Share |
Print Article
Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Summer Family Vacation Possibilities on Crete. A family vacation on Crete includes endless Aegean blue water, family-friendly beaches, tranquil sunsets, thousands of years of history and a rich island culture flavored by remarkable cuisine. Kids Love Greece Crossroads Signage on Crete

No time like the present to make plans to head to Europe with the dollar stronger than it has been in a decade and vacation days just waiting to be filled. Just imagine a family vacation in the Greek Isles. Yup, with kids.

Crete has for many years been a favorite holiday destination for Europeans and has only been discovered by Americans recently. Why?  It is a long haul destination which is non-direct and the dollar/euro exchange has been less than favorable for Americans. For the present a vacation in Europe is more affordable and loaded with possibilities and if Greece is on your radar screen consider combing Athens with Crete.
Most 10-year-olds will tell you Zeus was born on Crete, the Minotaur and the labyrinth are on Crete, Daedalus was the builder of the labyrinth on Crete, and   Icarus fell into the Aegean Sea off Crete.Kids Love Greece Sea View and Sunshine Crete

Where is Crete?  Crete, the most southerly point of Greece, is at the geographic crossroads of the Middle East, Europe and Africa. For kids, just getting to the island will be an adventure. If you are driving the southern part of Crete listening to the radio don’t be surprised to hear a language other than Greek. 

The island wraps visitors in thousands of years of Cretan history and offers a family-friendly Greek Isles experience flavored by scrumptious food served by happy people. Rent a car if you wish and explore the island’s diversity. There are gorges to be walked, archaeological sites to visit and history to absorb, fun parks to discover, water parks to enjoy, go-karts to race, donkeys to ride, and wonderful scenery to enjoy.Temple of Knossos on Crete Kids Love Greece
The people of Crete are known for their hospitality and friendliness and the island offers parents the benefit of a Greek island vacation with plenty of ways to keep the kids busy and happy. Visitors are often welcomed with open arms and treated like one of the family. If you find yourself in a small village don’t be surprised if you are invited into a house and offered fruit of the season and a drop of raki – local home-made fire water.
The island is steeped in history that goes back more than 4000 years and played a significant role in the foundations of Europe as we know it today. Even children will appreciate the archaeological site of Knossos where the story of Theseus and the Minotaur unfolds. There are also many other sites and monuments to be visited which reflect different periods of Cretan history and occupation.
The Cretan diet is both simple and wholesome and features plenty of fruits and vegetables, honey and yoghurt, beans, pulses (legumes) and grains in abundance.  Fresh olive oil as the principal fat with occasional use of lean red meat, and low to moderate consumption of dairy foods, fish and poultry. If you find yourself on Crete with your kids, it is essential to sample bougatsa at Lion Square in the city centre. Bougatsa is a traditional Greek dessert made with the creamiest custard wrapped in golden brown crispy filo pastry and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.  

On Crete it is not just the variety of dishes that are laid on the table but a reflection of a philosophy of life representing the lifestyle of the Cretan people.  Studies have found that people on the island of Crete live longer because of their diet. Of course you will find fast food outlets too these days, but most restaurants have good wholesome delicious dishes on offer.
Crete is divided into four different regions and its diversity means that there is something for everyone.  Accommodation varies from luxury hotels to low cost rooms, and there is everything else in between. 

You can find seaside resorts which are still typical Cretan working villages where you will find yourselves at the centre of Cretan daily life, and you can also find purpose built resorts.  Whether you want peace and quiet or you seek a resort with more hustle and bustle, you will find it all on Crete.
Heraklion is the capital of Crete and also the administration centre. It is centrally located on the north coast this making it an excellent starting point for exploration. It has an airport with flights to/from a growing number of international destinations and also a port with regular ferries to/from Athens and some other Greek islands, for example Santorini, which you may to want to incorporate into your vacation.
Kids will never be bored in Heraklion with so many things to do and choices can be either cultural or fun. Kids Love Greece has oodles of the latest island information for families. For example: the Palace of Knossos is just a few kilometres on the outskirts of the city, and the newly opened excellent Archaeological Museum is in the city center, as is the Natural History Museum. The CretAquarium, Labyrinth Park, Dinosauria plus a couple of water parks (Water City and Aqua Plus) are within easy driving distance of city.Tasty Grilled Mushrooms Kids love Greece
The city centre is quite cosmopolitan but still bears many elements of days gone by. It is lively with lots of eateries and tavernas though you can always still find peace and quiet. It has a very good infrastructure with regards to hospitals, shops, and transport system.  From Heraklion it is easy to reach all parts of the island by bus.  Just outside of Heraklion there are some very pretty traditional villages. My suggestion is a visit to Archanes and some of the wineries in the area. In the Heraklion area there is a range of accommodations, some with family-friendly facilities and mini clubs.
I suggest that families with young children avoid Malia and Hersonissos. Both cities are very noisy and have the reputation of being ‘wild’ because they attract 18-25 year old holidaymakers. 

Other cities in Crete are Chania, Rethymno and Agios Nikolaos which will be presented separated. So… stay tuned. 

Make it happen. For more authentic family vacation ideas in Greece and practicla family travel advice, the best source is

Lions Gate on Crete Kids Love GreeceBooks for the trip. Naturally our Greek families who support Kids Love Greece also have recommendations for little readers that may be viewed at our website. We also have just released a super cool audio application specifically tailored for young children.  “Kids Love Knosso” serves as an entertaining  an audio guide for the Palace of Knossos. The storyline follows Glaucus and his little sister Phaedra, the sweet time-travelers of Kids Love Greece, as they travel back in time to take you back in time of the Minoans on Crete. 

Family Travel Files Additional Suggestions.

The Moon Over Crete by Jyotsna Sreenivasan (for ages 8-12). Listed in Great Books for Girls. The main character, 11-year-old Lily, travels back 3,500 years to ancient Crete, where women and men were equal. The author describes a society where equality is a possibility, a possibility children need to grasp.

The Palace of Minos at Knossos
by Chris Scarre and Rececca Stefoff. (ages 10 or older) The  book offers an introductory yet thorough look at the Minoan ruins of Knossos on Crete, where legend has it that King Minos kept the mythological Minotaur, half man and half bull. It chronicles the archeological discovery of the Palace of Minos and excavations by Arthur Evans. 

Lost in the Labyrinth
by Patrice Kindl (ages 10 to 14). In this inventive version of the classic story, no Athenians are killed by the Minotaur. Instead Xenodice, younger sister of Ariadne, befriends the Minotaur and attempts to protect him from palace schemes of Theseus and Ariadne, and her own father, King Minos.

Content and images provided by Katerina Makatouni one of the founding moms of a clever and authoritative website Copyright 2015.

Share |

Read More Articles


See More Family Vacation Ideas

Use of Travel Communications, Inc., websites constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use.
Site designed and hosted by Tempest Technologies, LLC