All You Need to Know About Planning a Muslim Family Holiday in Athens and Santorini – Things to Do, Where to Stay, Sample 5-Day Itinerary and Halal Travel Tips for Families
I had always wanted to visit Greece ever since I watched the movie “My life in ruins”. The clear skies and deep blue Aegean seemed so appealing, that I was compelled to convince my hubby and choose Greece over all other European vacation destinations to combine with our Mediterranean family vacation.
I had three major reasons for adding Greece to our itinerary. Firstly, it is closer to Turkey (that was our main vacation destination). Secondly, we had wanted to be in those whitewashed villas of Santorini since…forever! And last but not the least, I couldn’t get Stani’s Greek yogurt with walnuts and honey out of my mind after watching it on a travel show. Lol.
Apart from all the plus points, the only concern for parents of young children; who just got a once-in-a-lifetime chance of relaxing on a beach chair viewing the blue seas should be: “Is Greece good for a family vacation?”
Well, this article is just for you then, and I’m pretty sure you will get an answer by the end of it.
Although most family vacationers choose Crete or Mykonos along with Athens for their Greek island family holiday since they’re; cheaper, comparatively safer for kids and are on a lower altitude, we’re still going to stick to Santorini here because it’s just the best!
Is Greece Muslim+Child-Friendly?
Whenever I start planning for our annual family vacation, the first thing I search before picking a destination is, whether it is Muslim+child-friendly or not. Usually, whichever nation welcomes little kids, is also humble enough to respect Muslims. If the people are nice and welcoming, concerns such as Muslim-showers and number of mosques nearby become secondary. For that matter, I would say yes Greece is definitely a tourist-friendly and hospitable country. Neither do they mind the presence of kids, nor of Muslim
The streets, most hotels, and restaurants are stroller-friendly and there are hardly any shady areas in the city except a couple. You will find loads of good family hotels in greece on Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
All You Need to Know About Visiting Athens With Kids
Realistically speaking, Athens doesn’t have much to offer for younger kids other than a couple of amazing water parks and stuff. But since some parents, like me, want to stop by for a bit, let’s take a look at how you can successfully cover it in a couple of days without boring your little ones.
Things To Do in Athens With Family
We only stayed in Athens for a day and a half, and honestly, we didn’t get to explore much family-friendly tourist attractions. However, whatever we did was reasonably entertaining enough for our kids. Here are a few things you can do in Athens that your kids will hopefully enjoy in some way:
- Big Bus tours in every city are always a hit amongst families as they get to be out on the deck to enjoy the city views
- Explore fountains and the evening entertainment at famous squares such as Plaka and Syntagma square
- Enjoy street music and pigeons
- Buy colorful hand knit Greek shoes and the ancient Greek hairbands
- Climb and explore the Acropolis and the Herod Atticus Odeon amphitheater (Not stroller-friendly at all)
- Take a buggy ride on the way back from the Acropolis
Where to Stay in Athens with Kids
Luckily after thorough research and hyper planning, our hotel and neighborhood choice of Athens turned out to be really good. Even though there are no such neighborhoods that can be specified as Muslim-friendly; Plaka and Syntagma Square are two major tourist districts that are full of attractions, restaurants, hotels, and shopping. We chose to stay near the Syntagma square at Best Western Amazon Athens, that was at a walking distance to all the major tourist attractions of Athens. Google showed us some great halal restaurants in Athens that were very close to our hotel as well.
Just as it was shown in the travel show I watched earlier, the Greek yogurt and Creme Brulee at Stani, Athens were excellent and I would highly recommend this place to anyone who has a sweet tooth.
All You Need to Know About Visiting Santorini With Kids
You might find a thousand articles on the best Greek islands for families. Most family vacationers choose Crete or Mykonos for their Greek island family holiday since; they are comparatively cheaper, safer for kids and are on a lower altitude. But we’re still going to discuss Santorini here because it’s simply the best!
I swear I would have never gotten tired of absorbing the caldera views every evening if we’d been billionaires haha.
Halal Travel Tips for Muslims Visiting Santorini with Kids
- It’s almost impossible to find halal food on Santorini island, so don’t even try to find beef or chicken. However, you can find plenty of seafood and vegetarian pasta/rice dishes that will surely satisfy your appetite for a couple of days.
- All streets and towns are not stroller-friendly. If you’re traveling to Santorini with babies, then do take a baby carrier along. If your kids are old enough to walk, then plan short walking trips and take breaks at the roadside cafes and ice-cream shops.
- Carry lightweight and super comfortable shoes for kids and yourself, both.
- Use floppy beach hats/umbrellas for daytime trips and walking tours since the sun shines extraordinarily bright in Santorini.
- Rent a car for exploring the island the way it suits you best.
- Know the difference between a Cocktail and a Mocktail!! We accidentally drank an alcoholic drink until we realized something was not right. Lol.
- It gets really hot in the daytime and pretty chilly at night, so dress your kids accordingly.
- Let’s not fool ourselves, it’s a pure honeymoon destination so choose your hotel wisely.
- Don’t even think of booking a hotel for two persons when you’re actually more than 2. Most hotels charge extra per child per night.
- If you’re flying to Santorini via Athens, leave your big baggage in Athens at your hotel reception locker and carry only the essentials in a hand-carry.
- It’s one of the very few places where I would recommend taking some canned food or instant noodle kind of meal for safe side.
Read more about coping up with the problems you might face in Santorini with your kids here:
Where to Stay in Santorini with Kids
Fira and Oia are the two main towns where you can enjoy the picture-perfect whitewashed Santorini cliffs with a beautiful view of the caldera. Moreover, there’s also a village of
If you’re a fan of staying in the heart of busy streets with unlimited food options and nightlife, then Fira is for you. However, if you’re looking for quieter, boutique style places to stay in Santorini with kids, then Oia is a good choice for Muslim families.
One of the reasons for us choosing Oia over Fira was, because of it being on a relatively safer cliff and the marbled market street.
The cobblestone streets of Fira might look pretty, but trust me they’re a pain in the — when you have to push a stroller on them.
What Type of Hotel Should Muslim Families Traveling to Santorini with Kids Pick
Every family’s hotel, location, and budget preference
Visiting Santorini with kids and not staying in a cave hotel is like missing out half the fun part. The whitewashed cave hotels will give you a break from the scorching heat since they’re super cool at daytime and cozy at night. Plus, it would be a unique experience for the little ones.
Cave/Boutique hotels will be slightly expensive than the normal ones but the experience will be worth it. After all, Santorini is all about luxury and relaxation.
Anyway, choose a hotel at least 6 months ahead of your trip to find a good deal. Honestly speaking, June, July, and August being the peak tourist seasons are crowded and super expensive. But since we’re a Muslim family Travel blog; and I know how boring it gets to stay all summer at home with kids, I’m not going to advise you to look for options in your spring/fall break. Rather, the only way to catch an affordable deal is to start booking and planning way early.
Swimming pools are not so common on the cliff side hotels, and the ones that do have pools are for Sheikhs and celebrities maybe lol.
Here’s a review of the hotel we stayed in Oia which was pretty much Muslim and child-friendly. It had
Things to do in Santorini With Kids
- Enjoy some quality family fun time at the unique black sand beaches of Perissa and Kamari
- Take a Gondola ride down to the Old Port and go for a short boat ride
- Go for snorkeling and hot springs boat tour
- Take a donkey ride on the streets of Fira
- Explore and learn about the famous lighthouses of Santorini with your kids
- Stargazing on your hotel deck is a wonderful idea for spending some quality time with your family.
For more pro tips on visiting Greece as a Muslim, visit Muslim Travel Girl’s blogs here.
Greece Sample 5-Day Itinerary for a Muslim Family Vacation in Athens & Santorini
I see a very few families considering Greece as a destination for their family vacation. Well, practically you can’t call it an ideal kind of “Muslim family holiday destination”. However, what you can easily do is add it to any other vacation itinerary to make your dream of wandering in the white-washed alleys come true.
If you’ve been following our Muslim family vacation blog for a while now, you must be knowing that we never cut off places from our bucket-list just because we have kids now. Instead, we try to find child-friendly places and incorporate them in our trip itinerary so that everybody is happy.
So here’s our 5 day itinerary for covering all the top tourist attractions of Greece with kids for your Muslim family holiday:
Day 1 Athens – The Acropolis and Herod Atticus Amphitheater
Morning: Without thinking for a minute, head off to the top tourist attraction of Athens i.e. The Acropolis.
Noon: Take a buggy ride on your way back from the Acropolis and drop at Plaka market street for a refreshing Greek lunch and some Greek souvenir shopping.
We bought some beautiful brass Greek hairbands and a couple of Acropolis column-shaped fridge magnets. After which we had some halal vegetarian lunch at Plaka roadside restaurant and enjoyed traditional Greek Dimotiki music played by street artists.
Afternoon: Take the Big Bus city sightseeing tour of Athens and hop off wherever you like it best.
Evening: Enjoy the evening at Syntagma square relaxing by the fountains.
Day 2 Santorini – Enjoy Your Cave Hotel and Market Streets
Morning: Enjoy the beautiful view from your deck while having breakfast or enjoy with the kids in your outdoor jacuzzi under the sun.
Afternoon: Explore hotels and their decks around you or maybe stop by at some for a drink.
Evening: Watch the beautiful and famous Santorini sunset and go for some souvenir shopping on the market streets of Oia/Fira.
Don’t forget to have Italian Gelato ice-cream which is available in Fira region.
Day 3 Santorini – Beach Day
Morning: Pack up the night before and rent a car right after breakfast for avoiding rush hours at the beach.
Grab a map or use the GPS to make your way to Perissa/Kamari beach.
If your kids are older than 10 years then you can also try to check out their famous red beach which has a rocky terrain.
Afternoon: Have lunch at any restaurant by the beach.
Mommy tip: The black sand/gravel on Perissa beach is perfect instagrammable material and looks beautiful with everything blue around, but will burn your feet in an instance during hot summers. Do not attempt to leave your beach crocs/flipflops near your hut when you walk up to the shore.
Evening: On the way back, stop by at Faros Akrotiri lighthouse for beautiful family vacation photo memories.
Plan a splish splash day at any beach of your choice. On a recommendation from our hotel concierge, we rented a car from a nearby place in Oia and drove all the way to the other side of the small island to Perissa beach; i.e. usually not very crowded and is ok for Muslim families (no nudity).
There you’ll find some nice beachfront restaurants where you can get free beach chairs for a couple of hours on purchasing any meal from their restaurant.
There are also open public showers where you can wash off the sand and freshen up.
Day 4 Santorini – Caldera & Hot Springs Cruise/ Old Port & Archaeological Museum Day
If your kids are preschoolers, then probably going for a full day cruise is not a good idea as it may exhaust the kids and would make you feel odd in the middle of all honeymooners. However, if you think you can manage, then choose your cruise type and give it a go.
Check Santorini family friendly cruise tours here.
The hot springs of the caldera and Thirissa fishermen’s island are good for swimming and snorkeling. Cruise rates vary from $50 to a $1000, all depending on your boat/meal/number of persons accompanying you.
Morning: Leave for your cruise right after an early breakfast
Do your tour research online before reaching Santorini to avoid the disappointment of non-availability of seats or odd timings. Check Viator or TripAdvisor for good deals and consult your hotel concierge through email/message beforehand.
Afternoon: Enjoy dipping in the hot springs and explore the marine life of Aegean sea while snorkeling
Evening: Head back to your hotel and enjoy your last peaceful evening in Santorini
Day 5 Athens – Delphi Day Trip
Morning: Leave early for the Delphi day tour which will be around 10 hours long.
Check out Delphi day tours from Athens on Viator here.
Evening: Spend a relaxing afternoon at Plaka with some Greek food and street music after the tiring day trip.
Good luck on planning your Muslim family vacation in Greece. I would be happy to answer any quaries if you may have. Also, do share your experiences in the comments below.
Here are a few more tips for planning a stress-free Muslim family vacation: