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The most effective issues to do in Crete with children


Should you’re making an attempt to choose a Greek island for a household vacation, you’ll be able to’t overlook the most important of the bunch – not least as a result of there are such a lot of issues to do in Crete with children

Young girl with blonde hair sits on rocks looking out across Balos Bay on the Greek island of Crete - one of the best things to do in Crete with kids
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In truth, not like among the smaller islands the place you’ll be able to discover the highlights in per week, you’ll want longer to find all the pieces there’s to do on Crete with children – it positively pays to choose your base properly if you’re reserving lodging.

From Venetian historical past to seashores and boat journeys, there’s loads to tempt close to Rethymno (or Rethymnon) and Chania with children within the western a part of the island, and additional east in the direction of Elounda, however you’ll discover most household points of interest close to Heraklion, the island’s capital, and Hersonissos.

The south and much east of the island are quieter and fewer touristy – in addition to farther from the 2 airports at Chania and Heraklion, plus the principle ferry ports within the north – however whether or not you’re searching for historical past and delusion, chilled out solar, energetic journey or household enjoyable, you’ll discover loads of issues to do for teenagers in Crete.

Learn my information to Greece with children for extra ideas and inspiration

Get pleasure from a seashore day

Crete is famed for having among the most lovely seashores in Europe, so you’ll be able to’t plan a household vacation in Crete with out a seashore day or two.

Wherever you’re staying, you’ll discover among the family-friendly seashores in Crete close by: there are such a lot of, that it’s laborious to know the place to start. However to assist slender them down, I’ve listed just a few of my favourites by space.

Household-friendly seashores within the west of Crete

  • Falassarna Seaside – one of the crucial lovely pure seashores in Crete, with advantageous golden and pink sand and crystal clear waters.
  • Platanias Seaside – a protracted sandy seashore simply west of Chania with loads of vacationer amenities, together with inns, eating places, water sports activities, lifeguards, and extra.
  • Balos Seaside & Lagoon – an attractive secluded seashore with white sand and shallow turquoise waters, accessible by (a busy) ferry from Kissamos port or boat tour.
  • Frangokastello Seaside – a sandy seashore sitting under a 14th century fort on the southern coast of Crete.
  • Elafonisi Seaside – this distinctive seashore is known for its pink sand because of the hundreds of damaged seashells it accommodates.
Pink sand and turquoise sea of Elafonissi beach - one of the best beaches in Crete with kids

Household-friendly seashores in central Crete

  • Matala Seaside – Crete’s laid-back hippie seashore resort sits in an enclosed bay, surrounded by tall cliffs suffering from cave tombs constructed by the Romans 2,000+ years in the past.
  • Bali Seashores – for a quiet household seashore day, head to the 5 small sheltered seashores that encompass the calm and picturesque seashore resort of Bali (nothing to do with the one in Indonesia!)
  • Potamos Seaside – a well-liked seashore in Crete with native households, this lengthy sandy seashore is far quieter than lots of the large vacationer resorts.
  • Hersonissos Seashores – a set of small native seashores simply to the east of Heraklion, with calm, clear waters and loads of family-friendly amenities.

Household-friendly seashores within the east of Crete

  • Voulisma Seaside – a big stretch of beautiful white sand seashore with crystal clear turquoise waters in Mirabello Bay on the northeastern coast of Crete.
  • Vai Seaside – a secluded seashore surrounded by one of many largest palm tree forests in Europe, with loads of picturesque nature and nice mountain climbing routes close by.

Hit the water

Discover extra of Crete’s beautiful shoreline with some family-friendly enjoyable on the water, together with loads of water sports activities from scuba diving to sea kayaking.

For scuba and snorkeling, Chania and the north west of Crete is a superb space for inexperienced persons. You’ll discover loads of diving colleges providing classes for teenagers across the Bay of Afrata.

Different water sports activities reminiscent of sea kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, browsing, and jet skis, could be discovered at seashore resorts all around the island. You gained’t have to journey far to seek out to seek out courses or tools rent. 

View of the blue and green water of Lake Kournas in Greece - a visit is one of the best things to do in Crete with kids

Spend a day at Lake Kournas

For a barely extra mellow day trip with youthful youngsters, head to Lake Kournas, the one freshwater lake on Crete. Nestled in an attractive valley, there’s hundreds to do across the lake for a enjoyable household day trip.

You’ll be able to take a stroll across the lake (a full lap takes round an hour), cease for a picnic alongside its banks, or take advantage of the solar loungers and umbrellas on the a number of small pebble seashores.

On a heat day, you may as well take a swim within the lake or rent a pedalo to move out onto the water. And don’t neglect to seize some meals to feed the lake’s many geese.

Should you don’t have your personal automobile, there are day journeys to Lake Kournas and Chania in addition to excursions to native villages and Lake Kournas too

Take a Pirate Boat cruise in Rethymno

The historic Venetian city of Rethymno is likely one of the prettiest locations to go to in Crete, with its slender tree-lined streets, various architectural kinds, and grand fifteenth century fortress.

However the primary factor to do in Rethymno with children is to move right down to the Venetian harbour and take to the water on a pirate ship

Set sail to discover the caves, rock formations, and seashores surrounding Rethymno on a standard wood pirate ship, The Captain Hook. This half-day tour is assured to be successful with children.

Small boat on the clear turquoise water off Vai beach - boat tours are one of the best things to do in Crete with kids

Strive a ship journey to the smaller islands

In case your children don’t fancy a pirate boat, otherwise you’re staying elsewhere on Crete, there are a string of different boat journeys to select from – once more, you’ll be spoiled for alternative.

This half-day boat tour from Chania takes you to Lazaretta Island (a former leper colony), in addition to providing the possibility to study extra historical past of the realm and to cease, swim and snorkel.

Or attempt a crusing journey from Heraklion to Dia island, simply to the north of Crete with time to snorkel, swim and sit back – there’s a morning boat tour as properly, each appropriate for teenagers aged over 4.

Head to a waterpark

Nothing screams enjoyable household day trip in Crete like a visit to one of many island’s water parks. Most water parks in Crete are solely open for the summer season season between Could and October so be sure to test opening dates earlier than your go to.

Acqua Plus Water Park

Acqua Plus is the most important and hottest water park in Crete. Situated 25 minutes from Heraklion on the north of the island, the massive park has over ​​50 thrilling water slides, rides, and video games for teenagers and adults of all ages. 

For teenagers and older youngsters, you’ll discover excessive slides just like the Kamikaze and Giants of Terror, whereas little ones can benefit from the children’ waterslides, exercise playgrounds, a fantasy inflatable fort, and plenty extra.

There’s a skip-the-line ticket with an optionally available pick-up from Rethymno for those who don’t wish to drive, in addition to different tickets together with transfers from elsewhere on Crete.

Different water parks close to Heraklion in central Crete embody:

Limnoupolis

Just below 5 miles from Chiana, Limnoupolis is one other enjoyable water park for households within the west of Crete.

The park has the same old enjoyable actions, from adrenaline-fuelled water slides to stress-free swimming pools, a loopy river, and kids’s leisure areas, so it’s superb for those who’re searching for issues to do close to Chania with children.

There are tickets together with transfers and lunch out there for those who don’t wish to drive or take a taxi.

View of boats and the old buildings on the Venetian harbour in Chania, with the lighthouse also visible - one of the best places to stay in Crete with kids to explore the western part of the island and its family attractions

​​Labyrinth Park

This distinctive Minoan-themed amusement park near Heraklion is a superb place to show children about Greek mythology in an entertaining and interactive manner – positively one of the crucial uncommon issues to do in Crete with children!

Superb for youthful youngsters, Labyrinth Park has an enormous vary of actions, together with mini golf, quad bikes, archery, horse rides, a reside escape sport, and – after all – an enormous 1300sqm labyrinth for the entire household to get misplaced in. 

You may also pop by the projector room, the place movies on the traditional Minoan Civilization of Crete are proven all through the day, and revel in lunch within the historic Knossos-themed cafe.

Head to an aquarium

One other nice solution to spend a day in Crete with children is by visiting one of many island’s finest aquariums to study in regards to the native aquatic life. 

Aquaworld Aquarium and Reptile Rescue Centre

Aquaworld was Crete’s very first aquarium and remains to be one among its hottest points of interest at present, house to native sea life and a wide range of reptiles from around the globe.

A lot of the animals are rescued or have been injured and now have a brand new sanctuary at Aquaworld. Children will love getting hands-on with fascinating creatures, from holding big pythons to petting tortoises.

Tropical fish on a coral reef in a tank - with two aquariums on the island, it's easy to discover Greek marine life in Crete with kids

Cretaquarium

Cretaquarium is a big Mediterranean themed aquarium near Heraklion in central Crete. At present one of many greatest and most fashionable aquariums in Europe, the centre is house to over 2,000 sea creatures throughout 60 tanks.

From big sharks to microscopic plankton, children can study all about marine life within the area and there’s an audio information as you discover (or you’ll be able to pay additional for a brief guided tour too).

Guide tickets with free cancellation right here.

Stroll with prehistoric creatures at Dinosauria Park

Little ones can study all the pieces there’s to find out about dinosaurs at this interactive theme park dedicated to the prehistoric beasts. 

At Dinosauria you’ll be able to journey again in time to the Mesozoic period as you wander across the park discovering full-sized animatronic dinosaurs, whereas interactive screens educate you in regards to the life and habitats of every dinosaur you encounter. 

Children can even get hands-on with enjoyable actions together with fossil excavations, hatching a dinosaur egg, and caring for injured creatures on the Common Hospital of Dinosaurs. The park has a restaurant, present store, and huge youngsters’s play space too.

Red pillars on part of the ruins of the Minoan palace of Knossos - one of the unmissable things to do in Crete with kids

Go to the Historic Minoan Palace of Knossos

The Palace of Knossos is one among Crete’s most well-known historic landmarks and a must-visit for guests of all ages. The essential archaeological website is house to the ruins of a Bronze Age palace that was the ceremonial and political centre of Minoan civilization. 

Thought-about to be Europe’s oldest metropolis, Knossos and its Palace are steeped in historic historical past and Greek mythology, most famously the legend of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur but in addition the story of Daedalus and Icarus, who flew too near the solar,

To essentially get essentially the most out of the Palace of Knossos and its museum, go to on a guided tour so youngsters can hear the various tales and legends that make this website so important.

No matter you select, it’s properly price reserving tickets upfront and getting there early (or ready till later within the afternoon) to keep away from the queues and the warmth throughout summer season.

You should purchase tickets upfront from websites like Get Your Information, Tiqets and Viator however sadly for those who’re coming from the UK and travelling with children, there’s not at the moment choice to get the diminished little one fee on these websites so that you’ll have to e book direct – youngsters who’re EU residents get in free.

The Heraklion hop-on hop-off bus stops at each Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in addition to exploring town

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Even when your children aren’t usually followers of museums, that is positively one to placed on the checklist, and an amazing possibility to mix with a go to to Knossos, round quarter-hour away.

With 27 galleries throughout two flooring, its assortment covers 5,500 years, from the Neolithic age to Greco-Roman occasions, together with the world’s finest assortment of Minoan treasures – simply one of the best museum to go to in Crete with children.

You’ll be able to wander by means of recreated interval rooms, frescoes and sculptures, in addition to different artefacts alongside the way in which, together with all the pieces from artworks to home goods.

It’s additionally blissfully air conditioned. You should purchase joint tickets, though as with the palace of Knossos, you solely appear to have the ability to get little one tickets for those who e book direct.

The Heraklion hop-on hop-off bus stops at each the museum and the Palace of Knossos in addition to town’s different highlights, so it’s a sensible and enjoyable solution to discover Heraklion with children

The Dikteon Cave, said to be the birthplace of Zeus - one of the most unusual places to visit in Crete with kids

Discover the cave the place Zeus was born

The Cretan mountains are house to over 3,000 caves and caverns. However essentially the most well-known of those needs to be Dikteon Cave within the Lasithi plateau on the east of the island.

The massive cave shouldn’t be solely ecologically spectacular with its many stalagmites and stalactites, however based on legend, it’s additionally the birthplace of Zeus, the chief Greek God. 

Locals would as soon as head off on a pilgrimage to the sacred cave to worship and convey choices to the Gods. Immediately, it’s a well-liked vacationer attraction the place you’ll be able to study Greek myths and legends.

Uncover Historic Aptera

For extra historic Greek historical past, go to the stays of town of Aptera close to Chania, as soon as the business centre of Crete round 2,000 years in the past.

Children can discover the intensive historic ruins, from the Roman cisterns to the massive amphitheatre and hilltop Ottoman fort, plus there’s loads of area to run round as you get a style of the island’s fascinating historical past.

Aptera is situated round 8 miles from Chania and there’s a small price of €2 to enter the archaeological website.

Stream running through the high cliffs of Samaria Gorge, one of the most adventurous things to do in Crete with kids

Hike in Samaria Gorge

For energetic households who take pleasure in getting out in nature, you’ll be able to’t miss mountain climbing Samariá Gorge.

Chopping by means of Crete’s White Mountains, the 16km canyon is likely one of the longest and most well-known of its variety in Europe. The mountain climbing route begins from Xyloskalo on the Omalos Plateau and ends on the seaside village of Agia Roumeli on the south coast.

Alongside the way in which, the hike takes you thru Samaria Nationwide Park, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, which is house to distinctive natural world in addition to the eye-catching surroundings.

The total hike takes round 6 hours and is medium issue, so higher for older children or extra skilled younger hikers though you will see that guides with donkeys strolling up and down the route to offer some respite for little legs. The hike could be completed by your self or on a guided tour.

Should you’re searching for different hikes in Crete with children, Imbros Gorge is an efficient one to contemplate

Find out about Crete’s deserted leper colony

Spinalonga is a small rocky island within the Gulf of Elounda in north-eastern Crete that was as soon as dominated by the Venetians and the Ottomans. Within the early 1900s, the island grew to become a leper colony and was nicknamed the island of the residing lifeless: at its peak, it had round 400 residents. 

The colony wasn’t disbanded till 1957, making it one of many final of its variety in Europe. Its darkish historical past impressed the best-selling novel, The Island – for those who haven’t learn it, I extremely suggest it – and it’s turn out to be one thing of a vacationer magnet because of this.

Take a look at Maria’s Island by the identical writer, with the story advised by one of many little one characters from The Island, excellent for teenagers to study extra about Crete and Spinalonga

Boat on the turquoise sea by the former leper island of Spinalonga - one of the more unusual things to do in Crete with kids

Should you’re a fan, or that’s merely piqued your curiosity, you’ll be able to go to the deserted settlements on the island and study extra on a guided tour.

Ferries run from Plaka or Elounda – there’s an extra price to pay on the island itself – in addition to excursions to Spinalonga from Heraklion and Rethymno, and longer boat excursions which cease at Spinalonga.

Do take water and any snacks with you as there are restricted (and pricy) amenities on the island, plus restricted info for those who don’t have a information – realistically, this isn’t an amazing one with youthful children.

Should you’re intrigued by the concept of a leper island however are staying within the west of Crete, Lazaretta island is a cease on some boat journeys from Chania – though there’s not an enormous quantity remaining from its previous historical past.

Discover Venetian fortifications

This Greek island, like its northern neighbour of Corfu, was as soon as dominated by the Venetians, and for those who head to Chania or Rethymno, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover the fortifications they constructed.

In Chania, the Venetian partitions encompass town, encircling the older Byzantine ones, whereas the harbour was additionally constructed by the Venetians – the unique lighthouse is lengthy gone, however there’s a stunning stroll out to its substitute.

This enjoyable self-guided scavenger hunt is an efficient solution to get children exploring, with an audio information path that takes you to the city’s key sights as you observe clues to unravel the challenges.

And for those who’re visiting Rethymno with children, the Fortezza – because the Venetian citadel is thought – nonetheless towers above the city, and you may go to the star-shaped constructing, as properly the Venetian harbour right here (with its personal lighthouse, additionally a substitute for the Venetian unique).

The Venetian fortress and walls of Fortezza in Rethymno, one of several Venetian legacies in the north of the island - one of the best things to do in Crete with kids

Lychnostatis open air museum

This little museum in Hersonissos is the proper solution to get a style of what life was like in Crete in years passed by.

With a deal with folks traditions and culutre, you’ll be able to discover a shepherd’s shelter and little windmill, in addition to seeing outdated wine and olive presses and wandering by means of a herb backyard.

There’s a gallery with work by Cretan artists on show too, plus there’s an audio information and a stunning little cafe. Purchase tickets with free cancellation right here.

For extra tips about visiting the Greek islands with children, try my posts on one of the best issues to do in Kefalonia, Kos, Skiathos and concepts for exploring Corfu, together with my information to Greece with children

Disclosure: This publish accommodates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee

Photos courtesy of Depositphotos

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