Santorini is known for being one of the most beautiful spots in Greece and the beaches here only enhance that reputation. But you'll find something different from long stretches of sandy coastline meeting clear waters here – that sort of generic postcard picture isn't what this unique, hip island is all about. Instead – thanks to the island's volcanic nature – you'll find distinctive and colourful settings.
Monolithos Beach is ideally located near Santorini Airport and is easily accessible by car. Its long stretch of beach neatly meets the cool shallow water. If you have any children you can feel at ease with them playing in the shallows as the seafloor at Monolithos Beach has a gentle gradual slope. This coast is made up of volcanic black sand and is quiet and calm with plenty of trees for shady spots. Sunloungers and umbrellas are available for hire, and lots of restaurants and cafes line the sand. Kids will also enjoy playing on the beach's own playground.
Near the town of Thira is this large cove boasting a unique black and sandy pebbled beach. It's a popular spot for holidaymakers and has several facilities – including places to hire sunloungers and umbrellas. The beach path is ideal for taking a leisurely stroll and leads you to the left side of the beach where you can take in the views of Mesa Vouno, an enormous rock that rises from the water.
This family-friendly beach has plenty of places for you to grab a bite to eat – as well as toilets, changing rooms and showers. If you're into clubbing, Kamari beach also has a fantastic nightlife scene during the summer months.
All three of these beaches connect to one another making an incredibly long stretch of black sandy coastline. Located on the south-east side of the island, you'll get fantastic views of the famous Mesa Vouno rock, a formation that juts out of the sea. This area is considered one of the best swimming zones on the island. The beachfront is very developed and you'll have your pick of restaurants, cafes and beach bars for lunch.
If you're interested in history, there's a trail that starts at the beach and crosses the mountains to lead to the ruins of Ancient Thera. You can make this trek on foot if you're feeling up to it, or you can do it the traditional way and hire a donkey.
Only a 20-minute drive from Thira and a short walk away from the famous Akrotiri archaeological site is Red Beach. This unique red-coloured beach can be found in a cove surrounded by steep red cliffs. The landscape's rugged overhangs make this journey difficult for those with mobility issues as the walk down to the water is fairly steep, and there are pebbles underfoot. Sunloungers and umbrellas are available to rent, and there's also a beach cantina if your stomach starts to grumble. Red Beach is truly something special to behold – its red surface and even redder surrounding cliffs make it an unmissable sight.
Further east of Agios Giorgios Beach is this sandy and pebbly volcanic grey coastline. The beach area here is surrounded by high, light-brown volcanic cliffs creating a unique beach setting and beautiful sunset gallery. Vlychada isn't as popular as other beaches on the island so you won't need to worry about tourists invading your personal sunbathing space.
If you get hungry, restaurants can be found by the parking area and at the nearby marina, and there's also a canteen on the beach for drinks and snacks. One section of Vlychada Beach is nudist-friendly.