Santorini. It’s a magic of its own kind. Dramatic cliff top towns with hotels carved into the same. Sweeping ocean views and sunsets to die for. Not the most child-friendly place however. First, it was extremely difficult to find a hotel that would accept us with a child. Most replied to my email requests stating that their policy was not to allow children under 12. All sorts of reasons were given, from ‘it’s for safety reasons’ to ‘it’s a honeymooners paradise that shouldn’t be interrupted by small children’. Talk about feeling wanted! Finally, the beautiful Artemis Villas, accepted us…and in the honeymoon suite no less! Ha!
However, no sooner had we arrived than the impracticality of travelling with a child in Santorini became apparent. Imagine having to walk down 100 (extremely) steep steps to get to your hotel room. Then the thought of crawling back up them, just to go to the shops for a snack. All with a small child in tow and pram. Let’s just say that we thought long and hard about leaving our room. Ever. It had to be justifiable on many levels (excuse the pun!) before we would venture out. It got to the point of running through a list of ‘How long will the journey take?’, ‘Do we need to go or is it just a want?’, ‘Is it too hot for the baby right now?’, ‘Might she need a nap while we’re on the road?’…oh the list went on. Only the meticulously and carefully thought out missions passed muster. Needless to say, the hotel was so good with sending porters to tend to your every need and there was a free cocktail hour every night which you could enjoy from the privacy of your own terrace outside the room, so there was little incentive to ever leave. Mostly by night (when it was a bit cooler – I probably wouldn’t go again in mid-July), we managed to explore the towns of Oia (for sunset it was divine), Imerovigli (where our hotel was and some other lovely restaurants) and Fira (where our friends stayed).
All told, I loved Santorini, the food was stunning, the landscape so striking, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it as a family trip with small children. Unless you’re super fit, don’t mind a touch of vertigo dealing with the narrowest stairs known to mankind, and are happy to get about with baby in a sling, to avoid the complications of getting a pram over cobbled, narrow paths and up/down the ridiculously steep stairways.