Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Celeste.
Santorini is the most photographed and most recognizable island in Greece. It is famous for its steep cliffs, picturesque cubed houses, and the azure blue sea around it. Santorini lies in the Aegean Sea and belongs to the Cyclades island group. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about visiting Santorini island with kids.
Santorini island with Kids
Santorini was created during the eruptions of the volcano in the middle of the islets. On the main island, several villages were built spectacularly on and against the steep rocks. The beaches of the island are on the east and south. They mostly have black and brown sand with a volcanic origin. Taking all of this into consideration, you may wonder if Santorini is a suitable place to visit.
Is Santorini a family destination?
Due to its narrow streets with steps and cliffs, Santorini is not directly considered a family-suitable island. And although it is indeed difficult to navigate Santorini with a stroller, I would still recommend this gem for families. Santorini has excellent family resorts and there are many things to see and do with children. In fact, Santorini is a must-visit for all ages.
What month is best to go to Santorini?
I would avoid the crowded summer months of July and August. But in spring or autumn, a holiday on Santorini island with kids is ideal. I visited Santorini twice, both times in September. This time of year, the island is still warm and summery. I recommend it as the ideal month to visit.
Beaches in Santorini
To the West, you come across the southern coast of Red Beach (pictured above), also known as Kokkini beach. Kokkini means ‘red’ in Greek, because of the red-brown color of the lava here.
Most of the family-friendly beaches, however, are on the east side of Santorini. Here are also two Blue Flag beaches. The Blue Flag means that the beach is well-maintained and organized.
Monolithos beach is the best for families. It has a calm and shallow sea and a playground. The water here is calm, and shallow, and the sand black. Monolithos is very famous among locals and families, so it is often full of children. There is a basketball court and a football pitch for older kids, while younger ones can play in a nice playground area.
Perissa is another family-friendly beach, and so are the hotels (with swimming pools) here.
The beach of Kamari has black sand. This sand and the small pebbles get very hot midday, so it is better to visit this beach during the morning or afternoon. Your children should wear slippers or water shoes here. I loved the deep blue color of the sea here.
Things to do on Santorini island with kids
If you are interested in archaeology, at Akrotiri Pre-historic City, north of Red Beach, you can visit the remains of a historic city. Akrotiri is an archaeological site of a Minoan civilization that dates back 6,500 years. It is called “pre-historic” because it pre-dates true writing, but this isn’t a settlement of the usual cave-man idea of pre-historic.
Although some parts of the grounds are labeled and the site has recently been renovated, it is not always easy to understand what you see. For the best experience at this archaeological site with children, I would recommend an organized tour with a kid-friendly guide.
Together with a guide, you can:
- Explore one of the better preserved prehistoric towns in the world
- Discover ,the town with paved streets and squares
- Admire fantastic preserved 2-3 story buildings
- Learn how society was organized and how people lived their lives
- Travel back in the Prehistoric Times
If you are looking for a more affordable option, I would recommend a one-hour group tour with a guide.
In the Museum of Prehistoric Thera you will see finds from the excavations at Akrotiri, the earlier excavations at Potamos, and rescue excavations at various other sites on the island.
Visit a winery
The wines of Santorini are world-famous and if you want to teach your children about the cultivation of the vineyards and wine-making, you can take them to the Santorini Wine Museum at the Koutsogiannopoulos winery. For parents, I recommend a Wine Tour.
I would especially recommend the Santorini Guided Winery Tour, including 45 minutes of wine tasting in each Santorini winery, with appetizers and tastings of and a wine-tasting tutorial. A visit to the museum is also included in this tour.
For families with children, I would recommend a small group tour of the villages and wineries of Santorini. During this tour, your family can explore the top sights and discover hidden locations such as the villages of Pyrgos or Megalochori with a guide.
Atlantis Books Bookstore
A must-visit for kids and adults that love books is the Atlantis Bookstore. This unique bookstore is located on the main marble street of Oia overlooking the Santorini caldera. The little bookstore hosts literature in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Greek.
The Tomato Industrial Museum is dedicated to Santorini’s most important agricultural product. This museum is a former factory-turned-museum and is tracing the history of Santorini’s tomato paste industry.
There is also a Naval Museum in Oia. Captain Antonis Dakoronias started collecting items that reveal the naval history of the island in 1951, and in 1956 the Maritime Museum was founded. It is housed in a captain’s home since 1990. It has one of the richest collections of exhibits in Greece, displaying rare figureheads, mariners’ chests, naval equipment, models of old and newer ships belonging to Santorini residents, watercolors of old sailboats, as well as photographic material and a book collection.
Walk and Lighthouse
Older children will enjoy the beautiful walk of 10 km from Thira to Oia. This takes about 2 hours. The best thing is to arrive in Oia just before sunset because Santorini is famous for the sunset at this place. The Akrotiri Lighthouse is another great walk. This lighthouse is one of the oldest in Greece.
Too small or too tired to walk? There are many bus tours offering a comfortable way to explore Santorini. I would recommend the Minibus Panoramic Tour for families. This tour is ideal for kids because it is a relatively short tour. Enjoy the comfort and flexibility of a minibus as you are driven around the narrow streets of Santorini and explore the highlights of the island.
A boat trip around Santorini is a must-do. There are many boat tours covering different parts of Santorini and the Volcano. From catamaran tours with time for swimming and water games to private luxury boats and sailing boat.
With younger kids, wandering the whitewashed streets of Oia to look for souvenirs and to admire local arts and crafts is the best thing to do.
In Santorini, a visit to the volcano cannot be missed. You can only visit the volcano with kids who can walk easily, I would recommend, starting from 8 years old. There are boat trips that take you around the volcano island, or you can visit the actual volcano island and its active craters.
When you visit the volcano, you will see smoke coming out of the craters and smell the sulfur. It will take you half an hour to reach the top of the volcano. There is no shade here and it is very hot in the summer. Always bring a sunhat and water.
For families with (older) children who want to visit the Volcano, I recommend the Volcanic Island with Palea Kameni hot springs. This tour includes a boat trip to the small islands that are also home to volcanos, hot springs, and traditional villages. There is also a stop at Palea Kameni for a swim in the hot springs. The tour takes 6 hours.
Travel Tips for Santorini with Kids
The island gets very hot in the summer, which is why you have to plan your family excursions in the morning or afternoon. You can also consider visiting Santorini with kids in the less hot months of May and June or September and October.
Kids will love exploring the narrow streets of Santorini to find its many hidden treasures. But, Santorini can get crowded, and it is easy to lose track of your children, especially when you visit Oia in the summer.
Santorini island with kids may sound like a challenge but if you pick the right tours and don’t plan to many excursions, you will have a great family experience!
The western part of the island is rocky, where huge cliffs and deep waters make it difficult or kids to swim.
If you do decide to swim in Oia, stay close to your children because the water gets dramatically deep just a few meters from the shore.
Santorini is dry and hot in the summer. Don’t forget to bring good walking sandals and sunhats.
Where to stay in Santorini with kids
We stayed at the Vedema Luxury Collection Resort. There are many steps at this hotel, thus not so suitable for young kids.
I have selected the best hotels for families in Santorini with kids: Click here for the
How to get to Santorini island with kids
You can reach Santorini by plane and boat, the island has an airport and two ports. The harbor on the west coast, Skala, is where the big cruise ships arrive. The other, Athinios port, is used for yachts and ferry boats.
Flying directly to Santorini is the quickest and easiest way. You can fly to Santorini from Athens or directly from most cities in Western Europe such as London, Manchester, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Naples, and Venice. You can also fly into Athens and book a domestic flight to Santorini.
You can opt to travel by ferry from Athens to Santorini. Boats leave from Piraeus ferry port. The trip from Athens to Santorini takes 5 hours on a high speed ferry and 8 hours on a conventional ferry. Views, as you enter the caldera, are wonderful. For tips about ferry boat travel with kids, have a look at this post about ferry boat travel with kids in Greece.
Here you can find more information about ferry boat schedules and prices
How to get from the Santorini airport to Fira, Oia, and the rest of the island
Hotel Pickup – If your hotel offers free pickup and drop-off be sure to take advantage.
Taxi – The easiest and quickest way for your family to get into Fira and to the rest of the island is by taxi. There will always be taxis available at the airport though it can involve a wait. It costs about 15 euros to Fira and 20 to 25 euros to go to the rest of the island.
Rental Car – If you’re planning to rent a car in Santorini it’s best to
How to get from the ferry port in Santorini
All ferries arrive at Athinios port.
Hotel Transfer – Many hotels provide transportation from the port to their hotel. For some it’s free, for others it’s charged at a rate similar to a taxi or a bit more.
Taxi – There will usually be taxis waiting as ferries arrive but if it’s late at night you might want to arrange pickup in advance. It costs about 15 euros from the ferry port to Fira, 25 euros from the ferry port to Oia, and somewhere in-between to go anywhere else on the island. A taxi ride from the port to Fira takes about 15 minutes.
Have you been to Santorini island with kids?
If you haven’t, do schedule a visit. Santorini is one of the most beautiful places in the world and a must-visit!
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Related: Visit Santorini with Kids in Autumn
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