Red Beach, Santorini

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Red Beach, Santorini - 2023 Guide

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About Red Sand Beach

A trip to Santorini is incomplete without a visit to Red Beach! This one-of-a-kind, natural landmark boasts spectacular sights of red lava cliffs and sandy beaches with clear blue waters from the Aegean Sea – an ideal atmosphere that’s sure to take your breath away. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this place twice now, in 2013 and 2020, respectively, so here’s my go-to guide for getting there as well as what you can expect during your time at Red Beach! 

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Have you ever imagined exploring the surface of Mars? Well, although this is yet to be realized, it’s possible to experience its likeness on Earth. At Santorini island in Greece – renowned for its romantic sunsets and natural beauty – a unique Red Beach awaits! Every year millions flock here not only for an unforgettable honeymoon or wedding venue but also to bask in the Martian-like landscape. So prepare yourself for an otherworldly experience as you stroll across one of the planet’s most spectacular red beaches!

red beach santorini
View of Red Beach from the boat.

Centuries ago, a volcanic eruption destroyed the thriving ancient civilization that once existed on Santorini. Nevertheless, this cataclysmic event left in its wake a distinct geological footprint – an incredibly nutrient-rich soil covering much of the island. One spot particularly enthralling to visitors is Red beach, located in Akrotiri and just 8km/5miles south of Fira’s city center.

Visiting the Famous Red Beach in Santorini

What to do in the Red Beach

Red Beach is a hidden gem nestled in an enchanting cove beneath the cliffs of Santorini. Its unique red-brown sand and soil are framed by jagged black and red pebbles that were left behind from the ancient volcano’s monoliths. What makes this beach so special is its sweltering temperature – hotter than other parts of the island due to its dark coloration and lunar-like terrain. Whether you’re trekking through Greece or just looking for something new, Red Beach will take your breath away with its captivating beauty!

red beach santorini
View of Red Beach

Photographers and influencers get here to take a few photos of this alien landscape. Travel guides have it as one of the top attractions of the island.

When you swim in the sea close to the beach, you can feel streams of warmer water that come from the underground thermal springs. The cove is usually calm unless there is a south wind, in which case, the water gets wavy. Unless there is wind, the sea is nice and clean, and the beach is a perfect destination for a day of relaxation.

All tourists arriving on the island will try to spend at least one day at Red beach, and for that, it is popular and busy, especially in the high touristic season.

At the beach, there are sunbeds and umbrellas that you can rent for a few hours. There is limited space for those who bring their umbrellas. Two small canteens serve snacks, coffee, and water. Some vendors walk around the beach and sell fruits. The beach is nudists friendly, especially in the northern part. If you like enjoying nature, the sun, and the sea free of clothes, this is one of the places where you can do it without any restrictions.

If you’re an enthusiast of seafaring, why not try something new and rent a water bike or canoe at the beach? It’s certainly more exciting with friends! Red Beach is particularly ideal for those fond of snorkeling as its seabed has exceptional topography that’s worth marveling at. A guarantee to have loads of fun-filled memories!

The authorities of the island published, a few years ago, a prohibition directive. In the past, there have been landslides is the beach, and the municipality advises visitors to avoid going to Red beach. It, however, does not seem to stop the hordes of tourists that go there daily, but they access the beach at their own risk.

Not far from the beach lies Akrotiri, an archaeological site of ancient Thera buried by a volcanic eruption. Thanks to the lava that engulfed it over time and preserved its features, this area holds temples, homes, and markets from centuries past. As one of the most important centers in Aegean history, archaeologists have unearthed marvelous evidence of a once-thriving civilization beneath the hardened ash – walls adorned with colorful frescos boasting remarkable beauty! Visiting Akrotiri is easy when you’re on your way to or from enjoying some sun at local beaches.

Making the journey to this ancient site is a marvelous experience, but make sure your visit aligns with its hours of operation.

How to get to the Red Beach

Visiting the picturesque Red Beach is easy, with three routes to get there. A car is your best bet; simply follow the road to Akrotiri and turn right at the archaeological site before finding a free parking space near Saint Nikolas’ chapel. If you plan on walking, be prepared for a ten-minute journey downhill in potentially scorching heat – don’t forget water, sunscreen, and sunglasses! Sneakers are also advisable as flip flops or sea shoes may struggle against this terrain. Wheelchairs, unfortunately, won’t make it here either – sorry!

red beach santorini
View of Red Beach

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like taking that trek downhill by foot to Red Beach, small taxi boats are available from Akrotiri, Perissa, and Kamari; departing every 30 minutes. This is an ideal way for sightseeing around Santorini as they make stops at Black beach and White beach too.

After taking the Ktel bus from Santorini’s Fira station, you’ll be dropped off at a parking space close to Red beach’s museum. A visit to this renowned destination is an absolute must for anyone touring Santorini – set aside a day and soak in its beauty!

Snorkel to Red Beach from Kambia Beach

In 2022, we discovered a remarkable method of getting to Red Beach. We parked the car in the parking spots at Kambia Beach and strolled along its shoreline until it was no longer possible for us to do so.

With five minutes of meandering across the rugged coastline, we reveled in captivating views on our journey to Red Beach. It was truly an unforgettable experience!

The Red Sand Beach at Santorini is classified as “semi-organized,” meaning that the locals are in charge of renting umbrellas and sunbeds to visitors. Get there early enough, however, and you will still be able to find some space on your own! The canteen on the beach may not have been opened up yet this year, so make sure you pack plenty of water and snacks if you plan a visit here.

Although Santorini is a popular destination, visiting Red Beach during the off-season can provide an even more tranquil and enjoyable experience. Click here for details about when it’s best to visit this picturesque island!

Bottom Line

The Red Beach of Santorini should not be missed; it is a remarkable and one-of-a-kind landscape. It may not have the best amenities for an entire day at the beach, but its distinctive beauty renders it worth one visit. Personally, I think that if you want to spend your day truly in Greece’s pristine beaches, then Perissa or Perivolos are better options than this marvelous geological site. If this is your maiden voyage to the island, you ought to visit it! Just keep in mind that rockfalls can be hazardous and remain within approved safe zones.


Most frequent questions and answers

Intriguing query! Unfortunately, Red Beach in Greece is considered unsafe. Hotels have even been requested to dissuade travelers from descending toward the shoreline. Additionally, the trail leading from the Akrotiri archaeological site explicitly states that it’s hazardous due to its instability and potential for rockfalls.

In reality, all you need is some caution, and you will have an amazing time here.

With its breathtaking beaches, Santorini’s unique black and red sands are a direct result of volcanic rock having been crushed down to fine dust. The iconic Red Beach of Santorini is an awe-inspiring sight to behold, and the source behind its vibrant shade can be traced back to seismic activity that has gradually eroded the cliffs in which it resides. The characteristic red pigment originates from a unique amalgamation of iron and sulphuric elements found within these rocks, creating a captivating spectacle not seen elsewhere on Earth.

Although Red Beach in Santorini is accessible, it’s highly recommended to stay within the designated safe zones and barricaded areas, as falling rocks and other debris from the cliffs can be hazardous.

At the start of your journey to red beach lies a small park, but if you plan ahead and arrive before 11am, you are sure to find a space. Don’t wait too long – get there early! There is a limited amount of space in this parking lot, and you won’t find a space easily if you arrive there after 11am, especially in the busy summer months. Make sure you go as early as possible.

There’s no better place to take a dip than Red Beach in Santorini! Whether you prefer swimming or scuba diving, temperatures between May and October are ideal for making a splash. However, come wintertime, it might be too chilly outside as well as inside the waters themselves, so make sure to plan your aquatic activities accordingly!

Ready to be enraptured by a spectacular swim? Dive into the beautiful Red Beach in Santorini and make some of your most unforgettable memories! Though there are signs warning visitors about sliding rocks, between May and October, the water is warm enough for you to enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience. Don’t miss out on an opportunity like this – come take a dip today!

As you embark on your journey to red beach, don’t forget to stop by the small canteen located at its entrance. This is your final opportunity to purchase anything that may prove beneficial during your travels–water bottles, snacks, or any other provisions! In fact, it’s often ideal if you come prepared with supplies of your own before beginning this expedition. There are no shops or eateries beyond this point, so make sure you have everything necessary for a successful voyage!

Strolling from the Red Beach to the White Beach in Santorini is impossible due to their distant location and lack of path between them. Fortunately, there’s an exciting way of getting to both beaches: taking a boat! This is also a great alternative for reaching Red Beach if you don’t take the bus to Akrotiri.