I love that charcoal bread is trending — not only because of its potential health benefits but because people love something a little different. And what could be more different than a beach of fine black sand and emerald waters rather than the white and turquoise combinations we’re accustomed to?
Santorini is a magical Greek island for geology fans and those who love a unique vacation destination. It’s easy to get lost in the cities and villages, but I can’t get over how beautiful some of the Santorini Greece black sand beaches can be, and neither will you.
Whether you’re there for sunny relaxation or a party, Santorini and its out-of-this-world beaches are ready for you! Bring your sunscreen and get ready for a beach experience like no other.
The 8 Best Santorini Greece Black Sand Beaches
Table of Contents
- The 8 Best Santorini Greece Black Sand Beaches
- 1. Perissa Beach
- 2. Kamari Beach
- 3. Perivolos Beach
- 4. Vlychada Beach
- 5. Mesa Pigadia Beach
- 6. Columbo Beach
- 7. Monolithos Beach
- 8. Eros Beach
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Why Does Santorini Have Black Sand Beaches?
- Is Black Sand Safe to Walk On?
- Is the Sea Water Warm in Santorini?
- When is the Best Time to Visit Santorini Black Sand Beaches?
- Final Thoughts on Santorini Greece: Black Sand Beaches
Not all of the beaches on Santorini can boast black sand, but these ones can. Here are the best of the best black sand beaches Santorini, has to offer.
1. Perissa Beach
One of the largest of Santorini’s black sand beaches, Perissa Beach is 7 km long and kitted out with every luxury you might need on a sunny seaside holiday.
From umbrellas to loungers and showers to beach bars and restaurants, you’ll want for nothing on this popular and picturesque beach. The waters are a clear, deep sapphire thanks to the dark sands beneath, but it’s pretty shallow, so it’s the perfect beach for wading in gently lapping wavelets.
If you’d rather stay dry, head to the promenade for a stroll. You can also visit the nearby ruins of the ancient city of Thera — they’re just a little hike up Mount Mesa Vouno.
2. Kamari Beach
The blackest of the Santorini beaches sits on the southeastern coast of the island, only a few kilometers from the capital of Fira. It’s separated from Perissa Beach by Mesa Vouno. Not only are there plenty of facilities for tourists like sunbeds and straw umbrellas, but there are plenty of watersports available to the oceanic adventurer.
There’s a diving center that offers snorkeling lessons and several places where you can rent water bikes, canoes, surfboards, and more. Restaurants and cafés line the beach, so you’re never too far from some great food and drinks. After a day of lazing away on this unique beach, you can enjoy one of the most splendid sunsets in the world.
Then spend the night partying it up at the clubs or take a stroll along the promenade where the dark sky of stars bleeds into the black sands of Kamari. This beach is extremely popular, as you can probably tell, so get there early to avoid disappointment.
3. Perivolos Beach
Although some of the other beaches have beach clubs that offer a fun and vibrant nightlife, Perivolos Beach is definitely the party beach. The lava-born black sand sparkles beneath your feet as you take part in one of the organised beach volleyball events, cocktail parties, or bonfire parties.
There’s also a daily beach party with famous DJs, so it’s a natural draw for younger crowds. Even if you’re not up for all the events, there are plenty of sunbeds and other beach resort amenities to see to your beach-lazing needs, as well as the lush blue waters to enjoy.
4. Vlychada Beach
One of the most unique black sand beaches on Santorini, Vlychada has the usual dark sands that are more of a pencil-grey than pitch black. But it has something to offer that none of the other beaches do — its scenic cliffs carved by the Cycladic winds.
It’s a mesmerizing feast for the eyes, giving the impression that some great hand reached down and drew these intricate decorations right into the rock. This beach tends to be less crowded, although basic amenities like the sunbeds and umbrellas that an organised beach typically has are available.
There’s also a sailing and yacht centre close by, where you’ll find a small marina and fish taverns serving excellent fresh fare.
5. Mesa Pigadia Beach
If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is the spot. This little stretch of dark sand and pebbles between imposing volcanic cliffs isolates you from the world. The music of the waves lapping onshore and the wind gently lilting you into a sun-glazed sleep is what you’ll find at this beach.
Some sunbeds and umbrellas are available, but you should bring your own supplies. However, Mesa Pigadia has a few surprises to offer. One of them includes the syrmata — cave-like formations built by fishermen to protect their boats during winter storms. It adds a touch of heritage to your Santorini beach experience.
That and the cave that leads to the famous White Beach of Santorini — if you’re up for some exploration, that is.
6. Columbo Beach
This is also a pretty secluded nature-centric place to lay your towel with dark grey sand — so much so that nudists sometimes make use of the privacy it offers.
It’s only 4 km from the beautiful Oia village, but you’ll need a car or taxi because buses don’t drive this route. There are no sunbeds or umbrellas here, but you will find unusually warm waters thanks to the active underwater volcano, Columbo.
It’s also a perfect paradise for skilled snorkellers with an undersea cave called Seal Cave and the underwater crater of Columbo to explore.
7. Monolithos Beach
Monolithos is a large sandy beach on the easternmost tip of Santorini. It’s also the closest beach to Fira, making it a popular destination with tourists. It doesn’t have as dense an infrastructure as some of the other more popular beaches, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in calmness.
There are some loungers and umbrellas covered in straw scattered about the beach, and when the wind picks up, windsurfing here can be pretty great. You won’t find crowds, even with a small beach bar serving up cold beers and cocktails on the sand.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy beaches and relax in a laid-back style, this is the place to be.
8. Eros Beach
A romantic little secret in Santorini is Eros Beach, an extension of Vlychada Beach hidden down a canyon dirt road. You’ll need a car to get there as there’s zero public transport to Eros. But once you get there you’ll be welcomed by the cosiest beach bar-restaurant and sunbeds for rental.
The large white-brown cliffs are carved by the wind and sea, and they block this beach off from the rest of the world. You can simply take in the views, catch a snooze, or play on the volleyball court by the shoreline.
It’s at its most picturesque in the evening, when ambient lights shine like stars on the hillside, music plays from the restaurant, and sunset colours the sky pink and yellow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does Santorini Have Black Sand Beaches?
Santorini is one of Greece’s four volcanic islands; the most famous one, actually (if you didn’t know that, check out these other interesting facts about Greece). At the center of its caldera are two small volcanic islands which are still active — you can even find some hot springs there.
3,600 years ago, a cataclysmic event known as the Minoan Eruption devastated the island of what was then called Thera (modern-day Santorini). It was so large and intense that earthquakes and tsunamis affected the entire region around it, changing the geography of the area forever.
It also added layers of black pumice, ash, and lava to what remained of the original island, creating the iconic black sand beaches that Santorini is now famous for. Some of the beaches are more solidly black, while others have a darker hue of brown or grey with a lower level of volcanic debris.
The strange colors of these sands also turn the waters an incredible shade — somewhere between royal blue and emerald green. It makes for a beach getaway you won’t easily forget.
Is Black Sand Safe to Walk On?
In basic geology terms, volcanic rocks that form from cooling lava can be very hard and sharp. They can be ground down over time to form harmless sand, so the fragments are small enough that they’re safe to walk on with bare feet without hurting you.
The only inconvenience you might experience is that black sand absorbs more heat than white sand, which typically reflects it. So chances are slightly higher that you might burn your soles a little if you don’t bring shoes, but you certainly won’t get cut.
Is the Sea Water Warm in Santorini?
Santorini experiences a Mediterranean climate, so it has hot dry summers and mild winters. In the summer months of July and August, the waters are at their warmest, with an average of 25ºC. In winter, though, the heat dissipates to a chilly 16ºC on average, making it hard to swim in for most people.
When is the Best Time to Visit Santorini Black Sand Beaches?
Any time from May to Mid-October, you’ll find pleasant temperatures, although June to September is when peak summer season is in full bloom. If you want to soak in the ultimate warm weather and hot beach-day experiences in the summer months, you’ll have to arrive early and endure the crowds.
In the spring and autumn months, it may be a little chillier, but you won’t have to get into an elbow-shoving match just to grab a sunbed.
Final Thoughts on Santorini Greece: Black Sand Beaches
If you’re looking for a beach holiday with a twist, head straight to Santorini and don’t look back. The shimmering black sand courtesy of an ancient volcanic eruption will have you enthralled with the sheer singularity of it all.
Plus, you get to indulge in some of the most luxurious beach settings in Greece, unless you’d rather go au naturale at one of the secluded shorelines. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the black sand beaches of Santorini, Greece.
I covered the cost of my flights to and from Brno and my accommodation in Brno. I attended a Traverse travel conference in Brno (which was fantastic) and then South Moravia tourism covered all of my on the ground costs for a three day trip across the region. As always, my opinions are my own. Just so you know, this post may contain some affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.
After you’ve enjoyed relaxing on the beach, why not head off to one of the excellent Santorini wineries and finish off your day with a wine tasting or two?