Not sure about the literal meaning of Santorini, but the sound of it brings a smile on my lips and a relaxing feeling every time. However, when you combine the words Santorini and Kids together, the impact totally changes to a question mark and a sign of worry.
After getting our Schengen visa, we had endless options for our first ever European vacation, but Santorini was on top of my bucket list for a long time. Taking our two little ones with us was surely a tough decision, but we had no choice. To be honest I never want them to be a hurdle in any journey, being a mother I always want to find ways to accommodate them anyhow, otherwise my mom guilt would ruin the vacation anyway.
Here are some of the set backs we faced on our three-day trip to Santorini with kids, together with mommy tips and tricks to conquer them all!
1. “Means of transportation”
It was quite tempting to see the youngsters and children free couples roving on the scenic roads on their rented quad bikes and convertibles. Initially we planned to take turns even but that was not a great idea.
Instead, on a suggestion from our hotel staff we rented a car for a couple of days and used navigation to explore the small island, thanks to the public parking lots facility in every area. We got lost a couple of times too, but it was fun.
2. “View sunset at Serenade point”
While the whole town of tourists of Oia was walking towards the Seranade sunset point, it took us almost an hour of struggle to push the “twin baby stroller” on the cobble stone street. We got a couple of annoyed stares on the way too, but seeing other people with strollers relieved us a little. After reaching the narrowest point of the street where it seemed impossible to push the stroller further, we had to give up and return.
However the next day when we got lost on the island, we discovered another point which was deserted and quiet, luckily our kids were sleeping after the tiring beach day therefore we got some time to enjoy the sunset in peace.
3. “Non Kid-friendly market streets”
The famous stone streets seemed so attractive in the pictures, but they were the worst for our twin stroller. Especially the biggest and busiest market street of Fira was all stones and steps which I would not recommend for kids in strollers.
Thank God I had researched beforehand which neighborhood is the most easily accessible with stroller, and the town of Oia was undoubtedly the best. In-fact it was the only market street which was paved with flat white marble which felt like a blessing to move on with a stroller. It has some nice restaurants with amazing Caldera views and awesome souvenir shops.
4. “Choosing the perfect hotel”
Initially I had Fira on my mind as it is the most happening town for tourists which has all sorts of shopping, nightlife, the best deals on hotels and the best of best views of the Caldera. We also shortlisted a few hotels, but after reading the reviews the area didn’t seem kid-friendly i.e (no room for the kids to play and no pool/jacuzzi).
After two weeks of research we chose Alexander’s Boutique Hotel in Oia which was an expensive yet wise decision. It had outdoor hot tub, terrace in front of our cave house with breathtaking view of the Caldera, and a shared sitting area with a couple of Greek board games. The location was perfect, just a few steps down main Oia market street. It was one of the very few family friendly hotels in Oia, so choose your hotel wisely.
5. “Choosing the right beach”
Santorini vacation is incomplete without a trip to the beach. Choosing from a variety of beaches, all with unique sands and landscapes, rumors of nudity and alcohol were a bit of a concern for us belonging to a Muslim culture.
Again, as suggested by our hotel concierge we drove all the way down to Perissa beach, which had black sands which was quite new to us. It was a family friendly space and our kids enjoyed a lot.
6. “What to feed the kids?”
Looking for halal food was impossible, so we mostly had sea food, whereas the kids survived on french fries of all sorts, shrimp/ vegetable flavor instant cup noodles, fried fish, shrimp spaghetti, stuffed tomatoes and peppers, lentil soup, pastas and butter rice, fresh fruits, and last but not the least- all possible kinds of breads.
Summing all up, visiting Santorini with kids was not the best idea, but it is definitely doable if you are willing enough. And as I always say
“Make the most out of your vacation by forgetting that your kids are a liability. Enjoy them as a part of the family rather than a duty, and they will enjoy with you!”
Adding more to the planning phase, check out my Family vacation planning checklist below: