“Kids, We’re Off to Greece!” — Exploring the Greek Islands with Children

There could be anywhere between 1200 and 6000 islands in the Greek archipelago, scattering across two seas, of which between 166 and 227 are (possibly) inhabited. Further confusion ensues when you factor in ferry schedules, hungry kids and a limited time-frame, so it’s important to pick out just two or three Greek islands for your next family holiday in advance of booking. Read on for some of the most accommodating places to take children of any age in glorious Greece.

Crete

Crete

Sandy beaches are always a hit with small kids, but there’s more to Greece’s largest island than buckets and spades. Perhaps the easiest of the Greek islands to manage would be holidays to Crete, with its three airports negating the necessity of a ferry from the mainland. If the sun is shining, a short trip to the Palace of Knossos will hold some appeal for mini-historians, especially if accompanied by knowledgeable commentary on the legend of the Minotaur. Crete has several superb water parks, try Acqua Plus in Hersonissos which delights kids of all ages with its great selection of flumes, slides and rides. For a great rainy day alternative, kids will be dazzled by the creatures on display in the Cretaquarium, which houses jellyfish, sea turtles and sharks just 15km east of Heraklion.

Naxos

Crete 1

With the shallow waters lapping the shores of the pretty St George beach, this island is one of the most child-friendly of the Cyclades. Many of the small, family-run hotels on this island have great facilities for young families, including triple suites, family rooms and apartments, but its popularity means it is crucial to book as early as possible. 

Paros

Crete 2

Once a siren call to backpackers, Paros has grown up and expanded its repertoire, now catering to families with small children with its fun range of activities and cooler, gusty climate. If the weather’s fine (it probably is) take in an al-fresco flick at Cine Rex or Paros Cinema in Parikia, just make sure it’s due to be an English language feature!

Milos

Crete 3

A proliferation of friendly guesthouses and beautiful natural landscapes are a great combo for families in search of adventure. If you have older children, hire a kayak and strike out across the translucent waters of the Aegean Sea for one of the island’s exquisite cave formations. Set off on a boat trip from Kleftiko Beach to explore the unusual rock and sea arches, or slip down into the cool catacombs for a tour which will only set you back around 3 euros.

Greece is a very child-friendly place, and locals tend to be warm and accommodating towards families with young children. While there are few dedicated activities beyond the resorts, it’s important to bear in mind that a land of sun, sea and beaches is going to be more than enough to keep your children splashing around with glee.

Sandra Keane is a mum of four and a lover of travelling around the Mediterranean region. She also enjoys learning foreign languages and is studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in French.

Images by dawolf-, Francesco Sgroi, EnKayTee and ktpayn used under creative commons license.