Whisking the kids away on a beach holiday to Crete this summer? You’ve chosen wisely. Greece’s biggest island is incredibly family-friendly and packed with exciting things to see and do for the little ones – from its super-sized sandy beaches to thrill-seeking water parks.
We’ve shared some of the best activities sure to keep the kids entertained on your Crete holidays, so while they play, you can see to that all-important Piña Colada…
You can’t travel to Crete without doing some serious beach-hopping! With a whopping 650 miles of coastline on offer, you can bet this island has it all – from expansive sandy numbers sprinkled with splash-worthy watersports, to secluded coves sheltered by whitewashed cliffs. While we unfortunately can’t list them all, we have shared a few of our favourites to sunbathe on…
Chania (a city on the northwest of Crete) has some pretty special swathes of sand worth seeking out. Elafonissi Beach is one of the most popular, with inviting white and pink sands, transparent waters and cedar trees that fringe the coastline. Falassarna is another fantastic beach for families thanks to its coral-blue waters, dotted with windsurfers, exciting beach activities, and even a nearby ancient archaeological site.
The top beaches in the Lasithia area (east of the island) start with Sissi Beach, a calm stretch amid a lovely coastal village. Istro Beach is a large golden stretch boasting a relaxed environment. While Kitroplatia Beach is a smaller sand and shingle spot in pretty Agios Nikolaos, ideal for flitting between the sand and the shops. This is also a short walk from the town’s picturesque marina, where you’ll find another mini beach, named Ammos.
Rethynmon’s shores (situated on the north of the island) are equally as blissful. Preveli Beach is a beautiful and quiet spot with a river that runs directly into the sea – making it top-notch for watersports opportunities! For a more organised affair, Panormos Beach has a line-up of sun-loungers, seafront taverns and accommodation that backs the sand – so you’ll be set for the whole day, here.
Make A Splash
One of the best activities you could embark on during a family holiday is a trip to the water park, of course. Acqua Plus is the main contender on the island, located in the tourist resort of Hersonissos. You can expect a whole host of facilities including extreme water games with thrill-seeking chutes and slides, fit for adrenaline seekers – to a slower-paced area for little ones (and worn out parents!), complete with a lazy river and a fish spa!
Watercity is another popular place to make a splash, located in Anopolis, between Heraklion and Hersonissos. With an abundance of entertainment on offer, the whole family can get involved with hours of fun exploring the whacky water games and pools, before cooling off at the on-site Grill Bar.
Crete is a melting pot of history, culture and natural beauty, with plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by little explorers. Feeling brave? Your first stop should be the mysterious Dikteon Cave, in Lasithi. Follow a rugged trail down into the cave and upon entering, you’ll be met by fascinating stalactites and stalagmites hanging from the ceiling – like ice. You won’t be in there alone, either. Sharing the gloomy space with you will be Mediterranean Ear Bats that swoop overhead.
Legend has it that Zeus was born here away from his offspring-eating Father, so you should see a stalactite formation nicknamed ‘the mantle of Zeus’ nestled in one of the dark cave’s chambers.
All Aboard The Little Fun Train
Fancy something a little less, well, scary? Hop on board the Little Fun Train and soak up the island’s scenery in style. This charming choo-choo is one of the best ways to tour Crete’s natural beauty (above ground), with a variety of exciting routes to choose from – depending on which pleasures you wish to pass. The Blue Lagoon, Seven Villages, Hidden Treasures and Orange Valley are just a few of the routes you can opt for on this fun-loving journey – and we can guarantee there won’t be a single bored passenger, on board!
Discover The Underwater World
If your little one has a love for marine life, a visit to CretAquarium – Thalassocosmos is a must. One of the largest aquariums in Europe, this impressive 5000 square metre establishment is the place to flock if you want to discover the magic of the Mediterranean Sea floor.
With 60 tanks, over 2000 marine organisms and a heap of seriously cool things to see and do here – it makes for a fascinating day trip, out of the midday heat. Keep your eyes peeled as you tour the many diverse underwater species in their own ecosystems, from open sea creatures such as Marine Mammals and Sharks, to biotopes of the coastal area including Sea Anemone (Nemo’s home, for you Disney fans) and Lobsters!
Perhaps you prefer to be in the thick of the action? If that’s the case, Crete has Diving Centres in abundance that cater to all levels, so you can take a closer look at what lies beneath the waves. Panormos Village in Rethymnon, Omega Divers in Chania and Coral Diving Crete in Hersonissos are a few of the best that offer PADI courses – so get your snorkel on and dive in!
Go Horse Riding
If you’re a family of nature lovers and you’re looking for a fun day out, head over to one of the islands horse riding centres. Deres Horse Riding Center is one of the most popular and will happily take little riders on a leisurely tour of Chania. Scenic trail rides are available for all ages and levels (even beginners), and it’s a unique way to soak up some natural beauty. The fun doesn’t stop there though. Guests can choose from a variety of fun activities to take part in during their visit, from archery to cooking lessons!