A family vacation to Greece would be unimaginable without visiting one or more of the islands. The choices are so many if you are looking for a slice of Mediterranean heaven. Some islands are perfect for families while others for honeymooners and partying, some are great for history, outdoor activities while others have awesome beaches and food. I have collaborated with Travel Experts to come up with 7 great options of Greek islands for families.
For a Greek holiday with family, Corfu is one of the best islands to visit. From kid-friendly beaches like Glyfada and Pelekas and a range of hotels that are made for a family vacation, you can have a relaxing, worry-free holiday with your kids. Book your stay at the Sidari Waterpark Hotel which has a waterpark, a kids’ playground, gardens, and entertainment programs that will keep your kids busy while you are enjoying your moment under the sun. Other family-friendly hotels can be found in Saint Gordios, which is not far from the airport.
Be the coolest parents ever by taking your kids to Aqualand Water Park.
You can also couple your sightseeing trip to the Monastery of Vlaherna and the Monastery of Pantokrator with a trip to the Kanoni area where your kids can watch the planes land and take off.
When you visit Corfu’s old town, stop at Casa Parlante, a history museum that takes you back in time with its display of real-life scenes that come to life. Once the cultural center of Greece, the museum is packed with the intricate and colorful heirlooms of Corfu’s 19th-century nobility. Displayed in rooms with reproduced furniture and effects that re-create the sounds and scents of the time with realistic animations, a visit to this museum is a must for families. For an amazing underwater experience, take your family out for a cruise on a glass-bottomed boat. Watch your children gasp with awe as they view the underwater creatures of the Ionian Sea.
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The beautiful island of Crete is the largest of the Greek islands. Its size and abundance of amenities, beaches, and activities mean that it’s one of the best Greek islands for a family holiday. Whilst it is a great island to visit year-round, it does get very hot in the summer and pretty much “closes down” in the winter. This makes the spring and autumn school holidays the ideal time to visit. The temperatures are cooler and there are fewer tourists.
As it is larger than the other Greek islands, hiring a car and visiting multiple destinations in Crete is a must-do.
We drove clockwise around Crete in 10 days with our young children. We stayed up high in the remote hill villages of Eastern Crete, moments from the beach in the south of the island and close to the beautiful Venetian port of Chania in the northwest.
Crete has an incredible wealth of historical sights including the world-famous ancient Minoan Palace at Knossos and the atmospheric deserted leper colony on Spinalonga Island near Agios Nikolaos. As for natural beauty, besides the long, sandy beaches that dominate the coastline, you can also hike Samaria Gorge. It’s Europe’s longest gorge and best visited with older children who enjoy walking.
Our children adored the food in Crete. Simple Greek salads, fresh bread, and perfectly cooked meats suited them to a tee. Crete also has lots of tourist attractions aimed at families such as water parks and aquariums. As it was our son’s birthday during our visit, we treated him to a day out at Dinosauria, a very exciting Dinosaur theme park for a 4-year-old! I would highly recommend Crete to any family looking at visiting Greece. I’ve been there twice and can’t wait to go back.
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Situated in the Ionian group of islands in the far west of Greece Kefalonia is a big, green, mountainous island that has risen in popularity in recent years due to its natural beauty and its many and diverse activities for people of all budgets and walks of life.
Families find it the perfect location for their Greek Odyssey with villages such as Fiscardo, Assos and Agia Effimia offering affordable accommodation in calm protected bays that are great for swimming, fishing and watersports.
Numerous day trips to sea caves, ancient villages, wineries, and beaches such as the much-photographed Myrtos beach are popular as are hiking, bird watching, sailing and horse riding. A boat ride in the unique geological phenomenon of Melissani Cave is particularly popular with kids of all ages. There are castles and ruins to explore and day trips to neighboring islands such as Ithaca, said to be the home of Odysseus and central to the Greek Mythology and the legend of Troy.
The main town of Argostoli families can visit the Folklore museum to learn all about historical life on Kefalonia. Like most Greek islands the tavernas and café offer very affordable and delicious meals that even the fussiest eaters can’t resist. Kefalonia really is the quintessential Greek island and is the perfect place for a summer holiday for your family.
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Certainly, the main reason to chose any Greek Island for a family vacation is the chance to get a little beach time with the kids. Lefkada, in the Ionian Islands, has a lot to offer in the way of beaches but what can you do once you and the kids tire of the sun and sand?
Lefkada offers families the chance to explore Greek history and get away from the more touristy spots.
Lefkada town and Nidri offer the most family-oriented activities away from the beach so basing near them makes sense. Rent a jeep, or for families with teenagers rent scooters, and head for the hills. Explore the mountain roads on the interior of the island from Nidri. Between Vafkeri and Englouvi is the ruins of an ancient monastery that will likely be empty except for you and your clan. Bring a blanket and lunch and picnic among the ruins. Near Nidri, there are waterfalls that make a wonderful destination for a day hike or a bike and hike. Kitesurf or just fly a kite, everyone feels like a kid when they lean into the wind.
Take windsurf or sailing lessons. Vasiliki on the south side of the island has ideal conditions for beginners to learn to windsurf. You can find sailing lessons in Lefkada town of Nidri to set you straight on your starboard and port. Learning is always great family fun.
Visit Cape Lefkatas, on the southwest tip of the island. It is said that these slate grey cliffs were once the site of a temple dedicated to Apollo where human sacrifices occurred during the Mycenean era, And, as legend has it, the lesbian poet Sappho leaped to her death from these cliffs. Enjoy an excursion boat to Papanikolis Cave on Meganisi or take the ferry to Spartahori and walk through the village. It is a great destination for a day trip and lunch in a taverna there. You can be sure they’ll be plenty of cats to pet on your walk around Meganisi.
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Sadly, most people view Paros as just a stopover island. They see it as an easy place to crash for a couple of nights while waiting to catch a ferry somewhere else. However, Paros is much more than that and it embodies some of the elements that have made the Cycladic islands famous around the world.
A major highlight of Paros is the postcard-worthy old town with its whitewashed buildings, dark blue doors, and window sills, and columned archways.
Even with the throngs of tourists, the old city retains a lot of authenticity and charm. This is the place to wander the stony streets, shop for local trinkets, sip some Greek coffee while reading in a cafe, or have a mini photoshoot with the family.
While the old town is iconic, the real prize is Paros Park. There are dozens of fun things to do here from hiking through the natural rock formations to checking out the pristine Monastery of Ai Yiannis Detis. This park has over 7 km of walking trails that lead you past some of the island’s most important historical landmarks. During the summer there are endless activities for you and your family to enjoy in Paros Park. Over the years this park has turned into a meeting place for both locals and tourists. There are numerous festivals, concerts and free movie nights.
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Rhodes is one of the most popular islands in Greece, and its southern resorts attract a lot of families, particularly Faliraki, Kolymbia, and Kalithea. These are the main resort areas for families in Rhodes together with Ixia and Ialysos. Rhodes has plenty to offer for everyone, and a trip to this Greek island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Old Town, which is historical and goes back to ancient times and the Medieval period.
The old town is very well preserved with cobbled streets and buildings such as the Grandmaster’s palace still intact.
The butterfly valley and waterpark are another two popular attractions for families. Besides that, you can also go on a day trip to Marmaris in Turkey and discover a whole different culture just 50 minutes away. Lindos is another popular day trip where you get to experience Ancient Greece. Here you can wander around the old temples. If you want to visit an old Amphitheater, you shouldn’t miss the Acropolis of Rhodes.
A lot of families and travelers do come here for the beaches though, as they are some of the best in all of the Greek Island world. Some of the best beaches in Rhodes include Anthony Quinn Bay, Lindos Beach, Oasis Beach, Tsambika Beach and the endless sandy beach in Faliraki.
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Sadly many visitors to Santorini visit via cruise ship and get a limited view of the island. You can see the buses offload people in the main town of Fira. They walk down the main shopping street and then take a gondola back to the ship. We traveled there with our family and had a great experience exploring the whole island. We stayed in Akrotiri, a bit away from the crowds in Fira. We stayed at Hotel Mathios which was family-run. Our host would greet us enthusiastically with “my American family!” Of course, it helped that we visited in late May before the rush of Summer.
The island is a crescent-shaped rim of an ancient volcano. We rented a car so we could get from the lighthouse at Cape Akrotiri at one end of the island to the city of Oia and its famous sunsets at the other. I highly recommend a boat trip to the volcano in the center of Santorini. Most of Santorini is new, because the island had a major earthquake in 1956, but you can see ruins of the Minoan civilization at an archeological site in Akrotiri.
Santorini has numerous beaches, although none of them are white sandy beaches, think pebbles instead. Bring beach shoes.
The most popular beaches are on the east side of the island at Kamari and Perivolos. There is also a red sand beach and a black sand beach. The food is great. The scenery is spectacular with the rugged island and the blue and white buildings and the hospitality is terrific, especially if you stay away from the cruise crowds. You should definitely visit Santorini on your family travel to Greece.
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Have you visited any of the Greek islands? If yes, which is your favorite one? Share with us in the comments below.
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