Crete with Kids

Crete, Greece’s largest island, is an ideal destination for family vacations, offering a blend of beautiful beaches, rich history, and exciting activities. This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know to plan a perfect family holiday in Crete.

What to Do with Kids in Crete

Crete is a treasure trove of activities for kids of all ages. Whether your family enjoys beach outings, cultural experiences, or adventurous activities, Crete has something for everyone.

Beach Activities

Crete is renowned for its stunning beaches, many of which are family-friendly. Here are some of the best beaches to visit:

  • Elafonissi Beach: Known for its unique pink sand and shallow waters, it’s perfect for young kids to play safely.
  • Falasarna Beach: Offers expansive golden sands and clear waters, ideal for families seeking a bit of privacy.
  • Agia Marina Beach: Near Chania, this beach is well-organized with amenities including tavernas and cafes, making it a convenient spot for families.
  • Georgioupolis Beach: Located at the mouth of Lake Kournas, this beach features fine sand and calm waters, with the added attraction of a nearby lake.
  • Stalis Beach: A popular seaside resort with shallow waters and fine sand, making it a great spot for kids.
  • Amoudara Beach: Near Heraklion, this well-organized beach offers numerous facilities, including water sports.
  • Matala Beach: Famous for its caves, this beach provides a unique setting and clear waters suitable for families.

Cultural and Educational Activities

Crete offers a rich history and numerous educational attractions that are both interesting and engaging for kids:

  • Palace of Knossos: Explore the archaeological site of this ancient Minoan palace and learn about its fascinating history.
  • Cretaquarium: Greece’s largest aquarium, offering an educational experience about Mediterranean marine life.
  • Natural History Museum of Crete: Features interactive exhibits about the island’s flora and fauna, perfect for nature-loving kids.
  • Koules Fortress: Located in the Venetian port of Heraklion, this fortress offers historical exploration opportunities.

Recreational Activities

From hiking to kayaking, Crete offers various recreational activities suitable for families:

  • Hiking Samaria Gorge: This challenging hike offers breathtaking landscapes and a sense of adventure, though it may be demanding for younger children.
  • Kayaking: Family-friendly spots include Mirabello Bay, Elounda Beach, Paleochora Beach, and Agia Pelagia Beach. Guided tours are also available.

Where to Go in Crete

Crete is divided into four main regions, each offering unique attractions and experiences for families.

Chania Region

  • Kiani Beach Resort: An exclusive family haven by the Blue Flag awarded beach of Kiani Akti, ensuring a memorable seaside retreat for both adults and kids.

Heraklion Region

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  • Cretan Malia Park: A sustainable, family-friendly resort with three kid-approved restaurants, poolside cocktail bars, and an engaging children’s club. It also boasts direct access to a certified Blue Flag private beach.
  • Creta Maris Resort: This resort is ideal for family holidays, offering a range of facilities including a waterpark, baby room, kids club, and teenager’s club.

Rethymno Region

  • Venetian Fortress of Rethymno: Take the opportunity to explore the fortress, climb the ramparts, and enjoy interactive learning spaces that are perfect for kids.
  • Rethymno Amusement Park: Kids of all ages will love the rides and games on offer at this amusement park.

Best Attractions for Kids

Children’s Parks and Zoos

  • Star Beach Water Park: Located near Malia, this water park provides fun for the whole family with its slides, swimming pools, and water activities.
  • Crete Zoo: Situated in Hersonissos near Malia, this zoo is home to a variety of animals including reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Museums and Art Attractions

  • Municipal Museum of Rethymno: This museum provides exhibits on local history, art, and culture, offering an educational experience for families.
  • Fortezza Kids’ Lab: Located within the Venetian Fortress of Rethymno, this interactive space provides educational and fun activities for children.

When to Go

The best time to visit Crete with kids is during late spring (May-June) and early autumn (September-October). These periods offer pleasant weather and fewer tourists, making it easier to enjoy the island’s attractions.

Where to Stay

Recommended Hotels:

  • Kiani Beach Resort: Located in Chania.
  • Cretan Malia Park: Situated in Heraklion.
  • Creta Maris Resort: Also in Heraklion.

Family-Friendly Dining:

Crete offers numerous child-friendly restaurants where you can enjoy local cuisine:

  • Tamam: Located in Chania, this restaurant offers traditional Cretan dishes in a family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Peskesi: Situated in Heraklion, this restaurant is known for its use of organic, locally-sourced ingredients.
  • Avli: Found in Rethymno, this restaurant offers a mix of modern and traditional Greek dishes.

Transport

Crete has a well-connected network of buses that are convenient for traveling between cities. Car rentals are also popular for exploring the island at your own pace. Taxis are readily available, and for shorter distances, walking is a great way to explore local areas.

Suggested 7-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Chania

  • Check into Kiani Beach Resort.
  • Explore Chania’s Old Town and Venetian Harbor.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local taverna.

Day 2: Beach Day

  • Spend the day at Agia Marina Beach.
  • Visit nearby shops and cafes.

Day 3: Cultural Exploration

  • Visit the Palace of Knossos and Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
  • Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
  • Explore Heraklion’s Colorful Market.

Day 4: Water Fun

  • Enjoy the facilities at Creta Maris Resort, including the waterpark.
  • Relax on the private beach.

Day 5: Adventure Day

  • Embark on a hike through Samaria Gorge (suitable for older kids).
  • Alternatively, visit Cretaquarium.

Day 6: Historical and Educational Activities

  • Visit the Venetian Fortress of Rethymno.
  • Explore the Fortezza Kids’ Lab.
  • Indulge in dinner at Avli.

Day 7: Departure

  • Take some time to relax at the hotel or visit any of your favorite spots before your departure.

Tips for tourists

  • It’s important to book accommodations and activities in advance, especially during peak seasons.
  • Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, hats, and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Make sure to keep yourself and your kids hydrated during outings and carry snacks for them.
  • Knowing a few local phrases can go a long way and be helpful and appreciated.
  • Be mindful and respectful of local traditions and customs.
  • Always keep an eye on your kids, especially near water.
  • Don’t miss out on trying traditional Cretan dishes, but make sure they are suitable for kids.

Crete is an incredible destination for a family holiday, offering a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural experiences. With careful planning and the right accommodations, you can create lasting memories with your kids on this beautiful island.

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