Mention Santorini and most tourists will flock to Fira or Oia for those sublime views of the caldera or to watch a magnificent sunset. Others who are looking for a beach holiday, will head to the Eastern side of the island and will most likely find themselves in Kamari. As I was staying in Imerovigli, I wanted to see what the beaches were like on the other side of the island. So I decided to hop on a bus and spend a day wandering Kamari Beach.
Kamari is a beach resort town that is located about a 15 minute bus ride from Fira. It is also the closest town to the airport and indeed you will see quite a few planes flying over the beach when it’s peak tourist season.
The beach isn’t the sandy beach you might expect, it’s made up of black pebbles which can be a little uncomfortable under a bare foot. Hence it’s good to wear flip flops or sandals when walking on the beach. There are a number of timber decks on the beach that run between the sun lounges and the beach, that will help you navigate the pebbles easier.
The beaches are lined with plenty of sun lounges, which you are able to rent for the day. There are some restaurants along the beach that offer a free sun lounge if you purchase a meal or drink within their premises. Keep and eye out for the ones offering free wifi.
If you venture for a swim the pebbles continue into the water and the water can get deep very suddenly, so you may need to be mindful if you are supervising young kids.
At the very far end of the beach is a cliff face, where you will see beach goers jumping off the rocks into the sea.
If you feel that the beach at Kamari is too busy, then head to Perissa. Perissa is another black volcanic beach located just around the mountain. There are water taxis that can take you around to Perissa for the day.
Restaurants and Bars
The main pedestrian strip is filled with wall to wall restaurants, traditional taverns, cafes and lounge bars. During the summer months, these restaurants will have an alfresco eating area right on the edge of the beach. Restaurants are serving typically Greek cuisine.
After walking up and down the main pedestrian strip, I settled on Alimari’s beachside cafe. At Alimari they serve traditional Greek cuisine and a must try is the areas speciality: the watermelon salad. Totally delicious, to which I washed down with a pint of the local Mythos beer. As this restaurant offered a free sun lounge and wifi, I took up this offer after lunch. The bonus here is that there is full beach side service of cocktails! I never had to get off my seat, the waiter regularly checked on those who would like a drink whilst relaxing on the beach.
There are plenty of tourist shops selling the usual touristy things, amongst other styles of shopping. These can be found throughout the area.
In the backstreets of Kamari you will find accommodation of all sorts, from backpackers to hotels. The more upmarket hotels are towards the mountain away from the nightlife, which fires up on the main strip later on in the night.
Open Air Cinema
Kamari has a popular open air cinema that runs from May to October, with movies starting each night at 9.30 p.m. The cinema is set in a garden with deck chairs and there is a full cocktail bar. It’s located away from the main tourist strip near the bus station.
Getting to Kamari
Kamari is a 5 minute drive from the Santorini airport or a quick 15 minute bus ride from Fira. The bus costs around 1.60 euro one way. Buy your tickets on the bus.