Other Greek islands might have a reputation for being dedicated to party life or honeymooners, but Crete is known for being a far more family-friendly Greek paradise. Filled with beautiful sandy beaches and crystal waters, Crete is also steeped in culture, historic towns and mountainous regions perfect for hikes, making it far more than your regular beach resort. In fact, Crete should be top of your list for the next family holiday, with both parents and kids having an amazing time:
A trip to Crete without visiting one of its many beautiful beaches would be a travesty, and luckily, the vast majority of Crete’s beaches are perfectly family friendly with easy access for prams or buggies, and lots of facilities nearby. Rethymno Town beach is particularly popular due to its large scale – at 20km long it doesn’t matter just how busy this beach gets, you’ll always be able to find a quiet spot to settle on. Almyros Beach is another popular family beach in Crete, as its shallow and clean waters are particularly safe for younger children. There’s also plenty of facilities available. By far the easiest way to explore the beaches of Crete is by renting your own car and exploring to find the beach that suits you all most, it’s also a great way to take in all the stunning coastal scenery.
BOAT TRIPS TO A SEA CAVE
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Children always seem to adore boats and caves – there’s just something about them that seems to intrigue. Which is exactly why you should plan a boat trip on your Crete family holiday. These short boat trips will take you into caves that were once thought to be used by pirates in their smuggling days, and you may be able to swim while there and see some of the local wildlife.
If the kids enjoy exploring caves, you may also wish to visit the island’s Dikteon cave, where legends say that Zeus himself was born. You’ll need to hike up a steep path to get there – so keep this in mind if you have small children – but there is a bar and toilets at the top.
The recently renovated Cretaquarium is not only a wonderful way to spend a day looking at stunning wildlife, but it’s also a fantastic way to educate the kids without them realising! The aquarium itself has over 60 tanks – totaling a spectacular 1.7million liters of seawater and home to around 2,500 Mediterranean and other tropical sea life. There are tonnes of interactive screens and videos as well as plenty of science points where everyone can stop and view microscopic creatures with microscopes, making for a fun day out for all ages.
ACQUA PLUS WATER PARK
There is nothing quite like a water park to get the kids – and often the parents! – excited and Acqua Plus Water Park is not only Crete’s biggest water park, but it’s also the safest. With a little bit of everything for children of all ages, children aged 8 and over can enjoy the more ‘extreme’ slides along with the adults. These include the famous Tsunami slide that is immensely popular. For younger children, there is a kid’s area equipped with smaller slides and a play park for them to enjoy. There are also plenty of restaurants on site serving everything from traditional Greek food to kid favorites such as burgers and chicken nuggets. Prices are charged at €27.00 for adults and €17.00 for children.
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A hike with all the family is a wonderful bonding experience, and what better place than a hike on Crete’s stunning Samariá Gorge with its stunning views? The 16km hike might seem daunting, but it’s incredibly manageable for everyone when taken at a slow pace. Open between May and October (weather permitting), be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring snacks and drinks with you. If you plan to take the walk slow, then try to start your hike earlier in the morning, as it will be quieter and less warm.
FAMILY FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION
Crete has plenty of options for families, from all-inclusive resorts to private villas. For the former, Amirandes is a luxury 5-star hotel that has wonderful facilities for children including kids club, their own area and facilities and even their own luxury menus, so your children will feel like a mini-celebrity. All this comes with a price tag though! For a far more budget-friendly option, there are plenty of family-friendly villas available for rent on the island. These are perfect for families as you get that sense of a home away from home, with your own privacy. Many of these will even have their own private pool that the children will adore.