Many people do not know Santorini is a marvellous snorkeling destination. This island has its reputation confined to panoramic beaches with spectacular ocean views. However, when you go snorkeling in Santorini, you will get the opportunity to find the best resources. Though Santorini does not comparatively have a rich marine life like other Greek islands, such as Corfu, it is still a worthwhile destination to dive in the sparkling waters to explore the enchanting underwater rocky formations. There are several features like caves, shipwrecks, and more on this island, making it a favourable snorkeling location.
The water in Santorini is very clear. It has decent visibility, which signifies that visitors can explore as much as they want. You can see as far as 40 meters below underwater on this island. You can delve into the amazing reefs and take a look at the vivid fish species. The best coral reef formations are found in the mold currents, and different fish species and invertebrates also enjoy their stay in these waters.
10 Best Places for Snorkeling in Santorini
1. Caldera Beach
Caldera Beach is also called Balos. It is a black sandy beach that is the best diving spot in Santorini. Its name is inspired by the fact that it is the only beach in the Caldera, i.e., the volcanic crater, which does not require a boat for conveyance. Visitors can reach here easily. You only have to drive towards Akrotiri and then at the Caldera sign, take a turn towards the right. Remarkably, Caldera beach is also an amazing snorkeling spot on this island, which is extremely quiet. It does not have the bustling touristy atmosphere like other famous beaches in Santorini. Here you can observe deep waters with the presence of many fishes.
2. Red Beach (Kokkini Paralia)
Red Beach is a renowned tourist destination in Santorini that is famous for its red-hued sand due to the presence of frozen lava. It is not only one of the most famous beaches on the island, but it is also a marvellous location to go snorkeling. This beach offers a wonderful experience with its beautiful landscape featuring volcanic rocks, red cliffs, and titular red sand. The sea here is so calm that you can take a look at the mesmerizing underwater caverns and rocks while snorkeling. There are umbrellas and sunbeds available for rent.
The Red Beach is located in the southern part of Santorini, near Akrotiri. Visitors can take a boat from Akrotiri, Perissa, or Kamari to reach there. However, you can also go by land by following the road that goes to the ancient Akrotiri Town prehistoric site, via which you can reach the Red Beach parking area. Besides, you should note that this beach is quite narrow and gets crowded quickly. So, you must arrive in the morning to avoid crowds.
3. White Beach (Aspri Paralia)
Another attractive snorkeling spot in Santorini is White Beach, located on the southwest coast near Akrotiri. It is renowned for its sparkling white cliffs, dark volcanic sand, and clear waters. White Beach is an amazing spot for snorkeling where you can explore several caves underwater. You can reach White Beach from the Perissa and Akrotiri beaches by boat only. This beach is comparatively less populated than Red Beach. However, since it is a small cove, it gets crowded sometimes in the peak season. If you want to enjoy solitude while swimming on this beach, the best time is to arrive early in the morning.
4. Kamari Beach
One of the most bustling resort towns in Santorini is Kamari. It is a family-friendly place on the island that people of all ages visit for a relaxing yet activity-packed vacation. Kamari Beach is a black pebbly beach that has fabulously clear water so that you can easily observe the marine life underwater. During the daytime, you can enjoy the seaside at the 2 km long fully organized beach, with a broad range of facilities, such as water sports and sunbed rental. The main walkway has many places to eat or drink in the evening.
The Mesa Vouno mountain decouples Kamari beach from Perissa Beach. The ruin on the top of this mountain is a historical landmark known as the Ancient Thera. It is also a must-visit place in Santorini for history and archaeology enthusiasts with spectacular views. Also, the black volcanic sand of this beach gets very hot in the summer, so you must bring your aquatic shoes.
5. Perissa Beach
Perissa beach is one of the most famous beaches of Santorini. Notably, as it has a long and wide area, it is still not that crowded compared to the popular Oia beach or Fira beach. Perissa is an effortlessly accessible resort area located at the base of the Mesa Vouno Mountain on the southeast coast of Santorini. Perissa is an official Blue Flag beach due to its tidiness and clear waters.
Those people seeking a clean & shallow, kid-friendly beach for snorkeling in Santorini should visit Perissa Beach. Here, the sea bed features dark sand with small volcanic pebbles. The water is warmer at this beach. You can see the Mediterranean fish species along with crabs and starfishes while snorkeling. Besides, there are various services available, including beach gear rental, a playground, a water park with slides, and water sports such as windsurfing & canoeing. Also, there are many restaurants and bars around Perissa beach. All these make it a worthwhile destination.
6. Ammoudi Beach
There are several charming beaches in Santorini, one of which is Ammoudi Beach. It is situated on the island's northwest coast near the Ammoudi port at the bottom of Oia. Notably, this is not a usual sandy beach to enjoy sunbathing on a lounge chair, rather, this is a cove that is a marvellous location for swimming and snorkeling in Santorini. The water here has a deep blue colour and crystal-clear visibility that tempts you to jump into the sea.
You can get into the water right away from the small dock if you want to swim, but if you want to access the diving area, you have to follow the path over the restaurants that lead you to a small bay. It is surrounded by high red-coloured cliffs. Besides you will also find a small islet here known as St. Nicholas Rock, having a little church. Visitors can reach there only by way of swimming.
7. Vlychada Beach (Paralia Vlichada)
Vlychada Beach is not a bustling tourist spot like other popular locations in the south of Santorini, but it is one of the most beautiful locations. Many people do not even know about this beach. Notably, the most distinctive attraction at this beach is the wind-shaped cliffs that surround the areas and appear like sand sculptures. These cliffs make this beach look like a lunar scenery, which is why it is popularly called Moon Beach.
Alongside the fabulous scenery, this place also has clear and comparatively deep waters with various species of fish, which makes Vlychada beach an amazing snorkeling location in Santorini. Also, there are snack bars and taverns nearby to let you have a comfortable experience.
8. Kambia Beach
The next one on our list is Kambia, a less popular place that lies on the southwest coast, between the renowned Red and White beaches. There is no straightforward way to this location, and only a dirt road leads to Kambia. Notably, there is a small tavern and a sunbed rental available. Yet, there are no lavish bars or restaurants, which is why this place remains less known and isolated.
Remarkably, this peaceful beach mostly observes visitors who like to have a vacation in solitude, away from the congested touristy beaches. The seabed here has large pebbles, which makes walking on the shore slightly uncomfortable. It is advisable to bring aquatic shoes with you. There is a small wooden wharf with a ladder that makes you enter easily into the sea. The clear waters offer wonderful snorkeling along with observing various fishes, sea urchins, and sometimes octopuses amid the rocks.
9. Nea Kameni
Nea Kameni is a small island nestled in the middle of Santorini caldera. Notably, it is a splendid location that is famous due to the presence of a sunken shipwreck on this spot for decades from today. Nea Kameni has developed as one of the most renowned snorkeling and scuba diving spots. Visitors can explore various places around this beach as well. You can explore the natural hot springs and pass through the island's western region, which is a must-visit spot.
The water on this island is very pure & clear, and you can see up to 40 feet underwater very easily. The surrounding rocks can become an issue during the summer season when there are northerly winds that tend to roil the water. However, this place is clear for snorkeling for most parts of the year.
10. Black Beach
One of the rockiest coves located in the southern part of Santorini is the Black beach. It is the least popular beach on this island because it is in a slightly strange location. The beach lies under the orthodox chapel at the place where the accessible way ends. The coastline is sandier and rougher and due to this area observes roily water. The water at this beach may not have ideal visibility. Still, it is worth a try.
As there are no throngs of people in this area, it tends to enchant the snorkelers. Remarkably, the most favourable area of this beach to go snorkeling is the easternmost end of the shoreline of this beach. There you will spot caves and rock shelters surrounding the area that feature fish species of vivid colours and sea urchins. A large wedge of white stone pokes out of the water. Also, the cliffs highlight ancient Greek folklore.
Best Time for Snorkeling in Santorini
The peak season in Santorini is considered the ideal season to enjoy snorkeling on this island. The peak tourist season is the summer months, i.e., from June to September. The highest frequency of flights operates during this season. At this time, early morning treks and swimming in the sea are most frequent and greatly enjoyed. The sun shines brightly, the sparkling waters are alluring, the winds are mild, and the air is clean. Santorini offers the most beautiful beach weather this season. Hence, it is the ideal time to do swimming, scuba diving and go snorkeling in the seas.
How to Book a Snorkeling Activity in Santorini
Santorini activity in Santorini can be booked via online tour and adventure activities platforms or through the local operators. Many travel & adventure activity providers are offering snorkeling activities in Santorini. You can opt for any such platform that you prefer. Just visit their website, which allows hassle-free searching and a quick booking facility for snorkeling in Santorini package. Several local operators are also available at the activity spots, such as Caldera Beach, which offers diving and snorkeling excursions in Santorini. They offer guided snorkeling excursions, cruise trips, and more.
Tips for Snorkeling
While snorkeling for the first time, consider going from the beach, not a boat. It is because jumping off a boat into the deep sea can be a bit challenging for beginners.
For a marvellous experience, opt to snorkel from such an area of the beach that is alive, i.e., has various fish and coral reefs to observe. It will be more enjoyable than snorkeling at a dead spot with nothing to see.
Most of the time, waves reduce underwater visibility, so you will be unable to observe ocean life clearly. Hence, newbie snorkelers should dive into the water when it is calm.
When you are new to snorkeling, you get a bit comfortable by seeing other snorkelers in the water before you get in. By this, you can get an idea of the conditions underwater.
As a precaution, always go snorkeling on a beach with a lifeguard. Alternatively, you can opt to go with an experienced snorkeler.
Remember, snorkeling limits your breath. Hence, you must keep your activity level moderate so that it does not lead you to breathe heavily.
Do not use harmful sunscreen. Most sunscreens tend to cause reef damage. So, use a reef-friendly sunscreen that does not harm ocean life.
All the above-mentioned snorkeling tips are focused on taking care of yourself. Also, you should take care of the sea by not touching the coral reefs, fish species, or other organisms in the sea. Besides, you should not carry along any sort of valuable items to prevent any kind of loss.