Three days in Santorini with a Family
Οver the last years in which Santorini emerged as the promised land for worldwide travelers, the label “family friendly” has not been on the long list of virtues the island has to display. We have all heard stories about hotels not accepting children on their premises and travel agencies trying to redirect families to other Greek islands in order to keep this place as a couples’ hideaway. However nothing cοuld be more wrong than that. This past Spring we traveled with our kids to Santorini and it has been one of the best trips we have even done, not missing on any of the elements we consider valuable or must-haves for a trip with kids. Although we stayed a full 5 days and had many amazing experiences, I will present you here only a small part of it in a 3 days guide with the absolute best activities while the full guide will be coming soon in full details.
Firstly I will start by saying that everything presented in this guide has been carefully curated by the wonderful people of Aegagros Caldera Houses and Anastasia in particular, with whom we collaborated to make this trip and the guides come true. They have worked really hard to set up everything around the well being of families both practically and aesthetically (my fave combination) and I can say that our partnership was a match made in heaven. Anastasia has a very insightful knowledge of the island and can guide you to carefully chosen experiences depending on what you are looking for on your vacation. She makes herself available to personally counsel each client in the details of their trip and this is exactly what she did with us while we were planning our days in Santorini.
Unless you are arriving in Santorini on a plane, taking the ferry means that you will be passing an average of 14 hours (come and go) on sea. Booking a cabin where you can put the kids to rest/sleep or enjoy some privacy when they start nagging is the best thing you can do. Also you will be enjoying a private bathroom with a shower to wash off the heatwaves of Greek summery days. Add to the extras the amazing window view, a small vanity to arrive looking perfect, your very own plugs to charge the devices and full access to business lounge. The company that provides all these goodies is Blue Star Ferries that warmly invited us on board and gave us the opportunity to savor all those privileges.
Upon arrival and after uphill climbing the steep road on a 10 minute car ride, next on schedule is checking in your family friendly accommodation. If you ask us, Aegagros Caldera Houses, is the epitome of family friendly-ness. Comfortable spacious villas with private terraces in a 5.000m2 stand-alone estate, overlooking a vine and the famous infinite view of caldera. Most of the houses are usually rented by families which means that your kids have an opportunity to make new friends and keep themselves happy playing while you enjoy the view with a glass of domestic wine. Aegagros has it’s own unique wine prepared in the traditional Vedema the wine harvest and stomping event. It is an event happily celebrated only once a year in the 15th-25th of August. If you think that you would like to experience this fiesta that is completely free of charge make sure to book way ahead as these days get sold out the fastest. Another thing that is happily celebrated in Aegagros is breakfast. During the days we spent there we enjoyed the most spectacular, slow, brunch-like breakfasts. Definitely the reason behind our starting the day late. It was a great highlight of this trip that we did not have to worry about where to feed the kids. The houses were fully equipped with spacious kitchens where we prepared some meals and whenever we were feeling lazy, the restaurant of Aegagros prepared for us fresh organic dishes that we enjoyed over the sunset. Day one continues with a boat trip. All small passengers have to fish their dinner. It cannot get more local and organic than that. The children are introduced to 3 different types of fishing and get acquainted with the species of fish as well as their taste. Dinner, the catch -also including shrimp and octopus as a bonus- is cooked and served on board under the beautiful colors of sunset.
Even though 3 days are too little time to spend in Santorini, they are enough to dive a bit deeper into the heart of the island and give your kids a trip back in ancient times. The island is strongly connected with the myth of the lost Antlantis. So why not do some exploring with a guided tour to one of the most important archaeological sites of the world, Akrotiri, the Minoan Bronze Age settlement that was destroyed in the Theran eruption about 1627 BC and buried in volcanic ash. Again, under the guidance of Anastasia we set off to explore the settlement with Kosta, the best guide we could ever chose for us to have. It is not a coincidence that the whole group of 6 kids we had along was breathless during a whole 3 hour guide. Kostas unveiled the hidden secrets of the settlement for us backing them with a vast amount of background evidence/pictures from his archive and gave us the most astonishing interpretation for the myth of Atlantis. After exploring the ancient era, Kostas took us on a walking tour to explore the medieval side of the island, in Emporio, and what a beautiful continuum that was. The old town of Emporio is not so well known and a bit overshadowed by Pyrgos village, but how wrong is that. During our stay we visited both places and I can say that Emporio is much more interesting in terms of architecture and well preserved city plan. For the afternoon of the second day we highly recommend visiting Oia. If you have to choose only one town between Fira and Oia, Oia should always be the winner. It’s sunset is something you will not want to miss. Also you get the chance to buy your gifts at the local stores that display some unique and beautiful finds.
The third day must find you somewhere by the sea, stuffed with quality local seafood. One place that combines both of these two and is of supreme picturesque beauty is the bay of Ammoudi. Forget about visiting the old port of Fira as there is nothing of interest for children there except if you take them on the 15′ donkey ride or the cable car. But even so the fun part lasts as long as the duration of the ride. Whereas Ammoudi is very easy to access with a car, the water is crystal clear and the small tavernas there are considered as some of the best on the island. As there is no actual beach but the famous volcanic rocks of Santorini from where children can jump off to the water (a very entertaining activity for grown up kids), this would be a choice for parents with children that are well acquainted with swimming. If you want to know more on where to find the perfect sandy beach in Santorini, or what more special experiences there are to enjoy with kids on the island, or which dates exactly are the best to travel, or in which local celebration day you can enjoy local produce for free, stay tuned as I am preparing a more special in depth guide for those of you who can afford to stay more days. And if you consider how long a post it took me to write about the three sole days, you can only guess how rich the next guide is going to be. So stay tuned and send me any questions you might have.
Disclaimer: As always, each place we present in this precious, super personal corner of the web is carefully hand picked. We only collaborate with brands with whom we make a good match of values, aesthetics and area of interest. In this context we kindly thank Aegagros Caldera Houses and Blue Star Ferries for sponsoring this trip and giving us the freedom to write our personal and unbiased opinion for our audience.