Knossos with Kids: Family-Friendly Visit to the Minoan Palace (+Free Printable Scavenger Hunt!)

knossos with kids

Visiting the legendary site of Knossos with children is an adventure that promises discovery and wonder to the whole family. The magnificent site, restructured to look much like what it may have been in the past, clearly shows the grandeur of the ancient Minoan civilization, captivating the imaginations of young and old alike. If you’re in Heraklion, don’t miss visiting Knossos with the kids; they will love it!

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Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site

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Getting Ready to Visit Knossos

knossos with kids
Exploring Knossos.

About 10 minutes from Heraklion town, Knossos is a reminder of the first inhabitants of Crete, the ancient Minoan civilization. As families approach the ruins of Knossos, they are greeted by the remnants of a majestic palace complex, restructured in the past century (although quite controversially), featuring colorful columns, imposing staircases, and labyrinthine rooms and corridors. A mysterious and attractive place for kids to embark on a journey through time!

Walking in the ancient ruins, children are transported to a world where kings and queens once ruled, artisans crafted intricate frescoes, and myths and legends came to life.

knossos with kids

Kids are amazed by unexpected wonders, like the Throne Room, its enigmatic stone seat, and the winding passageways where the echoes of ancient ceremonies still reverberate through the halls.

But Knossos is more than just a collection of crumbling walls and artifacts—it is a living history lesson. Even when informative signs dot the landscape, I suggest having a plan to make it a friendlier visit for the whole family!

If you’re visiting with older kids, having them learn a bit about the ancient Minoans beforehand is a good idea. A good way to approach the history of the island (and the rest of Greece) is Ancient Greece for Kids. For smaller kids, the book Theseus and the Minotaur offers an excellent approach and has attractive colors that capture kids’ imagination!

What Kids Love the Most During a Visit

knossos with kids
Dolphins fresco.

Although there are plenty of interesting things to see in every corner of Knossos, kids are often attracted by colorful frescos and unique myths and stories.

Fresco, Minoan Palace, Heraklion, Greece
The Prince of the Lillies.

Some of the places that will keep kids entertained and engaged are:

  • The Bull Fresco: Vivid red and blue colors attract small visitors and adults’ attention. This is the most photographed place on the site. Since it’s in a high position, your kids won’t need to wait in line to see it!

  • The Royal Apartments: The highest rulers and authorities in the palace probably used these beautiful rooms since they are decorated with colorful frescoes, such as the one with the famous blue Dolphins.

  • The Throne Room: This is one of the most popular spots in Knossos Palace, after the bull fresco (so get ready to wait a bit in line – take advantage to complete the Scavenger Hunt now!) It features a stone seat and a wall in vivid red with frescoes, featuring a throne that a priest may have used for religious rituals.

  • Bull Horns: Located at strategic points around the palace, these huge horns symbolize the Minoan civilization.

  • Frescoes: Kids enjoy seeing restored frescos with very vivid colors, such as the Prince of the Lillies or the Bull-Leaping fresco. The first of them is quite close to the entrance. The latter is inside one of the rooms.


knossos with kids
Visiting Knossos with my kids.

Prepare yourself for your visit to the archaeological site with these essential tips:

  • Plan ahead to beat the queues: Summers at the archaeological site mean long queues at the ticket counters. To make the most of your visit, arrive early in the morning to beat the rush and secure your tickets without delay. Alternatively, book them online in advance to ensure you will access the site when you want.

  • Time your visit wisely: If you plan to explore in the summer, consider avoiding the peak midday hours between 12:00 and 16:00 when temperatures soar. Early morning and late afternoon visits can help you beat the heat and avoid the crowds.

  • Consider accessibility: Some areas of the palace may have stairs, making access difficult for strollers. If you’re traveling with young children, plan accordingly and be prepared for some challenges navigating certain parts of the site.

  • Stay cool and protected: Don’t forget to bring water, a hat, and sunscreen to shield yourself from the scorching summer sun. With limited shade available, staying hydrated and protected from the heat is essential, especially for smaller kids. If you’re wondering what to wear to be comfortable during the visit, check out this post. It also includes suggestions for kids.

  • Expect partial restorations and replicas: While parts of the palace have been meticulously restored, it’s important to note that some areas are replicas. If you travel with older kids, head to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion later to look at original frescoes and other objects found at the archaeological site. Kids love this museum. It offers some child-friendly areas to learn more about the Minoans.
  • Respect the rules: Food is not permitted inside the archaeological site. To help preserve the integrity of the site, be sure to enjoy your meals or snacks outside the premises or in the designated areas.

Organized Family Tour

Minoan Horns, Minoan Palace, Crete

If you visit Knossos with kids over 6, you can join an organized tour designed for families. This kid-friendly shared tour is great for anyone fond of Greek Mythology with a touch of Hollywood! It lasts 2 hours, and you get a skip-the-line access. Kids explore Knossos with a tablet representing the site in ancient times.

What to bring: Entrance tickets for Knossos Palace are not included, so bring an ID to purchase your ticket. Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Practical Information about Knossos

Tickets & Special Fees

Full ticket €15, reduced €8. A special package includes the entrance to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion that costs only €1 more: Full €16, Reduced €8.

Opening Hours & Closing Dates

Winter: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Last admission at 4.45)
Summer: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Last admission at 7.45)

The site is closed on January 1, March 25, May 1, Easter Sunday, August 15, and December 25 and 26. The site is open with a limited timetable on Easter Friday and Easter Saturday, October 28.

Bus to Knossos Palace

From Heraklion Central Bus Station: Bus Number 2 Knossos. The bus runs 3 to 5 times per hour. Knossos Palace is the final stop. The fee is 1.50 € one-way.  The bus runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in winter.

Heraklion with Toddlers and Small Kids

knossos with kids

Booking a tour labeled for kids may not be suitable for toddlers. While these tours are tailored to present information in a manner suitable for children, toddlers are generally too young to enjoy them. The ideal age for such tours is typically from primary school age and up, with children around six years old better suited to engage with the content presented.

Therefore, it’s advisable to consider the age appropriateness of the tour when planning activities for toddlers. In this case, I recommend a toddler-friendly scavenger hunt that keeps them interested and entertained.

Below, you can download an interactive activity for small kids to explore their surroundings fun and engagingly, providing opportunities for discovery and adventure while catering to their interests.

knossos with kids
Download it by clicking on the button below!

What to Do After the Visit

knossos with kids
Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

After a day of exploration—and if you have rented a car to explore the island—you can enjoy a picnic at a beach on the northern coast!

Alternatively, venture into Heraklion, where a world of culinary delights awaits, from traditional tavernas to bustling street markets overflowing with fresh produce. Smaller kids can visit the Labyrinth Theme Park, which offers further activities related to the Minotaur myth!

Visiting Knossos with kids is more than just a sightseeing excursion—it’s an opportunity to ignite a passion for history, culture, and exploration and to marvel at the wonders of the ancient world!

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More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate 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 for an unforgettable experience.

Use this comprehensive Crete packing list to ensure you have everything you need. Explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches, and check out the best times to experience its beauty.

If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion or Rethymnon, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Heraklion

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More useful travel resources

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  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide.

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Guide to Visit Knossos with Kids

knossos with kids

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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