Santorini with Kids

Santorini, renowned for its stunning views, picturesque villages, and vibrant sunsets, might not be the first destination that comes to mind for a family vacation. However, with the right planning and knowledge, it can be an unforgettable experience for both parents and kids. This guide provides expert insights on making the most of a trip to Santorini with kids, including must-see attractions, best beaches, and practical travel tips.

Must-See Attractions for Kids

  • Walk from Thira to Oia: An 11 km hike with breathtaking caldera views. Suitable for older kids who can handle a bit of walking.
  • Black Sand Beaches: Perivolos and Vlachata offer unique black sand and surrounding carved cliffs, making for a novel beach experience.
  • Akrotiri: Explore the ancient city buried in volcanic ash. The bio dome covering the excavation is a sight in itself.
  • Santorini Wineries: Many wineries are family-friendly. Gavalas Winery in Megalochori is a great example, offering a unique experience.
  • Sunset Views: While Oia is famous for sunsets, Thira also provides stunning views. Enjoying a sunset from a caldera rim restaurant is a must.
  • Pyrgos and Megalochori: Visit these quaint villages and walk the scenic 2 km path between them.
  • Boat Ride: Take a cruise to Nea Kameni and experience the volcanic island. Note that the hot springs might not be worth it, but the volcano tour is fun.
  • Fish Spa: A unique experience where kids can enjoy a fish pedicure.
  • Wandering Thira and Oia: Explore the maze-like streets, full of charm and surprises.

When to Go

The best time to visit Santorini with kids is during the spring. The temperatures are mild (55-70°F), and the island is less crowded than in the peak summer months. This season also showcases beautiful wildflowers, enhancing the island’s natural beauty.

Where to Stay

  • Imerovigli: Offers stunning views from the highest elevation along the caldera rim and is quieter than Thira or Oia.
  • Firostefani: A calmer extension of Thira, offering easy access to the main town without the hustle and bustle.
  • Megalochori: A quaint inland town with a lovely central square, perfect for a peaceful family stay.
  • Pyrgos: Perched on the highest hill, providing spectacular views and a more serene environment.

Transportation

While Santorini has pedestrian-only areas, many parts require a car for safe and convenient travel. The roads are narrow, and drivers can be fast, so always prioritize safety. Buses are available but have limited schedules and routes, making a rental car the best option.

Where to Eat

  • Yogi and Gyros, Thira: Affordable and delicious gyros, perfect for a quick meal.
  • Skala, Oia: A reasonably priced Greek seafood restaurant with a nice ambiance.
  • Franco’s Cafe, Pyrgos: Offers stunning views and a limited menu of small plates, ideal for a light meal.
  • Galini, Thira: Known for its fantastic brunch, especially the savory pancakes.

7-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and Exploration

  • Arrive and settle into your accommodation.
  • Explore the local town (Imerovigli, Firostefani, Megalochori, or Pyrgos).
  • Enjoy a local meal at a recommended restaurant.

Day 2: Thira and Oia

  • Morning: Walk from Thira to Oia, taking in the stunning caldera views.
  • Afternoon: Relax at a cafe in Oia and explore its picturesque streets.
  • Evening: Dinner in Oia at Skala.

Day 3: Akrotiri and Beach Day

  • Morning: Visit the ancient city of Akrotiri.
  • Afternoon: Spend time at Perivolos or Vlachata black sand beaches.
  • Evening: Return to your accommodation for a home-cooked meal or dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 4: Pyrgos and Megalochori

  • Morning: Visit Pyrgos, explore the castle, and enjoy the views.
  • Afternoon: Walk to Megalochori, have lunch, and visit a winery.
  • Evening: Dinner at Franco’s Cafe in Pyrgos.

Day 5: Boat Ride to Nea Kameni

  • Morning: Take a boat tour to Nea Kameni.
  • Afternoon: Explore the volcanic island and return in the late afternoon.
  • Evening: Sunset dinner in Thira.

Day 6: Leisure and Exploration

  • Morning: Relax and enjoy the local area.
  • Afternoon: Visit a fish spa and explore more of Thira or Oia.
  • Evening: Dinner at Yogi and Gyros in Thira.

Day 7: Final Day and Departure

  • Morning: Last-minute shopping and wandering the streets of Thira or Oia.
  • Afternoon: Relax at a beach or cafe.
  • Evening: Prepare for departure and enjoy a final meal at Galini in Thira.

Tourist Tips List

  • Rent a car for convenience and safety.
  • Visit in the spring for mild weather and fewer crowds.
  • Choose accommodations with kitchens to save on meal costs.
  • Book travel in advance to ensure availability, especially in the off-season.
  • Be prepared for temperature changes at sunset.
  • Stay in quieter towns like Imerovigli, Firostefani, Megalochori, or Pyrgos for a more peaceful experience.
  • Plan activities suitable for kids, balancing relaxation with exploration.
  • Use baby carriers for young kids due to hilly terrain and lack of pavements.
  • Ensure safety when walking on roads and near steep drops, especially in Oia.

Enjoy local cuisine and find budget-friendly dining options.

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