Santorini, Greece, is one of Europe’s most picture-postcard destinations, but too many visitors confine their exploration of the island to just jostling with other tourists on the same few popular streets.
Iconic Santorini, a boutique cave hotel overlooking the Agean Sea, is dedicated to helping families with kids 14 and older enjoy a more in-depth experience with a range of activities just right for teens, young adults and, of course, mom and dad.
“We want them to explore one of the world’s most extraordinary destinations,” said Dimitra Tsalkitzoglou of the hotel’s reception team. “This fabled island has so many diversions beyond its antiquities, beyond its centuries-old vineyards and our guests always seem surprised that there are so many ways to see them — by wave-runner, sea kayak, helicopter, even by donkey.”
The staff at the 19-room property, located 1,000 feet over the caldera, offers these suggestions for a visit that will result in memories that will last longer than your tan.
Scuba diving along the caldera offers more than just pretty fish. Sharp-eyed divers can explore secret caves and even an ancient underwater church or two. Or ditch the scuba gear for an easy afternoon of snorkeling with the kids.
If you prefer being on, rather than under, the water, try a sea kayak or stand-up paddleboard outing along the dramatic volcanic cliffs, and be sure to keep an eye out for local cliff jumpers along the way.
Families can also hike around the crater rim, following the ancient pathway linking the traditional villages of Fira and Oia.
Want a bird’s-eye view of the scenery? Join a helicopter tour over the island’s centuries-old vineyards and villages dotted with Santorini’s distinctive white-cube architecture.
Or speed things up with a powerboat tour to Nea Kameni, one of the caldera’s islets, for a beach picnic and a dunk in volcanic hot springs.
If you still have energy to spare, try parasailing, balloon rides, horseback riding and, of course, the donkey tours the island is famous for — although ask the hotel staff to point you to a reputable donkey ride company before heading out.
At day’s end, Mom and Dad can enjoy a spot of wine tasting at a local vineyard for a tour and samples of Santorini’s Assyrtiko wines.
Families can also just hang out at the sun-dappled hotel terrace or on their own private balcony overlooking the caldera.
Guestrooms offer flat-screen televisions, JBL sound systems, free high-speed WiFi, air conditioning and Coco-Mat bedding with traditional island fabrics.
Rates begin at $740, double, per day, and include a full breakfast served anytime, complimentary daily supply of mineral water and all hotel taxes. Guests in suites also receive complimentary round-trip airport transfers.
Iconic Santorini is managed by Hospitality America LLC and is a member of the Mantis Collection of 5-star Hotels, Eco-escapes & Lifestyle Resorts.
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