The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Greece with Kids
All Rhodes lead to family fun with our guide to Greece with kids.
Don’t worry, it’s not all ancient history. And hey, maybe your kids are really into that cultural and historical stuff, in which case the likes of Athens and Thessaloniki make for fascinating destinations. More universal is the desire to build sandcastles and swim in the sea, and there is a seemingly infinite menu of resort towns and islands served up by Greece.
You’ll probably want to take a trip around the islands to make the most of the sandy strands that wrap around them. You’ll get a great range of international and Greek food, with seafood a main staple in the family-friendly restaurants – ask before smashing all the plates, will you? Then, island-hopping on ferries is a memorable experience in itself, while tours of the islands of Rhodes, Crete and Delos allows your little ones to learn about a rich heritage and history while sunning up and swimming. It’s a big place, so we’ve narrowed it down to a few major kid-friendly destinations, with our super Plum Guide brains. Here, the ultimate guide to enjoying Greece with kids.
Head to one of the most well-known islands in the world, in the form of Crete. Here, you’ll get all the stunning beaches you’ll find on the other islands, but the summer goes on for even longer, due to its southern location. So, no more worries about those blasted school holidays (can we say blasted?). Stay at our home The Perch for spectacular views of the water or make use of the infinity pool at White Gladiolus.
Embark on a laborious hike, with tempers flaring among your little ones and your partner, through the Imbros Gorge. Now, there’s a family holiday. Seriously, you’ve gotta see this scenic valley, so just get it out the way on Day 1. While you’re at it, head into the Rethymnon Old Town and grab something to eat at one of the family-friendly restaurants. The kids will love the Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre, where they can talk to a blind turtle that is expected to live for a century. Now, that’s a strange existence: imagine being a blind turtle for 100 years. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.
OK, we’ll let you off – you’ve done the hard work. Time to unwind and swim in the warm and clear waters of the Balos Lagoon. Bring the little ones to the shallow pools of the Elafonissi Beach, before taking a trip to such other sandy havens as the Tersanas Beach, the Kalyves Beach and the Marathi Beach.
We know, we’ll get back to the beaches and islands soon. But maybe your perfect trip to Greece with kids involves learning a bit of history, and Athens is the kind of place that’ll make an indelible impression on their tiny little brains. Perhaps they’ll grow to be some sort of a student of the great poets – a holiday like this could be the difference between a future adult interested in Homer… and a child interested in Homer. (Doh).
So, make sure to see some of the best attractions in Greece, such as the Acropolis of Athens, the Parthenon and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which is pretty darn majestic. Actually, the Acropolis Museum has its own little bags for families, complete with kid guides and informative material. There’s an educational lab and all sorts of family events put on year-round. Pick up some books, games and toys from the gift shop.
Become an ancient Athenian on the Greek Mythology Tour, which includes a picnic and a whole lot of youthful imagination. Embark on a wander through the old-world district of Plaka, and point out the neoclassical façades to your kids’ yawning visages. They’ll probably love to get a glimpse of the Changing of the Guards ceremony in front of the Parliament at Syntagma and to ride the Athens Happy Train.
Back to the islands, quick haste. Land on this so-called Emerald Isle and enjoy a picnic in the dense forests. The kids will love the animals at the Corfu Donkey Rescue, where they can walk and pet a donkey. Take your family on a ride on a glass-bottom boat and point out the colourful aquatic creatures beneath you. Make up funny names for all the weird fish to your children.
The island has almost 60 beaches, so you can’t really go wrong. And it’s hot and sunny pretty much all the time in summer. Enjoy the safe, shallow waters of the Issos Beach with your little ones, finding a spot to call your own on the sand. You’ll find many, many more family-friendly stretches of sand, such as the Palaiokastritsa Beach, the Agios Gordios Beach and the stunning Glyfada Beach.
Take a Rhodes-trip to an island that seems to have the best of both worlds. You’ve got the spectacular history of the UNESCO old-world town centre, with its medieval architecture and such treasures as the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights (we might start calling our offices that). They’ll also love the Farma of Rhodes, where they can pet the ostriches, camels and kangaroos.
The other world we were referencing was the world of sand and sea – the two main things to do in Greece, history and culture aside. Take a banana boat or jet ski among the water sports options on Faliraki Beach. Rush down the slides (well, better stand back and let your kids do it) at the Faliraki Water Park. Other beach treasures on Rhodes include Agathi and Tsampika.
Another option when it comes to where to go in Greece with kids is the tranquil island of Cyclades. We recommend staying at Kefi for a secluded hideaway and Cliff Edge for unrivalled views. All of our lodgings have been tried and tested by professional home critics, so you and the family are in for a guaranteed great night's sleep.