After immersing yourself in the articles, drooling on the pictures, and talking about it over and over again with your friends, it’s time to make your vacation to Santorini finally happen.
Unfortunately, you can’t go anywhere without taking your children with you, and Santorini is not the most child-friendly island in Greece.
The good news is, Santorini is surrounded by beaches. Your kids will love swimming on all that water. Plus, many tours don’t have age limitations so you can take your kids on the trip too. No one is exempted from the charms of the caldera and the volcano. Even little children can appreciate all that beauty. Greek history and mythology are very interesting and are the subject of many adventure books and movies so there’s a good chance your children will be interested to learn it too.
The downside to all of these is that Santorini mostly caters to adult visitors. Most of the restaurants serve wine along with the food. They’re not really usually prepared to serve children at their restaurant. The beaches have black and red sand, which makes them absorb heat faster than others. It’s best not to let your children play on the beach when the sun is really high up. Lastly, accommodations are expensive on the island. It’s hard to find a cheap room with enough space to fit all of you comfortably.
Before heading out to Santorini with your family, here are a couple of tips to make the entire vacation smoother:
- Reserve your rooms in advance
Santorini is one of the most famous Greek islands. Unlike other islands, hotels in Santorini fill up fast. Book as early as you possibly can especially if reserving a room for a large group or your family. There aren’t many accommodations on the island that can house more than 4 people. All the more reason for you to book extremely early if you want to get one. Here is a list of hotels that are great for your family in Santorini.
- Go island Hopping
Even if Santorini is action-packed, you shouldn’t use up all of your time in Greece stuck to just one island. Make time to visit other Greek islands around it and experience what makes each and every one of them unique. There are many islands that are great families, even for kids.
Santorini is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Even if you’ll only stay for a few days, enjoy the time you have there and do as much as you can. The island is pretty impressive by itself. Santorini is the ultimate experience and not the activities you can while you’re there. You can never find more breathtaking cliffs than those that hold the caldera towns on top of them. You’ll never get a view more magnificent than the caldera and the volcano in your entire life. There are few walks as memorable as that of the Fira-Oia footpath. These experiences came to you immediately as you arrive on the island. So don’t worry about missing out by leaving Santorini early because you already had the best part of it.
- Join a Boat tour
Touring around the caldera by boat is a very popular activity on the island. There’re plenty of them offered in Santorini that you rarely need to reserve a spot in advance just to be able to join them.
Joining boat tours will let you see the caldera and the volcano up close and personal. You’ll also get to see the island from a boat and admire the beautiful cliffs that hold the four caldera towns. The tour will also pass through a hot spring near the volcano, and you’ll be given time to jump in and dip yourself in it. Meals are also served on board. You can enjoy them while admiring the mesmerizing views all around you. The captain will also position the boat at a great spot when sunset hits. The tour ends with some dancing and a little party. Then it heads back to the port.
- Lose yourself in Pyrgos and Emporio
Get lost in the historical wonder of Pyrgos and Emborio. Explore their alleys and footpaths. Wander around Pyrgos and travel to the old castle on its hill. Imagine what old ancient Greek life was like while walking around the town of Emborio.
- Go for a morning swim at the beach
Santorini has plenty of beautiful beaches. Its volcanic origin gave it its unique black and red shores. Unfortunately, because of the black shores of Santorini, the ground heats up fast. It’s not good to stay on the beach when the sun is high up. Go for a morning swim when it’s still a little cold around so the heat won’t hurt your children’s feet. If you want to maximize the time they can spend on the beach, get them Aqua socks. It would protect their feet from the heat of the sand. Perissa is the best beach in Santorini for families.
- Journey through the Fira-Oia Footpath
The hike from Fira to Oia is one of the most recommended activities in Santorini. It can also be a great family activity provided that you have older kids. It’s almost a 3-hour journey by foot, but you’re accompanied by great views while you walk that you won’t even feel the exhaustion or the time pass by. Start really early so that you’ll already be in Oia by the time the sun gets really high up. Just take the bus from there back to Fira.
- Experience the water park in Santorini
If you came to the island with children, staying at the beach is a better option than staying in the Caldera towns. Children enjoy the water more than the view.
If you choose to stay in Perissa beach, visit the water park. It has tons of activities for little kids. They can run around 3 pools and play with 3 slides. It’s one of the few places on the island that caters specifically to families so make the most out of it.
- Walk around Thira and Oia
It may not sound like an activity for kids, but try taking them exploring in the towns of Thira and Oia. The history around those places is really interesting that it can keep them on their toes. Let them wander around the place and explore on their own. Tell them about the origin story of Santorini, with the volcano eruption and everything. See if that could keep their attention.
- Swim on the waters directly under Oia
If you have the time, find Ammoudi Bay. It’s the bay at the base of the cliffs under Oia. It’s one of the best swimming spots in Santorini. It’s not easy to reach it so ask the locals for direction on how to get down the cliffs. There are really good restaurants in the area, so there’s no need to go back up just to eat. It’s a great place to watch the sunset in.
- Get a rental car
The bus system in Santorini is not hard to understand. All buses leave and go back to Fira. If you want to get from one place to another, ride the bus to Fira and transfer buses from there to get to your destination. This is incredibly time-consuming given your limited time on the island.
This makes renting a car, a very practical option. It would make going around the island easier, Especially if you have children with you. Get to places that most tourists won’t be able to visit and drive to less-known places with your car. It makes traveling and exploring much easier.
Here are some helpful tips when you’re taking your baby to a Santorini vacation:
These tips are taken from a forum that discusses helpful tips in going around Santorini with a child. It’s been edited for clarity and brevity.
Flying to Greece overnight on a multi-leg flight
If you’re going to take your baby on the plane with you, look for a seat with a bassinet. Not every plane has them and the ones that do, don’t have a lot of them so book early. Having a bassinet during your flight can ease things for you so make sure to secure a seat really early to beat other parents for it. Once the bassinet is laid out, one of the seats next to it will be blocked. So if it’s just you and your baby, negotiate with whoever it is that’s on the other side of the bassinet. Once it’s in place, there’s no moving it out for a long time. Place the bassinet only after you and the person on the other side are done eating and have been to the bathroom. Once you get to your stop over, ask anyone in charge if you can go through priority lane. Given that you have a baby with you, they will understand and let you.
Dealing with your baby’s sleep schedule, jetlags, and unusual time change
Always be conscious of your baby’s sleep schedule. Expect the worst, especially if your baby didn’t get enough sleep or missed an important nap. Do your best to help the baby adapt to the new time schedule, fast. If you think your baby is starting to get irritated, try to get it to sleep a little. Even adults have a hard time adjusting their body clock. It’s even harder for babies.
The best kid-friendly accommodations in Santorini
When you take your baby to your Santorini vacation. Expect to spend plenty of time indoors. Santorini has extremely hot afternoons. It’s during early mornings and after sunsets that you can really go out and enjoy the place with your baby. Choose a hotel that you wouldn’t mind being stuck in. The Anemas Villas is a well-recommended accommodation for those with children. They don’t have age restrictions like those in other hotels in Santorini. Their rooms are a little more expensive than most hotel rooms, but it comes with a private pool and a rental car. It’s extremely cozy and definitely worth the price.
Essential baby materials that you should always have with you
Santorini is used to having foreigners from all over the world. You can find many foreign brands in every supermarket. But if your baby is used to a specific brand, it’s best to pack many of it with you. There’s no guarantee that they would have it on the island. Santorini doesn’t get that many children tourists. That’s why there aren’t many brands of baby formulas and diapers on the island.
Having a stroller won’t make things easier
Before you pack your stroller for the trip, you should know that Santorini’s streets are rough and rocky. You can’t easily drag a stroller on them. It’s just going to be extra baggage you can’t even use for the trip. It’s best to just take a baby carrier with you. It will be so much more comfortable for you and your baby if just strap him on you and carry him around.
Setting your baby down in a rental car
Companies that provide the rental cars usually rents out baby seats too. If you opt to get one, expect it to be a little bit smaller than what you’re used to. Baby seats in Greece, and in Santorini are all small by US standards. Just be resourceful and arrange for it to work for you and your baby. Stay off rough roads and find smoother and flatter alternative roads.
Easy activities to do on the island even with a baby
Babies don’t do well with heat and Santorini in July has plenty of it. No amount of preparation can spare your baby from the sun. It’s best to just schedule your activities in the beginning and the end of the day. Explore in the morning when the temperature is still cold. Hit the towns at night when the sun starts to set so it wouldn’t be so hot out. Babies are irritated with heat. Locals in Santorini are very fond of babies but nobody likes crying, irritated babies. Visit the beach and walk around the island early in the morning. Hit the caldera towns and famous restaurants after sunset. Many establishments on the island are very considerate of babies. They would try and help you out as much as they can and make your baby very comfortable. One of these restaurants is Katini’s in Ammoudi bay in Oia. Other great restaurants for those with kids are Fira’s Nicholas and The Sigalas in Oia.
It might seem stressful to have a baby with you when you travel, but it has its rewards. Taking your baby on your vacation can double the happiness you can have on it. Don’t think about how much effort it’s going to take and how hard it would be. Like every task, it always just seem impossible till it’s done. You’ll find yourself handling the situation better than you think you can. Just go through with the vacation. Plus, who doesn’t want to kiss a baby. Expect random people to start conversing with you just to get a chance to pinch your baby.
Accommodations in Santorini for families
Here are some hotels with rooms spacious enough to fit a family
Large rooms are uncommon on the island, and they fill up fast. Books really early if you want to reserve one for you and your family.
- Aria Suites-Spacious rooms plus a view of the caldera
- El Greco Hotel-Offers really big rooms
- Anteliz Hotel Apartments-Their Senior and premium rooms are very spacious
- Kamares Apartments-Offer rooms large enough to fit up to 6 people.
- Aegean Plaza Hotel-Has very spacious rooms
- Astra Suites-They have rooms for families plus a great view of the caldera and the sunset
- Santorini Princess-Offers really big rooms
- Whitedeck Hotel-Try asking for their cave suite. It could fit many people in it.
- Fanari Villas-Their suite is large enough to fit up to 5 people.
- Sea Sound White Katikies Apartments-Their suite is large enough to fit many people.
- Hotel Sea View-They family suite that’s good for 6 people.
- Voreina Gallery Suites-The suites are huge, and they have a private pool.
- Villa Agnadi Studios-They offer suites specifically for families.
Travelling to Santorini
Getting to the island via ferry can take about five hours for high-speed ferries and ten hours for regular ones. The view of the island from the boat is beautiful, and that it really makes the long journey worth it.
If you’re already in Greece, and you’re trying to reach Santorini, try booking at Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. If you’re still outside the country, and you’re trying to reach the island, You can fly there directly from certain cities in Europe.
Here are the airlines that offer a direct flight to Santorini.
- Thomas Cook Airlines
- TUI Fly
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Baltic