When you have kids, it changes the way you do most things — including the way you vacation. While before, you might have taken a holiday on the spur of the moment, now they have to be carefully coordinated. When will the kids be out of school and for how long? How many kid friendly activities will there be? It can be a challenge finding a destination that everyone can agree on.
Fortunately, when it comes to family holidays, Santorini has something for everyone. It’s more than just a honeymoon destination with excellent cuisine and wine. The beaches, the allure of the volcano and caldera, and many of the shopping destinations in Oia, Santorini can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Before You Arrive
July is by far the hottest month in Santorini, so when planning Santorini family holidays, it’s best to go in June, August, or September if you can. You want to book as early as possible, not just for the hotels but restaurants as well, and ensure that restaurants understand you’ll have kids with you. You’ll find the most apartments in Santorini in Oia, like Strogili Traditional Houses. Strogili includes a large swimming pool among its facilities, which is a must for Santorini family hotels as the kids will want plenty of opportunities to swim.
Santorini does have a naturally rugged terrain, which can be problematic for families traveling with toddlers or infants. Instead of a stroller, consider a baby backpack or sling for easier movement. Flip-flops or water shoes are a must, because of the heat. There are a number of buses in Fira, but few taxis, so to be able to reach most places on the island with ease, it’s best to rent a car.
Things to Do in Santorini
Once you’ve arrived and dropped your things off at your Santorini hotel, there’s no shortage of things to do. Here are some of the most popular activities for Santorini family holidays.
Go to the Beach
Monolithos Beach is by far the most favorable beach to visit with kids. Long and neatly organized, its lines of sunbeds and umbrellas make it an excellent place for sunbathing, and shallow waters make it perfect for a refreshing (but safe) swim. Many families appreciate the fact that Monolithos Beach is a black sand beach, and thus the grains of sand are thicker and easier to wash off. There are also beachside taverns nearby, for the parents.
Perissa Beach and Kamari Beach are almost identical beaches, separated by the Mesa Vouno (the imposing mountain that houses the ancient city of Thira). Both are black beaches as well, and because they’re flat, they’re easily accessible (a definite plus for Santorini family holidays). Kamari Beach is the most popular beach on the island and features many restaurants and shops nearby. On the other hand, you may already be in Perissa to visit the Santorini Waterpark with the kids when you spot the beach. Both beaches have great opportunities for swimming or simply soaking up the sun.
Check out the Volcano
Few things incite a kid’s interest more than volcanoes. One of the biggest draws to Santorini is the volcano that revolutionized its landscape, so a boat tour of the volcano is a must. The tours will take you first to Thirassia, a small volcanic island now separated from Santorini and, of course, the volcano itself. Next, you’ll visit the hot springs nearby, where the whole family can go for a swim. Around supper time, the boat returns to Oia, Santorini and you can see the caldera up close and personal as the sun starts to set. The night ends with a Greek dance before docking in port.
It’s fun, a little intriguing, and even educational. Take plenty of pictures so you can remember the trip for years to come.
Go Shopping in Oia, Santorini
While too much shopping all at once could lead to fussy kids, no one wants to come home without a souvenir, and there are shops all over the island for everyone to enjoy. Since Oia, Santorini is the main travel destination of the island, many of the best shops can be found there. The local shop owners are great with kids and happy to show them the toys and other knick knacks that might interest them. You can replenish your wardrobe, stock up on beach supplies, or go out for ice cream. If the kids get tired, you can stop by a little playground in Oia to give everyone a moment to cool down.
Santorini has long been known as a vacation spot for honeymooners, and for good reason. The relaxing Aegean atmosphere and gorgeous sunset over Fira or Oia, Santorini can be a wonderful romantic backdrop. But there’s no reason not to take in the beauty or relaxation of this island with everyone in your family — especially the kids.