With a vast selection of sandy beaches, child-friendly accommodation, and unique activities for all ages, Crete is tailor-made for a memorable family holiday. Across the island, you will find plenty of attractions that will not only keep the kids entertained, but could even prove to be educational too. You will never have to worry about running out of things to do on your Cretan adventure, even with a young family.
Here are a few things that are more than enough to make you want to spend some time near the beaches in Crete with your family. The locals at this island know how to welcome and make their tourists feel at home. This makes your journey comfortable and safer and you feel more connected to the place. From drivers to hotel staff, everybody is more than happy to help.
Also, the food here is delicious and comforting. You could try Dakos (Chopped tomatoes, herbs, cheese and lot of olive oil), Sarikopitakia (cheese pie), or Bougatsas, served warm sprinkled with sugar. The place smells of olive oil and herbs. Lastly, Crete is made for spending a great time with your families. It is a must-visit place for kids.
When you’ve had enough sunbathing on the beach and are looking for something more engaging, take the whole family to one of the island’s many unmissable attractions. Below, we highlight three of the most popular activities found in Crete – which of these will be headlining your Greek Island itinerary?
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Best things to do in Crete for families
1. Cretan caves
What better way to discover Crete than with a trip through its extensive network of caves? One of the most striking and popular caves is the Diktaen Cave – the purported birthplace of Zeus, the ancient god of the sky. Found on the hills above the town of Psychro, over 1,000m above sea level, Diktaen Cave has been modified to welcome visitors, with concrete steps and electricity installed within the site.
However, the climb up the hill to reach the cave can be quite taxing for young children or elderly people. If this is likely to pose a problem, consider exploring one of the other awe-inspiring caves, such as Melidoni. Visits to Melidoni Cave are self-guided, allowing you to explore the stalactites within the main chamber at your own pace.
Read also: Best & Fun Vacation Ideas for Families
2. The Palace of Knossos
The kids would definitely enjoy this place and the stories associated with it. The myths and exciting history of the Greek gods and goddesses. The Minoan civilization of Greece is represented well by this palace built on a Neolithic town.
The kids would be really interested in the mythical stories of how Theseus fell in love with Ariadne, King Minos daughter, and how she helped him escape the maze as he followed the magic twine laid by her.
This maze is still there along with workshops, banquets, and shrines. The place would not take more than 3 hours to explore, and it is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With 60 tanks and over 100 viewing points, Crete Aquarium is guaranteed to keep the children engaged and entertained throughout your entire visit. Situated just 14km from the city of Heraklion, the aquarium’s fairly central location makes it perfect for a day trip from the island’s main resorts.
Visitors have the option of exploring the site with the assistance of an audio guide. Alternatively, you can pre-book a tour with a personal guide to get an even greater insight into the lives of the 2,000 animals living within the aquarium. Not only are the tanks specially designed to mimic the sea beds of the Mediterranean, kids will also get a greater understanding of the environment through interactive apps and games.
» https://www.cretaquarium.gr «
Read also: 20+ Virtual Field Trips and Tours for Kids
4. Acqua Plus Water Park
Is there a more crowd-pleasing holiday pastime than a visit to the local water park? If you’re looking for a fun-filled, adrenaline-fueled day out with the kids, all roads in Crete lead to Acqua Plus Water Park. As is the case with many of the attractions across the Greek Islands, the park is only open in the peak season between May and October, so this will certainly be one for the summer itinerary.
Acqua Plus was the first water park constructed in the Balkan region, and remains one of the most popular tourist hotspots across the entire island. The park is split into two sections, with one featuring the more extreme rides, and the other designed specifically for young children, so whatever their ages, your whole family will be catered for.
» https://www.acquaplus.gr «
5. Agreco Farm
Located in the village of Adele, Agreco Farm has preserved its years-old organic farming practices and now invites people to learn more about it. There is also a special program, designed for the kids called “Farmer for a Day”. Here the kids learn and perform some farming activities and also cook some staple recipes of the island of Crete.
» https://www.agreco.gr «
Other fun activities for kids
1. Go to the beach
If you wish to combine your beach visit with some exploration of caves and make it adventurous, then the Matala beach is for you. The sea line appears to be ending at a rocky plateau that has a lot of small caves carved into it by sliding waters over the years. The beach is also surrounded by shops and cafes.
The Falassarna beach is the best spot for sunset lovers. The sky submerges into the sea and turns out to be a beautiful experience for you and your children.
Other beaches also include the Elafonissi Beach which is known for its pink and white sand, and the Balos Lagoon for its stunning shallow waters.
It is possible that the long walk in the Gorge might be a little tough to cover with kids but the rural mountain scenery cannot be missed. Some of the walks include the Imbros, Agia Irini, and the Kounaviano Gorge.
3. Horse riding
Another fun-filled thing to do outdoors is horse riding along the countryside. There are several schools for basic riding training and rides for people of all ages.
Zoraida’s horse riding is the most suitable site located between Chania and Rethymno with pony treks for your kids. For experienced riders, there is an opportunity to take your horse to the beautiful lake Kournas and ride them in the sea which would be enough to give you out-of-a-movie feels.
4. Visit a local market
One such famous place is the Agora, a covered market in Chania. Built somewhere between 1910 and 1913, the market would be a bliss for your sense of smell, sight, and sound. You could get a taste of Greek’s authentic flavors or you could collect souvenirs. This is the place to go to if you wish to experience the real Crete’s smell and taste.
5. Buy souvenirs
Lastly, you must want to know what you could take back with you for your friends and family other than storage full of pictures and a heart full of amazing memories. Here are a few things for you to consider which are very unique and might also find some real-life use other than being a showpiece.
You could buy the very famous Cretan olive oil or as they call it the liquid gold. Surely, it would bring a hinge of the Cretan taste back home. Then you also buy the local honey or raki which is alcohol served after a meal.
Other than this, you could look for Greviera cheese and Cretan wine. These two would go with each other, perfect for brunch.
Apart from eatables, you could get pretty handmade laces, scarfs, and ceramics, worry beads, or even Cretan leather goods.
The majority of these you will find in the Agora market as mentioned above already. No matter what you buy, each piece has an essence of Crete attached to it.
On a final note…
All in all, Crete is the best place to go to with your children as you will have numerous things to do as per your interests. The ambiance is welcoming and the food is great. Surely, once you visit Crete you won’t be able to leave. The place has its own charm where every beach has a completely different experience to offer. This article will definitely make you want to visit this beautiful island and have a time of your life. We hope this has inspired you enough to add this place to your bucket list.
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