Are you looking for the best things to do in Heraklion with children? Do you want to know if Heraklion is a great place to visit with the family? Regardless of your answer, here we tell you everything you need to know if you’re planning to visit Heraklion with children… because the capital of Crete is a super family-friendly destination.
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Fantastic Things to Do in Heraklion with Children
ARE YOU PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO CRETE LAST MINUTE?
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📍 Top tours in Crete:
– Full-day Samaria Gorge trek (#1 tour in Crete!)
– Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa (another top-selling tour!)
– Boat Trip to Spinalonga with swim stop (most popular in Agios!)
– Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site (top tour in Heraklion)
– Day trip to Elafonisi (a must in Chania!)
🛌 Top picks for places to stay in Crete:
– Lyttos Beach (top beachfront hotel in Hersonissos)
– SanSal Boutique Hotel (in Chania Old Town with a pool!)
– Grecotel Lux Me White Palace (the best resort in Rethymnon)
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The capital of Crete is one of those places you must visit when discovering the island, whether you’ll do it for just a couple of days or a whole week… Heraklion must be part of your Crete itinerary!
Even more so if you’re traveling with kids!
There is a lot to for in Heraklion for children, including fascinating archaeological sites, educational activities, fantastic theme parks, and countless adventurous activities.
If you’re wondering what to do in Heraklion with kids, these are the best answers. In no particular order, as usual, where to go in Heraklion for kids to have tons of fun!
Explore the Palace of Knossos with the Kids
The Palace of Knossos fascinates kids and adults alike, it is a marvelous journey in the past of the island and the whole Western civilization that will ignite your child’s curiosity.
I always recommend parents discuss with the kids what they are about to see, maybe with the right books or even by first visiting Labyrinth Park, about 25 minutes from the town of Heraklion.
It is also a good idea to book a tour that is completely geared for families so that kids feel involved and can not only have fun but also take advantage of an educational experience.
This tour, for instance, is focused on myths and legends. It’s a family-friendly shared tour for kids interested in or fond of Greek Mythology, describing the heroic deeds of mythical heroes and more.
More details of this family-friendly tour of Knossos:
– A guide takes you through the Palace of Knossos with its numerous chambers unraveling the Greek Myth of the Labyrinth of Knossos and its Minotaur.
– You’ll see the throne of King Minos, the beautiful dolphin apartment of Queen Pasiphae, and the road taken by Theseus upon arrival to Crete from Ancient Athens.
– You’ll have the opportunity to touch, feel, and see the legends and myths of Ancient Greece and Minoan Crete!
– You’ll explore with a tablet which, through a special app, can see a representation of the site as it was in the past.
BOOK THIS TOUR HERE.
You might enjoy discovering more tours of Knossos for every budget
If you want to be prepared before visiting the premises, you can also read everything about the things you’ll see during a visit to Knossos, and get even more reading checking what’s the best outfit to wear in an archaeological site for everyone in the family to enjoy a comfortable visit.
Marvel at the Submarine World in CretAquarium
One more interesting place to visit in Heraklion is CretAquarium, the only aquarium on the island. It is not super big, and it can be seen in about 2 hours.
Sometimes, the aquarium programs special activities for children, so checking out their website for more details before the visit is always a good idea.
The venue is located about a 15-minute drive east of Heraklion, in the village of Gournes.
- Kids 0-4: free entrance
- Adults and kids 5-17: €6
- Winter opening times: Nov. 11 – March 31 – 9:30 am – 4:00 pm daily
- Summer opening times: April 4 – Oct. 31 – 9:30 am – 7:00 pm daily
- It’s always a good idea to purchase the entrance tickets in advance.
Take the Kids to Pay a Visit to the Best Museums in Heraklion
One of the places we’ve visited more than once in Heraklion is the Archaeological Museum.
The museum features one of the most important collections in Europe, covering over 5500 years of Crete’s history, spanning from the Neolithic period (7000 BC) to the Roman times (200 AD).
There are interesting exhibitions with many objects belonging to the Minoan era.
The visit can be perfectly paired with a day at the Palace of Knossos for the children to learn even more and understand how advanced this civilization used to be.
To plan the visit and know exactly what to expect, head to this visit guide that I prepared for families, which includes ticket prices and visiting hours as well.
The exhibition features dedicated areas for kids, with activities that provide entertainment and learning opportunities.
Children can learn and discover interesting facts spanning from dinosaurs, caves, boats, and wildlife in the Mediterranean to holograms and physics experiments.
In the Museum of Natural History, my kids enjoyed the earthquake simulator, fun and educational for the whole family.
Have Fun in Heraklio’s Theme Parks
Another place that kids enjoyed a lot during one of our several visits to the capital is Dinosauria Park, a theme park with dinosaur replicas and animatronics, which also features a fossil museum, interactive games, and even 5D cinema. I’ve reviewed our visit here.
The place is near the CretAquarium (both sites are no more than 5 minutes apart by car) so you can see both parks in one day. There’s more info on the official website
Labyrinth Park is another great theme park in Heraklion where children will be able to discover a lot of information regarding the Minoan civilization and the culture on the island.
On the premises, there are several labyrinths to enjoy, as well as a farm, a fantastic laser maze, archery and pottery lessons, a mini-golf, and a lot more.
The place is perfect for a whole afternoon, ideal when it is cloudy and there’s no opportunity to visit the beach.
Watersports in the Beaches on the Northern Coast
The northern coast of Heraklion is a good place to have your kids give a try at all the water sports that they can enjoy on the island.
If you have small kids, it is better to head to small and protected bays, such as Ligaria or Agia Pelagia.
In the area of Agia Pelagia, the small cove of Psaromoura offers different water-related activities that are perfect for kids of all ages.
In this article, I describe all the best beaches in Heraklion, Agia Pelagia is also included.
While kids have fun, parents can join their kids in different boat rides, including SUP and canoeing, they can also go snorkeling o scuba diving, or simply relax under the sun or have a refreshing glass of iced coffee.
Explore the Koules, the Fortress by the Sea
Back in the city of Heraklion, children will love to spend time in the imposing Koules, a Venetian Fortress located in the old port of Heraklion, right by the sea.
The visit allows the whole family to access the different chambers in the castle, check different remains and ammunition, and also access the roof of the fortress, for impressive views over the city landscape.
The details regarding the visiting hours and the entrance fee can be found on the website of the fortress. Please check prices before the visit on the official website.
VISIT TIP: I’ve seen a different fee (much lower) published on many “informational sites about Crete” which is completely different from the official entrance fee that you will see on the site. Always check the official information!
Relax with the Kids at Matala Beach
I might be biased, but I love Matala! It is one of our favorite places on the island for summer, really child friendly, and one of the nicest seaside resorts for those visiting Heraklion with children.
We’ve been to Matala several times and I find that Matala is also a fantastic destination for single parents.
The hippie coastal village offers plenty of opportunities to have fun on the colorful streets, in the ancient caves, and on the beach as well.
In the nearby area, the imposing Archaeological Site of Phaistos is a great place to visit for more info about the Minoan past of the island, and you can also take the children to visit the Archaeological Site of Gortyn (both described in this article).
Last summer, we also hiked to Red Beach, a wonderful shore that you can only access on foot.
It was an exciting experience and the kids loved the adventurous trail and the pristine sandy beach with clear waters, much more kid-friendly than the shore in Matala!
Also, during June, Matala hosts one of the most important summer music festivals in Greece, you can read about that and many other fun festivals in the Heraklion region in this post.
Take a look at the post because many of the festivals can offer excellent entertainment for the kids when you have no idea about what other things to do in Heraklion with children.
Read everything in this kid-friendly guide to the most exciting things to do in Matala
Take a Break in a Waterpark!
There are several water parks in the region of Heraklion, Watercity is in the village of Anopolis, about 20 minutes from Heraklion. The park offers a wide range of water entertainment for adults as well.
There’re two pools and slides for kids, but 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’re fully trained lifeguards for any emergency.
There are other water parks to check when visiting Heraklion with children, Acqua Plus has water games, 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, check the facilities here.
There’re specially trained lifeguards, changing facilities, bars, and a restaurant.
You might also enjoy learning about the safest beaches in Crete for kids
Live the Minoan Experience!
Video courtesy of Minoan Theater – Minoiki Avli, The Minoan Experience.
Finally, another place to visit is the Minoan Theater, located in an Equestrian Club in the village of Karteros, a few minutes from Karteros Beach and Anissos Beach.
The area features cultural activities, including a Minoan Theater where it is possible to get a close-up look at some of the few unveiled mysteries of this enigmatic civilization. If you feel like having some extra fun with your children, this is a great place for learning and entertainment.
On the premises, you can also learn about the authentic traditions of the local diet or gather more information about the horseback riding academy. On their website, there is information regarding entrance fees and opening hours.
Relax at an Isolated Beach
The beautiful beaches in southern Crete offer plenty of opportunities to leave the chaotic northern coast behind, and they are great for relaxing and games on the beach.
Not far from Matala, the beautiful beach of Kamilari village is a great place to stay, it is close to Kalamaki, a great child-friendly beach that I always recommend to visitors to explore while spending time in Matala.
You will find more details about this and other beaches in southern Crete here.
Have Fun Discovering the Street Art in Heraklion with Children
Kids love to visit those areas in town that are off the beaten track. In Heraklion, head to the district of Lakkos to have a fantastic street art experience that kids and parents alike will enjoy.
The whole area has undergone a renewal project under the name Lakkos Project, a cultural work that saw local artists and the Heraklion Municipality working together to upgrade this old Heraklion district, aiming to bring back to life this fascinating, historical area.
Lakkos is in the center of Heraklion’s old city. next to the new Cultural Centre. Many of the narrow streets feature beautiful murals, and there are several traditional cafeterias and taverns to stop for a snack.
This is a safe and super interesting neighborhood to visit with the family. The project is explained in more detail here.
So there you go, some of the most interesting and entertaining things to do in Heraklion with children of all ages, fun and educative for parents as well!
Which looks like your favorite thing to do in Heraklion with children?
Read more about Crete
- Unmissable Things to Do in Crete
- Cool Things to Do in Crete with Teens
- Fun Things to Do in Crete with Kids: Getting Ready for a Fantastic Family Vacation!
- The Best Things to Do in Chania with Children for a Super Vacation in Crete!
- Discover + 45 Most Gorgeous Beaches in Crete (A guide by an insider)
🛌 Suggested accommodation in Heraklion:
- Affordable: Rea Hotel in the city center.
- Mid-range: Capsis Astoria in town.
- Luxury: GDM Megaron H. M. Hotel in the center.
- Check also Heraklion Accommodation and Best Places to Stay in Crete.
🗺️ More resources to book your trip to Crete:
- 🛫 Search for cheap flights with CheapOAir.
- 🛥️ Find convenient ferry tickets with Ferryhopper.
- 🚕 Book airport transfer with Welcome Pickups.
- 🚘 Rent a car in Crete with Discover Cars.
- 📍 Join adventures and cultural experiences with Get Your Guide.
- Never leave without travel insurance Safety Wing.
- 💳 Carry the best credit card for travel with Wise.
This Belongs to a Board! Pin This Guide to the Best Things to Do in Heraklion with Children!
You might also want to read these posts about Crete’s regions:
- 52 Things to Do in Lasithi Region
- 52 Things to Do in Heraklion Region
- 52 Things to Do in Rethymnon Region
- 52 Things to Do in Chania Region
About my blog:
I moved to Crete in 2016. During these years, I learned much about the island.
In Crete, I juggle being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours, and writing for several travel media.
I’ve written for Greek Reporter, published travel guides about Greece, co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.