Our island is known not only for its white houses, churches with blue domes and beautiful sunsets. The beach lovers will also appreciate the beach component, because the small island boasts not only a notable number of beaches, but also a variety of beach types, or rather colors, shades and forms!

On our island you can choose the right beach… literally by color! This time we go to the Red beach of Santorini (Κοκκινη παραλια in Greek), one of the most unusual and popular beaches of our island.

Red beach, Santorini, Greece
Red beach, Santorini, Greece

Most people when asked to imagine a sandy beach will certainly draw a picture of typical colors and shades – the sand will be beige or golden, sometimes white. Our famous beach with its exotic rocks, red sand and almost Martian landscape leaves quite a different impression!

The secret door at Red beach, Santorini, Greece
The secret door at Red beach, Santorini, Greece

Steep black-red cliffs close the beach from the winds, large boulders, as if scattered in front of its entrance, make access difficult for outsiders. For those who are able to cope with the road, however, an amazing view opens up: the beach is covered with red-brick and, in places, blood-red sand, black-red pebbles and quite small stones.

The beach with red sand looks especially spectacular in the early morning and evening, closer to sunset.

Red beach in Santorini: general characteristics of the brightest beach on the island

Some of our guests think this is the most beautiful beach in Santorini, others prefer the more “traditional” black shores. Either way, it is at least a very interesting and unusual place to visit.

  • Surface: sand, small pebbles;
  • Color: red, red-black;
  • How to get there: by car, by bus and on foot;
  • Organization and infrastructure: sun beds, umbrellas – yes, fresh water, showers and toilets – no;
  • Opportunity to buy food/water: yes;
  • Natural shade: practically none.

For its (relatively remote) location, Red beach is well equipped (if it is open to the public): during the summertime there are sun beds and umbrellas, and even a few small kiosks where you can buy snacks and drinks. However, keep in mind that the main part of the beach is always full of tourists. So it is better to come here either early in the morning or do not count on free sunbeds. Also keep in mind that you can usually find a place to spread a towel on the sand.

You can look for a free place closer to the rocks – this is, by the way, the only place where there can be natural shade. The most exotic option is to settle down directly on one of the stone islands or even large rocks in the sea.

The red beach of Santorini is a fairly long line, but it cannot boast of its width – it is some few meters, and in its widest parts fit only two rows of sun loungers… and on the first line sometimes the waves roll out! But here you can look at the amazing sand and small pebbles of a bright red color:

Orange, black and red sand on Red beach, Santorini, Greece
Orange, black and red sand on Red beach, Santorini, Greece

Depending on the place on the beach, the entrance to the sea can be quite stony or completely sandy, but for almost the entire length of the beach depth begins quite rapidly – just a few meters after entering the sea.

There are not many entertainments on this beach: to swim, to snorkel, to watch the sunset – there is no special commerce here, and that is probably a good thing. The main attraction is, first of all, the strangeness of the place, which, by the way, is very, very, very popular.

Black volcanic rock on Red beach, Santorini, Greece
Black volcanic rock on Red beach, Santorini, Greece

Even those who do not intend to swim come here, but have only one goal: to see the rare combination of red stone and sand with blue, turquoise, and sometimes even green water of the sea. You just can’t come here without a camera or camcorder!

Rockfall: Is it dangerous to be on Red beach of Santorini?

Sometimes yes. So we want to warn you in advance: Red beach is not accessible every year, and there are often warning or even prohibiting signs and tapes on the roads:

Red beach: rockfall warning, Santorini, Greece
Red beach: rockfall warning, Santorini, Greece

Recall that we live on an active volcano, and earthquakes are not uncommon 🙂 That’s why the steep cliffs periodically move, crumble, and fall. Warning signs, even in the middle of the beach, are not uncommon:

Warning signs on Red Beach, Santorini, Greece
Warning signs on Red Beach, Santorini, Greece

Sometimes it happens in such serious volumes that it becomes really dangerous and the entrance to the beach is closed. In that case, you can look at it from the side (from the entrance) or from the sea (during the boat trip), but to get to the beach itself to lie down, sunbathe and swim – alas, it may be forbidden. As you can see, our excursion catamarans go into this bay, and there are no umbrellas or people on the beach – that year’s landslides were particularly strong:

Catamaran trip to Red beach, Santorini, Greece
Catamaran trip to Red beach, Santorini, Greece

Where is the Red beach of Santorini located: we’re going to the south coast of the island

Like most of the most interesting beaches on our island, the Red beach is located in the southern part of Santorini, about 12 kilometers from Fira. To get to the Red Beach is very easy – you should be guided by the village of Akrotiri (Ακρωτηρι in Greek), which is the nearest large settlement and the nearby archaeological area. Figuratively speaking, they are at the very “bottom” of the island and we have marked this place on the map of Santorini. Red Beach on the map of Santorini:

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Red beach GPS coordinates: 36.34848, 25.39473

How to get to the Red beach of Santorini

If you are vacationing on our island without a car and plan to get to Red Beach by bus, then we hasten to please you – it is possible! Although it is not the most convenient option, but you can get to Red beach on the regular bus.

You need a public bus that goes to the archeological complex Akrotiri. Depending on the season, such a trip will cost 1.8 – 2 euros per person and you can see the current prices and schedules in the relevant section of our website or on the timetables if you already in Santorini.

From the bus terminal to the beach you will have to walk, but it is impossible to get lost: there is only one road leading to the beach and it is well signposted.

A more convenient option is to drive a rental car, then the walk to the beach will be a little shorter, because the parking is almost on the beach (read more about renting a car in Santorini).

If you are travelling by rented car or scooter, you don’t need to worry about parking: after passing through Akrotiri village, you will see a large wide area almost on the coast, where you can leave your vehicle. By the way, you can walk to Red beach from there. It is very close!

Keep in mind that you’ll have to walk over some rocks: the closer you get to the beach, the more rocky the road gets. It won’t take you long to get to the Red beach, and you’ll reach the beach in 7-10 minutes at the most.

You can also get to the red beach with a boat trip or come on one of the boats (starting from 5 euros) that leave every 30 minutes from the neighboring beaches.

Viktoria Doukmasova

Co-founder of the Santorinika Travel Agency, professional guide and author of materials on the website. Expert in tourism, holidays and travelling in Greece since 1999.