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Greece for families: the best destinations for a holiday with kids
Greece is a wonderful destination for a family holiday: gorgeous beaches, interesting history, incredible food (most of which child-friendly), and great people. Island hopping by ferry will add a hint of adventure to your journey, and give you the opportunity to see many destinations, that can be very different from one another. “Paidiá, kalosírthate!” (Children, you’re welcome!) is the typical greeting you will hear when you arrive with your kids. However, with so many destinations to choose from, you might still be wondering which are the best Greek islands for families. Here is a selection of those that have all the necessary requirements for a wonderful family holiday.
Greek islands for families: the best choices
One of the best places to visit in Greece when travelling with your family is certainly Naxos. But many other Greek islands are just as suitable for children, and ideal for families: Crete, Rhodes, Paros and Corfu have beautiful beaches, a pleasant temperature and a homely atmosphere. Santorini, generally considered an ideal place for couples, is also a great family destination (especially if your kids are 6+), as there is so much to see and do.
Naxos, with its gorgeous beaches, good food, fun atmosphere and family-friendly hotels, is probably the best destination if you are travelling with kids. St George Beach (Agios Georgios) is within easy walking distance from any hotels in Naxos town; sheltered on three sides, and with shallow water for several metres, this is probably the most suitable beach for kids. The beautiful beaches of Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka can all be easily reached by bus from Naxos town. And renting a car will make it a lot easier to see the beautiful inland villages.
Crete is one of the best choices for a holiday with kids. Being one of the largest islands, it has something for everyone, and it is also one of the safest places in Greece, due to its very low crime rate. Crete also enjoys the longest summer not only in Greece but in Europe, offering you a broader choice when it comes to choosing the dates of your journey. The best beach for children is the beautiful Elafonisi, which is about 90 minutes by car from Chania. Definitely a must-see are the Cretaquarium in Heraklion (Iráklion) and the Limnoupolis water park in Chania, with Disneyland-like games and giant slides.
Rich in history and featuring some of the most beautiful (and child-friendly) beaches in Greece (not to mention its hotels and restaurants), Rhodes is virtually the perfect destination for a family holiday. Don't be intimidated by the high number of tourists at its most popular attractions: a more secluded beach or a quiet town can always be reached on a day-trip! A visit to the Aquarium and the Butterfly Valley is highly recommended. Farma of Rhodes is also not to be missed: here children will come face to face with ostriches, kangaroos, camels, llamas, donkeys, ponies and raccoons, to name but a few.
Paros has many well-equipped facilities for tourists travelling with children. Its fine hotels with swimming pools and playgrounds, as well as babysitting services, make it a great choice for a family holiday. Naoussa and Parikia are the liveliest towns: Naoussa is one of the hippest places in Greece and has better restaurants, while Parikia (where ferries arrive and depart) is more crowded and offers a wider variety of shops. A day trip to Antiparos (with its great beaches and excellent local restaurants) is an absolute must: small boats leave from Parikia every hour and get there in just 20 minutes.
One of the greenest and most appealing Greek islands, Corfu has been attracting tourists for years. Although thousands of holidaymakers are drawn to its resorts and package tours every year, the island retains enough beauty, charm and sandy beaches to offer families (and children) weeks of real fun. Corfu is home to Aqualand Water Park (that claims to be the most amazing in Europe) and Trailriders Horse Trekking (a great way to see the verdant interior of Corfu's hills on horseback). Aboard the Star of Corfu, a glass-bottomed boat sailing around the island, the whole family will discover the magic of its underwater life and formations.
Santorini tipically evokes the idea of a romantic couple's holiday. Indeed, while a top destination for couples, it is also a great choice for families, especially those with slightly older kids (or teenagers). Kamari Beach is one of the longest, busiest and most family-friendly beaches on the island. Mount Vouno is the background to this stretch of sand which has been awarded the “Blue Flag”: its clear water is perfect for snorkelling, while kids can try surfing, paddle boarding and water skiing. Perissa Beach, which is on the other side of the mountain, is also perfect for families. Take a boat trip to the island of Palea Kameni, and bathe in the thermal springs in the bay of Agios Nikolaos, where temperatures can reach 35°C - here children will have a great time splashing around in the mud of the volcanic eruption!
Kos is located near the Turkish coast and is certainly one of the most popular Greek destinations. This large island has something for everyone. Its most touristy places (among which Kefalos) are on the south coast. Paradise Beach is located between Kardamena and Kefalos. This is probably the most famous beach on Kos, and a gentle descent into the sea makes it perfect for children. It is also known as “Bubble Beach”, because of the many bubbles that can be seen, caused by volcanic gases rising from the sea bottom. Children will also adore Melissa Honey Factory, where they can taste delicious honey while learning about beehives and their products.
Zakynthos is an ideal family destination, with many resorts offering plenty of activities to ensure your kids’ holiday is real fun. Immensely popular among vacationers, the island is also perfect for adventure seekers. Tsilivi, Kalamaki and Alykanas are the most child-friendly resorts. Navagio Beach is an unforgettable experience for children and adults alike. The beach, located in the north-west of the island, is also known as “Shipwreck Beach”, because of the stranded Freightliner that sits on the soft white sand. A special treat for children will be a visit to the Marine Park on the south coast from the Cape of Marathia to the beach of Gerkas, including the bay of Laganas. This protected area is a breeding ground for endangered sea turtles. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot them in their natural habitat.
Continental Greece for families: Chalkidiki
Chalkidiki is a three-fingered white peninsula jutting into the sea - but its glorious beaches (most of which awarded with the “Blue Flag”), will make you feel like you’re on an island. Along with lush green forests and a rich gastronomic and cultural heritage, families will discover hotels that offer specially organised activities for youngsters of all ages (4 month- to 16 year-old). Here parents can enjoy SPA treatments while little ones are in the care of qualified tutors (and also benefit from special offers, based on the age of the children).
Discover the best destinations in Greece for holidays with kids, specially hand-picked for you from the islands and the mainland.