Santorini with a baby: travel tips

Santorini, for all its beauty, is not a particularly child-friendly place. Notwithstanding, do I recommend you go there with a baby? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Roger that – it’s been on my wish list since forever and what better time to do it than when you’re living in Europe as a small, mobile family! However, in the absence of being able to find much information online about travelling there with a baby (after being warned by a former work colleague from Greece that Santorini in particular was not child friendly and then experiencing rejection from a swag of hotels, bed and breakfasts and Airbnb stays over email!) it occurred to me that it might be helpful to share some tips that I learnt from our experience.

Santorini Sunsetdad hugs Through the looking glass Balcony Snuggle Stairs Santorini Santorini views

Santorini Special Sunset Santorini Steps Santorini View loveSantorini cliff uphill

Where to stay

  1.  If you’d like to stay seaside, Oia is indeed the prettiest place with the famous sunset views and beautiful village style shops. Imerovigli next to it is quieter but with less shops and restaurants and it’s closer to Fira than Oia. However, both of these spots are filled with lots and lots of steep steps. Walking up and down 70 steps with a baby and pram to get in and out of your hotel, then dealing with steps at every corner, in 38 degree searing heat, can make for a logistical nightmare. Fira is flatter, with less steps, but is more touristy, crowded and loud. Make your choices accordingly. We stayed at the beautiful Artemis Villas in Imerovigli, which was lovely, and within walking distance to Fira.
  2. If you choose Oia, I met a delightful, smart, helpful and warm Airbnb host, Evi, with a stunning apartment she rents out in Oia Linko Traditional Villa. She grew up in Santorini, worked in a 5 star hotel there for many years and is an absolute wealth of knowledge on all things Santorini generally (her partner operates the popular boat cruises to the volcano), so I’d highly recommend looking her up.
  3. Find somewhere with a pool. It’s really hot in summer and, given the extensive cliff face between you and the ocean, meaning it’s not easy to access for a quick dip then back to the comfort of your accommodation, I’d highly recommend that you place this high on your priority list.

What to pack

  1. A travel cot. Although our hotel was 4/5 star, its travel cot didn’t have a mattress which really upset the apple cart for a few nights. Given Santorini don’t do baby travel in abundance, I would hazard a guess that its sleeping conditions for babies haven’t been given a huge amount of thought. Trust me, it’s not worth the headache on this one – just pack one.
  2. Pack a good sling with lots of support. If I had my time again, I wouldn’t travel around the coastal side of Santorini with a pram. Sure, I’d take the pram for longer hauls or inland trekking, but leave it behind for sea side day tripping.
  3. Good walking shoes. It’s a fabulous place to explore but the streets are very cobbled, uneven and there’s lots of steps (so you need some grip, especially if you’ve got a baby clinging on to you for dear life).

Where to eat

  1. Aegean in Imerovigli is lovely family run restaurant and came recommended from the lovely Evi.
  2. To Psarkaki in Vlychada – it’s a taxi ride from any of the places I’ve talked about staying in, but houses gorgeous ocean views and prides itself on fresh, rustic style seafood.
  3. Mezzo in Imerovigli. Stunning Greek food and wine right near the hotel we stayed at.

From where I'd rather be

Santorini Hug 1

I hope this helps, but please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to ask anything further. Also if you’ve been to Santorini with a bambino in tow and can add to these tips, go forth!

  • Veronica

    Hi there! SOOOOO glad to have found this – I’m going to Santorini next week with my little one (8 months) and husband and like you mentioned, there is NOTHING out there for information. Can you give me an idea of what you guys did while you were there? Any tours or trips you recommended to do or stay away from?

    • RachelM

      Hi Veronica, thank you so much for reaching out, it’s really lovely to hear from you! Exciting stuff re a trip with your little one to Santorini next week, I’m jealous, but also totally appreciate what you say about there being very little information out there on the travel with babe scenario, which is frustrating. Because of the extreme heat we encountered in July and the location of our hotel (i.e. carved into a cliff with a billion steps to get up and down each day with babe in tow) we spent a lot of time just enjoying the morning scenery from our balcony (the views were exquisite) and doing afternoon strolls through the villages (Oia is a must, and a walk along the coast between Fira and Imerovigli) followed by sunset dinners when it cooled down (some of the restaurants we went to are in my post). We didn’t do a boat trip because we’d just come from Milos where we’d done a full day trip on a boat, followed by the ferry ride across from there to Santorini (which was enough boat trips for us by then!). Evi, the wonderful Airbnb host I referred to in my post, was the most excellent source of knowledge on all things to do though, so I’d recommend looking her up (even if you’re not staying at her place!), particularly if you’re interested in a boat trip, because her partner is a captain on one of the boats that goes out. I wished we had more time, but it was only 3 days. Evi’s details can be found at https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/6058310. If you’re staying longer, I would also recommend hiring a car and getting about to the other side of the island too. We went on a day trip to Vlychada (we caught taxis, because we were spending time with a group
      of friends that could all squeeze into a mini-van cab) and had the most delicious seafood lunch at To Psarkaki – the ocean right in front of it made for a stunning day. Other than that, my friends did a cooking day which sounded fantastic, so if you’re interested in that let me know and I’ll find out the details. Please let me know if I can help with anything else but otherwise I hope that helps and enjoy the journey – it will be sublime and such a beautiful experience with bubs too! 🙂

  • Emily Roderick

    How old was your baby? And where did you get the travel cot? This is really helpful, thanks for sharing!

    • RachelM

      Hi Emily
      Thank you for your kind words, I’m so pleased to hear you’ve found it helpful!
      Poppy was around 8 months old when we did this trip. We didn’t take a travel cot (although we should have!), but purchased one when we got back to Scotland and used it for the rest of our travels. We just picked up a really cheap 30pound travel cot on sale at Mothercare (the largest we could find because Poppy does 360 twirls in her sleep!), but also the most compact one we could find. I’ve heard from friends that the Baby Bjorn travel cot is wonderful, but haven’t tested it myself, because this one suited our needs better in that it was a bit bigger than the Baby Bjorn travel cot. Hope this helps 🙂

  • Yani Barroso

    This blog is so helpful and the photos are beautiful! We are planning to travel to Santorini with a 9 month old in May. I was wondering how you went with car seats? Did you bring one? If not, how did you go with taxis and buses? 🙂

    • RachelM

      Hello Yani, many thanks for your message, I’m really glad to hear you found the information helpful. Wonderful news re your trip to Santorini in May – lucky lucky you & your family! Re a car seat: we took a light weight European Maxi Cosi car seat that was gifted to us when we moved to the UK from a friend who didn’t have a use for it anymore when she returned to Australia. We had 3 months of travel up our sleeve though and were island hopping through Greece, so it was handy for the long haul drives (i.e. from ferry or airport to hotel etc – some trips were 2/3 hours long, including ferry rides where it was also handy to have one so she could sleep etc!). However, for quick local travel once on the islands, we often found it was fine just having our baby daughter (then around 8 months) on our laps in both taxis and mini-buses (which we used for day trips with our friends). So would I recommend taking a car seat overall? It really depends on your itinerary. For example, if you were just going to Santorini and not island hopping, and wanted to hire a car, I’d perhaps look at hiring a baby seat through the hire car company (but write to them first and check whether they have them!)? If, on the other hand, you have a series of long haul trips (i.e., from island to island) then yes I’d take one – they are a bit of a pain to lug around but well worth it I think in the end. Hope this helps and have a fabulous journey! 🙂

      • Yani Barroso

        You are a beautiful soul! Thanks so much for taking the time to respond! Once again, this is extremely helpful. 🙂

        • RachelM

          Oh, thats very kind of you Yani, many thanks and you’re very welcome 🙂

  • Anuda Gansukh

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I found it very useful and hopefully save me from avoidable hassles! We will be travelling to Greece / Santorini with a 7 month baby in a month time.

    Did you have to pack nappies , or were they available for purchase at convinience?

    I was also wondering if you hired a car in Santorini and if so what was your experience driving around the island? We hoping to travel ‘ lean’ so ideally do not want to pack a baby sit so was wondering if the car rentals also provide baby chairs?
    Thanks Anuda

  • kamkaa84 .

    hello, how old is your baby? my daughter is 14 months old and next week we go to santorini, we booked last November, i was very excited and happy but recently i have a lot of doubts … what will she eat, as we travel around the island or bus? or taxi to oia? we stay in fira. I don;t know this was a good idea … I don’t know whether to buy a baby carrier .. my daughter has recently started walking and she likes it, maybe she will want to walk.. so many questions