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This popular Greek island – that is actually a water-filled volcanic crater in the Aegean Sea – is famous for its enormous cliffs, dramatic volcanic landscape, colorful red and black sandy beaches and luxurious hotels, but isn’t really considered a snorkeling destination. It is true that Santorini doesn’t offer such rich marine life like other islands in the country, for example Crete or Corfu, but it is still worth bringing your mask and fins to explore interesting underwater rock formations in the clear waters. To go snorkeling in Santorini, these are the best spots you should visit!
Red Beach – Kokkini Paralia
Red Beach is not only the most famous beach on the island, but also an excellent spot to go snorkeling in Santorini. With its amazing landscape that features volcanic rocks, red cliffs and sand, this place offers an out of this world experience. If you decide to snorkel here (that we highly recommend if the sea is calm), you will see impressive underwater caverns and rocks.
This popular beach lies near Akrotiri, on the southernmost part of Santorini. To get here, you can take a boat from Akrotiri, Perissa or Kamari, but it is easily accessible from land too. Follow the road that goes to the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri archaeological site that also worth a visit) until you reach the Red Beach parking.
The viewpoint where you can see the beach is within a 5-minute walk from the parking, but to go down to the actual beach, it is another 5-10 minutes hike on a downhill path. There are sunbeds and umbrellas to rent but note that the beach itself is pretty narrow and fills up quickly, so arrive in the morning if you want to enjoy it without crowds.
Tip: an amazing apartment with an incredible seaview nearby is Sublime Villa & Caves
White Beach – Aspri Paralia
Another unique and interesting beach of Santorini is White Beach that can be found on the southwest coast, near Akrotiri that is famous for its shiny, white cliffs. With dark volcanic sand and inviting clear waters, White Beach is truly a unique spot for snorkeling in Santorini where you can explore various caves under the sea.
White Beach is accessible by boat only, for example from Perissa and Akrotiri beaches. It is a little less populated than Red Beach, but since it is a small cove, in the main season it still can get crowded, so the best is to arrive early if you want to enjoy privacy while swimming here.
If you want to spend more time at this wonderful location, stay a few night at the Serenity Blue Cave House!
There is a lesser-known place on the southwest coast, between the famous Red and White beaches called Kambia. It is not easily accessible, only a dirt road leads here.
There is sunbed rental available and a small tavern, but no fancy bars or restaurants, probably this is the reason why this place remains an isolated, quiet paradise and visited by people who want to stay away from the crowded touristy beaches.
The sea bottom has large pebbles that make walking on the shore a bit uncomfortable so make sure to pack water shoes, but there is a small wooden pier with ladder to make entering the sea easy. The crystal waters offer good snorkeling; put on your mask and observe sea urchins, fish species and sometimes octopus hiding between the rocks!
The black sandy Caldera Beach (also known as Balos) is the island’s best diving spot. The name of this place comes from the fact that this is the only beach in the caldera (volcanic crater) that is accessible without a boat. Getting here is straightforward, you just need to drive towards Akrotiri and turn right at the Caldera sign.
With deep waters and many fishes present, this beach is an excellent Santorini snorkeling spot too which is usually incredibly quiet. It doesn’t have a touristy atmosphere as other popular beaches on the island, so it is the perfect place for vacationers who prefer laid-back places. After visiting Caldera, make a stop at the nearby Panorama Restaurant and enjoy authentic Greek food with the view of the western side of the island!
Tip: just 500m from Caldera Beach lies the fantastic 4-star Hotel Goulielmos!
Many people don’t even know about Vlichada, which is a shame in my opinion since it is easily one of the most beautiful, not too touristy spots in the south of the island. The most unique attraction at Vlichada is the surrounding wind-shaped cliffs that look like sand sculptures and give this place a lunar scenery (this is why it is often referred as Moon Beach).
Not only the scenery is fantastic here, but the clear and relatively deep water makes Vlichada a nice Santorini snorkeling spot too where you will be able to observe some fish species. With snack bars and taverns nearby, it is comfortable to spend the day here.
The rumor has that some investors wanted to start development here, but hopefully this won’t happen and Vlichada will become a protected area instead so people can enjoy this beautiful place in its natural state.
Our hotel tip near Vlichada: Family Village Santorini
Those who are looking for a clean, shallow kid-friendly beach for snorkeling in Santorini should head to Perissa. This easily accessible resort area lies on the southeast coast, at the base of the Mesa Vouno Mountain.
Perissa belongs to the island’s most popular beaches, but since it is long and wide, it is still not that crowded that the famous Oia or Fira beaches. Thanks to its clear waters and tidiness, it is an official Blue Flag beach.
The sea bottom features dark sand and small volcanic pebbles; therefore, the water here feels warmer. There is a wide variety of services available here like bathrooms, playground, water park with slides, beach gear rental and also water sports like banana boats, windsurfing or canoeing. When you go snorkeling, you can see various Mediterranean fish species as well as crabs and starfish.
With many restaurants and bars around, Perissa has everything that you need to spend your day in comfort. If you like to party, make sure to stay (or come back) after sunset too and enjoy drinking cocktails in the lively beach clubs here.
Tip: if you look for luxurious accommodation nearby, make sure to check the Aqua Blue Hotel!
Kamari is one of the busiest, yet very family-friendly resort town in Santorni where people at all ages can have a relaxing, yet activity-filled vacation. The main promenade offers lots of places to drink and eat in the evening, while during the day you can enjoy the sun and sea at the 2km long, fully organized beach that has a wide range of facilities from sunbed rental to water sports.
This black, pebbly beach has fantastic clear water that makes observing the underwater life easy. Although, keep in mind that the black volcanic sand gets so hot in summer that walking on it barefoot is almost impossible, so bring aqua shoes!
Kamari is separated by Perissa Beach by a huge rock, Mesa Vouno on the left side (mentioned above) that has ruins on the top. This historical landmark is called Ancient Thera. A must-see place on the Santorini if you are interested in history, and the view is also breathtaking from there!
Tip: if you are looking for the best value for money hotel in Kamari, check out the traditional Cycladic style Nostos Beach!
There are so many beautiful beaches in Santorini, but my favorite one is Ammoudi Beach, on the northwest coast near the port of Ammoudi, at the bottom of Oia. It is not a typical sandy beach where you can enjoy sunbathing on a lounge chair, but this cove is an excellent swimming location and superb Santorini snorkeling spot.
If you want to swim, you can easily get into the water from the small dock, but if want to get to the diving area, follow the path past the restaurants that takes you to a small bay surrounded by high, reddish cliffs. Here the water is so deep blue and crystal clear that you want to jump in the sea immediately!
You’ll find another small islet here that is called the St. Nicholas Rock with a small church on it. This is probably the most unique church on Santorini because you need to swim to get to! Don’t miss out on this experience when you visit Ammoudi Beach!
Should you get hungry after your underwater exploration, head to one of the several taverns along the waterfront, taste delicious Greek dishes and enjoy the sunset!
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