Traveling with Children in Greece

Traveling with children in Greece can be a lot of fun if you keep your schedule flexible around the children's needs. There are plenty of fun things for families to do in Greece but scheduling a trip to the beach every day makes the children (and the parents) always happy.

Alexandra and Christina petting a stray dog at the archaeological site of Delphi.There are a few things to keep in mind when you travel with children.
Navigating Athens with small children on foot can be difficult, and navigating a stroller among the chaos of the streets and sidewalks can lead to frustrations as the drivers never give the right-of-way and the sidewalks are blocked with parked cars too often. A papoose is best for traveling with small children in Athens, or a light stroller
The temperatures in Greece can reach well above 100° F in midday so traveling in a car without air conditioning can be taxing for children who can get dehydrated fast. Avoid driving or staying on the beach between 11 AM and 4 PM, and make sure the children get plenty of fluids. There are kiosks with juices and water everywhere you turn in Greece, so it is easy to accommodate this basic need.

To keep our children interested during our trips we make sure to involve them in every decision we make and to talk about every destination. We read books and stories about mythology, and we try to find things for the children to do. In the Archaeological museum in Athens for instance, I gave my camera to my daughters and let them photograph the artifacts. Children like to "do" more than just to "look". We also created a search for animal statues that kept them busy for a couple of hours.

Giving the girls my camera was a great idea because it kept them interested in the museum, and we got lots of funny photos of everyone's legs. However, they did go through four rolls of film! This year I will buy a digital camera so they can shoot as many photos as they want without paying for film processing.

Health and Emergencies

If you travel with children you always have to worry about them getting ill, and chances of them contracting a cold at any given moment are good (as anyone with children knows). Heading for a hospital might not be the best option since emergency rooms are usually crowded and the wait can be long. For simple and common illness it might be best to visit a private doctor in the nearest city. The visit would cost a bit more, but the service is excellent and fast. Ask at a pharmacy or the locals for the best doctor in town and they will point you the right way. Most doctors speak English or another language so communication should not be a problem, just make sure though before you show up.

There is a large children's hospital in Athens, and one in Patra that specializes in children's health matters. Both hospitals receive the bulk of serious illness cases from the entire country, and their medical personnel is as experienced as it gets.

If you do not have insurance, you can get examined at any hospital for about $2 and get first aid attention.

I would recommend having insurance that would cover you even on vacation. Check with your insurance before you fly to Greece to find out if it would cover any medical expenses abroad. Most insurance companies have a policy.

Doctors also like to see the list of vaccines that children have received and any other medical history that is relevant to a chronic problem. Many pediatricians in Greece speak and read English, so it might be a good idea to pack a copy of the list of immunizations your children have received, and any other medical information that could help a Greek doctor in case of an emergency.

For medical care and emergencies see the "Emergencies and Health Care in Greece"

For general information on safety, visit the Safety in Greece page

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