Today we have the pleasure of featuring traveling mom and entrepreneur Anna Paparizou, founder and chief editor of Dreamista.gr, a family travel and lifestyle blog, the only blog in Greece about traveling with babies, twins, and/or toddlers and one of the 100 best family travel blogs in the world as noted by Feedspot. Many of us know the challenge of traveling with young children, but Anna knows it better than most because she is a mom of twins! The addition of two little people in her home did not diminish her love for travel, and below she shares with us her favorite stylish family-friendly getaways in Greece, as well as handy tips for traveling with young children.
Hi Anna! We’re so thrilled to be able to talk to you today. Tell us, how do you do it all? Mother to twins, entrepreneur, world traveler… how do you find balance?
Of course, my life changed a lot when my twins, Orfeas and Giorgos, were born just over two years ago. I have far less time for myself, and sometimes not at all, but I love their company and the time we spend together. And I would not change that for the world!
The way we travel has changed, too – it’s more complicated with so much to carry and think about. When they were born, I slowly began to adapt my travel blog Dreamista.gr to include adventures with them and tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way to make travel with young children easier. My husband Costas, the love of my life, inspires me and helps me re-invent myself professionally, which helps me to balance it all!
It’s no secret that we want to know your secrets! Can you tell us your stylish family-friendly getaways in Greece?
In terms of boutique hotels, I love the Kinsterna Hotel, located a four-hour drive south of Athens, and only minutes from the Aegean Sea. This unique, luxury hotel is a mansion and estate that dates from the Byzantine, Ottoman, and Venetian eras, which has been beautifully restored and is surrounded by vineyards, olive and fruit orchards. Its elegance, design simplicity, infinity pools, and gardens evoke a sense of privacy, relaxation, and serenity.
When it comes to entertaining the little ones, the Kinsterna offers a family pool, which is shallow and designed for carefree swimming and play, an indoor play and read area, and an outdoor playground. A huge draw is also the ability of children to get in touch with nature on the hotel grounds by planting trees, harvesting grapes or olives, gathering herbs, riding horses or donkeys, or interacting with the sheep and goats that roam freely about the grounds – a simply memorable experience for everyone involved!
The mountain luxury boutique hotel Seleni Suites in Vytina Arcadia is also amazing. It is located in a beautiful, tranquil spot where you can take in the fresh air of the mountains and star gaze in the evenings. They have a number of room options for families, including family suites that look out over the Menalo Forest. Seleni Suites values itself on being individual, unique, original, simple, and in touch with its natural surroundings.
An extra bonus is the well-stocked “kindergarten” or play room at the hotel; after a day of being outdoors, or when the weather is less than ideal, it is the perfect place for little ones to play!
Westin Costa Navarino
What does your ideal holiday look like?
Holiday for our family means beach time! We love exploring the Greek islands, watching the sun set, and discovering amazing beaches and hidden coves. Costas and I also love being adventurous, going on road trips, and visiting monuments and unique locations all over the world. We’re going to start doing that with our twins soon, so stay tuned!
What are some of your favorite holiday destinations (in addition to your home country of Greece, of course)!
I love the Spanish island of Menorca, Bali, Indonesia, and the Riviera Maya in Mexico.
Okay, super-mom of twins, give us your best travel tip when traveling with young children.
Be cool, stay calm, and be ready to entertain kids. Have a purse (or bag) full of of snacks, water, and toys with you, and make sure it is easily accessible, particularly for those long flights, road trips, or ship transits.
What’s the low-down on where to stay and what to do in Athens when visiting with family?
I recommend staying in the resorts in Southern Attiki, like Grand Resort Lagonissi for instance. There is a lot you can do in Athens with children: hiking Mount Hymettus, exploring the Acropolis and old Athens, and visiting the Royal Garden behind Parliament. Ermou Street is great for shopping, as it’s pedestrianized. And Yoleni’s in Kolonaki is great for lunch if your kids are over three years old – they have a playroom staffed with sitters.
How did you come up with the idea to start Dreamista.gr, and how has it changed since Orfeas and Giorgos made their debut?
Dreamista.gr allows me to travel and write, and it is something of my own. My followers love to travel. They love cool hotels. They need tips to make their travels go more smoothly. I am happy to share my knowledge with them on this! When I found out that I was pregnant with twins, I knew that Dreamista would change with me. I started contacting family hotels and writing about babymoons. When the twins were five months old, we started traveling with them. I started sharing tips and stories from our travels with young children, and this brought the blog a new following – moms with babies who want to travel as a family.
Will you share with us a funny travel story from your own travels?
My husband Costas and I will always remember the morning we left Mexico – we were so hung over! We had to pack, check out, grab a taxi from the hotel in Playa Norte to the port, take a speed boat from Isla Mujeres to Cancun, hail a cab from Cancun port to the airport, wait for our flight, fly from Cancun to New York, wait for our transit, and fly to Zurich. Our flight from New York to Zurich was delayed and we had to run through the Zurich airport to catch our flight to Athens. We missed it. So, we were tired, jet-lagged, and still hung over, and had to wait for three hours for our third and final flight home. We still don’t remember how we got from the bar to our hotel room the night before. All of this is pre-kids, by the way of course 🙂
If you could choose one place in the world to visit that you haven’t been to yet, where would it be?
My answer to that question is always the same: French Polynesia!
Head on over to Anna’s site, Dreamista.gr, for more great tips on traveling with young children, family-friendly hotels, and her thoughts on travel and fashion, travel and fitness, and travel and wellness.
Written by Contributing Editor, Loren Braunohler