Alternative Things to Do in Santorini with Children

Greece - Santorini - Oia - Santorini with Kids

Santorini island is magical, inspiring, majestic. Is it captivating, alluring, and mesmerizing? It definitely is. It’s also more than just a ridiculously gorgeous island. Parents, though, are often forced to gear down since it’s been labeled “for couples only”. So what do we do with the kids? … For couples only? There’s a lot for kids to do in Santorini… and for adults too. For instance, you can spend a day with the family outside Fira!


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What to do in Santorini with children

Essentials for your Adventures in Greece!

Getting to Greece: Nothing like sailing from one island to the other. Check Ferryhopper to book your ferry tickets in advance.

Spending the night: It’s always wise to compare, check both Booking.com and Hotels.com for the best accommodation deals.

Top-rated tours in Greece: If you visit Athens don’t miss this Acropolis Guided Tour. When in Crete, check the amazing Balos Beach with this Boat Cruise to Balos. And if you love wine, then splurge in this Santorini Winery Tour. To save time and money, get a convenient Combo Ticket Pass Athens.

Show me the money! No, really, need cash? Wise is the best online money transfer service with a debit card accepted all over Greece.

See Greece at your own pace with a rental car: Personally, I use Discover Cars to reach places where my old jalopy won’t take me. Wanna have more fun? Check prices for bikes and quad rental here.

Where to Stay in Santorini

GREECE - SANTORINI - CYCLADIC HOUSES

Budget accommodation: Asterolithos is located in the center of Fira Town, within walking distance of the Caldera. Check fees on Booking.com and compare prices on Hotels.com.

Mid-range hotel: Enjoy the comfort of Romantic Spa Resort By Romantic Collection (Small luxury hotel of the world): discover the offers on Booking.com.

Top luxury hotel in Santorini: Have an unforgettable stay at the Caldera, check the spectacular suites at Andronikos Canaves. Read the reviews, check pictures, and book your stay on Booking.com.

None of these suit you? Check other properties at Hotels.com

Rental Home Type? There are stunning villas to choose from on the island. One of the properties I prefer is the exclusive Terracotta Cave House, a traditional Cycladic house in Oia, but you can check more villas in Santorini here.

Santorini with Children
Best Things to Do in Santorini with Kids

Alternative Santorini for children - The foundations of the settlement at Ancient Thera are clearly visible.
The foundations of the settlement in Ancient Thera are clearly visible.

Discover Ancient Thera

The ancient city of Thera once prospered here, looking at this precise view. Alternative Santorini for Children.
The ancient city of Thera once prospered here, looking at this precise view.

This region lies on an elevated headland that divides Perissa from Kamari: Meso Vouna (or between mountains). The flatness of the plateau and its height from sea level results in a phenomenal 360° panorama. A visit to Ancient Thera is a must-do if your kids love all that’s ancient. And it’s a must from the beginning.

A drive on one of the most spectacular roads on Earth, the Kamari Serpentine, with 22 hairpin switchbacks, takes your breath away (not always in a good way!).

The settlement is on the east side of Santorini and offers a very different observation point. Important ruins are the Temple of Dionysus, the Sanctuaries of Artemidoros and Apollo Karneios, The Terrace of the Festivals, and ancient graveyards that will certainly move you.

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Alternative Santorini for children, a day with the family outside Fira. Buildings tended to have this shape to protect them from the strong winds.
Buildings tended to have this shape to be protected from the strong winds.

If the Kamari Serpentine is too much for your vertigo, reach Ancient Thera on foot, the hiking trail starting in Perissa takes about an hour and rewards you with spectacular views of the Aegean.

Explore the Akrotiri Excavations
(One of the Top Things to Do in Santorini with Children!)

An alternative afternoon in Santorini: The Prehistoric Town of Santorini.
An alternative afternoon in Santorini: The Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri.

Santorini’s Pompeii, if you will, lies in Akrotiri which is on the southernmost tip of the crescent-shaped island. With remains that date back to the 2nd millennium BC, the Bronze Age has left a permanent mark on this side of the Cycladic island.

The ruins are incredibly well-preserved and you can almost walk inside the two and three-story buildings that were part of the original settlement; once adorned with colorfully vibrant wall paintings and frescoes.

Alternative Santorini for Children: A Day with the Family Outside Fira
Pithoi (ancient vases).

You’ll find pottery and clay decanters still very much intact. The remains of this advanced civilization will astonish you.

So as not to miss any important detail, we opted for a professionally guided tour of Akrotiri. It was excellent to get a well-rounded insight into the most prominent areas of the island and in a reasonable time.

Alternative Santorini for Children: A Day with the Family Outside Fira
The exhibition is perfectly organized for small children to see even places with otherwise difficult visual access.

Back to Base: Fira

This particular tour was flexible in terms of pick-up as well as tour hours. In fact, it began as soon as we were ready, it’s them who adapted to our schedule, not us! (Yes, they know you are on holiday!).

It is perfect if you are spending a few days in Santorini but I also think it can show much of the island if you’re a cruise passenger.

In that case, they pick you up from the port of Athinios, at the base of the Caldera, they take you to Akrotiri and show you Oia.

And you finally return to Fira, Santorini’s beating heart.

Check ferry tickets to Greece here!

If you are staying in Santorini for more than a day, can I suggest you three things to do?

Try Fava!

Fava is probably the best-known dish from the island, and when it’s cooked by the book, it’s heaven. Fava has nothing to do with fava beans, it’s a dish mainly made of yellow split peas, and a must in Santorini.

Taste Santorini Wines

I’ve already talked about wines and kids in Santorini… and our experience was awesome. And third..?

Choose the Right Hotel for the Family!

As much as you can. Santorini is a treat to the senses, enjoy sunsets, tastes, experiences… and choose a ravishing hotel in Fira, Fira, such as the lovely Kalisti, (which, by the way, means beautiful in Greek; and the Kalisti honors its name!). We were lucky to manage our time quite wisely and to return to the hotel in time for some relaxing downtime. Kids included!

We all took in all those beautiful cultural images experienced during the day and enjoyed a memorable dinner overlooking the Caldera… romance does not mean kids forbidden. In a way, that’s how kids are started sometimes!

For those of you interested in museums, check these:
Official website of the Archaeological Museum of Thera
Official website of the Museum of Prehistoric Thera


Have you thought about traveling to Santorini with your kids?
Let me know in the comments below!


Travel Plans for Greece?
More Resources to Organize Your Trip!

Start by heading right to my Greece travel guide for in-depth details you need to know about Greece. You can also check my post to plan a trip to Greece with children!

Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your trip. If you want to tour West Crete, check my guide. Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!

Make Sure You’ve Got Everything For a Hassle-Free Vacation!

I never move around the islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy but light travel partner I just love. For short trips, I carry this little crossbody bag. If I drive, I pack my Nikon D7200 and a good travel guide! Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.

When it comes to plane tickets, compare prices with a powerful search engine. However, nothing beats traveling by sea in Greece. With Ferry Hopper, you can book in advance at the lowest price.

For accommodation, I personally use Booking.com.
Traveling to remote places is easier with Discover Cars. Other times, I join organized tours with GetYourGuide, which features anything from cooking lessons to airport transfer!

Are you coming to Crete any time soon?

Get in touch and let me know!

Read more:

Where to Stay in Naxos, Greece: Best Areas & Hotels on the Island
How to Get to Mykonos: Best Ways to Travel to the Greek Island
Sublime Things to Do in Patmos, Greece
Perfect Things to Do in Aegina, Greece
Discover the Beautiful Hidden Gems in Greece You Can Visit Right Now

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What to do in Santorini with children

About the author of this blog:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. Here, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in the summer, translating, and working as a tech advisor.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published two travel guides about Greece, and drunk more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.


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46 thoughts on “Alternative Things to Do in Santorini with Children

  1. Jona Bering | Backpacking with a Book says:

    Hi there, Gabi! I do not have kids yet, but I’m looking forward to traveling with kids and seeing the world through their eyes. Kids are naturally curious, and I know for sure adults can learn a thing or two from them! Your kids are lovely and lucky to have you as their mother!

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Hi Jona! Thanks… I was reluctant at the very beginning, but not that much to be honest since they both got on a plane much before being one year old 😀
      Thanks for the comments about my kids, it’s hard work, but so rewarding!!

  2. findinglala306 says:

    What a great place for your children to visit – beautiful photos for your family to remember forever. Also great to see Santorini from a different perspective and great education for your kids.

  3. Inka says:

    What a nice change to the regular Santorini Photographs and things to do. I never knew there where these cool ruins on the other side of the Island. Of course kids would like it but even Adults with a small curiosity in ruins would love to visit this spot, I know I would.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      You are right! This is a place to be enjoyed by everyone, not only children!! I am very happy I could show you a different Santorini!

  4. piernirandara says:

    A really great unique post on another perspective on Santorini! Normally we only get the couples perspective, but this one provides a fun look on the romantic island. Thank you for sharing!

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Thank you for passing by, yes… I enjoy looking for the hidden side of famous places, it’s a challenge and it’s so worth it!

  5. Ami Bhat says:

    I did not know about the ancient structures of Santorini. It sure is fun not just for kids but even for adults like me 😀 I truly believe that kids can have fun anywhere, it is the adults who need to believe that. Nicely captured here.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Thank you Ami, I agree, children can have fun anywhere!! It’s good to know I showed you a different Santorini, I am honoured!

  6. Dash the Map says:

    I would love to explore Santorini and Fira. A lot of people think kids shouldn’t travel because they won’t remember places or appreciate traveling, but I think opposite.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      So true, sometimes when we get home and I sit to write my articles, I ask the kids for information that I might have overlooked busy taking pictures, and they do surprise me with their memory!!

  7. Judson L Moore says:

    I’ve not yet made it to Greece, but it looks so amazing there! I hope I get to go there soon and have such a great experience as you had!

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Little by little Greece has become a kind of obsession over here for us. We definitely found an awesome place that never stops surprising. So much so that our next home, in a very short time, is going to be there.

  8. Alina Popescu says:

    I love visiting ancient sites and that’s partly because my parents took me to see them early on. I am a bit sad at times that such activities are not more frequent on “with kids” travel guides. Love the shots of the Thera ruins and would love to explore them in the future.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Su true Alina, we visit ancient sites quite a lot to be honest, being so much in love with Greece and living in Italy. And I have also sadly noticed the absence of kids. To be honest the same happens in museums and it’s such a pity. It becomes a vicious circle too, because many smaller, yet interesting museums are not equipped for receiving children and sometimes it’s a bit frustrating for everyone. I hope you can manage a visit to the ruins of Santorini too, and if you like them let me recommend a visit to Delos, the whole island is an archaeological site and it’s impressive. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Subhadrika Sen says:

    This is such a beautiful place. I understand many say that there are certain places that children cannot have fun in and would get bored easily , but I believe every place is suited to all age groups. there is something or the other to do for every person everywhere devoid of age.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      If the kids don’t know where they’re going, or what they’re seeing, they get bored and eventually become a nuisance.
      I normally hand the city guide (for instance the Lonely Planet) to my eldest, and he goes through it with his little brother.
      I also give them the list of the cities or places we will visit and their task is to read and discuss what they would like to see (and even what restaurants they’d like to visit!), they have to come up with a list of at least 3 sites/places for each city and tell me why they want to go. I understand it takes time and patience, but trust me, when they arrive they are so much involved that there’s no way we miss the spot they have decided to visit. This never fails to keep their interest alive.

  10. wanderingwagarschristina says:

    Great tips. We have not yet been to Greece but Santorini has been in my bucket list forever. My kids would definitely enjoy all the ruins. They love exploring and learning about the past. Will keep this mind for when we finally get to Greece.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Hi Christina! Those Little Wandering Wagars have to come to Greece sometime soon. They will definitely love it there!

  11. Blair Villanueva says:

    Those remnants are very interesting, and lots of stories to tell. I can’t imagine the previous life there… but I feel its magical 🙂

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      And it’s also surrounded by mystery to be honest as many connect the missing part of Santorini with the legend of the lost Atlantis. It’s really a land of wonder!

  12. Elena says:

    Greece is just amazing. It still has so many remnants of it’s past history. I don’t have kids, but I think that traveling with your young ones creates a strong family bond and that’s a great thing. I’m glad your kids share your interests. You really seem a happy family!

    Elena

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Thanks for your comments Elena, I can’t claim we are happier than any other family, but one thing is true, bonding and quality of life has improved and changed for better in our family since travel became more and more frequent.

  13. vishvarsha says:

    I didnt even know there were ancient ruins in Santorini. This post showed me a totally different side of the island. Loved the post 🙂

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Well thank you!!! Because this is my mission as a travel writer to be honest and your comment makes my day! I am very happy that I could show you a new Santorini, which is beautiful and romantic, but it’s not just a brochure island. There’s so much more to it. Thank you so very much.

  14. Stella the Travelerette says:

    I think it’s great you travel with your kids. I think kids can usually do a lot more than we think they’re capable of. I always travel alone but I still think Santorini is beautiful and I’d like to see it!

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Yes, it’s a pity that some places are promoted as a “no-way” for kids. Mine enjoy the adult stuff (museums, archaeological sites) even more than water parks (to be honest they’d rather go to a regular beach than to a pool in a waterpark) or amusement parks. If you present things are boring they would look boring. If you engage them (which I reckon is hard work, but needs to be done), they do get involved.

  15. polly674 says:

    I think that there is no inaproppropriate places to travel with children. Everywhere can be visited with them and in this post you describe this so well!

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Thank you, that is exactly why I try to make them travel everywhere, because the world is meant to be seen by all of us… don’t you think?

  16. Joanna says:

    I would love to visit Santorini and enjoy those beautiful sunsets over the white houses. I don’t have children but I wouldn’t mind visiting those ruins by myself.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Santorini as any other place is ok for everyone, travelling alone, in couples, in groups, with small kids or older kids. There’s no thing as Young tourism, Romantic tourism or other labels. We make the place in a way.. I think. You would love Santorini.

  17. Janine Good says:

    Reading your piece made me want to head back to Santorini! We had our engagement photos taken there and it was such an incredible backdrop. Thanks for getting me excited and wanting to return!

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      There were brides everywhere!! Yes, it’s a romantic place after all, some even argue the most romantic place in Europe… It’s indeed a magnificent place for engagement and wedding pictures indeed.

  18. Alberto C. says:

    Santorini, and the Greek islands in general, is one of the places that I’d love to visit soon. I was in mainland Greece as few years ago and absolutely loved the history and ancient ruins

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Hi Alberto! Mainland Greece blows my mind every time I visit. I have a special love for Athens and some of its neighborhoods. But the islands are incredible, Santorini is terrific, extremely beautiful, yet people don’t always know that there’s so much more to it than whitewashed little houses and blue domes and amazing sunsets… It’s an incredible land. Thanks for reading 🙂

  19. verushka says:

    Santorini looks so beautiful ! Love your tips. The foodie in me is interested in the wine and Fava. You are an inspiration travelling with your kids.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Thank you… I’m an inspiration full of patience 😀 Kids are not always an easy ride, but it’s good that they see the world and understand that differences are always a good thing to learn from. Oh… and the wine is awesome!
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  20. indrani says:

    The ruins of Greece charm me! One reason why I preferred to visit mainland than the islands. Great pics you have! A wonderful guide presented.

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Thank you! I know what you mean, the thing is that Islands are often promoted as the place to relax by the sea, but every island has ruins, myth and legend! I struggle to portray that because I love the sea, but sometimes I need to get myself out of the beach and do something more stimulating 🙂

    • Gabi - The Tiny Book Family Travel says:

      Thanks, it is really lovely, but there are even more beautiful towns perched on top of the Caldera, like Ía and Imerovigli too.

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