Santorini is a breathtaking Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. This volcanic island boasts unique natural beauty, including its signature white-washed buildings with blue roofs that cling to the cliffs above the sea. The island’s dramatic landscapes, stunning sunsets, and crystal-clear waters make it one of the most popular destinations in Greece. But does all of this make Santorini good for families?
I have taken my own kids to Santorini and this is why I feel like I am the right person to share everything you want to know about Santorini with kids. By the end of the article, you will likely agree with me that ticking off this bucket list spot is a must-do in Greece, but do not feel the need to spend more than a couple days in Santorini with kids.
Is Santorini Good for Families?
There are definitely lots of pluses for bringing the family to Santorini. Visitors can explore the island’s picturesque villages, indulge in delicious Greek cuisine, or simply soak up the sun on one of its many black-sand beaches. Santorini is also known for its rich history, with archaeological sites like the Akrotiri excavations and the ancient city of Thera, offering a glimpse into the island’s ancient past. For those who like hiking, Santorini puts its natural beauty on display with a hike from Fira to Oia.
Where is Santorini?
Santorini is a Greek island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 120 miles (200 km) southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is part of the Cyclades island group and is situated between the islands of Ios and Anafi.
Getting to Santorini with Kids
Getting to Santorini means you will be coming in by ferry, by plane, or by private boat. Santorini is a popular cruise ship port on almost any Greek cruise, but likely you will be on the island for just the day.
Arriving by Plane
If you are arriving by plane, you will arrive at Thira Airport (JTR) which is served by over 60 airlines. It is a small airport and looks like something lost in the 1980s, but serves the needs of the island and it is quick to get your luggage and get out!
We chose to fly into Santorini in order to maximize our 2 days in Santorini, rather than waste time traveling. I also found a cheap fare on Ryan Air.
It was just 50 minutes to reach the Island from Athens International Airport and an early morning flight meant that we could drop off our luggage at the hotel and spend the day exploring!
JTR is on the East-Central part of the Island and about 6 km from Fira, the Island’s capital. It takes about 15 minutes to reach Fira. When you arrive you will need a transfer to your accommodation.
There are taxis, rental cars and public busses.
The taxis want about 25 Euros to take you into Fira, and the bus is less than 2 Euros per person. But the busses are not frequent. We decided to take the bus route, and it was at least an hour wait.
Many hotels also offer transfers, if your hotel does, I suggest you take it, it is the most convenient way to get to your hotel with your luggage.
We took the bus which meant walking about one kilometre to our hotel, but most of that was UPHILL! There are no flat roads in Fira and we found out the hard way!
If you have a decent amount of luggage, I highly suggest you book a transfer in advance to take away the headache of hauling luggage up hill! You can book transfers here.
Arriving by Ferry
Several ferry companies service Santorini daily and they all arrive into Athinos Ferry Port, which is the “new” port. Cruise ships arrive at the old port and visitors can either walk, take a donkey taxi, or take a cable car to the cliffs of Fira.
There are two types of ferries that service Santorini: Regular and Fast. The Regular ferries (Blue Star for example) take about 8 hours and the Fast ferries take about 5 hours.
On Blue Star ferries, it takes about 8 hours from Athens by ferry to get to Santorini (with a few stops on the way), so take that into consideration when you are planning.
Blur Star is a very comfortable very line, with couches and comfy chairs and a variety of food and beverage options. It is more like a nice cruise than typical boat travel. It also has a fleet of large vessels which means that you will not feel the rough water as much as if you are on a catamaran.
BUT that does not mean you will not feel it. We had a rough sailing from Naxos to Kos and I was glad I was prepared as the ship swayed from side to side.
Arriving into Athinos Port there is a steep, winding road to get you up to the top. There is public transportation, taxis and private shuttles.
You can also rent a car in advance and pick it up at the port. Sometimes there is no room on the bus nor are there taxi’s available. Especially in high season. As I mentioned above, if your hotel offers a shuttle, I suggest you book it in advance. If you dont have a shuttle option, book a transfer in advance here.
Santorini island has ferry connections with the following ports; Piraeus port (Athens), Ios, Naxos, Paros, Crete, Mykonos, Tinos, Syros Rhodes, Anafi, Chalki, Diafani, Folegrandos, Kos, Kasos, Kea, Kimolos, Koufonissi, Kythnos, Lavrio, Milos, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Thirassia.
Where to Stay in Santorini with Kids
There are all types of accommodations in Santorini, from luxurious 5 star hotels with private pools and beautiful Caldera views, to budget accommodations. Generally, the most expensive places to stay are in Oia and Fira and as you move away from the sea cliffs, prices will decrease.
If you are traveling in July or August, I highly suggest you book your accommodation in advance. The earlier the better! There are hundreds of places to stay in Santorini but most of them are small, boutique-style accommodations with less than 20 rooms.
If you plan on relaxing and spending some time enjoying your room, I recommend staying on the Fira cliffs, although the Oia cliffs are amazing as well. I prefer the more central location of Fira.
You can get a room with a private pool and amazing views. It is the ultimate relaxation. BUT NOT THE ULTIMATE PRIVACY.
Because of the steep cliffs and the labyrinth of access to the rooms, hundreds of tourists will likely pass by your balcony as you relax in your pool.
If you only have 2 days in Santorini, you might find that you do not have enough time to really enjoy your room that you paid so much money for, but if you have 4 days in Santorini you should have plenty of time
Family Friendly Hotels in Oia
Andronis Arcadia – Luxury hotel with plenty of family room options with multiple bedrooms. Also has a sea view infinity swimming pool and great location in Oia.
Canaves Oia Epitome – Families with kids aged 6 and older. This all-suite and villa hotel features a sea-view infinity pool, 2 modern Greek and Mediterranean restaurants, and a champagne breakfast. 1 and 2-bedroom villas sleep families of 3 to 5. They have private, heated pools and terraces with sunrise and sunset sea views.
Anemomilos Hotel Oia – This is great for families of 4 and offers the best value in Oia
Family Friendly Hotels in Fira
Boutique 88– Rooms that sleep families of 5, free continental breakfast, hot tub and pool
Is Santorini Good For Families? 10 Things To Do
- Explore the beaches (note that in the summer the sand is very hot and many beaches in Santorini have steep drop offs. If you are looking for a Greek Island with amazing beaches for little ones, consider Naxos). Our favorite was Monolithos Beach.
- Rent an ATV to explore the Island at your own pace. I suggest a late afternoon pickup and then driving for some sunset viewing and then you have the whole next day to explore the island and return it before dinner the next day! Do not filll the tank, you will not use it all.
- Visit the Three Bells of Fira and take your own Santorini Instagram Photo. Use some of these Santorini quotes to caption your photos!
- Explore Pyrgos. It is another whitewashed town with stunning views and the former capital of Santorini. Tt has quaint coffee shops and climb the labyrinth of alleys in search of trinkets and small galleries.
- Take a Boat Tour and cruise the Caldera to an active volcano, a hot springs and an unforgettable day on the water. This allows you to swim in the crystal clear waters and admire the cliffs that make Santorini so special.
- Do the Fira to Oia hike, the most popular hike in the area.
- Enjoy a sunset in Oia. In the summer months expect crowds, we decided not to eat in the area but found a great parking spot on our ATV’s and enjoyed the evening. If you have a car, get there at least a few hours before sunset. If you want to avoid crowds, Imerovigli is less popular that Oia but it’s still a fantastic spot to watch the sunset.
Santorini with Kids: What We Loved
The views were everything we expected and more!
The ATV was the highlight to get around the island. It was much easier to park the ATV then a rental car and it was a fun experience.
Santorini with Kids: What we didn’t Love
It is really really busy in the summer. Thousands flock from cruise ships every day as well as thousands who are staying on the island. When it comes to safety in Santorini, the traffic was my biggest concern with kids. There were lots of places with nowhere to walk but on the road. Not ideal with 7 and 5 year olds.
The beaches were fine for families in Santorini, but nothing special. We knew this and did not come for beaches. But if a beach holiday is what you are after, do not come to Santorini. Choose Naxos.
The food prices were much higher than other islands. When you are buying for a family, this can quickly run up the budget.
There are a lot of stairs and uneven steps. While we did just fine, if you have any mobility issues, you will likley encounter issues in Santorini. If you want to travel with a stroller, you will have a hard time getting around.
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Further Reading on Greece
If you are planning on island hopping, check out my 2 days in Santorini itinerary. There are so many places to explore on this beautiful island, but go for the views, and then get hopping! there is so much more to explore in Greece! This is one of my most popular posts and many people have found it helpful when planning their Santorini trips!
Explore information on the best time to visit Santorini to learn about the busy season, the weather, and what to expect at any time of the year!
Also, there are some safety issues to note in Santorini. This post on “Is Santorini Safe” will help you out!
I highly recommend visiting Meteora. Here is our guide on how to get from Athens to Meteora and what to expect.
Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.