With a rich history, known for its art, architecture and philosophy, Greece has an abundance of culture to whet your historical appetite. Holidays to Greece have long been attractive to families looking for something a bit more remote and rustic from their holiday experience, but before deciding to take the plunge yourself, take a look at our recommendations for the ultimate family-friendly islands that you and your kids will love.
Famous for good reason, Crete is one of the biggest Greek islands and caters to younger visitors very well, while also boasting an impressively low crime rate.
The beaches here are excellent, with shallow waters for paddling and plenty of opportunities for more adventurous water sports. Kayaking is very popular, thanks to the calmness of the water, but back on land, there are plenty of attractions to visit too, with underground caves, a dinosaur park and ancient ruins to explore. There’s a fun waterpark that makes for a great day out and an aquarium that lets visitors handle some of the animals.
Offering an incredible snapshot into the past, Rhodes, with its preserved medieval settlement, sees a lot of tourists venturing to its shores. Blue Flag beaches line the coast and shallow, warm waters make for perfect swimming opportunities.
For animal-loving children, there’s a must-visit attraction called Farma of Rhodes, where they can feed, stroke and take pictures with lots of the residents, which include ostriches, camels and kangaroos. There’s also a butterfly sanctuary to see and the Astronomy Café to enjoy. Rhodes is a family paradise in terms of places to visit, and the beaches are perfect for some parent downtime, too.
Picturesque and geared towards adventurous travellers, Zante loves families and always makes them feel welcome. The beaches are spectacular and among some of the most photographed in the world, but you won’t want to spend your whole holiday laying on the sand!
Snorkelling in the still waters is a popular activity as sea turtles like to cruise around the area, but you can also take a glass-bottomed boat ride, if you want to see as much as possible, including endangered monk seals. Horseback riding on the beach, days at the local waterpark and exploring the Blue Caves are all high on the must-do list as well.
You might not think that the much-photographed blue domes of Santorini hold much interest for kids, but there is more to this beautiful island than just good architecture.
The best beaches can be found on the east coast, with plenty of quiet spots for families to enjoy some relaxation and safe playing in the water, but pack some decent trainers, as there are some excellent places to walk around. Ancient Thira is fascinating and you can take a tour of the volcano, too, but you wouldn’t want to do it in flip-flops! Round off the volcanic experience by taking a dip in the hot springs of Agios Nikolaos and then diving into the mud baths. It’s the one time you won’t be mad at the kids for covering themselves in muck.
One of the most popular Greek islands, Kos is large and caters well to tourists. The sloping seabed is Paradise Beach is perfect for younger children and with waterparks and thermal springs to enjoy, Kos is any water baby’s perfect destination. Conditions are perfect for snorkeling as well, so be prepared to spend a lot of time in the water.
Go inland and you can take a tour of the archaeological museum, a castle and the last operational windmill on the island, too, before satisfying all sugar cravings at the Melissa honey factory. You can learn about honey production and taste some of the more unusual flavour combinations, before buying a few jars to bring home as souvenirs.
Bringing together mountainous backdrops and luscious greenery, Corfu is a sight to behold and it doesn’t skimp on the beaches either, with 57 in total. Tranquil waters and soft sand come as standard with most, but don’t forget to see some of the non-coastline parts of the island.
Visiting the Temple of Artemis is a must for any history buffs, but if your family enjoys more active and unusual holiday activities, how about learning to horse ride? A day trip to the Corfu Donkey Rescue centre will let you take one of the residents for a walk or if you prefer all things scaly, the aquarium is a good day out for everybody.
The Greek islands are perfect for family holidays, as each one is unique, although they do have one thing in common – an appetite for keeping tourists happy. Regardless of which island you choose, you’re guaranteed to receive a warm welcome, enjoy incredible food and leave feeling refreshed and keen to return.