For years, my husband and I have dreamt of visiting Greece. When we started to plan our Greece trip during Summer 2021, a lot of people discouraged us from going, because they felt that it was not an ideal place for our young kids. We ended up proceeding with the trip and visiting Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos. In retrospect, it definitely wasn’t the easiest experience of our travels. This was one of the trips that was more of a bucket list item for my husband and I, than a relaxing vacation with our kids. Still, I feel truly grateful that we have been able to experience it as a family. Maybe one day our kids will appreciate the photos I forced of them 🙃
Where: Two of the main towns in Santorini are Oia and Fira. Oia is a location in Santorini with incredible views of the famous blue domes. It is stunning, romantic, and enjoyable to walk through. It is also not the easiest place to take young kids. There are many steps throughout the town, and the beautiful views may not be the safest for young kids to walk around. The key is to avoid bringing a stroller around this town. We baby-wore our daughter in the carrier, and let our toddler walk or we carried him. Our baby in the baby-carrier was much easier to manage than the toddler. It helped to find family-friendly restaurants or benches in the shade to take breaks throughout the day. Fira is beautiful as well, but without the infamous dome views. The area has more affordable lodging than Oia, and a large market place with local shopping and great food. We also really adored our hotel in Fira, called the Santorini Palace. It was spacious and luxurious feeling. The pool was also great for us to enjoy with our babies. That being said, Fira also had plenty of steps, so a stroller isn’t recommended in this town either. If I had to do it again, I would attempt to find an affordable spot in Oia, because either way, we couldn’t use the stroller.
Activities: Our favourite activity in Santorini was the Catamaran Sunset Cruise! The nice thing about the cruise is that it was child/baby friendly. Speedboats, especially on trips of substantial distance, aren’t generally recommended for young kids or pregnant women. The Catamaran Cruise provides a great alternative, and even better if you can request to sit with your kids in the captain deck to sit more comfortably. An activity that we were not able to partake in was the hike between Oia and Fira, which is considered very beautiful. It is quite lengthy and more importantly, not stroller friendly. It would not have been feasible walking that distance with our toddler and baby in our arms the entire way in the July heat. We ended up traveling by car from Fira to Oia and enjoyed the views and sunset in Oia. I also arranged a professional photoshoot on Air BNB experiences, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Because of the narrow roads and large groups of tourists, it was great having a professional photographer guide us to private areas with the best views, and supporting us manage the kids for pictures. Now, I just need to convince my husband that we need professional photoshoots on the rest of our trips for the rest of our lives…
Transportation: Taxis in Santorini are expensive. Bus’s are significantly cheaper. That being said, with kids, the luxury of a cab is sometimes worth it. Definitely check Viator.com or your hotel if they have a discounted rate on a cab or private transfer service.
Food: Our favorite spot in the Fira market was a delicious health restaurant with Acai, called Refresh Me, that all four of us enjoyed. There were a few benches across the restaurant that we managed to get seats at to feed ourselves and the kids. Make sure to ask the servers to cut the fruit smaller! In Oia, we enjoyed the gyros and fries at PitosGyros! It was clean and casual, with tasty food.
Where: Our favourite thing was walking around Old Town, walking by the Windmills, and enjoying the views by Little Venice. Similar to Oia, the challenge with the pathways was that a stroller was tricky to manoeuvre. This is probably why Ornos Beach is suggested as the family friendly location to stay in Mykonos. And while I agree with that, we also came to the realisation that we are not as much of a beach family as a walk on nice cobblestone sipping on a good juice or eating ice cream kind of family. This might not be the case for everyone, but it is is key to discuss with your travel partner and assess what you want out of the trip/certain expectations specific to your kids. If I could go back, I would have preferred to stay walking distance from Old Town Mykonos and visited Ornos Beach via bus or cab for one day.
Activities: We loved walking through the Old Town, grabbing good juice, and enjoying the views of the Windmills and Little Venice. Try to catch the sunset by Little Venice – the water is lovely! Several of these sights are walking distance, which is convenient since you probably won’t have a stroller with you.
Transportation: The cabs add up between Ornos Beach and Mykonos, so it might be good to plan ahead for how the public transportation works!
Food: We really enjoyed the gyros and fries at Sakis Grill House. Although they did not have baby chairs, they were accommodated us by letting us take our time to feed our kids (which as every parent knows, can be quite a process).
Where: We loved staying in the city center of Athens, only a 15-minute-walk to the Parthenon and in the heart of shops and restaurants. If you are there for a short time like we were, I recommend the location! The Athens Cypria Hotel is where we stayed, and although the rooms were on the small side, we were happy to stay there for one night for the location.
Transportation: Once we took the taxi into our hotel in the city center, we were able to walk everywhere from the hotel to the Parthenon to the shops.
Activities: We only had one full day in Athens, and per my blog “Traveling with Two, Two And Under”, that means we only had time for one big activity! We visited the Parthenon. Our tour guide had us leave our stroller downstairs, and my husband escorted our two-year-old (combination of walking and carrying him), and I used our Baby Bjourn baby carrier for our six-month-old. On these trips, when possible, we LOVE our toddler to walk around, explore, and exert energy as much as possible (in a safe way). It helps increase his appetite for meal times and sleep better during his nap/bedtime. Overall, this activity was absolutely doable with both of our kids, but we had to have the stamina to carry both kids as needed. Our son has gotten very into walking up and down steps, and he held up a bit of foot traffic as he walked down the steps within the Parthenon – but no one seemed too bothered (that they made us aware of 🙂). After we knocked out our ‘big activity’ of the day, we spent the afternoon browsing shops in the City Center, walking nearby to admire the architecture, and enjoying food.
Food: Our favorite restaurant was Savaas in Athens, walking distance from the city center. It was child-friendly, and even our picky eater toddler enjoyed the food!