If you’ve ever had the opportunity to watch Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants during your childhood, you’ve probably always wanted to see that beautiful Grecian island where Lena meets the man of her dreams and falls in love. You may not be planning on meeting a dreamboat of your own, but Santorini, Greece is a magical island, ideal for providing a little romance between you and your spouse while also supplying entertainment for the kids. There are many things to do in Santorini. Here are just a few of the many amazing options you can take advantage of during your visit!
1. How to Get There
You may think that the vacation starts when you get there, but even the mode of transportation can be fun! If you’re deciding between exploring the ruins and rich history of Athens and splashing in the blue waters of the black beaches of Santorini, guess what? Do both! Not only is the Santorini airport small and easily accessible with reasonably priced tickets in and out of Athens, but an even cheaper – and possibly more exciting for the kids – option is to take the Athens to Santorini ferry. Make sure you block out more time than it says, however, as it can take longer than expected at times!
If you’d prefer to fly there and want a shorter ferry experience, there’s also a ferry to Mykonos, a nearly equally beautiful neighboring island. I definitely recommend planning to explore the surrounding islands.
2. Go to the Beach
This might seem obvious, but some people make the mistake of booking out every minute with activities and restaurants and totally forget to just play and relax! The beaches in Santorini are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Kamari beach is covered in smooth, black rocks with clear blue water gently lapping over the shores. The island has multiple beach accesses, but this is one of my personal favorites, as you can swim close to the rocks with goggles and a snorkel to take a closer look at all the sea creatures that inhabit the waters. You’ll be sure to find other good swimming holes as you explore!
3. Volcano Boat Tour
The boat tour of the dormant volcano is one of the most popular things to do in Santorini and will probably be your kids’ highlight of the entire trip. The boat’s first stop is the volcano itself where you can explore all the different craters that have been formed. Afterwards, you have ample time to swim in the hot springs just off of one of the volcanoes. Once you get back on the boat, the trip isn’t over. You’ll enjoy a delicious dinner and then take a spin around the base of the island to get a closer look at the caldera cliffs. The night finishes off with a spectacular sunset – as all of them are in Santorini – and some traditional Greek dancing.
4. Explore Oia, Santorini
If you’ve seen pictures of Santorini, they were probably of Oia, the city of white house, blue roofs, and breath-taking sunsets. Though this might seem more appealing to the adults, there are plenty of amusing sights to see as well as unique stores and crepe or ice cream shops to stop at for your kids to enjoy their Oia experience, as well. You cannot take a trip to Santorini and not go to Oia!
5. Take a Hike
You can take the well-known walk from Fira, Santorini to Oia, Santorini and this is about six miles or ten kilometers; so only attempt this early in the morning when the sun isn’t beating down quite yet and only if your kids are a bit older. If you’re able to tackle it, the walk/hike is a ton of fun and one of the best ways to get a feel of the small island. In all, it should take you about three to four hours with kids and all you have to do is follow the signs!
6. Visit the Water Park
Now if you’re used to Six Flags and the like, lower your expectations a bit. After all, something like that would take up half the island! However, the Santorini Water Park is nothing to turn your nose up at and great for changing things up. It has three pools, three water slides, and a kids’ play area. It’s actually a pretty good size, considering! And you’ll stay a lot cooler in these waters than you will on the black beaches.
7. Where to Stay
Santorini isn’t necessarily a cheap place to visit – unless you want it to be. I always recommend staying in an Airbnb as they are the more frugal experience as well as a more local one. I’ve stayed in a clean, simple yet spacious apartment with a pool and just a five-minute walk to the beach and loved the experience. You feel just like a native!
However, if money isn’t the issue, you may want to look into some of the resorts as they will provide more playing areas and entertainment for your kids.