The Greek island of Santorini is part of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea. It’s famous for its iconic blue-domed churches, ocean views and memorable sunsets. In addition to inspiring visions of homes and villages, the mere mention of Santorini makes people think of it. Because of its romantic setting, Santorini is popular for weddings and romantic honeymoons.
What if a family with children or teenagers lives in Santorini? The island has plenty to offer them, as it offers many things. My family and I have never actually stayed in Santorini, but we’ve been there many times. It’s one of the most popular ports of call for cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean route. My family especially loves cruising as their favorite vacation. Our first choice for cruising is Med cruise line. We’ve visited Santorini frequently with our grandkids and kids. They’re always able to find something fun to do during their visits. Our 10-month-old grandson Jett was also on the island when we first visited it with him as a kid. I’m pretty sure Devon, the youngest guest at the time, still remembers his first donkey ride through the main town of Fira. My grandkids and great-grandkids all love Santorini; they visit often.
You and your family can participate in 6 enjoyable activities when you stay on the island for a short time or just one day.
With the exception of a few, all the beaches on the island are family-friendly. Families typically enjoy a day at the beach as an outing. There are also many other family-friendly activities on the island, like visiting a child friendly amusement park. However, if you want to keep your children away from nudity on the beach, stick to “family beaches”.
Perissa, Kamari, Red Beach, Agios Georgios and Perivolos are some of the most popular family friendly beaches on the island. All of them have “partly organized” areas with umbrellas and lounges for rent. Additionally, they usually have water sports rentals and restaurants that allow you to use the restroom. These beaches are within 10 to 12 kilometers of each other. Located in the main town of Fira, these beaches are easily accessible by public and private transportation. There are also nearby hotels if you plan to stay on the island for a while.
There’s a miniscule waterpark in Perissa if you get tired of the beach. I mean it’s really small, like the size of a shoebox. You won’t find any thrill rides like Atlantis or Wet ‘n Wild at this waterpark. This water park includes a splash zone, slides and an area for sitting under umbrellas. In addition to that, they offer cheap entry to adults who don’t mind sitting in the shade and enjoying alcoholic drinks. A three-tiered pricing system applies to the restaurant’s food; the most expensive option is €10 per meal. Adults pay €6 to enter, while children pay €3.
From the port where cruise ships tenders dock to Fira, there are only three paths: walk up 600 steps that zigzag up an 800 foot cliff face, take the cable car or ride a donkeys up those same steps.
Many people consider riding a donkey on a cruise line voyage controversial and offensive. These complaints often involve accusations of animal cruelty; I love all animals. However, I haven’t encountered any evidence that the donkeys endure poor treatment. In fact, their owners seem to take good care of them as a source of income.
It’s true that my kids look forward to riding the horses when we head to Fira. I ride them because the alternatives aren’t any better. The cable car lines on Santorini can be 2 to 3 hours long depending on the number of cruise ships docked there. Going up those steps next to donkeys that defecate in the bushes isn’t my idea of a good time. Instead, I’d prefer a donkey-themed ride up the mountain!
I did this once and have no desire to repeat the experience. I survived the journey but were on edge the entire time. I needed 3 drinks before I could stop quivering from the ride. Those who choose to ride the donkey in Santorini should be aware that it’s considered a part of the experience.
Head to Oia Village on the north end of the island by bus.
Oia is the most popular village on the island, as it’s where many tourists take photos. It has a wider variety of stores, galleries, cafes and restaurants. The small streets in Oia are a favorite spot for children to explore. You can quench your thirst and enjoy the view by enjoying a cold fruit slushy. The best sunsets are viewed from Oia!
Travel to the center of the caldera by traveling on a small boat. Once there, hike up Nea Kameni, a volcanic island in the Santorini group that is unpopulated and part of a national geological park. Nea Kameni is an uninhabited volcanic island in the middle of a caldera.
The volcano contains an air vent that releases gasses with high temperatures on a regular basis. You can take your kids up the volcano for a fun nature walk. There are no stores or restaurants on the island. So pack a hat and plenty of water and sunscreen— you’ll need them both!
Akrotiri is an archaeological site with a preserved Bronze Age Minoan Town. It may have served as the inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis. In 1623 B.C., the town was buried in ash from a volcanic eruption.
This website is suitable for budding archaeologists aged 6 to 10. However, younger children may find the content too difficult to understand. It’s still worth a visit if you’re like us and enjoy learning while on vacation.
The Red Beach is close to the main entrance, which is just a couple of blocks away. You can find the sign directing you to the beach a few feet from the bus stop. Don’t worry about walking back to the bus stop after your trip to Red Beach; just head in the direction of Fira on foot. You should be able to explore that site for no more than two hours. Additionally, you can combine this activity with a trip to Fira. Find out more about visiting Fira here .
The more time you spend on Santorini and in any location you choose, the better your time will be. If you come across any fun family activities, let us know so we can try them next time we visit!