Oh, the picturesque Santorini coastline with its thousands of colors! The beaches of Santorini are undoubtedly among the main attractions of the island since each one of them is a rare and unique sight you will not encounter on any other Greek island. You must have seen countless images of the famous black beaches on travel sites by now.. But have you ever wondered how these natural wonders got their distinctive color? Read on to find out the mystery of the stunning Santorini’s black beaches!
The moment you step off the boat or the airplane, Santorini will enchant you with its white-washed sugar-cube houses, blue-domed chapels, and stunning winding alleyways against the backdrop of the shimmering blue Aegean Sea. However, Santorini’s charm does not stop there. In order to fully appreciate all the beauty of Santorini, one must dive deeper into the island’s rich history. The devastating 1600 BCE eruption in Thera not only changed the course of locals’ lives who inhabited the region but also the shape and geological features of the Mediterranean island. This catastrophic event majorly contributed to the fall of the Minoans, a Bronze Age Aegean civilization, and shattered the formerly round-shaped island into several smaller pieces.
The explosion covered the entire island in pumice, ash, and volcanic lava. Aside from the destruction though, the volcanic eruption also brought about something eerily stunning: Santorini’s one-of-a-kind black sand beaches! The black sand comes from eroded volcanic material and lava fragments and is typically found on beaches near volcanic activity. Black sand beaches get their characteristic shade from the dark-colored volcanic minerals and rocks. The most common dark-colored rock type found on the island is basalt which is formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron. Over 90% of all volcanic rock on Earth is basalt. The minerals that predominantly give the black to these rocks are iron oxides.
Black sands feel heavier than regular light-colored sands and tend to become very heated on a sunny day, therefore, you had better wear a pair of water shoes when you go for a dip. The dark hue and the heaviness are both caused by the high iron content of the sand. Iron gives black color to the rock, and consequently to the sand because it absorbs light very well. These unique geological processes and formations made Santorini beaches so extraordinary. When you first lay eyes on them, you get the impression as if you walked on an alien landscape.
The most gorgeous black beaches of Santorini are located at Perissa and Perivolos which are just a 24-minute drive from the town of Fira. Together, they create the longest stretch of beach on the island. They are both organized beaches with a plethora of water sports facilities, taverns, coffee shops, and convenience stores. Perivolos, in particular, offers a more up-market clubbing scene, an extension of Santorini’s nightlife by day. Another noteworthy place is Kamari beach which is the ultimate destination for families with children to spend endless hours of leisure by the sea. When you find yourself in Santorini, you must pay a visit to each of these remarkable beaches.