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How to Visit the Red Beach, Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

Located in the southernmost part of Santorini — roughly 12 kilometres southwest of its capital Fira — is the famed Akrotiri Red Beach (a.k.a. Kokkini Beach). It boasts the mesmerizing view of dark blue water meeting red-hued sand, surrounded by high cliffs that are just as red. The beach’s sand gets its unique color from the black-and-red pulverized volcanic rock from the nearby Santorini caldera.

Akrotiri Red Beach, Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?
Akrotiri Red Beach, Santorini.

How to Get There

The Akrotiri Red Beach can be reached in a number of different ways.

  1. By Car. If you rent a car in Santorini, you can leave it at the parking space near the cliff, before making your way down to the beach.
  2. By Bus. Take the bus from Fira for only 2 euros. Akrotiri is its last stop. From the bus stop, you can also go to the Akrotiri archaeological site. Note that the bus is not very frequent, so make sure you check the timetable and plan carefully.
  3. By Boat. This is probably the coolest way to get to the Red Beach because you get to see its splendor from the sea. You can take the boat from Akrotiri Port, Kamari, or Perissa.

What to Expect

I of course chose the second option, and took the first bus from Fira at 8.45 a.m. The journey took approximately 20 minutes.

I think that the time that I chose was the perfect time to visit. In the morning of late spring, it was not too hot. The breeze was cooling, and there was not so much crowd. A group of Asian tourists were just leaving when I arrived. There was practically nobody else.
 
So, I shared the beach with the 5 or 6 people who came on the same bus. Apparently, it gets a lot busier in summer, as I’ve seen pictures of the beach with sunbeds and umbrellas all over it.
 
How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?
The signboard pointing to the Akrotiri Red Beach

The morning was cloudy. On the bus ride, there was one stretch of the road where it felt as though we were driving in the clouds. The bus dropped us near the Akrotiri excavation site, where some of the older ladies from our bus headed to. As for me, I didn’t want to see any more ruins after Acropolis.

So, I joined the few others walking to the beach. There was a signboard pointing to the Red Beach, and we only had to walk straight from there.

Lining the street were some shops and taverns. Before we knew it, we had reached the beach parking lot, where there were a couple of fruit stalls.

If you come in the low season and plan to picnic here, you better bring your own food and drinks, or buy at one of those fruit stalls on the cliff. There are no more sellers beyond that point.

After that, you’ll have to walk a little bit more through a somewhat narrow ledge on the hillside and climb down some rocks to get to the beach. In total, the walk from where the bus dropped us took about 15 minutes.

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?
Wearing sturdy shoes helps.

I personally think it was not a challenging feat, or at least not as challenging as reported on some other blogs. It can be attempted by any able-bodied person; you don’t have to be a really fit or experienced hiker.

Wearing sturdy shoes definitely made it easier for me, but it shouldn’t be entirely impossible to do it in flip-flops, as long as you go more slowly and take extra care on the rocks.

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?
The narrow path leading to the Red Beach
The ‘red sand’ wasn’t all that pretty up close. The beach only looked great when seen from a distance. Upon closer inspection, its sand actually looked more black than red, and very pebbly especially near the water’s edge. It was the surrounding cliffs that were redder than the beach itself, and probably gave the beach its name.
 

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

There are no water sports facilities available on the beach, so if you wish to partake in any, make sure you bring your own equipment. Apparently, it is home to some interesting underwater rock formations and a rich marine life.

Is the Akrotiri Red Beach Safe to Visit?

Officially, the Akrotiri Red Beach is considered unsafe. Even hotels and tour operators have been instructed to discourage visitors from trekking down to the beach.

And that’s because people have actually died there from landslides and rockfall, causing the beach to be closed down for some time in the recent past. Some parts of it are still inaccessible due to the slides. But visitors still flock there by the hundreds every day during summer. They do so at their own risk.

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

Just as I was leaving, a stone of about half the size of my fist fell down from the cliff, followed by a steady trickle of smaller pebbles. It was right in front of me. Granted, the stone probably wasn’t big enough to cause any serious damage, but I imagine it would still piss me off a great deal if it had landed on my head.

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?

The Verdict

Is the Akrotiri Red Beach worth visiting?

Well, if you have a lot of time on Santorini, then I would say this is a must-visit, if only for the fact that there are very few red-sand beaches in the world. The view from on top of the cliff was truly spectacular.

How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?
On the cliff edge, overlooking the Red Beach

But you can pretty much end your visit there. I don’t think it’s the best beach for swimming or sunbathing. Then again, I’m not easily impressed by beaches, because I’m from Southeast Asia — I think we have some of the world’s best ones over here.

For some people, the Akrotiri Red Beach might be too secluded and uncommercialized (at least, during the low season). Plus, it needs some hiking to get to and there’s the risk of rockfall. But if you find thrill in seclusion and a hint of danger, then this would be perfect for you.

 
 
How to visit Akrotiri Red Beach Santorini | Ummi Goes Where?
The red volcanic rocks of Akrotiri Red Beach

I’m not so much into beaches in the first place because I don’t like sand — it gets everywhere. I mean, it was fun when I was a kid and wasn’t the one doing the laundry. But if I do have to get sand all over my hair and bikini bottom, I’d rather have the fine white variety.

Have you visited any red-sand beach before? Where was it? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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Akrotiri pin
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51 Comments

  1. Pingback:How to Travel in Santorini on A Budget (3d2n Itinerary for Less than $500) – Ummi Goes Where?

  2. Ruby

    Ehhh jarang baca the other story about Santorini. Selalu tempat yang famous tu je akak tengok di social media. This is so good Ummi! I like it. Keep it up! Very useful info.

    • ummi

      Thank you, Kak Ruby. Ye, Akrotiri ni memang tak banyak orang tau. Biasanya kalau bercakap tentang Santorini, mesti orang akan terbayang bangunan2 yang putih dan biru tu je. Sebenarnya Santorini ni agak besar juga dan banyak tempat menarik.

    • ummi

      Oh ye ke? I tak tau pulak banyak movie Hindi shoot kat sini. Rugi takde shooting masa I pergi haritu, kalau tak, boleh jadi ekstra. Hahaha. Thanks, Farhana!

    • ummi

      Thanks, Bae. Haah, kalau nak diikutkan, pantai-pantai di Asia Tenggara jauh lebih cantik, sebab pasir putih dan halus. Ni pasir merah (bukan pasir sangat pun, more like pebbles), nak mandi pun tak selera. Haha. Tapi worth it jugak pergi sebab tak banyak pantai pasir merah kat dunia ni.

  3. Edahyu

    Oia and Fira dah cukup best for us..hehe..We didn’t visit this beach because we think it’s just like any other beaches 😆 Nasib baik tak pegi but 20minutes bus ride from Fira taklah jauh ☺️

    • ummi

      Ya, it wasn’t that far from the center. I just felt that I had to visit this beach because red beaches are a rare phenomenon. But you’re right, Oia and Fira are good enough if you don’t have much time on Santorini. If you’re looking for a nice sandy beach for swimming or sunbathing, you might wanna give this one a miss.

  4. Kitkat Nelfei

    🙂 This is nice to know.. At least something else beside the blue and white building that everyone looking forward to visit when we mentioned about Santorini.. 🙂 Marked for future reference 🙂

    • ummi

      Thanks, Kitkat. Ya, when you think of Santorini, usually only the white and blue buildings come to mind. But it’s actually a big island with so much more to offer. 🙂

    • ummi

      Terima kasih, kak Bella. Di Santorini ni la kali pertama saya dapat tahu dan lihat pantai pasir merah. Memang kat dunia ni tak banyak tempat yang ada fenomena ni.

  5. Sis Lin

    Uii menatiknyaaa…pantai merah yaaa? Kira semua pemandangan batu tu semua warna merah yaa Ummi? Tak dapat bayangkan betapa macam mana laut dan sekelilingnya dapat effect merah tu.. bestnyaaa…

    • ummi

      Ya, sis. Semua batu dan pasir kat situ berwarna merah/coklat. Semuanya berpunca dari gunung2 berapi yang berada di sekitar pulau Santorini. Memang menakjubkan.

  6. Mahamahu

    I kalau nak travel kat tempat yang tak pernah dengar dan juga tak pernah tahu kat sini lah rujukan yang terbaik keep it up and teruskan usaha you memang berguna lah..

    • ummi

      No problem, Venaugh. Yes, the view from up close wasn’t that impressive, but I still enjoyed the hike down and the sense of seclusion. So, I’m glad I went, even if it was just to satisfy my curiosity. 😀

    • ummi

      You’re welcome, Amy! Akrotiri Red Beach may not be as popular as the other attractions on Santorini, but it’s definitely worth a visit. All the best for your September trip. 🙂

    • ummi

      Thank you so much for sharing this with your friends, jetlaggedroamer. I really appreciate it. You’re so lucky to be able to visit the Greek Islands frequently!

  7. Josy A

    I totally agree Ummi. I liked visitied this beach, but I think it was more beautiful from far away…once you are up close the sand is less beautiful. And oh my goodness, that black/red sand gets soooo hot in the summertime!

    It is still really interesting to see the geology of the area. 🙂

    • ummi

      Same here, Josy! I’m glad I went because it’s not every day that I get to see a red sand beach. But that’s all there is to it — I don’t think I’d want to swim or hang out for much longer. I can imagine how hot it can be in summer. I went to one of the black sand beaches and it burned my feet!

    • ummi

      Different people might have different opinions about it, Krista. I’m not a beach person, so that could have been one of the reasons why I wasn’t so excited about it. I did enjoy the view from above though. 🙂

  8. Tiffany

    It would be cool to see a red beach someday- Good to know this one is not worth hiking all the way down to though!!!

    • ummi

      Ya, Tiffany, I personally think it’s prettier when seen from above. But for those who simply love hiking or exploring new places, they might find it worthwhile to go all the way down to the beach.

    • ummi

      Ohh.. I haven’t been to Mykonos yet. Would love to check it out next and see which one I like better. And I think yes, you should definitely revisit both 😉

  9. Francesca

    I had no clue there was a red sand beach in Santorini. I will need to go here next time. It looks like a gorgeous place to walk around.

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