We are suckers for colored sand. We’d love to someday be able to say we have seen a rainbow’s worth of colored beaches. So when we heard there was a red sand beach on Santorini, we knew we had to check it out.
The beach was very simple to get to. There are buses from Thira throughout the day. A list of times is posted at the bus station, and when the bus arrives an employee will holler, “Akrotiri!” That’s your cue to board the bus. Once on board, someone will come around to collect your bus fare, which is 2 Euro from Thira to Akrotiri. From where we were staying in Perissa, you can get the bus toward Thira but tell the ticket seller that you’d like to go to Akrotiri Crossroads. The cost is 1.80 Euro, and from the crossroads you’ll catch another bus for 1.80. The bus employees will let you know when you’re at the stop.
After the bus ride there is a little hike to the beach itself. Fortunately, it is not nearly as grueling of a hike as the trek to the green sand beach on Hawaii’s Big Island. We would recommend that you forgo your flip-flops for a more substantial shoe.
You could really forgo all of your typical beach attire. The red sand beach is not actually a nice beach for lounging or sunning or swimming or any of the other activities you typically do at a beach. The sand is more rocky than sandy, and most of the beach is roped off due to landslides. The parts that aren’t roped off are covered in piles of seaweed, which also dominates the waves here so any dip in the water will result in you having bits of seaweed stuck all over you. There are a few cabanas and a snack bar at the end of the beach, but there are better places to relax on Santorini. Our advice is to opt for one of the other beaches.
Really, our advice is to skip the red sand beach altogether unless you are just really intrigued by it. Although the red cliffs sheltering the beach are striking, the sand itself is not that impressive. Red sand is really a generous description. It’s more like tiny reddish and black pebbles of lava rock, not quite ground down to the level of sand yet and not exactly red. It should be called the Sort of Reddish Tiny Pebbly Area of Santorini.