Family Holidays in Crete: Fun Things to Do in Crete with Kids

GREECE - CRETE - BALOS - KIDS HIKING

With an impressive collection of heavenly beaches, Crete may be one of Greece’s best destinations for families with kids. Shallow shores, soft sand, and sunny days are crucial to making everyone happy.

Add tasty and healthy food plus endless attractions, and the island quickly becomes a great family holiday destination.

Not sure yet? Let me show you why spending your family holidays in Crete is a winning idea.

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Family Holidays in Crete

Family holidays in Crete

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Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa
Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site

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Crete for Families: Frequently Asked Questions

So, the best way to get ready for a Family Holiday in Crete is to plan and organize every detail of your trip. Let’s start by answering some of the most common questions I have received from you through e-mail:

family holidays in crete

F.A.Q.: Crete with Kids

Is Crete Good For Familiess?

The answer is yes, of course, it is! Crete is one of the safest places you can think of. There are plenty of shallow beaches for children to swim and for you to relax. No stress is always a good recipe for all the family. 
Food is also incredibly healthy but super tasty as well. The massive use of fresh vegetables, olive oil, and other superfoods are a guarantee that children will be eating the right stuff. And they will like it.

Kid in the sea crete
What Activities Can Kids Enjoy on Crete?

There are plenty of activities that are great for the whole family, but there are also many others especially thought for children. You can take advantage of museums and archaeological sites, but you can also enjoy fun entertainment, such as theme parks or water parks. 
Kids will also enjoy learning from activities dedicated to them, pottery or cooking lessons can be a great idea. It’s also possible to practice sports that put them in greater contact with nature. 
In a nutshell, from outdoor adventures to feeding animals on a farm, the choice is endless.

Family holdays crete
How is Life on the Island for Kids?

On the island, life is simple and relaxed, while contact with nature is still a priority and a way of living. 
Families that love adventure can easily camp and enjoy a stress-free stay as (moms will be happy to learn) there are no dangerous animals in Crete as well as no poisonous snakes. 
If you are interested in more detailed information, check this useful list of tips for Holidays in Crete.

Kids swimming Falassarna, Crete.
Where Can Families Go In Crete?

Families can go virtually anywhere as kids will always be welcome all over Crete. More than welcome, I’d say: Greeks tend to adore kids to the point of pampering them over the limit. 
For those traveling with newborns and toddlers, they will be happy to know that it’s easy to find your favorite diaper brand as well as a good variety of baby food in any supermarket. That’s great news if you want to avoid packing extra stuff. 
The best activities for kids are usually concentrated in the most popular cities, such as Heraklion, Rethymno, and Chania. Planning a stay within the reach of those urban areas is always a good idea when you travel with kids.

What Are The Beaches Like In Crete?

Crete has beaches for all tastes. Kids included. And if you are traveling to the beach for the first time with your baby, there’s no need to panic,
Dani, from Diapers in Paradise, got you covered with this dedicated article about enjoying a beach vacation with a baby.

Kid on the beach family holidays in crete

Crete with Kids, Region Breakdown Child-Friendly Beaches

In this section, you will find everything about Crete’s best beaches for kids, region by region…

Rethymnon with Children

family holidays in crete
Souda Beach, in Rethymno, is an excellent beach for children.

As a mom of two, and despite how much I like Rethymno as a region, the northern coast of Rethymno has never been among my favorites for small kids since it offers open-sea beaches in the North, sometimes windy.

However, if you are willing to drive, the beaches in the Bali area are great for kids since they are shallow and protected from strong winds. The village is quiet and peaceful, great for all the family.

For a better experience when it comes to beaches for kids in Crete, there are excellent shores on Rethymnon’s southern coast, such as Rodakino, Triopetra, Souda, and Plakias, but also Preveli if you wish to experience a magic river flowing into the sea surrounded by beautiful palm trees.

These are some of the most kid-friendly beaches in the Rethymnon region.

Chania with Kids

Kids Crete

If you plan to stay in the prefecture of Chania, several safe coves and bays in the Akrotiri peninsula are ideal for children.

Over there, you can check out the best beaches in Akrotiri for tranquil shores and peace of mind. Places like Marathi, Loutraki, Kalathas, Stavros, and Tersanas are perfect for families!

Staying in Akrotiri is a great idea when you travel with kids and want to be close to Chania town. Akrotiri is pretty close to the city center for a walk at night, but it is also peaceful and has all the comforts you might need (supermarkets, taverns, pharmacies).

Families can drive south of Chania through Imbros Gorge to enjoy the calm beach of Frangokastello, one of the best beaches in South Crete, which features soft sand and clear, calm waters that are perfect for children.

Look for more things to do in Chania with kids.

To learn more, check out this complete guide to the best beaches in Chania (West Crete). The region is perfect for children, featuring safe and kid-friendly beaches. You won’t find much wind, big waves, or rough seas. Yet, some places also offer excellent conditions for teens interested in trying water sports in Crete, such as Falasarna and Elafonisi. Other safe beaches in the region are Paleochora, Elafonisi, and Falasarna, all of which kids can easily enjoy.

Heraklion with Children

Cretaquarium - Crete

In Heraklion, on the north coast and close to the city center, Ammoudara, Ligaria, and Sarandaris are good beaches for children. This latter is half an hour away from the city. It has calm waters thanks to a cape that creates natural protection from the wind.

Sarandaris is quite close to the coastal village of Hersonissos, which can be busy because it’s trendy, but it also offers entertainment opportunities for the whole family.

The south of the Heraklion region allows a more relaxed rhythm. Kids will adore the adventure of crossing the mountains to reach Tsousouras Beach or exploring the caves of Matala.

Discover more things to do in Heraklion with kids.

Lasithi with Kids

family holidays in crete
Makrigialos Beach on the southern coast of Lasithi.

The prefecture of Lasithi has good beaches for kids along Mirabello Bay. In this case, it’s a good idea to stay in Agios Nikolaos and explore the beaches in the area.

Among the things to do, kids shouldn’t miss a visit to Zeus Cave in the Lasithi Plateau or the mysterious Spinalonga island.

Our favorite place for our kids in Lasithi has always been Makrigialos Beach on the southern coast. It’s a very safe bay with good bars and restaurants on the shoreline and quite close to the bigger town of Ierapetra.

You might also want to read about the safest beaches for children in Crete.

Weather: When is the Best time to Visit Crete with Kids

Minigolf, Adelianos Kampos, Rethymno.

Older kids are usually capable of managing the hot season. Instead, for smaller kids, May and June are milder months with pleasant temperatures, perfect for babies and toddlers who might suffer in the hottest temperatures in August and July.

Furthermore, May and June often see fewer visitors, which is fantastic if you want to avoid queues and overcrowded places with the kids in tow.

You can also plan your holiday for September when places are again less overcrowded. Local kids start school in the second week of the month. The same goes for most kids in Europe.

September is fantastic if you’re looking for better prices, fewer tourists, and more tolerable temperatures. There might be an occasional shower (not always), so pack accordingly.

Just a light raincoat will do. You won’t need warm clothes in Crete in September.

Holidays with Kids in Crete: Safety

Pediatricians are available in all major hospitals and more isolated areas. Pharmacists are usually very helpful in case of a medical emergency.

Most health professionals speak at least two languages, so finding medical attention shouldn’t be a problem.

The main urban centers (Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Chania, Rethymnon) have hospitals and specialist doctors.

There are two general hospitals in Heraklion. The University General Hospital (8 km from the city center) is the largest in Crete. The second one is on the road to Knossos, about 4 km from Heraklion.

Other urban centers, such as Ierapetra and Kissamos-Kastelli, also have the necessary facilities for minor health issues.

REMEMBER: Almost every car rental company offers kids’ seats when you rent a car. Do not hesitate to ask for this feature whenever you are looking to book a car for your holiday.

Family Activities in Crete: Things to Do in Crete with Kids

Family holidays in Crete - Labyrinth park

There are endless activities for the whole family and many others dedicated to kids.

Here is a list of different entertaining things that families can do. These are Crete’s most fun attractions for children.

Outdoor Activities in Crete for Children

family holidays in crete
Patsos Gorge is a kid-friendly trail in the Rethymnon region.

Plenty are the activities in Crete for the whole family, allowing parents and kids to enjoy time together.

If your family enjoys water sports, you can try snorkeling, diving, and sailing.

Kids can also enjoy other activities, such as horseback riding in Plakias. This place also offers donkey rides and an entertaining minizoo where kids can interact with the animals.

The island is also famous for hiking and walking. There are many fantastic gorges in Crete for all levels. Older kids can venture into the well-known Samaria Gorge if they are used to long walks. The whole adventure can take from 5 to 6 hours.

family holidays in crete
Imbros Gorge in the Chania region.

For smaller kids who can endure shorter trails, Imbros Gorge, close to Chora Sfakion (in Chania), or the unique Kourtaliotiko Gorge (in Rethymnon) are great alternatives. Children can have fun walking Patsos Gorge, a very accessible trail in the Rethymnon region, not far from the southern resort of Agia Galini.

Great for smaller explorers is also the gorge of Kounaviano, in Heraklion, which is easy to walk and displays impressive flora and fauna.

Children can enjoy many mountain paths and hiking trails with their parents. Always consider the kid’s age when deciding on the difficulty level of each path.

Water Parks in Crete that Children Love… and Parents Enjoy!

Water City, in Heraklion.
Water City, in Heraklion.

There are a few water parks that children can enjoy if they are staying close to Heraklion. Let’s see them in detail:

Watercity is in the village of Anopolis, about 20 minutes from Heraklion. The park offers a wide range of water games for adults.

There are two pools and slides for kids, but there are also more than 15 other water games, some for older kids and adults. You can check an exhaustive list of water games here

Watercity has special rates for kids, different food bars, and a mini-market. But most importantly, there are fully trained lifeguards for any emergency.

Always in the area, Acqua Plus offers a wide selection of water games, with extreme slides for adults and areas safer for small kids. There’s also a special place to relax.

The park is a few minutes from the center of Hersonissos, between the villages of Stalis and Gouves.

There are specially trained lifeguards, changing facilities, bars, and a restaurant.

You can head here to purchase entrance tickets in advance.

Always in Heraklion, close to Ammoudara Beach, Bravo Water Park is smaller than the previous two parks, with fewer options for adults. It’s possible to check for fees and other services in this link.

Limnopoulis, Chania.
Limnopoulis, Chania.

Those staying in the prefecture of Chania should consider Aqua Creta Limnopoulis (a favorite of my kids) in the village of Varipetro.

It’s one of the biggest waterparks in Crete. It features thrilling slides and water games for kids. Limnopoulis employs dedicated staff for safety and a group of trained lifeguards. Water hygiene is constantly certified as well. Tickets can be obtained at this link.

Amusement Parks and Themed Experiences in Crete for Kids

Another well-known attraction in Crete is the Cretaquarium, where kids up to 4 years old get a free entrance and older kids have a reduced fee.

The aquarium is located in Gouves, not far from Heraklion. It’s not as big as expected, but it has some impressive tanks with sharks that kids enjoy.

Guided visits, tours for “small explorers,” and an exciting backstage tour are also available. The complete list of activities can be checked at this link.

We visited the aquarium several years ago, and we enjoyed the experience as a family. It provided something different to do on a sweltering afternoon.

Purchase CretAquarium tickets in advance to avoid lines.

Sharks in Cretaquarium, Gouves (Heraklion).
Sharks in Cretaquarium, Gouves (Heraklion).

You might also want to read: Best hotels in Crete with water parks.

Very close to the Aquarium, it’s possible to visit Dinosauria Park. My kids loved it so much that I wrote a dedicated article to make your visit easier.

Upon entering, after checking a fossils museum, go through a time machine that lands you right in the era of dinosaurs. Walking through the park, you will see dinosaurs in the heart of prehistory.

The Dino Hospital offers a different perspective on the world of these impressive animals.

There’s a 5D cinema, a restaurant with menus for kids, and a playground.

Close to Hersonissos, Labyrinth Park is a fantastic way for kids to approach the world of the Minoan Civilization. I’ve always thought that Labyrinth Park is a perfect attraction before or after a visit to Knossos Palace with the children.

Labyrinth park, Heraklion, Crete
The laser maze was fantastic!

The park’s main themes are Greek mythology and mazes, such as the Minotaur labyrinth, the laser maze, and many others.

In this park, there is also a minigolf. Kids can visit a farm, test their archery skills, and take a pottery class. I wrote a review of our visit here

In Chania town, Minoan’s World includes cinemas and reproductions inspired by Minoan frescoes. Emphasis is also placed on the naval activities of the Minoans and their enigmatic language. Myths of Zeus, the Minotaur, and Icarus will fascinate kids. Tickets are available here.

Cretan Museums that Kids Love (and Parents Too!)

windmills, sculptures, entrance to a museum, Crete

Some museums on the island are exciting for the whole family, but many others have been specially designed for children.

The Natural History Museum of Crete, in the center of Heraklion, is a fascinating museum for children. It includes different sections dedicated to animals, plants, and dinosaurs. Yet, the experience that fascinates kids is the incredible earthquake simulator!

There’s also a section known as Light Mysteries, which includes optical illusions, holograms, and 3D images. The Erevnotopos area is a fantastic place for kids to feel like authentic explorers. There, kids discover fossils in the sand and explore the local ecosystem.

The Homo Sapiens Museum (on the Lasithi Plateau, East Crete) is an original museum-theme park focused on evolution from the times when men lived in caves until today. Kids go back thousands of years and learn about crucial inventions like the wheel. The zone dedicated to the Greek gods is also fascinating.

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which I always recommend, is a fantastic museum for those interested in the history of Crete. It’s interesting for older kids and the best visit to combine with the Minoan Palace of Knossos.

I’ve reviewed the visit to Heraklion’s archaeological museum with children and written a detailed guide to exploring the archaeological site of Knossos and other archaeological sites in Crete.

If this is your kid’s first attempt at an archaeological site, Malia Minoan Palace is a smaller size, and it’s pretty easy to visit

Who doesn’t hate waiting in lines? Kids certainly do! Check this skip-the-line tour of Knossos.

family holidays in crete

The Open-Air Museum of Lychnostatis (close to Hersonissos) is a folklore museum about the island’s traditions and popular culture. The museum belongs to the Folklore and Educational Culture Networks of the Ministry of Culture of Greece, and it is one of the best museums to visit in Crete with kids.

The exhibitions include an ethnographic collection related to local customs and a pre-industrial technology collection.

At the museum, there’s a miniature building of the Cretan house and a mountain mitato (a shepherd’s shelter).

They sell handmade objects in the crafts shop. This is the link to their website. Purchasing the tickets online in advance is always a good idea.

Other Experiences For Fantastic Crete Family Holidays

kids and donkey
Botanical Park and Gardens, Chania.

For kids who love nature and are curious about native species, the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete (in Chania) is a perfect place for a morning in nature.

Kids will be able to see the curious Cretan wild goats (agrimi – or kri-kri, as the locals call it), birds, and butterflies.

There are gardens dedicated to vineyards, fruit, and endemic aromatic herbs. The facilities host a restaurant serving incredibly fresh food with ingredients from the park’s vegetable garden.

Creative tours targeted at the whole family are not missing in Crete. And when it comes to entertainment for the whole family, check out the proposals by Chania Wine Tours, as some of their proposals have been crafted with kids in mind!

Anna Maria, sommelier, owner of Chania Wine Tours.
Anna Maria is a sommelier and the owner of Chania Wine Tours.

The experienced sommelier –but also a mom of two– Anna Maria, has thought about it, and she came up with this brilliant Mommy Needs Wine, Daddy Needs Beer Tour.

The genius proposal includes pick-up in a vehicle with booster seats, juice boxes, coloring books, and a kid-friendly menu. The experience includes a local brewery, the oldest olive tree in the world, and wine tasting in one of the island’s best wineries. 

Crete: Amari Routes for Kids. A family journey through tradition in the mountain village of Thronos. Bake bread, feed goats and enjoy the Cretan lifestyle.
Making bread in the mountains!

Agrotourism activities flourish all over Crete. Kids can learn everything about life on a Cretan farm by experiencing bread or cheese-making and cooking lessons.

We enjoyed making bread and feeding the farm animals in Amari (Rethymno), and we loved visiting a ceramic factory in Anopolis, in the Industrial Park of Heraklion.

At Kaparounakis Ceramic Workshop, we played with clay and made pots and cups (you can take them home!). Learn more on their Facebook page.

POTTERY LESSONS
Learning about ceramics at Kaparounaki Workshop, Anopolis.

Kids can have fun and learn at the Cretan Olive Oil Farm in Agios Nikolaos. Besides hosting a guided tour, there are ceramic lessons, cooking classes, and cheese-making lessons in which it’s possible to milk the goats!

Check their website for activities, schedules, and prices. 

Snail farm and fun crete
Snail farm and fun.

Snail Farm and Fun is in the village of Tyllisos, near Heraklion. There, both kids and adults can learn every secret about snail farming. The bravest can even try them cooked in delicious Cretan dishes.

The farm owners honor Cretan hospitality and are very friendly with visitors. This is a must-see place if you are staying in the area. 

Cretan Food for Kids

Greek gyros

The Cretan diet, at the base of the most famous Mediterranean diet, is a reason to choose Crete as a holiday destination. Children will appreciate natural and seasonal food.

Moms will be glad to know that Crete doesn’t have many fast-food restaurants. On the island, the favorite local fast food option remains the healthier gyro or souvlaki.

And if it’s not easy for your kids to eat unfamiliar food when they travel abroad, this guide to Greek food for picky eaters can save you!

Furthermore, restaurants will always have rice, pasta, or fried potatoes to offer to children who’d instead pass on vegetables.

Fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, locally produced honey, homemade cakes, and pies are available everywhere for snacks on the beach. 

Where to Stay in Crete with Kids

HOTEL KID

Holidays with kids in mind should also cater to at least kid-friendly accommodation, even if it’s not dedicated to kids.

This guide has the best hotels and areas to stay with kids in Crete.

Many resorts on the island are great for families. A few of them have been built with kids in mind. Paradisio Baby and Kinder Hotel in Stavros, Chania, is one of them.

The beach of Stavros is ideal for children since it’s a shallow lagoon. In the hotel, kids will find a park within a 400-m² play area, a go-kart track, a tree-house, a ping-pong table, and an animal farm.

Another hotel that welcomes young travelers is Mythos Palace Resort and Spa, close to Georgioupolis, another calm sand beach ideal for children.

The hotel has beautiful gardens and access to a kid-friendly beach, and entertainment includes magic and games.

If your kids are a bit older and all into technology, the Olive Green Hotel in Heraklion is also a good choice. This eco-friendly hotel wins over any kid who loves to spend time online.

Every room features a tablet, perfect for movies or games. Their restaurant has a delicious menu for kids.

  • Do you prefer the comfort of a home to prepare meals or enjoy a pool only with your family? Stay at a rental home! There are plenty of rental homes everywhere in Crete.

Essentials to Pack for Family Travel in Crete

Kid beach
Shoes for the beach and no pebble is an issue anymore!

High UV protection sunscreen, aftersun balm, and a good hat are three essentials of any packing list for Crete. You will use them all.

Other useful things include swimming goggles, hiking shoes, sandals for those interested in exploring the mountains, and water shoes specially designed for pebbles that you can wear on the beach or when you swim. Many kids find walking on pebbles a bit of a nuisance.

Of course, swimming suits and flip-flops are a must, but a good pair of sunglasses is handy for children.

Try to pack clothes that are easy to wash and dry, which can be ready overnight. Choose natural fibers such as cotton for comfort and light colors to combat heat.

As a general rule, do not overpack. You can find good clothes, several international brands, and reasonable prices in every important city.

Bring any prescribed medicine and copies of all prescriptions with the generic names for medicines (if possible in English). In Crete, it’s also easy to obtain over-the-counter medicines.

Include a light raincoat for peace of mind if you travel off the high season. Chances are you won’t use it, but better safe than sorry.

Check the kid’s section of this What to Pack in your Crete Beach Bag article.

Read more about Family Holidays in Crete

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More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets. You can also get one of the digital travel guides I’ve written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.

When it’s time to plan, explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, and be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches. If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion, Rethymnon, Lasithi, and Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Crete

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these places to stay:

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Best Thing to Do in Crete with Kids: Crete Family Holidays!

Family holidays in Crete


About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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