Get out into the Greek islands with your school-age children on this 10-day trip. You'll start with an introduction to some of the country's most famous myths and landmarks in Athens before you head out to sea. Your first island stop is Paros, known for its beaches and open blue waters, then head to the whitewashed architecture and cliffside sunsets of Santorini before you return to Athens.

Highlights

  • Reenact ancient strategy games and stories in Athens
  • Lounge on the clear blue beaches of Paros
  • Experience Mediterranean agriculture at an organic farm
  • Watch the sun set over the famous Santorini caldera

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens & Explore Plaka Athens
Day 2 Athens Mythology Tour & Ancient Strategy Games for Families Athens
Day 3 Parks of Athens and Private Riviera & Cape Sounion Tour Athens
Day 4 Athens to Paros & Beach Day Paros
Day 5 Organic Farming Family Experience & Paros Villages Tour Paros
Day 6 Day Trip to Antiparos Paros
Day 7 Paros to Santorini & Sunset Viewing Santorini
Day 8 Oia Walking Tour & Beach Day Santorini
Day 9 Fishing Trip & Lost Atlantis for Families Santorini
Day 10 Santorini to Athens & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens & Explore Plaka

Monastiraki Square and Sunset over Plaka
Temple of the Winds

Welcome to Greece!

Once you've settled in at your lodgings, head out into Athens for a walk through the Plaka neighborhood, the oldest and the most charming neighborhood of the city and ideal for an evening stroll. 

Walk in the pedestrian part of the city and try to trace the remnants of the city’s various stages at spots like the Roman Agora, the Old University, the Tower & the Bath House of the Winds, the Benizelos Mansion, the Monument of Lysicrates, and all the lovely Byzantine churches. If you have the time, stop in at one of the two children’s museums, the Museum of Greek Children’s Art and the School Life & Education Museum.

Settle in at a taverna for dinner or pick up souvlaki along Monastiraki Square, then finish it off with some loukoumades, traditional fried dough with honey and cinnamon.

Day 2: Athens Mythology Tour & Ancient Strategy Games for Families

Learn ancient strategy games - Photo from Kotsanas Museum

Explore the Acropolis and Ancient Agora with your family, learning about Greek mythology and history while enjoying views of the city and kid-friendly activities.

After meeting your guide, you'll start your walk up to Acropolis Hill, the "Sacred Rock" that defines Athens. You'll visit all its popular monuments, including the Parthenon, Theater of Dionysus, Temple of Athena Nike, and Temple of Erechtheion. Listen to the legends of the Greek pantheon, such as the mighty Zeus, Athena (goddess of wisdom), Poseidon (god of the sea), Dionysus (god of wine and theater), and more. The stories will keep kids entertained and asking questions.

After enjoying Acropolis Hill and learning the city's secrets, you'll walk down to the ancient marketplace, the Agora. Socrates and Plato hosted many political and philosophical discussions on this plaza. At the end of the tour, enjoy a family activity inside the Ancient Agora, using all your newfound knowledge about Greek gods, goddesses, and heroes.

Next, you'll head to the Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology to test your skills and learn about ancient puzzles and strategic games. During an experience designed to maintain the entire family's focus and interest, you'll discover and practice important intelligence strategies used by ancient Greeks from as early as the Minoan to the Late Hellenistic period. 

Start by learning a few games, including pawns and dice, where you'll compete for trias and enneas. You'll also observe the rules of playing tilia and polis before practicing a few rounds yourself. Then, tackle the ostomachion of Archimedes, a puzzle consisting of 14 geometrical pieces. When finished, you can take a wooden version home with you. After the games are done, you'll have time to peruse the rest of this unique institution, which features a fully functional model of the Antikythera Mechanism, the oldest example of an analog computer.

Day 3: Parks of Athens and Private Riviera & Cape Sounion Tour

Explore the Ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion

Trade the bustling markets and ancient sites of Athens for a little reprieve in nature. Greece's lively capital is home to its fair share of peaceful and verdant parks and hills, all reachable within the city center.

From the hill atop Mt. Lycabettus, you'll enjoy sweeping, panoramic views of the ancient city, including the famed Acropolis Hill and the Saronic Gulf. Avoid the long lines at the funicular and follow one of the innumerable paths to the top. Along the way, you'll pass several viewpoints and pockets of green to enjoy a rest, picnic, or game of frisbee. The park feels like a different world despite being in the middle of buzzy Athens.

For a different perspective, Philopappos Hill just southwest of the Acropolis is one of the best places to get those perfect city views. On top of the hill, you'll find a mausoleum dedicated to its namesake: a famous mogul and benefactor of Athens. Philopappos lived in the city from the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Along with the nearby slopes of Pnyx and Nymphs, the hill is a favorite amongst Athenians and tourists alike and a great spot for a pleasant walk or picnic.

Next up, a private car will whisk you along the Athenian Riviera, a beautiful coastline with hidden bays and beaches. You will pass from the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center and Park and then by the Flisvos Marina with its family-friendly restaurants and coffee shops. 

You can make an optional stop here to visit the Neraida Floating Museum, which narrates the business career of the ship’s owner, John Latsis, as well as the history of the ship from its construction in 1939 to the completion of its reconstruction in 2010. If you and your kids love ships and boats, and especially battleships, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Park of Naval Tradition inside the marina. Historic vessels are docked there, such as the destroyer “Velos” (now a museum of the struggle against the military dictatorship), the only copy of an ancient trireme named “Olympias” and the cable-laying ship “Thales of Miletus’ constructed in the U.S. in 1909.

Opposite the marina, you will find the Benaki Toy Museum, which opened to the public in 2017. Its holdings, based on the collection of Maria Argyriadi, include toys, books, ephemera, clothing, and other items associated with childhood from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. You can opt for a private tour and interactive activity here as well.

Further south, another optional stop is at the rescue and rehabilitation center for sea turtles, run by the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece in Glyfada. Its purpose is to treat injured and sick sea turtles and eventually release them back into the sea, as well as to raise awareness regarding this rare species that reproduces in the endless sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. Take part in the sea turtle rescue tours, adopt a sea turtle for 10 days, and enjoy a meal on the Glyfada beach. 

The tour ends at the tip of Cape Sounion, home to the famous Temple of Poseidon that overlooks the Saronic Gulf and its islands. Before heading back to the city, you can opt for an early dinner at a traditional taverna right on the beach. Enjoy fresh seafood caught just a few feet from where you're sitting, plus good company and the sound of the waves lapping the shore as you watch the sunset.

Day 4: Athens to Paros & Beach Day

Kolymbithres Beach
Kolymbithres Beach

Head out to the islands on a scenic ferry ride to Paros. The trip takes roughly four hours by traditional ferry, passing several other islands and allowing you time to walk around and take in the sea views.

Once you arrive on Paros, settle into island life with some time on the beach. The island is renowned for its incredible sandy beaches that attract visitors from all over the world.
 
Kolymbithres Beach is perhaps the most famous beach on Paros, thanks to its interesting geology. The granite rock formations are millions of years old and have created unique scenery reminiscent of a sci-fi movie set. Ai Yannis, also known as Monastiri, is a laid-back beach west of Naoussa. It sits in a romantic bay encompassed by a stunning natural landscape and green waters. Every year from June through September, a festival takes place at the beachside park. Pop in to enjoy moonlight concerts, outdoor films, and other events, all within a few steps from the beach.

Day 5: Organic Farming Family Experience & Paros Villages Tour

Wild mountain sage
Visit the 5.6-acre organic Kamari Farm, where you'll learn more about the natural farming methods, and get inspired by the principles of permaculture with hands-on activities and a family picnic with kids. Kamari's owners share Paros' natural wealth while celebrating the Aegean ecosystem, with about 700 trees growing olives, figs, pomegranates, almonds, carobs, acacias, lemons, quinces, and apricots. You'll also explore the 3,500 aromatic medicinal plants, including oregano, sage, rosemary, lavender, and sea fennel.

Kids love discovering the seasonal produce and wandering through the greenhouse, naming as many plants and vegetables as they can. But not much beats the worm farm and compost production site! After the tour, enjoy a refreshing drink at the farm kiosk, learn how to plant seeds, and participate in an herb contest. Followed, of course, with plenty of tastings of the farm's products.
 
After your time on the farm, set out to explore Paros' charming villages. Start inland and head to the quaint town of Marpissa. This picturesque village is one of the most beautiful on Paros and where you'll find the unique Sculpture Museum of Perantinos. Peruse the many celebrated bronze busts, replicas of statues that stand in squares all over Greece, and commemorative medals and drachma coins.

Just outside Marpissa is the modern dairy Parion, where you can taste and buy yogurt and many fresh kinds of cheese. Try local favorites myzithra and xynomyzithra, ladotyri cheese matured in olive oil, or the spicy kefalotyri cheese. The dairy produces all varieties from local cow’s milk using traditional methods and no additives.
 
Other scenic villages include Lefkes and Prodromos, connected by a Byzantine footpath famous for its historical importance and scenic vistas in the late afternoon.

Day 6: Day Trip to Antiparos

Come sail away
Enjoy a full-day boat trip today, starting from the quaint fishing village of Alyki and heading toward the Panteronissia Islands, often described as the 'Blue Lagoon' because of the crystal-clear, turquoise waters.

Enjoy your first swim before exploring Mastichari Cave in Antiparos and diving off the cliffs. Savor the unique colors of this imposing landscape with its impressive cave network. Next, head to Despotico Beach and enjoy an optional excursion to an archaeological site if you so choose and conditions permit.

Spend the rest of your time swimming and enjoying lunch. As you make your way back to Alyki, you'll stop at Faneromeni Bay to enjoy the views and nosh on fruit and sweets. Then, savor one final swim at beautiful St. Nikolas Beach.

Day 7: Paros to Santorini & Sunset Viewing

Hiking the Crater
Hiking the crater
Take a high-speed ferry from Paros to Santorini, a trip of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

There's nothing like a Santorini sunset, as the island's viewpoints are some of the Cyclades' best. It isn't easy, however, to find a spot without extreme crowds. Get off the beaten path and discover the hidden go-to's so you can have the views mostly to yourself.

Perhaps the best way to enjoy the caldera views is along the Fira to Oia Walking Path. This route runs underneath the island's main road, offering a peaceful and quiet stroll while enjoying endless, uninterrupted views. You don't have to trek the entire trail to reap the benefits; a great entry point is at the Pantheon between Imerovigli and Oia. From here, enjoy a short, easy, and mostly downhill walk with excellent views.

One of the island's best spots for sunset is Skaros Rock, an impressive rock formation that juts out into the sea. The views require a short hike from the trailhead at Imerovigli, so wear some sturdy shoes. The terrain is rocky, so pay attention to where you step, especially when returning from sunset after dark.

If you're interested in savoring those perfect panoramic views of Santorini without the crowds, visit the Monastery of Prophet Elias. This is the highest point on the island, so you'll get a 360-degree view of the sea, rocky cliffs, and white-washed villages. Before making the drive, take a peek at the weather report, as it tends to get a little foggy at the top.

To catch views of Santorini's entire crescent-shaped caldera, you can hop on a quick 30-minute ferry to Thirassia (departing from Ammoudi). Thirassia is one of the remote volcanic islands set within the crater. To get the best views, leave the small port and walk up to the village. On the way, you’ll enjoy scenes of the entire caldera from a unique vantage point.

Day 8: Oia Walking Tour & Beach Day

Explore the Streets of Oia
Explore the streets of Oia

Explore Oia, Santorini's picture-perfect village, with a private, local guide. Dramatically perched atop the cliffs of the caldera, this scenic town contrasts famously against its natural surroundings. Rusty rocks and azure-blue waves complement its pastel cave houses, whitewashed facades, and colorful harbor. Enjoy strolling through the charming streets while admiring the views over the caldera and volcanic islands.

As you walk through the main streets and back alleyways of this enchanting village, your guide will make several stops to point out exceptional viewpoints and interesting island history. Listen to stories about Oia's culture and heritage, then discover the picturesque fishing harbor of Ammoudi. You'll descend 300 steps along the caldera's rim, ending at a small port untouched by time. 

Afterward, it's time to hit the beach. Most of the island's banks feature dark volcanic sand in black and red hues, contrasting perfectly with the deep blue sea and whitewashed villages. Enjoy relaxing, swimming, or snorkeling in the surreal scenery, but don't forget your sandals or water shoes, as the dark sand becomes incredibly hot in the midday sunshine.

Santorini is home to several beach options. For families, try Kamari Beach, the most upscale and touristy of Santorini's beach towns with a fun and family-friendly vibe. The beach's black sand and pebbles stretch for over three miles, providing numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars. You'll also find places to rent jet skies or snorkeling and scuba diving equipment. In the evening, the path along the beach is a fun and relaxing place to stroll.

For somewhere a little less busy, Monolithos Beach is home to Santorini's best sand and the most family-friendly beach on the island. It offers a quiet and relaxed vibe with a just small cluster of hotels and restaurants. You can rent umbrellas and loungers and enjoy watching the white-capped waves flow onto the shore.

Day 9: Fishing Trip & Lost Atlantis for Families

Enjoy Your Fresh Seafood Dinner - Photo from Giorgaros Fishing Tours
Aboard the fishing vessel

Experience Santorini's famed seafood aboard a traditional fishing boat while eating the catch-of-the-day for lunch or dinner with a fishing trip that can take place either first thing in the morning or in the evening. You'll start your excursion at Vlychada Marina. As you head for one of the deepest and most diverse spots in the Aegean Sea, your boat will release nets and creels in hopes of catching shrimp and octopus.

Your expert guide will teach you about the island's traditional fishing methods and help you get acquainted with your equipment. After learning a few basic techniques, you'll try your luck in the water. Whatever the ship catches, you'll enjoy for a meal!

After fishing, you'll dock at a harbor where the crew will prepare your seafood. While you wait, enjoy swimming or snorkeling in the sea. If you haven't snorkeled before, your guide is happy to help you learn some diving and breathing techniques. 

If you choose to take an evening trip, after dinner, you'll return to the open sea and watch a famous Santorini sunset. Enjoy views of the caldera as the sun melts in the sea before returning to Vlychada.
Before or after your time on the water, depending on how you choose to schedule your day, learn the story of Lost Atlantis. Live the myth at the new experiential museum in Santorini, the only museum about Lost Atlantis in the world. You can learn about the myth of Atlantis, how it is connected to Santorini, experience its destruction, and explore multiple digital installations for Atlantis.

Then continue to the possible inspiration behind the legend at Akrotiri, one of the most significant prehistoric settlements of the Aegean Sea. This archaeological site features an ancient city preserved by volcanic ash for thousands of years. You'll walk through the city's remarkably preserved ruins and learn why this site played such an essential economic role. Stroll amongst the ancient walls of the houses and learn what the inhabitants did each time the volcano erupted, how they took their ships out to sea only to return and rebuild their settlement from scratch.

Day 10: Santorini to Athens & Depart

View over Athens
Hop on a 60-minute flight back to Athens, where you'll catch your international transfer to head home or onto your next adventure.

Map

Map of Athens and the Cyclades for Families: Athens, Paros & Santorini - 10 Days
Map of Athens and the Cyclades for Families: Athens, Paros & Santorini - 10 Days