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First Family trip to Greece-9 people

I'm planning my family trip to Greece for summer of 2023. We are 2 families. I'm working on the itinerary as we will be in Greece for a total of 7 days. We are planning Mykonos and Santorini. Is this doable and need some itinerary help with 5 kids ranging between 11-3. Is 7 days too many days? We are traveling from the US so I didn't include travel days with the total amount of time we will be in the islands.

Also this is our first trip to Europe with the kids. Needs some advice on what to pack?

Posted by
357 posts

That seems like too little time spread out on islands only. Why not land in Athens and spend two days there and finish the trip on Naxos. Santorini is only a one night stop with little for kids to do, and Mykonos is very crowded and expensive. Naxos is a great island with a walkable main town and many family-friendly beaches.

Pack lightweight cotton clothing, closed toe tennis shoes (Nikes are ok), and sandals. Greece is the most laid-back and easy place to visit.

Posted by
3060 posts

This past Jul I traveled with my sister’s family and there were a total of twelve people and two of them were children ages five and seven. We spent four nights on Santorini and the kids had no interest in the sights and wanted to go to the beach instead.
My sister wanted to take her grandchildren to Red Beach since she rented a villa in Akrotiri, but the only way to get there was by ferry unless you wanted to climb rocks that moved when you stepped on them. The problem with the ferry was there were no life jackets on board.
My nephew and wife took their girls to two beaches located on the east side of the island, the first one was Perissa and the other was Monolithos. The latter had seaweed but when I asked my five-year-old grandniece which beach she preferred she said Monolithos. Apparently, this is more kid friendly because the water is shallow so you can walk out a ways.
If you’re flying from the US and will be up all night take a taxi to Fira and sleep there a minimum of two to three nights. Do go to Oia your last full day on Santorini and make sure you’re in Oia by 9a so you can find a place to park if you rent a car (you can also take a direct bus). After making your way to the castle (hike upwards to find it) take a photo of the cave houses and two windmills in one shot overlooking the caldera. This is the photo we see on brochures and postcards. Afterwards walk the picturesque path past the white-washed boutiques and make sure you’re out of there by eleven or else you’ll be walking shoulder to shoulder with cruise ship passengers.
While I was in Santorini, I took a day trip to Naxos Town and enjoyed the caldera views on the way there so make sure you sit on the far right so you have a window seat if going to Mykonos. However, Naxos Town was my least favorite place in GR. I expected so much more after everything I read on this forum. Castro, the historic center no longer has a castle but an unfinished church façade that was not nearly as impressive as the one in Montepulciano in Tuscany. I heard the charm is found outside of Naxos Town.
I’ve never been to Mykonos but this is the place you want to enjoy the beach not Santorini. There are also five windmills you want to see.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you so much for the advice. I've never heard of the other island Naxos. In 2018, I took our son to Athens and he had alot of fun. Since I'm traveling with my husband this time around he doesn't want to do any old sites and walk around town. He wants to stick to beach holiday.

Let me check this out and I think we can reduce the amount of days and have time to go to another country. Thank you

Posted by
1397 posts

Logistics are important when visiting Greece. What month are you planning to go? Have you booked your flights yet? If you have one of the transatlantic flights that arrive around noon you will have sufficient time to take a connecting flight to Santorini same day.
There is also a late afternoon Blue Star ferry that goes to Naxos.

It is always best to get over jet lag on an island where there is little stress. Santorini is a good choice because there are several evening flights so even if you get in to Athens later you should be able to make the connection.

There are several ferries daily that go to Mykonos. Santorini and Mykonos are the most hyped islands in Greece and are expensive. Santorini is special, Mykonos has a marketing department. While Mykonos is nice it may not be appropriate for children.

Take a look at Naxos, or Paros as an option. They are both good companion islands for Santorini. If it were me I wold choose Naxos. It is kid friendly particularly at St George beach with its brown sand and shallow water. It is always full of kids. It is also part of Naxos town just a 10 minute stroll away.

I would do Santorini for 2 nights and Naxos for 4 nights. You will want to be back in Athens the night before your next flight.

I would find 7 days very short. Is there any way you could add a few extra days?

Any way here is why Naxos is a good fit with Santorini.
Naxos town
Around Naxos town 2022
St George beach.

Posted by
2030 posts

With young children, Santorini and Mykonos are certainly the two least suitable islands, especially in summer in Santorini in the middle of a crowd of tourists who will trample them.
The landscape can interest them for 15 minutes but not more.

Same thing in Mykonos with, in addition, the noise of the nocturnal fiestas and the special €25 "children's" menu.

As marypat explained to you, all a normal child will want to do is get out of there and go to the beach, walks, eat ice cream.

Posted by
1177 posts

With just 7 days I would pick Athens and just one island.

Most people leave Athens at the end of the trip if possible, especially for getting back before your flight departs.

You picked two of the most popular but also most heavily touristed of the Greek Islands. Some say they are not very indicative of a Greek Island, others love them.

Naxos gets a lot of recommendation as it has something for everyone with lots of options.

Many other islands offer a lot of variety, some heavily touristed others less so. You sound like the Cyclades Islands are what you are interested in but there are many other islands in the Aegean to consider.

Here's a great site for Greek Islands:

Just depends on what you are looking for in a Greek Island.

Posted by
18 posts

@amann we are looking to travel 17 days total but 1 week dedicated to greece. We would like to travel to Croatia as I heard its a very family oriented country.

Posted by
11487 posts

He wants to stick to beach holiday.

Going to Greece is a LOT of unnecessary effort for a "beach holiday'.

Somewhere is one of your posts you mention the other family are not 'travelers'. Do all the kids have passports?

Posted by
2590 posts

I agree. It is a lot simpler and cheaper to have a beach vacation in Florida than Greece. Why do you want to take your families to Greece?

edited to add: I think this may sound more snippy than I intended. The question is a sincere one--what is it you want to get out of your vacation to Greece? Lots of people do skip Athens, particularly if they have been there before (I did in May). But my thinking is it isn't worthwhile going all the way to Greece from the U.S. unless you are interested in more than going to the beach.

Posted by
3362 posts

I see from your posting history that 5 years ago you were planning a trip to Italy with a 5 year-old but since you say 2023 would be your first trip to Europe, I gather you cancelled those past plans. I think you should change these plans as well.. this is NOT a good idea for such a short trip with that assortment of kiddies, plus, importantly the emphasis on beaches only. For North Americans, there needs to be a wider range of interests in Greece to justify the long journey, the expense and the logistics involved .. especially when excellent beaches in Southern US & islands are so convenient. Please please plan for those destinations instead ... and perhaps you need to hold off on Greece for a few years -- it would give you a chance to research it more in-depth & make good choices. I hope you enjoy your 2-family summer week ... I"ve done that myself and know what a challenge it can be!

Posted by
7906 posts

We love Greece and have been there several times.

Athens is the crown jewel of Greece, with its magnificent history. The Acropolis and Parthenon is special and not to be missed. Also, the New Acropolis Museum and the Archaeological Museum are must sees.

There is more to see in Athens, spend at least three days there.

As for seeing the islands, I recommend finding a cruise that visits several islands. You can see Santorini in a single day (visit on a cruise ship). Mykonos is worth a visit and if you can take an excursion to nearby Delos. Of course, this is if you love history.

Corfu, Crete, Rhodes as well as other islands are great. If you don't take a cruise and plan on spending all your time on one island, you are missing a lot.

Don't go for the beach, sorry but the beaches in Greece are not so great.

Posted by
3362 posts

I missed that bit about going to athens with son .. but it doesn't change my advice -- with 5 kids. only 7 days, & beach priority, Greece is not the best choice.

Posted by
11487 posts

we are looking to travel 17 days total but 1 week dedicated to Greece.

You have no obligation to disclose your entire trip, but knowing how many pieces and what the puzzle is supposed to look like would make it easier for folks to offer relevant & helpful comments ('advice').

"Summer" runs from the 3rd week of June to the 3rd week of Sept.
July and Aug will be HOT in Greece/Greek Islands, so keeping kids from getting fried will have to be considered.

Posted by
3060 posts

As far as what to pack bathing suits, water shoes and summer clothes that won’t wrinkle. If you stay somewhere with a washer and dryer do laundry so you can pack lighter. You can bring color catcher and detergent sheets that won’t take up any room.
While I was in GR, I wore rip skirts with the tank and short sleeve shirts you can buy on and received lots of compliments until laundry day when the Velcro on the skirts stuck to everything. If you get wet it dries quickly. I bought four of the shortest skirts they sell with pockets because I’m petite and it was a bit shorter than I would have liked. I also bought one of the longer one’s that is still above the knee and preferred that length best.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you so much for the replies. Honestly, the other family that we are traveling went to the Greek isles year back and would like to do a 3 week european travel. They want to bring their kids and since they are all old enough and somewhat self sufficient it would be a different trip than our usual hawaii/Mexico/carribean trip we make every year twice a year.

All kids on the trip are very seasoned travelers with constant trips on the plane and cruise ships. In 2018, my son and I did the big trip from us to athens and athens to Italy on a 20 day trip with Milan being our last stop. It was such an adventure .

I'm rethinking mykonos and going with another island like Naxos or Paros. My husband doesn't mind other tourist activities but he mainly loves the ocean. So we want to stick to island activities. Our goal is not to stay in 1 place more than 2-3 days as our kids will want to explore more of the places. The only child that will be a challenge will be our 3 year old as he would just turn 3 so he will have some adjustments to the time. When I took my son in 2018, I brought a stroller and a carrier. I will only bring my carrier with me this time to keep with little luggage. The last time I took 2 suitcases and a stroller and carrier. We survived with train stops but I've learned my lesson. Pack light and stay in airbnb with laundry options.

Posted by
2030 posts

Our goal is not to stay in 1 place more than 2-3 days as our kids will
want to explore more of the places

In islands like Naxos or Paros and in the majority of other islands, you will need more than 3 days to explore it.
If you change of places every two days you don't explore anything at all. you are just passing through.