A list of seven amazing black sand beaches in Santorini, Greece that you need to visit on your next trip to the Greek Islands.
The volcanic island of Santorini (Thera) is one of the most unique and undoubtedly beautiful locations in the Cyclades. However, unlike some of the other nearby Greek Islands including Ios or Paros, travelers won’t find many white sand beaches here.
Instead, what makes the famous beaches of Santorini Island so unique is their stunning dark sand and black pebbled shores.
So, in this guide, I’ll give you a detailed rundown on the best Santorini Greece black sand beaches to help you plan your volcanic beach hopping adventure on Thera!
In this beach guide, you’ll find a detailed list, as well as a map showing all the black sand and pebble beaches in Santorini, as well as some tips and recommendations for your vacation.
- 7 Beautiful Black Sand Beaches in Santorini
- Where to Stay in Santorini
- Why Are the Beaches Black in Santorini?
- Santorini Black Sand Beach Map
- More Santorini & Greek Island Travel Guides
3 Unmissable Santorini Experiences
- Volcanic Islands Cruise with Hot Spring Visit - sail around Santorini's caldera, hike the volcano (optional) and stop at some epic islands for swimming, exploring, and enjoying the hot springs (Thirassia)
- Premium Catamaran Cruise with BBQ & Drinks - top-rated Santorini sunset cruise (5 hours) with stops at Red Beach and White Beach
- Inland: Santorini Highlights Tour - the best inland tour visiting epic sites like Pyrgos Kallistis, Emporio, Perissa Black Sand Beach, and Oia for sunset.
7 Beautiful Black Sand Beaches in Santorini
Many tour operators and even guidebooks recommend visiting the black sand beach on Santorini. However, this is very confusing as there are more than seven of these scattered around the island's volcanic coastline!
1. Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach, located on the eastern coastline of Santorini, is a small stretch of soft, black sand near the town of Perissa. This is widely acknowledged as the official black sand beach on Santorini, and the one visited on the majority of the island tours and day trips.
The reason is that Perissa Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Santorini. Wedged against the towering Mesa Vouno hill, this wide stretch of sand drops gently into the calm Aegean Sea. It's perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply relaxing on one of the many sun beds or straw umbrellas.
To get here, you'll want to make your way to Perissa, which is an approximately 45-minute drive from Oia, or 20 minutes from Thira on an ATV (quad bike). Alternatively, a visit to this iconic black beach is included in the highly-rated Santorini Highlights Tour.
2. Kamari Beach
Kamari Beach is another popular black sand and pebble beach on the eastern side of Santorini. This one is located on the opposite side of the Mesa Vouno mountain from Perissa and features a similar long stretch of soft sand and many sunbeds to tan on.
Additionally, this beach is popular with tourists looking to do water sports like jet skis, banana boat rides, or tubing.
3. Perivolos Beach
While technically joined, Perivolos Beach is the continuation of Perissa Beach, leading for approximately 2 kilometers to the south, where it joins again to Agios Georgios Beach.
Paralia Perivolos is quite popular, especially with those tourists staying at one of the more affordable accommodation options on the eastern side of Santorini. The beach is lined with many eateries, hotels, and popular beach bars, and is well-known for its festive atmosphere.
4. Vlychada Beach
Moving on to the southern tip of Santorini and we'll find another gorgeous black pebble beach edged by tall volcanic cliffs called Vlychada Beach. Paralia Vilchada is located at a relatively remote part of the island and isn't frequently visited by tourists. However, many day cruises do operate from the marina in Vlychada village (also written Vlichada), which is just beside this long beach.
If you're looking for a spot to swim, relax, and enjoy some tranquility on the often hectic island, then this is a great spot. There are often straw beach umbrellas and day beds for hire during the summer months.
5. Monolithos Beach
Monolithos Beach is a very large and mostly sandy beach located on the very eastern tip of Santorini, near the Kratikos Aerolimenas airport.
Compared to some of the more popular Santorini beaches, Monolithos doesn't have much infrastructure along the shore. However, there is a small beach bar called East View serving up cold beers and cocktails right on the beach! Additionally for a couple of euros visitors can rent a sunbed here too, with large palm-leaf shade covers.
Monolithos Beach is also the closest beach to the popular village of Fira, since it is directly on the other side of the island. As a result, this is one of the best beaches for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle and relax!
Planned Where to Stay Yet?
Santorini is world-famous for its epic cave hotels overlooking the caldera.
Make sure to check out my updated guide to the best cave hotels with swim-out pool views below– or my neighborhood guides to the best places to stay in Oia, and the top hotels in Fira.
6. Kampia Beach
Following along the Santorini caldera to the remote southwest region and we'll discover two more beautiful black sandy beaches in the Akroti Area.
The first is Kampia Beach, and while a little tricky to get to, is a great place to swim and relax without the crowds.
To get to Kampia Beach, you'll need to drive all the way around t the village of Akrotiri, following the directions on Google Maps to Kampia.
Once you arrive, you'll find a quiet, rocky black beach with only a tiny restaurant and cafe Called Kambia. To the east you'll witness the iconic red lava cliffs– a wild landscape unique to Santorini Red Beach.
Additionally, there are sometimes kayak rentals here, which is a great option if you would like to visit White Beach and Red Sand Beach, which are immediately on either side of Kampia Beach.
7. Mesa Pigadia Beach
The final black sand beach in Santorini worth visiting is the distant Paralia Mesa Pigadia. This is the most isolated beach on Santorini island and consists of a long stretch of black sand and small black pebbles. The crystal clear water is often quite calm on this side, tucked away from the strong wind you'll likely experience in Fira or Oia.
Additionally, from the shores, you'll witness beautiful panoramic views of the eroded volcanic rock coastline to the east which really are magnificent.
Unlike some of the most popular beaches like Perissa and Kamari, there are no hotels or resorts on this side of the island. As a result, it's one of the most quiet beaches on the entire island and sun loungers will likely get to enjoy its fine black sand all to themselves!
Where to Stay in Santorini
To make the most of an unforgettable Santorini travel experience, you'll want to stay at one of the beautiful cliff villages of Oia or Fira (Thira). Below I have selected the top three accommodation options for each budget.
- Divine Cave Experience - rated as the best cave hotel experience in Santorini. This adults-only cave hotel is located just north of the exclusive Imerovigli cliffside village and each room comes with its own cave pool with views over the ocean!
- La Perla Villas and Suites - arguably the best mid-range option for a memorable and romantic Santorini getaway. These villas and suites are very well located in the beautiful village of Oia, where you can catch unforgettable sunset views over the volcano.
- Bed Spot Hostel - The best hostel in Santorini. This one is located in the Fira center district and is very popular with backpackers and budget-conscious travelers after all the amenities such as a shared kitchen and a huge outdoor terrace common area.
Why Are the Beaches Black in Santorini?
The dark grey and black color of the sand and pebbles at many of Santorini's onyx-colored beaches is due to volcanic activity. In fact, the island of Santorini changed completely following a devastating volcanic eruption 3,600 years ago. This is referred to as the Minoan eruption and destroyed the Akrotiri settlement, as well as nearby islands' agriculture.
This resulted not only in a thick layer of volcanic ash, pumice, and lava covering the island, but reshaped the island completely from a round island to its current crescent shape.
Santorini Black Sand Beach Map
Travel Hack: Click on the photo of the Santorini beach map above and it will load on your Google Maps app. You can save it by clicking the grey star at the top, which will add it to "Your Places" on your Google Maps account. This way, you have a handy digital app on the go with all the scene locations pinned– just refer back to this article (or bookmark it) for more information or to choose the best beach for your trip.
More Santorini & Greek Island Travel Guides
I hope that you've enjoyed this short travel guide summing up the best black sand beaches in Santorini, Greece.
While you're here, take a pick from the list below for more useful Greek Island travel guides and inspiration for your next adventure in Greece!