Ok. There seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation about White Beach out here on the interweb. So, this little guide will help you get to the right place on Santorini with the information you need to have a good day.
Where Is the White Sand Beach?
Santorini’s White Beach is in the Akrotiri area in the south of the island. It’s between Mesa Pigadia/Black Beach and Kampia Beach, which is next to the infamous Red Beach.
White Beach Santorini
Enjoying Your Day
White Beach is just a small beach, so you’ll need to take everything you need. Also, expect it to get fairly busy in the summer months despite being a somewhat secluded location.
It’s close to some of the island’s major tourist attractions and a great place to enjoy a nice view of the Aegean Sea. But there’s quite a bit of sea traffic with cruises, even if not everyone stops at the beach.
There are sometimes sun loungers under the permanent umbrellas, although never when I’ve visited. You can put your towel down on the sand, but it might be a bit damp.
If you’re a beach professional (!), take your foldable chair or alternative to sit on amongst the white and black pebbles. If you do, I probably wouldn’t sit too close to the surrounding cliffs, just in case some sections decide to come loose.
The beach is very exposed, with little natural shade. The umbrellas there give a bit of a shadow. But if you’re staying for a while, it’s a good idea to take some shade of your own.
Food and Drinks
Take enough cold drinks with you and any food you want. There’s no beach bar at White Beach so you’ll have to get the boat to either Black Beach or Akrotiri to replenish.
I recommend water shoes for Santorini. Because the sand is very fine gravel from the island’s volcanic rocks, it gets really hot in the sun. I found some perfect ones in Perissa. But you can get versions all over the place.
Those clear blue waters will be calling you in for a refreshing swim! So, take your snorkel mask to explore below the surface.
Although you won’t experience the most diverse marine life ever, there is enough to enjoy. I’ve seen sea urchins and plenty of fish in the area to make it interesting.
🤿 Here are some tips on what to take for snorkelling.
See the caldera’s stunning natural beauty as you sail along the coast
Getting to White Beach
The only way to get to this beach is by the water. If you’ve heard you can drive there or access White Beach on foot, please see point two below. 🚫
The most common way of getting to White Beach is on one of the taxi boats that run from a pier at Akrotiri.
From the bus stop at the bottom of the main road (after the entrances to Red Beach and the Akrotiri excavations), turn right. Walk along the path in front of the restaurants with the sea on your left.
When you get to Cave of Nikolas (worth stopping for their seafood), you’ll see the pier with signs for the Akrotiri Daily Cruises.
Boats run from there to Red Beach, Black Beach and White Beach. They leave every 30 minutes from 10:30am. The last boat is at 5pm and the round trip costs 15 euro.
If you just want to see the beaches and get a stunning view of the caldera, then stay on board for the loop. Otherwise, put on the wristband so you can hop on and off later. Take the boat to Black Beach for lunch, or head back to Akrotiri when you’re ready.
Taxi boat wristband
Getting off at The Right Stop
White Beach is the third stop on the route. From Akrotiri, you head straight to Red Beach. We did make a stop there to collect people, but technically, the beach is closed, so you can’t get off there.
You can see the stunning red rocks from the water and appreciate the landscape from there.
After Red Beach, you sail past Kambia Beach and go close to White Beach without stopping. The second stop is Black Beach. From there, the boat turns around and returns to White Beach as the third stop.
There’s quite shallow water near the shore at White Beach. But from the boat, you need to wade through water that’ll come up high on your thighs.
Be careful if you’re carrying a camera on a cross-body strap or anything like that. Keep it well away from the water so it doesn’t get splashed as you get off the boat.
After enjoying your beach day, the boat goes straight from White Beach back to base at Akrotiri.
The crystal clear waters at White Beach
Private Boat Trip
If you’ve rented a small boat to explore the southern side of Santorini, then you could follow the same route as the taxi boats above. You can rent a boat without a license or have a skipper take you out on the water for a few hours.
Santorini Boat Rental is based at Vlychada Beach nearby. If you’re staying further round the coast in Perissa, then Sea Breeze Santorini is another good company to rent from.
You can also book private catamaran tours if you just want to sit back and relax.
Half-Day Group Trip
Joining an organised boat trip is another way of visiting White Beach by boat. There are some great daytime and sunset boat tours along the southern shore of Santorini. Check Get Your Guide for highly-rated options.
The Red, White and Black Beach trio are popular with catamaran and yacht cruises.
I loved the kayaking I did in Santorini. I booked with Serenity Kayak and would highly recommend them as your tour guide.
We started on Kambia Beach and paddled past White Beach on the way to and from Mesa Pigadi. Although you don’t stop at White Beach, you do get a good look if that’s all you’re after.
Need to Know Info About Visiting White Beach
1. There Is No White Sand
If you’re looking for a white sand beach in Santorini, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. Despite having the alternative Greek name of Lefki Ammos – which means White Sand – the White Beach/Aspri Paralia is another of the island’s black sand beaches.
The name comes from the white lime rocks behind it rather than the sand itself. Although some white rocks have come down from the cliff and spread across the back of the sand, you can clearly see that it’s black.
So, despite what you might have read elsewhere, you can’t lay your towel on soft white sand there. The whitest part of the beach is a little uncomfortable to lie on directly.
The stunning white cliffs that give the beach its name
2. Please Don’t Try and Walk There
I’ve seen people leave reviews on Google Maps saying they walked to White Beach in Santorini. And someone also showed me some travel blog posts saying the same. All I can think is that these people are getting confused with Kambia Beach.
Kambia – “Grey Beach”?
Kambia is a small, pebble beach between Red Beach and White Beach. The stones there are a mix of grey and white, giving it a lighter look than the dark sand beaches. Plus, there is a great big lime rock at the end of the beach.
So I’m assuming people have found their way there and thought they were at the named White Beach.
It’s down a dirt track that I wouldn’t recommend tackling with a normal city car. And there is some space for parking if you have a 4×4. Some people do go on ATVs, and to that, I’ll give you my usual caution about renting a quad bike on the islands.
Anyway, it’s a relaxed, fairly secluded beach with a taverna but not one of the island’s favourite spots. And it’s not the White Beach.
Santorini’s hiking trail number 12 from Akrotiri to the Lighthouse goes over the Red Beach and up along the clifftops. The path is high above the sea and passes along to Mesa Pigadia. That’s Black Beach, the neighbouring cove beyond White Beach.
The map literally says to take care near the cliff edge. Look at the pictures below. Where, on that sheer cliff face, do people think they’re going to be trotting down to the beach?
And, if they do manage to slip and slide their way down, I don’t see getting back up a vertical rock face very easy. You’re literally risking life and limb if you try and visit White Beach that way.
So let’s just stick to getting there by boat. A Greek island isn’t somewhere you want to be incurring major injuries. (BTW, you’ve sorted your travel insurance, right?)
The steep cliffs behind White Beach
Things to Do Near White Beach
I’ve mentioned some of these already, but as a summary, here are some other things to do nearby. (Go to my Santorini page to see everything I’ve written for you about the island.)
- Akrotiri Archaeological Site – all-weather exhibition dubbed the Greek Pompeii
- Red Beach – see it from the viewing point that you can walk to from the main road entrance from Akrotiri
Red Beach and the viewing point
- Hike route number 12 (Santorini has lots of hiking routes)
- Lounge at Black Beach as well as White Beach (for other places on the island to lounge on the beach check out these beach bars)
- Have a seafood meal at the Cave of Nikolas for some traditional Greek food
- Visit Akrotiri Lighthouse at sunset (hint: it can get busy, and there are nice viewpoints along the road that are just as good to stop at)
- Do a shore dive with Santorini Dive Center at Caldera Beach
- Visit the rescue dogs and donkeys at SAWA Santorini – Sawaland
- Get lost in the alleyways of Emporio village
- Rent a boat or join an organised boat trip (sunset ones are great)
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