Greece with kids you wonder? Yes… do it! No apprehension, do it now! Greece, should without a doubt, be your next family holiday destination.
Travelling around Greece with kids is really really easy and FUN! We did it with a two and five year old. And it was, hands down, one of the best travelling experiences we’ve had to date. Partly due to the perfect 14 day itinerary I had prepared, but also because Greece is just awesome with kids!
Before leaving for Greece, we had our fair share of critics. They questioned our mode of travel – backpacking. And they doubted our island destinations of choice – which included Mykonos and Santorini.
“Mykonos is only for those looking for a buzzing nightlife, Santorini for romance… and wait a minute… back packing… with kids... are you crazy!”
But honestly, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Let me explain why!
Getting Around Greece with Kids
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Now this a decision we went back and forward on. In the end we decided NOT to take the stroller for our toddler. And in hind sight, I’m glad we didn’t take it. This is why one of the reasons why…
I remember standing in the back of the ferry in Santorini watching the honeymooners waiting to disembark. They had sooooo much STUFF! Then there was our family of four. We (the adults) each had a back pack and a child in hand. That each gave us one hand free.
Meanwhile our fellow passengers dragged their multiple suitcases uncomfortably behind them. I thought travelling with kids was supposed to be stressful! But these folks surrounding us, made it look a damn sight harder. Why do people need so much stuff these days? I just don’t understand it. Less is best people!
But I digress. Back to why no stroller…
Greece has unevenly paved roads, obstacles such as stairs, there are the many modes of transport you’ll be taking… ferries, yachts, planes, buses and automobiles. So just be smart about accomodation choices. Find centrally located Airbnb’s or hotels (check out our recommendations in our itinerary post) and encourage your little ones to stretch their legs and you honestly won’t need a stroller.
In reality though, Athens and the rest of Greece aren’t filled with big long full days of walking. Just take it in bite sized pieces and at the right pace for your kids.
I think this is also somewhat a personal decision, but ultimately having a stroller increases your STUFF and is just one more thing to contend with. What with all the travel between islands and modes of transport, the extra stuff seems unnecessary. Be prepared of course for some shoulder carries from time to time, but ultimately not having it reduces things to pack AND excess.
Sailing with Kids
Initially, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be safe with young kids. Many providers immediately said no, and some wanted a minimum booking of 7 days (a week on a boat with kids – were they crazy). Finally I found the right operator Mykonos Onboard and I’m so glad I did. They were incredible… read more about why here.
So if I could give any advice to a family wanting to visit Greece with kids, I would say SAIL… and don’t hesitate. It takes you off the tourist trail and sets you up for quality family time.
Of course I don’t need to explain, that you set the rules immediately as you board the yacht. And all eyes on kids at all times. These are both a given right? Our youngest is quite the cheeky one and moves non-stop, so we had to be extra cautious with her. But in reality people sail around the world with young kids all the time… La Vagabonde can vouch for that. It’s just about being sensible and setting rules (for the kids and the adults).
People in Greece… and your Kids
The Greeks are super friendly and from our experience… they love kids! Children can do no wrong. Its kind of like turning up to a party with a puppy. You’ll make new friends and have a completely different experience, compared to if you turn up solo. I always find travelling with children opens new doors and along with that comes completely new experiences.
Restaurants will welcome you no matter the time, day or place. We like good food… and eating is a total ritual for us. We have visited countries where taking children to smaller, higher end, restaurants that do great food is just not the done thing. This is definitely not the case in Greece.
In fact, children are often seen running around small courtyards in restaurants as the families sit for hours at a time, socialising and eating. So hey! While in Rome (or Greece) right!
Word of advice when eating at a Greek restaurant with a local. They will order a LOT of food, and you won’t leave until it’s all gone… even if it takes a few hours.
Another thing I really liked about restaurants in Greece is that there is no special child’s menu. Kids eat what everyone else is eating. But don’t fret, there will plenty to choose from and it all tastes so good… and so your little one will likely discover a new taste or two to enjoy. Our youngest found she had a love for sardines!
Back to the topic of the whole friendly thing though, we did discover an annoyance in Athens. The touts, chancers, scammers saw us coming… like a beacon. They go straight to the kids, all playful and coy, sometimes with offerings, attempting to get to you… but through them. Ultimately they are looking for money. So word to the wise… play it cool and avoid their freebies.
Kid Free Date Night?
Now I don’t know about you, but I love a regular date night. And you don’t get to Santorini often… So just do it!
I definitely recommend Santorini as the location for it too. It is a special place for sure and there are some amazing restaurants. See this post for more on Santorini. If you stay in the Zoe Aegeas Cave Houses then Zak the Manager will recommend a fantastic babysitter.
I always like the babysitter to arrive early while I’m getting ready which gives me the opportunity to suss them out. Likewise, I would only book a babysitter through someone that I have developed some rapport with and feel that I could trust their judgement.
Atlantis Book Shop
An absolute must with kids in Santorini is Atlantis Books, but don’t just take my word for it… Santorini Dave agrees and rates it as one of the best in the world. The story behind it is also cool… but I’ll let you drop in and chat to the friendly staff to get the full lowdown.
Thanks to this book store our kids now have a bookshelf full of Greek mythology. And I have a cookbook shelf full of Greek recipes… which yes I do make from time to time!
How Many Islands to See When You’ve got Kids?
Athens, Mykonos and Santorini are busy! Stay there for a couple of nights and then choose a couple of islands to sit back and relax with the kids.
But keep it real… there is definitely no need to over do it or you’ll miss the point of a Greek Island vacation. While the islands are close, they are still a bit of a trek to get between, so just take it easy this time with the kids… save some for next time!
Our experience of Greece was based in the Cyclades group of islands and a couple of nights in Athens. Two weeks was good and honestly I wouldn’t advise trying to do it in just one week. For this length of time pick three, maximum four islands to see. But hey… I don’t need to tell you. You’ll know what type of holiday better suits your travel style. But just keep in mind… Greece is big and getting between islands requires some planning and energy.
Seriously though… check out our recommended two week itinerary for Greece. As this is only one post in our series on Greece – there are three more island dedicated posts to come.
Beaches with Kids
Its not difficult to find a beach when your holiday destination is to the Greek Islands. Naturally they come in all shapes and sizes, white sand, pebbled and black sand, bays, long beaches, water sport based beaches and ones to sunbathe on.
Now I think we can safely say that we checked out most beaches on each island we visited. We do love a good beach!
Some of our favourites for the kids are below…
- The southern beaches of Mykonos are idyllic. Our favourite was Paraga Beach, which we got to by bus. The bus system in Mykonos is super easy to navigate, just turn up to the main bus depot in town and ask a few questions to get the timetable.
- Parasporos Beach in Paros was close to our accomodation. It was a cute sandy bay with a good restaurant and it kept the kids busy.
- Kolimbythres Beach in Paros was to the North of the island near Noussa. It was a tiny little bay, perfect for the kids to paddle around with fishing nets.
- Faragas Beach in Paros was one that we stumbled upon while driving around the island. We parked near the beach restaurant and walked over the small hill at the southern end of the beach to discover a small bay. It is very quiet and kids will love jumping the small waves of this little bay. While there is not a lot to see underwater, it is a sheltered bay when the wind is off-shore and so is also a good place to take a snorkel.
- The black sand beaches of Agios Georgios in Santorini were quite unique. Take a drive along this long stretch of beach and pick a spot that you like. There are plenty of restaurants to lunch at, so find one that looks good and park up!
This is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of travel advice for exploring Greece with kids. If you have any other questions that you’d like to know more about, then be sure to leave a comment below and we’ll try to help out. Or share some of your own travel tips based on your own experiences.
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