For three weeks we travel around the Greek islands of Mykonos, Naxos, Ios and Santorini with a backpack and two children without big plans and let ourselves be surprised. We fly to Mykonos and back from Santorini. In between we fill the time with adventure. Our guide to island hopping Greece with kids:
This article has been updated for you, the original article was created in October 2016
Island hopping Greece with children at a glance:
Travel time: 12.09.2016 to 03.10.2016
Flight: you can Condor from / to Dusseldorf to Mykonos and back from Santorini for about 650 € for two adults, a child and a baby
Kalimera Greece! The flight has stopped. The first four nights are booked, as is a rental car. I expect a lot of variety, delicious food, sun, beach and sea. Of course it will be stressful and tiring with two small children 1 & 4 years. But that's just normal madness. What we experience with children in three weeks on four islands when island hopping Greece:
4 nights Mykonos: The island of the wind
Island hopping Greece with children in Mykonos:
Period: 12.09. 16.09 up.
Cars: by green motion for 5 days a VW Up incl. all fees for about 100 € booked over check24
Next trip: you can Fast Ferries for 34 € for 2 adult (children under 5 do not pay anything) on site at the ticket office
After arrival we pick up our rental car outside the terminal and drive off. What is striking are the many scooters and quads on the streets, most without a helmet. Seems to be fashion here.
We arrive in our great Airbnb apartment from Nicolas without any major problems. We feel right at home. And of course I'm in love with the whitewashed house with blue windows and the indescribable sea view! That's how I imagined Greece. On FAVORITE SPOT from me. Only this wind makes it almost impossible to sit outside in the evening. Too bad. Unfortunately, we cannot do more than shopping on the day of arrival.
In three days we explore three beaches, drive across the entire island and of course to Mykonos Town, But one after anonther.
Life is a Beach:
Fortunately, there are just around the corner from our accommodation three great beaches that are not so crowded. Agia Anna, Lia and Kalo Livadi. The first two are really nice too, but my favorite is Kalo Livadi. The water is the clearest here, the atmosphere the most relaxed. Of course there are couches and umbrellas everywhere and some music, it is Mykonos.
Once we drive our rental car to the north side and land on a lonely, small pebble beach in "the middle of nowhere". So there is that too. The beach is actually nothing special, but the way is the goal. The landscape is very peculiar: barren mountains and bright white houses in between. That has something.
We park our car at the old harbor for free and walk about 10 minutes along the water to the old town. Everything is perfect everywhere and just beautiful. The alleys and houses are like from a picture book. Very picturesque, as the saying goes. It's really true here! At every corner you can find a perfect photo motif again. Little Venice with its cafés and houses right on the water with a view of the five windmills is ready for film. Mykonos Town alone, as cheesy as it may be, is definitely worth a trip.
Our accommodation is only approx. 10 minutes by car from this sweet inland town. In principle, life here focuses on the small village square with some restaurants, shops and the village church. It is very contemplative and hardly anything going on, a nice contrast to Mykonos town. We eat here twice and enjoy the peace ...
On Friday we start our journey Naxos, The vehicle we leave at the airport and the son of the car rental drives us nice way to New Port, There we eagerly await our red ferry from almost ferries. Everything works like clockwork, despite two small children. As soon as the ferry arrives, all passengers are on board and off we go! The ship is almost empty this time of year, that suits us. The journey takes about 1,5 hours and then we see Naxos' Hora (Naxos town) in front of us.
At the end...
Mykonos lives up to its clichés. It is expensive and you can certainly party well here ... The supermarkets alone are like a stylish club with loud music. Young families are rarely seen here. But there is also another and quieter side of the island, you just have to search or find it. Yes, and the wind! It is really ubiquitous here in the Cyclades, The so-called meltemi winch.
9 Nights Naxos: Beauty at second glance
Island hopping Greece with children on Naxos:
Period: 16.09. to 25.09.
Car hire: over Europcar on site. Costs include all charges 25 € / day for a small car
Accommodation: Stella Apartments booked via booking.com *
Next trip: Blue Star Ferries booked in the ticket office on site. Cost about 15 € per person
With bag and bag and child and cone we enter the harbor Naxos Town from board. We treat ourselves to a taxi for € 15 to our accommodation, that we have already booked for five nights in Mykonos. The plan may be to change to a second location on the island. Let's see.
In fact, we like the layout of Stella Apartments is exceptionally good and will soon be a new one FAVORITE SPOT from me! A green oasis surrounded by palm trees, a huge pool and right on the sea! Nice.
Yassu or Hello:
The first two days on Naxos we don't have a rental car and we just let ourselves drift and arrive. We also rent a quad for fun for a day. There is a lot to discover in the immediate vicinity. We are more or less ended up in a small tourist town, to be exact between Agia Anna and Plaka Beach.
In the low season it is relatively harmless here and just right for us. Not too crowded, but not completely off the beaten track with the two kids. Within walking distance are two beautiful beaches! The food and the restaurants are great, right in two places we become regulars: in Petrino and in the
Paradiso Tavern right on the beach. The location of our apartment is strategically perfect. We are only somewhat irritated by the many pensioners here and the sometimes rather unfriendly Greeks.
From searching and finding:
Then we rent one small rental car to really get to know the largest of the Cyclades island. Two days later we drive around and look for another place to stay. We drive almost the entire south coast and find beautiful, lonely beaches and beautiful landscapes. From Plaka Beach, past Orks to Mikri Vigla. My favorite beach on Naxos! Then on to Pagaki until after Agiassos, The other accommodations don't inspire us. Either it has a morbid charm about it, or the places are a little extinct in the off-season. We therefore decide to enjoy the luxury at Stella with our favorite locations around the corner for another four nights.
Here is then revealed the real beauty of Naxos and its originality! We spend days exploring the mountains and the interior. Driving on the serpentines with breathtaking views over the coast to the other islands is fantastic!
First it goes Filoti with its nice cafes. We go here twice 'O Platanos' for the best cappuccino on the island and delicious Nutella crepes. The bakery opposite is also recommended. Then continue on Aspirathos, Here, too, is a cute little mountain village with sweet alleys and stylish restaurants, great views and many cafés. In the beginning we couldn't understand who it was all for. But then the buses arrive at noon ...
We do two hikes in total. The first leads us from Aspirathos from high up to the Fanaris, The path is steep and rocky. After about an hour we turn without having reached the summit. The view is still great and our son has fun. The second tour takes us from the Agia Marina from half an hour to Monastery Fotodotis and is my personal must-do!
Let yourself drift:
In the end, we drive another hour to Apollo on the north coast through thousands of hairpin bends and far from any tourists. At least we think so. A great ride! We end up landing in the small fishing village with several restaurants on the water in a row and a small beach. We are almost alone and find the sight of the many empty restaurants somewhat bizarre. And then the buses come again. I see.
Unfortunately, the past few days have freshened up a bit and we just drive around a bit and go to my favorite beaches and restaurants. Of course, the pool always works. We just let your mind wander.
One day before departure we decide where to go: Ios! We drive to Naxos town and buy our ferry tickets. We book the accommodation for four nights via booking.com *. I'm curious!
Naxos Town and onward journey:
On the last day, after nine nights, we continue towards Ios. We drop off the rental car and lock our luggage for around € 12. Now we have almost three hours to explore the capital before our Blue Star Ferry leaves. So it's only enough for the bare essentials: harbor promenade, Kastro district with its winding streets, the Castle ruins and the 1739 coffee with a great view, Then it's back to the port. The ferry comes rushing, mooring and disembarking is purely routine and we have flashed how quickly everything can be done. We are also impressed from the inside. And after an hour we are already there!
At the end...
As the largest of the Cyclades, Naxos has a lot to offer. Wonderful, miles of beaches, great mountains and delicious restaurants. However, the certain pensioner charm disturbed us. And sometimes rude staff. As a family, you didn't feel welcome everywhere. Nevertheless, Naxos is a really beautiful and varied island.
6 Nights Ios: Underestimated favorite island
Island hopping Greece with children on Ios:
Period: 25.09. to 01.10.
Car hire: over Costa Cars on site. Cost 25 € including all fees for a small car
Accommodation: Iceland House booked over booking.com*
Onward journey: ferry High speed 7 for about 30 € per person
When we moored, we didn't expect much from this small island in the southern Cyclades. I had only read it in July and August is a popular destination for backpackers and party people. Not so at the end of September. The harbor is small and tranquil, as is the Hora. We will be picked up from the hotel and driven directly to the accommodation. Here we can also expect my next favorite spot: the Island House Hotel, Totally idyllic location and yet only a five minute walk to the famous one Milopotas Beach, It should also go insane here in midsummer, now there is no trace of it. The beach is long and beautiful! Today we don't do anything anymore and just enjoy the wonderful accommodation with pool and brilliant sunset.
First we explore the Hora and take a taxi for 5 € to all of us in the old town. We walk to the Mühlenberg through the narrow streets. Everywhere white houses are built directly on the slope, the city is really small and cute. Life usually rages here in midsummer. Most restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes are closed today. Therefore, the city looks a bit extinct but still very charming. We walk about 20 minutes back to the accommodation with a great view over the sea and the bay.
We spend the afternoon on the beach. The atmosphere on the island is just incredibly relaxed and everyone is super friendly, so we decide to stay one more night.
Two days rental car:
The first day we drive to the beaches after Theodoti and Psathi on the north coast. Both are breathtaking, deserted beaches! Unfortunately it is very windy here and only suitable for swimming to a limited extent. The way across the island is great by itself. Everywhere the view over the sea and goats, sheep or cows on the street at every corner. In Psathi we eat goat for the first time in the only restaurant - actually very tasty! In the afternoon we borrow a SUP from “our” beach. A perfect day!
The next day we drive all the way south Maganari, I just say: Wow! The view from above of the three bays is great! And once you are on the beach, all you have to do is jump into the crystal-clear water. My favorite beach on Ios! There is not much here. A few taverns and accommodations and a few umbrellas and loungers. There is hardly anything going on we are all alone in the first of the three different bays. A dream! We stay for lunch and drive back to Milopotas Beach in the afternoon.
Last day - or not?
We take the bus (€ 1,80 per person) to the port one day before the planned departure. We don't have a ferry or accommodation for yet Santorini booked. We spontaneously decide to stay at Ios for one more night at lunch, We just like it too well here. We walk along the small harbor and buy our tickets for the ferry on Saturday. Let's go back home back to the beach and this time we borrow a kayak. Unfortunately it is quite windy again and we only jump into the pool.
Beach days and onward journey:
Our last day is a relaxed beach day. The wind is less and we lie down Far Out again in a daybed. We have lunch at Drakos delicious fish. Super nice restaurant. The fish are still fished by themselves. We borrow a SUP and enjoy an ingenious smoothie in our favorite café: Cantina del Mar! Shortly before we finally book a hotel Santorini and follow a tip from my guide.
The departure is imminent. Too bad it's so relaxed here! Beach, pool and Cantina del Mar. are still on the program and then the hotel owner brings us to the port at 15pm. The high-speed ferry is over 30 minutes late and on board everything is pretty chaotic. We are rather disappointed this time. The first view of Santorini after a 40 minute drive is once again unique!
At the end...
Often comes unexpectedly. Outside of the months of July and August, Ios is a real idyll with a super relaxed atmosphere. People are very warm and friendly everywhere, even if families with small children are not necessarily part of the target group. There are beautiful, almost deserted beaches and you can easily spend a week here. My insider tip in the Cyclades!
2 Nights Santorini: Expected spectacular
Island hopping Greece with children on Santorini:
Period: 01.10. to 03.10.
Car hire: over Tony's booked in the hotel Thira. Cost 45 € per day including all fees for a Jimny
Accommodation: Hotel Thira booked by email
You have seen a thousand pictures of Santorini and its famous "Caldera". So roughly I had an idea of the island and rather scared of all the tourists. But when you are really there you simply cannot escape the beauty. Huge and unique! People like to accept the Asian crowds and tourist traps for two days. The price-performance ratio is definitely not right here.
We spend the night near downtown Fira Hotel Thira* for a mere 120 € per night. The apartment is large, the terrace is beautiful and has a sea view (not on the crater rim) and the owners really helpful. All in all, nothing special.
In principle we do the full tourist program: Mule path, cable car, food with a crater view, short hike from Fira to Imerovigli at the breathtaking Caldera along. Of course, we also go shopping for souvenirs.
On the second day we finally rent a Jimny with an open roof! After all, it's our last day. We cruise and review our 3-week trip. We're going to Oía and Ammoudi in the North, further into the interior of the island Pirgos and finally to the black lava beach of Perissa.
The hotel owner then kindly drives us to the airport in the evening. A tiny section of our lives is coming to an end. This moment will never come again, especially with kids.
At the end...
I think you have to Santorini have seen at least once in a lifetime! The view over the crater rim is really unique and stunning! It remains to be seen whether you have to spend your entire vacation there or not. For me personally, two days were completely enough. Next time I would treat myself to a luxury hotel right on the slope :)
Definitely outside the high season! The best months are May, June and September. Then it is already / still nice and warm, but the tourist crowds are not (yet) there. Warning: late in September some facilities and restaurants are already closed and many resorts seem somewhat "extinct". The average temperature for us was around 25 degrees. We also had days with 30 degrees, when it got windy it was more like 23 degrees. But there was sunshine every day.
Ferries & tickets:
You can get the timetables watch in advance on the Internet at gtp.gr, very convenient. But without prices. We always preferred to book on-site in the ticket office, as some of the children could not be specified online and should have picked up the tickets at the counter beforehand. The ferry connections are also regular in the off-season, but rather unknown destinations are rarely used. The large, slow ferries are of course cheaper than the speed boats, of course. Children under 5 years pay nothing.
In the off-season it is no problem to get a rental car and at very affordable conditions. I can only recommend booking locally, although I usually like to book everything online ... Some of the roads are unpaved, but still passable. The road network is very well developed everywhere. Most of the time you have a great panorama over the island world of the Cyclades!
The bus system on the tourist islands is very good! Only on Mykonos was it rather difficult with our remote accommodation. A very cheap way to explore the islands without a rental car.
In principle we had no problems getting accommodation on the different islands. The easiest way was to get it over booking.com* to book spontaneously. There is no shortage of choices, as all of the four islands are relatively touristy. I found it hard, though Naxos to find something reasonable on site. Many places seemed a little extinct or the facilities had a somewhat morbid charm. At Santorini I would definitely book in advance. The beautiful and good accommodations are fully booked well in advance, even in the off-season. Mykonos and Santorini are priced the same (equally overpriced). Naxos and Ios are again very passable with about 60 € / night.
Island hopping Greece with children:
I can only recommend island hopping Greece with children in the Cyclades! There are quite a few families traveling and the ferries are very comfortable. I found none of the islands to be 100% family-friendly. Mykonos is rather very chic, Naxos in firm hands by pensioners, Ios actually a party island for backpackers and Santorini far too crowded. Nevertheless, most of them were very friendly and loved our children! There was a cot everywhere, but not a high chair everywhere ...
At the end...
Three weeks on four islands. Mykonos, the stylish one. Naxos, the varied. Ios, the relaxed one. Santorini, the beautiful. A great experience and the four islands couldn't be more different! Traveling with kids was sometimes very tiring, sometimes a moment for eternity. We as a family have definitely grown together even more.
Island hopping Greece with children in the Cyclades is everything, just not boring. The "bouncing" itself is now very comfortable and not a problem at all with a bit of organization. I think we'll be back.
Have you ever had island hopping in Greece with children? Where exactly and what were your experiences? Feel free to write me a comment! Maybe you are also interested in Scotland with children!
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