Red Beach Santorini : A complete Guide

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

red beach santorini

The famous red beach in Santorini is a truly geological marvel but it can also be dangerous because of the risk of falling rocks from above.

Red Beach in Santorini is by far one of the most unique beaches in Greece and one of the most unique landscapes in the world. It’s definitely one of the top attractions and things to in Santorini and it is very close to the famous Akrotiri village with its prehistoric ruins (literally a walking distance from it).

I recently visited the Red Beach and I took some photos that would probably help you understand how to get there and what is there to see and do.

Where is the red sand beach in Santorini?

The Red Sand Beach in Santorini is close to the Akrotiri town of the island and in a walking distance from the Akrotiri Prehistoric Ruins.

You can see the Red Beach on Google Maps here.

Red Beach is very close to the prehistoric town of Akrotiri and the bus that can take you there is the same bus that takes you to Akrotiri. You can literally walk from the ruins to the path that takes you to the Red Beach.

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How do you get to Red Beach in Santorini?

You have 2 ways of getting to the Red Beach in Santorini:

  • You can take a small ferry from Athinios port that will take you to both Red and White beaches
  • or, you can take the local Santorini bus (or drive) to Akrotiri and then hop off or park at the small parking area (see pictures below) and then the walk the rough path to the red beach.

Can you drive to Red Beach Santorini?

Yes, you can drive to the Red Beach and you have to take the road to Akrotiri town, park in the small parking lot where the small white chapel is and then walk the path to the beach itself.

Why is the Red Beach in Santorini red?

The famous Red Beach in Santorini is red because of the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that eroded the cliffs behind it exposing a unique geological formation with rocks that are rich in iron. The red colour of the rocks is actually coming from iron and sulpharic elements in the ground.

Is Red Beach Santorini closed?

No, Red Beach in Santorini is open but you have to stay in the barricated areas and the safe zones that the authorities have marked up as there is always a danger of falling rocks and debris from the cliffs above the beach.

There is a small parking space at the start of the path that leads to the Red Beach

Is Red Beach Santorini safe?

Red Beach in Santorini is safe as long as you stay within the barricated area that has been marked up by the authorities. See photos below.

Where do you park at Red Beach Santorini?

There is a small park at the beginning of the path to the red beach. There is limited space there but if you arrive early (before 11am) you should be able to find a spot.

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 summer busy months. Make sure you go as early as possible.

Can you swim at Red Beach Santorini?

You can definitely swim at the Red Beach in Santorini and you can even do scuba diving. The weather is perfect for swimming between May and October every year. You won’t be able to swim in the winter as the weather might not allow it and the sea-water can be very cold.

There is a small canteen form where you can buy any water or drinks or snacks at the entrance of the path to the red beach. This is your last chance to buy any drinks or food! There are no other beach bars or restaurants later on, so make sure you have everything you need. Usually it’s better if you come prepared with your own drinks and food.

Can you walk from Red Beach to White Beach Santorini?

You cannot walk from the Red Beach to the White Beach in Santorini as there is no connection or any path between the 2 and they are quite far away from each other. You can however take a small boat that will take you to both beaches and that is actually an alternative way of getting to the Red Beach instead of taking the local bus to Akrotiri.

The path that leads to the beach itself is rough so make sure you avoid flip flops and wear proper shoes.

Did I say that the path can be rough? I think I did…

You will see fallen debris and rocks that came from the hills above. So…be careful!!

You will also be reminded of tha falling rocks by signs everywhere.

The path itself can become very narrow and it has limited protection on the sides…

Once you see this view though it can be very rewarding

The final descent to the beach itself can also be very narrowwith people coming up and down all the time.

When you arrive on the beach level then you need to be aware of the barricaded areas as these are safety zones from the falling debris and rocks

The pebbles and the sand on the beach are some of the most colourful you would ever see with black, white, grey, red and other colours forming a beautiful mosaic.

Red Beach Santorini Snorkelling

You can definitely snorkel in the waters of the Red Beach experience. However, I have to be honest.

It’s not the sea life that you will find fascinating under the water but the incredible geological formations and colourful volcanic caverns that may or may not hide some sea life such as octopuses or small fishes.

This can definitely be a very interesting experience but don’t expect any Great Barrier Reff underwater experience…

The big rocks behind the beach are quite dramatic as they have been created thousands of years ago from the volcanic geological formations of the island

You need to make sure you stay in the designated areas and not enter the barricated section as there is

The cliffs behind the beach have a unique red and ceramic colour from the volcanic geological formations thousands of year ago

Crystal clear waters and a shining sun is a usual scene at the red beach. Between May and October you should be able to swim in the sea as the waters will be comfortably warm

If you go further down the beach after the big red cliffs you will find another open area with a snack that is usually not open so don’t count to that for water or food.

There is nothing red on that edge of the beach as the geological formations change and the rocks are just black or white. This is usually a safer area but it’s also rougher to enter the sea water.

Big black volcanic rocks are everywhere on the beach

The end of the Red Beach is actually white… 🙂


The Red Beach in Santorini is a magnificent landscape and definitely one of the quirkiest beaches in the world.

It’s probably not the best beach in Greece or one that someone could spend a whole day at but it is such a unique scenery that one cannot miss. If you ask me, as long as I have visited once, I don’t think I will ever visit it again as it’s more like a visit to a wonderful geological site than a visit to a beach. I would enjoy spending my day in Perissa or Perivolos, to be honest. However, if it is your first time on the island then you should definitely visit it but always be careful about the falling rocks and always stay within the safe zones!

Photo of author
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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