Yes. You read that correctly – Greece…with children. My husband and I decided long ago that we wanted international travel to be a regular part of our two children’s’ upbringing. It’s been 2 whole years of social distancing so we decided to just rip the bandaid off. Below is a rundown of the who, what, when, where, and HOW we survived this adventure.
Our goal was to only stay in Athens the first and last day of our trip (since that’s where we flew out of) and spend the bulk of our time in Santorini. That gave us about 48-hours in Athens and about 5 days in Megalachori, Santorini.
Travel & Covid Guidelines
We flew via British Airways (Houston to London, London to Athens)
Then once you’re in Athens, you have two options for getting to Santorini: another flight or the ferry. We didn’t want another round of airport security or being cooped up on a plane so we figured the ferry ride would allow for a nice change of scenery. While it was nice floating passed the various islands…I will literally never set foot on a ferry again!! Strike 1: it’s a 5-hour ferry ride to Santorini. Strike 2: People are coming and going at every stop (hello germs). And Strike 3: it’s just a clustercrap of dirty seats and lots of shuffling. Like a Greyhound bus on water. Just don’t do it. IF you dare to try despite my warning, use FerryHopper to find your vessel and book the tickets (we used SeaJets and were told that other non-SeaJets vessels could take more than 5 hours).
In addition to having to show proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests for the ferry, the airline required us to upload copies of that info along with copies of the passenger locator forms that tracked every place we’d be visiting while in Greece and another one for our layover in London. I think that rapid tests were acceptable but we wanted to be safe and got PCR results instead. Before leaving we used a pediatric urgent care to get the kids’ PCR results quicker and for our return, we all took PCR tests at a MedLife health clinic in Santorini for about $60 each.
We booked via AirBnB (two homes for the first and last days in Athens and then the week in Santorini). If you’re wanting to explore Athens, find a place to stay near Syntagma Square (think downtown of any city) and of course visit the Acropolis!
While in Santorini we stayed at Kyani Mansion and they also helped us rent a small car to get around the island. I do recommend renting a car. It’s super cheap ($10-20) and Santorini is small so while you don’t get the guided tour, it’s great to be able to ride around off the beaten path! We avoided staying in the bigger, tourist towns (like Oia) but Megalachori is probably more ideal for a quiet, romantic couple’s trip. It was actually so quiet and small that we wished we’d stayed in Athens longer than Santorini. Athens is lively, great for kids. Santorini is beautiful but the small town we chose made our normal talking volume sound like screaming.
A Few Places to See:
- Syntagma Square. Have lunch at MS Roof Garden for a stunning view of the city.
- Acropolis of Athens (including Areopagus Rock)
- Ancient Agora, Adrianou, and the Roman Forum of Athens. While you’re in the area, grab a bit to eat at Efcharis, the staff is amazing!
- Ancient Agora
- Oia – the blue dome cathedrals obviously, but also check out the Castle of Oia then eat at Kastro Restaurant…that view is to die for!
- Sunset in Fira – try dinner at Kokkalo
- Megalachori – the bell monument and Eye of Santorini are stunning and easy to get to
General Tips for Trips to Greece & Important Things to Know:
- Stockpile as you go. America is so wasteful that we had to collect plastic utensils, napkins, condiments, and plastic bags when we found them. More on those plastic bags in a second…
- Pack your go-to meds. Because most towns aren’t Americanized (part of its beauty) it is very difficult to find most American brands of medicine. There are a few things that I always keep on hand but I caught a cold during the trip and was hard-pressed to find something to relieve my symptoms.
- Invest in a universal outlet adapter. We bought one from Amazon years ago for our trip to Bali and it’s still a gem.
- Bring comfortable shoes as you’ll want to walk and enjoy the sights without blisters.
- It’s pretty chilly mid-to October so go sooner and you can really enjoy the beaches!
- Save those plastic bags. Plumbing in Greece is old-school so they ask that you not flush the toilet tissue. Yes, girl, I know. Whew. Our villa provided some bags but having a few extra won’t hurt. Godspeed.
- Screenshot EVERY confirmation email, QR code, etc. and favorite them or create an album in your phone’s photo reel just for this trip. You’ll be asked to present info and believe me, you don’t want to be the person at the front of the line scrambling to find things. This includes a picture of your vaccination card if your state doesn’t provide a digital wallet. In other words, make it easy to find all of these documents.
For the Parents:
To stroller or not to: I think it’s better to have it and not use it, than it is to not have one and need it. Perhaps a small (read: cheap) umbrella stroller will do. Just know that Greece is still very traditional and old so many roads are cobblestone, narrow, and steep. Great quad and glute workout, though!
Must-have kiddo (and some adult) items before you embark on this journey:
Enjoy a few of our photos below
MS Roof Garden, Athens