoid the big crowds. The long beach is composed of the usual volcanic sands and is sheltered by the cliffs behind. These have been eroded by the wind and sea to form small caves and an overall moon-like landscape, which adds to the strange but scenic attraction of this beach.