Alternative Santorini for Children: A Day with the Family Outside Fira

Who said children can’t have fun in Santorini?

 

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. Spectacular to the eye, but also fulfilling to the soul. Us parents, though, are often forced to gear down as we reach travel fantasy ecstasy since it’s been labeled “for couples only”. So what do we do with the kids? … For couples only? I beg to differ! Whoever said so has no clue about kids! That’s far from the truth, kids can also enjoy a view from the Caldera! But you know what? There’s even more for kids and for adults too. For instance a day with the family outside Fira! Santorini proudly displays its strong cultural heritage if you are keen on discovering it.

 

 

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.

 

Ancient Thera

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 result in a phenomenal 360ยฐ 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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Akrotiri Excavations

 

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

 

Santoriniโ€™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 The imposing ruins in the modern building that houses the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri.
The imposing ruins inside the modern building that houses the Prehistoric Town.

 

Alternative Santorini for children.
Surviving fragments of the fresco of the Blue Monkeys.

 

Youโ€™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 decanter still, somewhat intact! One of many specimens.

 

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

 

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, Santoriniโ€™s beating heart.

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 wines!

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

Splurge!

As much as you can. Santorini is a treat to the senses, enjoy sunsets, tastes, experiences… and choose a ravishing hotel in 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

 

Planning a trip to Santorini? Check this complete itinerary to the island. Click on the photo to read the post.

46 thoughts on “Alternative Santorini for Children: A Day with the Family Outside Fira”

  1. 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!

    Reply
    • 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 ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thanks for the comments about my kids, it’s hard work, but so rewarding!!

      Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  4. 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!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  5. I did not know about the ancient structures of Santorini. It sure is fun not just for kids but even for adults like me ๐Ÿ˜€ I truly believe that kids can have fun anywhere, it is the adults who need to believe that. Nicely captured here.

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

      Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!!

      Reply
  7. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  10. 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.

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

      Reply
  11. Those remnants are very interesting, and lots of stories to tell. I can’t imagine the previous life there… but I feel its magical ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  12. Greece is just amazing. It still has so many remnants of it’s past history. I don’t have kids, but I think that travelling 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 | http://www.inspiredtoexplore.com

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  13. I didnt even know there were ancient ruins in Santorini. This post showed me a totally different side of the island. Loved the post ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  14. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  15. 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!

    Reply
    • 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?

      Reply
  16. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  17. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  18. 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

    Reply
    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  19. 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.

    Reply
    • Thank you… I’m an inspiration full of patience ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  20. 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.

    Reply
    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

      Reply

Leave a Comment