Santorini’s Red Beach is not your average white-sand beauty. Rather, it’s a narrow, pebbly stretch hemmed in by high scarlet cliffs and scattered with large volcanic rocks. Together with the sapphire blue waters of the Aegean Sea, these volcanic features create a striking natural color palette that draws photographers to its shores.
While Red Beach is a popular swimming and sunbathing spot, it can also be a dangerous one, with occasional landslides and falling rocks. Because of this, many visitors prefer to admire the beach from afar, either from the parking area overlooking the beach or from the sea itself.
Many catamaran cruises, some of which include meals and drinks on board, and kayaking tours travel by the beach. Some Santorini day tours combine a visit to the beach with a stop at the nearby ancient Akrotiri archaeological site, an excavated Minoan settlement dating back to the Bronze Age.
Things to Know Before You Go
- With its unusual colorful appearance, Red Beach is a must for photographers.
- Bring along sunscreen, water, and a picnic to enjoy while soaking up views of the beach.
- Red Beach can only be accessed via a steep trail, and the beach’s surface is rocky, meaning it is not suitable for wheelchair users. The beach can, however, be clearly seen from the parking lot.
How to Get There
Red Beach is situated on the Akrotiri Peninsula in southwest Santorini. It’s about a 25-minute drive from Fira and offers free though limited parking. A steep access trail leads from the parking lot to the beach. Car-free travelers can take the KTEL bus from Fira to Akrotiri and make the short walk from there.
When to Get There
Despite the dangers of loose, falling rocks, Red Beach still attracts a lot of sunbathers and from June through September is often crowded. The red of the beach’s cliffs and rocks is most vivid at sunset.
Beaches on Santorini
Santorini’s volcanic topography has resulted in a range of visually diverse beaches. Contrasting with the intense color of neighboring Red Beach is remote White Beach, which is backed by light-colored cliffs and can only be accessed by boat. For a family-friendly option with ample facilities including restaurants, water-sports operators, sun loungers, and umbrellas, try Monolithos Beach on the island’s east coast. Black-sand Perivolos Beach, on the southeast coast of the island, is another popular choice, attracting a lively, youthful crowd.