The bewitching but dangerous beauty of Santorini’s Red Beach

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Red Beach Santorini

Santorini’s Red Beach is seen in an image from EscapeGreece.com 

 

Rockfall risk: Since Santorini enjoys a worldwide reputation for superlative natural scenery, it’s not surprising that the island’s remarkable Red Beach regularly garners glowing accolades from international travel publications and leading lifestyle websites — along with ample attention on social media, where thousands of people have posted selfies that they shot on and near the colourful coastal attraction.

During my routine online work and research, I frequently find articles in which travel magazines and websites declare Red Beach to be one of the world’s “best,” “most beautiful,” “most unusual” or “most colourful” beaches, and recommend it as a “must-see” for anyone visiting Santorini.  Photos of the distinctive strand, which is also known as Red Sand Beach, appear even more often on websites and social media pages dedicated to travel in Greece, and in particular for hotels and tour companies operating on Santorini.

What the articles, posts and photo captions rarely mention, however, is that Red Beach is a veritably perilous place to sunbathe, swim or stroll. In recent years, there have been several significant rockfalls and landslides from the crimson-coloured bluffs that rise behind the narrow strip of scarlet-tinged pebbles and stones, and geological experts believe it’s possible that more cliff sections could collapse onto the beach at any time. (There are anecdotal claims that two beachgoers were killed by a landslide a few years ago, but I couldn’t find any news reports confirming the fatalities or date of the accident.)

 

 

Red Beach Santorini photo by TripAdvisor member Chris B

Red Beach is seen on a sunny April afternoon in a photo by TripAdvisor review contributor Chris B

 

Red Beach Santorini

During peak season in past years, sunbeds have been available for rent, as seen in this photo from the Santorini Hotels Facebook page

 

Red Beach Santorini photo by Cecil Ramirez

In April, Facebook member Cecil Ramirez captured this photo of the imposing red stone cliffs that tower above Red Beach

 

Red Beach Santorini photo by Daena K Nicholas

Major rockfalls have occurred at Red Beach several times in the past decade. Two of the larger landslides are clearly visible in this photo shared on Facebook by Daena K Nicholas

 

Red Beach Santorini photo by Jc Male

Red Beach has been “closed” since August 2013 because of fears more landslides could occur, and since stones and boulders loosen and plunge from the cliffs on occasion. But warning signs like this one, shown in a Facebook photo by Jc Male, have not deterred thousands of people from going to the beach.

 

Red Beach Santorini photo by Daniel Dias da Silva Facebook photo of Red Beach Santorini

Sunbathers sit near the foot of one of the larger landslides, seen in a Facebook photo by Daniel Dias da Silva. Fences were installed to keep people from climbing the cliffs and landslip rubble because that could trigger further collapses of the rock face.

 

Red Beach Santorini photo by Nikky Dudek

The safest way to see Red Beach is from the sea or from a distance on a hilltop vantage point like this one captured in a Facebook photo by Nikky Dudek

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading about Red Beach on page 2 of this post, where you can view videos and dozens more photos of this singular Santorini beach.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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3 Comments

  1. Really beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. My friend passed away here when we visited in May 2013. We were on the hilltop area when we assume part of the cliff gave way from underneath her. Beautiful place…dangerous indeed.

  3. Santorini in Greece

    January 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Perissa and Rent beach in Santorini are the best for me. Summer in Greece for ever my friend

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