Which is the black sand beach in Santorini? I want to this Greek island with this question in mind. I had already seen black sand beaches before, in Cyprus and in Italy, but I thought volcanic sand would make Santorini beaches unique. Much to my surprise, most beaches I’ve seen on the island were black. Perrisa Beach and Perivolos Beach are black. Kamari is a black beach. Even the White Beach is a narrow strip of black sand.
Even though Santorini isn’t famous for its beaches, it has several hidden gems for beach lovers. Most of them have a very dark look, due to the origin of this sand. The Minoan eruption that occurred somewhere between 1642 and 1540 BCE devastated the whole island of Santorini (also known as Thera), covering everything in lava and volcanic ash, and creating the circular caldera that makes the main Santorini attraction nowadays.
Let’s see what are some of the black sand beaches in Santorini, how to reach them and what to expect once you get there.
Monolithos is a small village on Santorini’s east coast, near the airport and 6 km away from Fira. The beach of Monolithos is a good choice for those who prefer beaches with shallow waters, water sports, lifeguards, tavernas and shops.
There’s a direct bus connection from the central bus station in Fira to Monolithos. If you want to get to Monolithos beach from anywhere else on the island, you’ll first need to get to Fira central bus station.
Where to stay in Monolithos: if you go with a group, Almyriki Beach Villa could be a great choice. This 3-bedroom villa is located in Monolithos, at 1.3 km from Monolithos Beach and 1.8 km from Karterados Beach. There’s a bike rental service available, so you can cycle your way to the beach or visit the surrounding areas without the need for driving or public transport.
If you prefer a beachfront accommodation, check out Scorpios Beach Hotel. The black sand beach and the children’s playground are near this hotel.
Here’s a video that shows you what to expect when going to Monolithos beach in Santorini:
Kamari is probably the most famous of all black sand beaches in Santorini. This makes it also the busiest. Fully organized, with plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas scattered along the 5km of sand, with lifeguards and water sports, Kamari Beach can be the perfect destination for beach bums, as well as for swimmers and snorkeling fans.
Where to stay in Kamari: Being so touristy, Kamari offers more accommodation options than Monolithos. In terms of prices, you can find hotels, studios and villas to suit any kind of budget and vacation preferences. Santorini Castelli Resort, for instance, is only at two minute’ walking from the black sand beach. This is one of the top rated hotels by guests coming from Booking.com. Featuring the traditional Cycladic architectural style with whitewashed buildings and blue doors and window frames, Seaside Breeze is another interesting choice in Kamari.
One of the best things about Kamari Beach, apart from the famous black volcanic sand, is the proximity to Mesa Vouno, the mountain that separates this black sand stripe from Perissa Beach. The turquoise waters, blue sky, white clouds and majestic rocks make for a breathtaking scenery. You’ll love to take photos on these beaches.
Kamari and Perissa are the only two blue flag beaches on Santorini.
Perissa & Perivolos
To me, Perissa beach was love at first sight. I think I took hundreds of photos during the day I spent on this gorgeous black beach of Santorini. This place is so romantic and it has such a vintage look to it that it makes you feel like never wanting to leave.
Perissa is the sand stripe that starts at the foot of Mesa Vouno and stretches along a few kilometers. At some point, its name changes to Perivolos Beach, but these beaches are, in fact, one single black sand stripe scattered with sunbeds, umbrellas and lifeguards.
The beachfront promenade is lined with bars, restaurants and shops. Bars and restaurants also serve beach segments, so you can enjoy your Greek Frappe and your lunch directly on the beach. I don’t know how it is during the peak season, but in late September – October, sunbeds and umbrellas are free for customers who spend at least 15 or 20 Euros (I don’t remember the exact figure, but that’s just about the price of a drink and a Greek salad).
Where to stay in Perissa: One of the places I’ve added to my shortlist for my next trip to Santorini is Sunhaus Apartments. That’s right by the beach. That’s all I want in Perissa (and to climb Mesa Vouno to visit Ancient Thera, and then to descend on the other side, to Kamari).
If crowds and noise aren’t your cup of tea, you’ll want to check out Vlychada Beach. You can book a room or a two-bedroom apartment in Villa Michalis, one of the top-rated accommodations in this area. Click here to see the rates and the available rooms.
Vlychada doesn’t have the same carefree holiday vibe as Perissa, nor the impressive scenery of Red Beach. Instead, this beach offers you peace and tranquility, as well as sunbeds, umbrellas and the black volcanic sand scattered with pebbles and rocks. The volcanic rock formations on Vlychada beach have very strange shapes that look like purposeful carvings.
Vlychada has a small port near the beach. It is also home to the Tomato Industrial Museum, a former tomato factory where you can learn more about the famous Santorini tomatoes.
When it comes to black sand beaches in Santorini, white is the new black. The White Beach is surrounded by white cliffs, hence its name. In fact, the stripe of sand has the same color as any of the other beaches in Santorini, which is black or dark gray.
This small beach is near Akrotiri. To get there, you need to catch a bus from Fira to Akrotiri and then a taxi boat. Apparently, walking from the Red beach is also possible, but I haven’t attempted that, so I don’t know whether it’s true.
The Black Beach in Santorini is arguably the darkest one. Its real name is Mesa Pigadia Beach. Located near Akrotiri and Pharos, The Black Beach is isolated, but accessible via a dirt path near the Pharos. It isn’t a sandy beach per se but rather a pebbly and rocky one. Here you’ll find several cave houses and a small taverna. There are also some sunbeds and umbrellas.
If you want to come by bus from Fira, you need to tell the driver that you want to go to the Pharos – they will tell you when to get off the bus (As far as I remember, that’s one stop before Akrotiri Village). Then, you start walking on the road towards the lighthouse, until you see the path to Mesa Pigadia. From this point on you still have about 1km to walk to get to the beach.
I don’t have photos of the Black Beach, but you can check out this page to see how it looks like. In the video below you can see the dirt path descending to the beach.
Black Sand Beaches Facts
Black sand beaches can get extremely hot. This sand will burn your soles, so make sure you wear shoes to walk on the beach.
Most black beaches in Santorini are a mix of sand and pebbles. This sand isn’t the finest of all, as it comes from volcanic materials and lava fragments. Nevertheless, it surely feels nice to your feet.
Black sand beaches in Santorini (and not only) are extremely photogenic. The contrast between the smoky sand, the blue water and the white foam of the waves is a match made in heaven. I just loved to take photos on Perissa beach this summer.