Before we flew to Santorini we knew that Santorini is not the best vacation destination for young kids. We have heard that Santorini has a lot of stairs up and down, up and down. The beaches are more pebbles than fine sand. There are lack of baby chairs in the restaurants. People are driving like crazy. And some more other warnings…
In spite of all these warnings we took our one years old daughter and spend our vacation there for 8 days! And we survived…and had a great time without having any baby related problems (except the usually ones we have at home like waking up at 5am). Here are some advises to think about before you decide to visit Santorini with small children.
The location and hotel
We stayed at Condutto Residences in Oia.
The main reason many people are going to Santorini is to stay in one of these traditional caves houses and be waking up with a caldera view. But these beautiful cave houses build on cliff can be very dangerous for small children as many of these houses have safety issues! Most of terraces and staircases don’t have fences to protect. We dared to stay in one because our daughter was not walking yet, she was a very slow crawler and she was never left alone if the front door was open. If you insist of having the best view make sure before booking that the terrace/balcony of the cave house is safe! But if the view is not very important for you then there is a lot of great hotes for families by the beach in Kamari or Perissa.
You can read about our tiny room Here
It is true that Santorini doesn’t have the best sand beach of all the greek islands. The three beaches we visited were The red beach, Kamari and Perissa. These beaches were beautiful but they were full of rocks and huge hot pebbles that make your feet sore when walking. So not very fun for young kids! But we found Perissa beach quite nice and the pebbles are small that it feels like sand between your toes! Or you can just make your kids wear a pair of beach shoes!
But if you are in Oia, Lioyerma restaurant has a free and the only public pool in Santorini.
Strangely there are not much people knowing about this place. You just have to order something to drink and eat to use the pool. Not very good food but I still highly recommend to go there for the sunset.
The famous sunset in Oia
Even thought we were staying in Oia we only saw the sunset once. First of all it was so ridiculously crowded and secondly it was “just another sunset“. It was beautiful but nothing special. If we were without kids we would have bought a bottle of wine and found the perfect spot and just wait before everybody else. But with a baby we chose to walk down to the Amoudi bay and from there we watched the sunset without having to fight for a space! It was a quite steep walk down and up but we use a baby carrier so it was fine.
Another option is to hire one of the mule to bring you up later.
Or as I mention above, go to the Lioyerma and enjoy the sunset from the pool!
Yes it is true that the Greeks drive like crazy. We never rented a car but what I have heard there are a lot of car rentals companies that provide you a car seat if you need one. This is the easiest and the best way to explore the island. We on the other hand used public buses and it worked fine. The buses are inexpensive and they take you almost everywhere. Just avoid taking the bus toward Oia by the sunset because you just might not get a seat! If we could we would just rent a scooter like the crazy old days but those days are over when you have a baby!
If you stay by the beaches you wouldn’t have a problem with stairs! But it would be a shame to come to Santorini and not be able to explore the small town on the caldera because that is what Santorini is so famous for! We are lucky that our daughter loves to be in the baby carrier so we could walk up and down discovering ever corner and houses. We have seen a lot of families using a stroller and it didn’t seem fun!
During our 8 days we only went to restaurant five time. Most of the time we just bought cheap but delicious gyros (kebab), fruit and salads and enjoying it from our terrace. Four restaurants out of five had a baby chair so I guess baby chair is not a problem or we were just lucky!
One restaurant I highly recommend isMamas house in Fira not far from the main bus station. It’s not expensive at all and the food is delicious! We asked a local and she pointed out this restaurant. On Tripadvisor this place got great reviews. Here are some dishes we had. All these with a big bottle of water went for 30€.
More information: Mamas house
Traveling with a baby we need to go slow! Beside of hanging by the pool or the beach, eating good food or just take a siesta in the room there are not much things to do for kids in Santorini. I know there is Santorini water parcin Perissa but we never made it there. However, we did a beautiful morning hike from Oia to Fira which took us about 3 hours to complete. I highly recommend this hike if your toddler like to sit in the baby carrier.
We recommend aswell the wine tasting at Sigalas wine house a little bit outside of Oia centre. By foot, it took us about 30min. It is a very lovely place with good wine! If only I wasn’t breastfeeding and our daughter was not very fussy that evening I would have try their tasting package for 25€. Instead we only had two tasting glasses.