Santorini is one of the most naturally stunning places I’ve ever visited.
The whitewashed homes built into the cliffs, breathtaking sunsets and fantastic beaches have made this volcanic Cyclades island a hugely popular tourist destination that definitely doesn’t disappoint.
One of the features that make Santorini truly unique is its geological formation. The horseshoe shape of the island is the result of the Minoan eruption of Thera, also referred to at the Thera eruption or the Santorini eruption. This was one of the largest volcanic eruptions known throughout history, dating back approximately 3,600 years ago. This destroyed all settlements in the early single island and creating the current shape of the main island of Santorini and the smaller island of Thirasia as well as a few other islands.
Today, there is evidence of the volcanic presence with many volcanic craters throughout the island. The most recent eruption was in 1950, followed by a devastating earthquake in 1956. The volcano is currently dormant, though it gives off odors from time to time.
As a result of this volcanic history, the beaches have formed with really unique sand and rock colors. The most famous ones include a black pebble beach, a white beach and a red beach.
We decided to rent ATVs and drive around the island, exploring as many beaches as we could. Since we were staying in the town of Perissa, this was our first beach, as it is considered one of the nicest in Santorini. The beach itself was a really nice black sand beach with clean, clear water. There were also tons of little shops and restaurants that were perfect for taking a break from the sun. At night, many of them turn into bars with live music, too!
After a short visit in Perissa, we moved on to what is supposed to be the most unique, picturesque beach in Santorini: Red Beach. This is located in the Akrotiri area, near to the ancient site of Akrotiri.
The beach was so beautiful! The deep red color coming from the red lava cliffs that flow down into the crystal blue waters was absolutely spectacular. Because of landslides the beach has been closed to the public in recent years, but you can still get this spectacular view:
We then headed in the direction of Oia to watch the sunset, making a quick stop at one of the black sand beaches along the way, which I believe was Vouvoulos Beach. There were lots of great waves and the beach wasn’t so crowded, which made the stop my favorite of all the ones we visited.
I’m really looking forward to going back to Santorini sometime in the future and exploring more of the amazing beaches this island has to offer!