July and August are the months that most people come to Greece. These are also the hottest months of the year, with July being the hottest. For a family vacation with babies and young children, it is, therefore, best to visit Greece in May/June or in September/October. Not only are the temperatures child friendlier, it is less crowded at the holiday destinations too. The Greeks go on vacation in July and August and Athens empties in August, especially in the week of August 15th (during the celebration of the Assumption, one of the biggest celebrations of Orthodoxy) With the right preparation, this is a good to time visit Athens.
Tips for visiting Athens on hot summer days
Babies and young children can get ill during hot weather (dehydration, heat stroke, sunburn) Take the following precautions: babies less than 6-month-old should be kept out of the sun. Always bring a light sheet, umbrella/cover for your stroller. Young infants cannot be in the sun during the hottest hours of the day. Sun hats with a wide brim and protective flap on the back, protective clothing and sunscreen are a must. Make sure your children drink plenty of water.
For July and August make sure that you book your (air conditioned) accommodation (and everything else such as ferry boat/air tickets etc) well in advance. Choose one of the city hotels with a swimming pool. Another great option is to stay at the Athenian Coast, also known as the Athens Riviera. There are several family-friendly beach hotels and resorts here and it is very easy to get to the city from here by either car or public transport.
Athens is very hot during the daytime plan your activities in the mornings and afternoons/evenings. Do as the Greeks do and have a nap together with your children during the hottest hours of the day. You can also take a dip in your city hotel swimming pool (make sure the children stay in the shade) to cool off.
Visit the archeological sites only in the early morning, they open at 08:00.
To get around the city, instead of walking use the Athens Metro system.
A great idea to see all the highlights of the city is to use one of the so called hop-on-hop-off busses. There are several companies in Athens that offer such tours. These busses are airconditioned and stroller friendly. Some of these bustours combine their tickets with the tourist train in the historic center also called Athens Happy Train or Sunshine express. This is another great way to get around the Plaka area with your kids whilst sitting in the shade and enjoying the sites. I would recommend the train for the afternoons.
Cool places to visit with your family during the day:
The National Gardens
An oasis of green and always cool in the summer. At the national gardens, your kids can enjoy the little zoo, the turtle pond or have a break at the playground. Older children will enjoy the children’s library or discover the amazing selection of trees and plants in the botanical gardens. There are bathrooms and water fountains inside the playground. The park is stroller friendly. Other cool parks can be found here and here.
A must see for every family visiting Athens. The museum organizes a variety of special family events on a regular basis and there are special family backpacks available. The museum is stroller friendly. Take your children to the kids book corner to relax during the hottest hours of the day or have lunch inside the museum with a view over the Parthenon.
My final tip: do as the Greeks do and take your children out in the evening after sunset. Visit Syntagma square and let your children run around the fountain. Or visit the historic Plaka neighborhood for a summer night stroll. It is car free and one of our all time favorite summer acitivities. You can see my children running around the historic center Plaka on a hot afternoon on the photo’s in this article. You can also walk around the tourist shops and let sounds, colors and smell of herbs, flowers and food inspire you. Can your kids handle stairs, than you can also visit the Anafiotika, an island village inside Plaka. (Not stroller friendly!) Another popular square is Agia Irini Square. Don’t forget to pack a mosquito net for your stroller and apply some insect repellent on your children. Greeks love babies and kids and your children are much welcome in the Greek taverna’s.
Have a great summer!