Santorini with kids… mmmm, well in my opinion it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. The sunsets, volcanic-sand beaches & the heart stopping panoramas mean that with or without kids this place should be on your travel hit list.
However, I would say, if you can go without kids… you probably should (!) During the 3 days we spent there we saw a grand total of one other buggy and two babas in slings.
It’s the wedding and honeymoon destination of choice – you will see lots & lots of beautiful people swooshing around very much in love. If you are a family that is prone to crack under the pressure of a) heat b) buggy/step manoeuvring and/or c) repeated amused stares from child free happy people you may want to wait, or save up lots of babysitting chips.
Roy was very much forewarned. I also led him to believe it was going to be a hot nightmare & set expectations low. This worked in my favour as the views very much won him over.
As we missed the boat visiting here before the girls arrived, we combined Santorini with our summer holiday to Crete. We booked the fast cat over to Santorini from Herkalion port for a few nights.
This would be my first suggestion – Santorini as a family holiday destination with young children as a stand-alone, no. But combined with a more family friendly destination like Crete I think it works.
I should say, as well, that our girls were very ‘good’ ages, Bella had turned 6 the week before we left and Penny was only 5 months old – just a stationary little dough ball who slept through most of the day.
We did not have to contend with an enthusiastic toddler. We had one that we could bribe with an iPad & the other who didn’t care as long as there was milk nearby.
The ferry to Santorini took about 2.5 hours (it’s a little bit choppy!) Our taxi from the port up up up along the cliffs to the capital Fira took about 15 minutes. We chose a cheap & cheerful hotel with a small swimming pool as I wanted to hedge our bets in case we did end up spending more time at the hotel than planned, but we hardly spent any time there at all.
The staff we saw were incredible and made such a fuss of the girls. They held Penny each morning so that we could enjoy our breakfast in peace and were very helpful with their advice on the sights.
We took the economical bus to Oia for our first day & night (no more than a couple of pounds) which took about 30 minutes.
This little romantic town is as beautiful as the pictures. We spent the day wandering along winding stone paved streets, stopping for drinks and nibbles along the way and finding shade wherever we could.
The amount of steps to reach the best views are a challenge if you are unfit anyway (I am) but they become truly testing when carrying a baby or buggy, however, they are most definitely worth it for the views. And coming down is so much easier, especially with bellies full of gelato.
By the time we wanted to go home we took one look at the ridiculously long bus queue to return us to Fira & paid for a taxi which I think was about £20.
The next morning we hired a car making it nice and easy to get around for the rest of our time. Santorini is bursting with hire places but I would suggest calling ahead if you need a baby seat as it took our hire company in excess of an hour to locate one (!)
We think they borrowed it from a neighbouring place in the end. Also don’t forget your driving licences. We did, but they accepted a photo of mine which my Dad very kindly went to our house to send on Messenger.
Santorini is small and you can get around everywhere you want to see with a couple of kids in tow relatively easily with a car – and the parking was also easy.
We drove from beach to beach parking up and enjoying drinks & views, and when it came to the end of our second day we left the car at our hotel and walked the couple of minutes to the bars & restaurants so that we could both drink.
I would book your restaurants well in advance. I booked all of our tables a good few weeks before we went and I checked more than a couple of times they knew we were coming with kids.
One in particular I would definitely recommend booking. It was a 5 minute walk from our hotel, the staff made of fuss of the babes and when Bella got tired they gave her a blanket as she stretched out on the sofa with the iPad. She stayed there happily for hours whilst Penny slept in her buggy.
This is not to say the first 20 minutes or so wasn’t painful. These places aren’t designed for buggies. After carrying the buggy up the steps with Penny in situ tables then had to be rearranged and chairs stored away to make room.
We planned to only stay here for cocktails and then move on to dinner but the girls were so content, and they had sharing platters on the menu so we stayed put… for over 5 hours.
You don’t need to book in advance if you don’t mind where you go, or where you sit when you get there, as there a so many lovely restaurants and bars, but if you want to sit with a drink in hand and a prime view it’s worth it.
If you have to take a buggy the more lightweight the better. Ours came with a carry bag and it’s fair to say Roy spent as much time with it on his back whist I carried the baby as with Penny actually in it. Steppy…. Santorini is veerrrry steppy.
In Perissa there is a small water park inside the Meltemi Hotel. It has 3 pools and 3 slides and a kids’ play area but we didn’t end up going there.
Monolithos beach was the best beach we came across, suitable for Bella to play as it had lots of sand and shallow clear water. There were also a few little taverns beachside
We attempted Red beach but reversed without grace when I saw the path to get there. After a 20 minute ‘interesting’ walk across some very dodgy terrain (in flip flops) I decided not to trek across the cliff edge with baby in arms.
We looked from above, took a few snaps and then headed back to find a little piece of pebble shore where we all paddled.
Black beach is too hot for kiddies to play, but it is lined with lovely restaurants and bars, so we parked nearby, spent an hour on the beach before Bella got frustrated about it being too hot, and then went for drinks and an early lunch.
The last beach we headed to was White beach… this proved to be better. Roy and penny stayed under a parasol, and Bella and I skimmed stones and went in the sea.
I think you can easily spend a couple of days exploring with a car, and there are plenty of safe open spaces where little ones can burn off some steam that are less ambitious than some of the beaches.
We also found that people were both accomodating & friendly towards us, especially the kids and Bella loved having a fuss made of her.
The pictures illustrate how beautiful it is. It is utterly romantic, and despite buggy dramas, car seat faffs & sweaty children, it is impossible not to appreciate the beauty of the place. We had the most incredible few days.
*This is a collaborative post
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