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Crete Santorini Naxos

A Greek Family Holiday

Crete Santorini Naxos - a personalised itinerary.

Naxos Temple of Apollo
Question & Answer - Crete Travel Q&A

We are happy to answer our visitors' questions and trust they will inspire your own independent travel.

Letter Q for Question - Crete Q&A

Crete Santorini Naxos - a family holiday

Hi, what a great site! My family is travelling to Greece August 24 - September 6. We are thinking to spend the 25th in Athens and take an over night ferry to Crete to the port in Chania on the 26th. Between myself, wife and kids we have a range of desires for this trip.

I am interested in visiting Elafonisi and Matala. My wife wants to explore the Minoan ruins and my girls (7 and 11) want to spend a day at the Water Park. We were thinking to spend 5 days on Crete and then move on to Santorini or Naxos for another 4 days. I'm thinking maybe we should give Crete our full attention and visit the Cyclades on another trip.

Would you have any suggestions for an itinerary that could make everybody happy not be too rushed and balance culture and nature? Also do you think we would be better off renting a car or using public transportation?

I spent a good bit of time travelling through the Greek islands myself in the 80's and I loved the smaller, less touristed islands. I'd love to be able to stay for some part of our trip someplace that is authentically Greek and share that experience with my family. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance, Tony

Crete Santorini Naxos

Letter A for Answer - Crete Q&A

Hi Tony, you have a wonderful family holiday planned and certainly the children will remember this trip very well.

You have set aside a good amount of time and we believe it will be possible to see Crete, Santorini and Naxos, without being too rushed.

Because you have chosen Elafonisi Beach and the Limnoupolis Water Park (see details below), this means you have chosen the west side of the island. We generally advise visitors to choose either west or east and concentrate on that side of the island to make it more relaxing.

Departures for Santorini and Naxos leave from Heraklion, this is also the location of Knossos and the closest port to Matala. So you will concentrate on the west, then the centre of the island.

We are not sure if you would leave the kids for the day at the Water Park, and perhaps head off to Elafonisi for the day, or accompany them to the Water Park. We have included both options below.

Another option instead of the water park is the Agreco Farm which gives the experience of a farm for a day and has the Kri Kri local goats for the kids to see (photo below) - loads of activities etc. It is located outside of Rethymnon town at Adele.

Agreco Goat and ChildrenAgreco Farm -see a goat and farm animals

We are not sure if you would stop at Santorini, but it seems a shame to be so close and not visit – even just for one night. We have included this option.

So, we have created an itinerary below for you based on your ideas. Of course it is only a suggestion.

We have chosen mid-range accommodation as you are a family. There are, of course, many options in each place. Remember this is high season, so you must book ahead.

This itinerary is completely possible with public transport and day tours. However, it is also possible with a hire car, which of course will provide greater flexibility.

Crete Santorini Naxos - Your Personalised Itinerary

Day One – 26 August
Arrive Chania port
Taxi to Chania town (early check in or drop bags at hotel)
Explore Chania Old Town and harbour
Stay Chania
Stay at Cocoon City Hostel

Chania Old Town (image by Irene Chin)

Day Two – 27 August
Day Trip to Elafonisi Beach / Water Park
Stay Chania
Stay at Cocoon City Hostel

Day Three – 28 August
Day Trip to Elafonisi Beach / Water Park
Stay Chania
Stay at Cocoon City Hostel

Day Four – 29 August
Depart Chania
Arrive Heraklion
Visit Knossos (2 hours)
Visit Archaeological Museum Heraklion (1-2 hours)
Stay Heraklion
Stay at Mirabello Hotel
Or stay in Archanes Village
Stay at Arhontiko Villa

Day Five – 30 August
Depart Heraklion
Visit Minoan site of Phaistos
Arrive Matala
On the beach in Matala
Stay Matala
Stay at Nikos Hotel

Day Six – 31 August
On the beach in Matala
Stay Matala
Stay at Nikos Hotel

Matala BeachExplore the ancient caves at Matala Beach, Crete

Day Seven – 1 September

Depart Matala
Arrive Heraklion
Depart Heraklion via Ferry
Travel to Santorini (2 hours)
Stay Santorini
Stay at Galatia Villas

Day Eight – 2 September
Depart Santorini for Naxos (2 hours)
in Naxos
Stay at Plaza Beach Hotel, Plaka

Day Nine – 3 September
in Naxos
Stay at Plaza Beach Hotel, Plaka

Day Ten – 4 September
In Naxos
Stay at Plaza Beach Hotel, Plaka

Day Eleven – 5 September
In Naxos
Stay at Plaza Beach Hotel, Plaka

Day Twelve – 6 September
Depart Naxos to Athens (to Pireaus or Rafina Port - less than 4 hours)

Water Park Crete

Limnoupolis Water Park

Crete Santorini Naxos

Limnoupolis Water Park is located at Varipetro, 8.2 km inland from Chania, Crete. It is a day park full of pools of all sizes, rides, slides and fun for the whole family. Take the local bus, a pre-booked taxi or your own hired car. Spend the whole day or combine it with a drive into Theriso Gorge and see Theriso Village.

Information Pages

Crete Santorini Naxos - information pages for your holiday are below.


Cocoon City Hostel
This is the budget symbol on We Love Crete

Cocoon City Hostel - is close to the bus stop and the old town in Chania with budget rates, suitable for all the family. Close to the shops, museums, cafes and tavernas.

Mirabello Hotel Heraklion
This is the budget symbol on We Love Crete

Mirabello Hotel - a budget option in the very centre of Heraklion, walking distance from the Liondaria Fountain and other pedestrian squares and streets.

Archontiko Villa Courtyard - Archanes Crete

Arhontiko Villa - a more expensive but beautiful alternative to a city hotel is this villa with studios in a village just outside Heraklion. Archanes is a historic village full of character and these studios are wonderfully restored example of Cretan architecture. 7 km to Knossos Palace.

Hotel Nikos Matala Crete
This is the budget symbol on We Love Crete

Hotel Nikos is located in the village of Matala in the south of Crete, just a block back from the stunning Matala Beach. A friendly budget place which is good for families, you will get great service at this affordable hotel.

Galatia Villas Santorini

Galatia Villas - just a 10 minute walk from Fira, in a quiet neighbourhood, this small set of villas offers a good budget price with modern stylish rooms and a pool. Enjoy air conditioning and an ensuite in your double room.

'Beautiful spot. Quiet and very comfortable. I enjoyed that it was out of the main, busy part of town. The walk to town centre was quick. The staff were exceptional. I would stay again!'

Plaza Beach Hotel Naxos

Plaza Beach Hotel - convenient and affordable and so close (across the road) to the beach. This family-friendly resort has a lovely big pool and great food. Stay a long time here without breaking your budget.

Explore the Caves at Matala

Crete Santorini Naxos

Crete Santorini Naxos - Matala Caves in Crete

This sparkling bay and fascinating caves make a perfect day out for the family.

Crete Santorini Naxos - Matala Caves in Crete

The small cove of Matala has a beautiful beach with clear waters which are good for swimming and snorkelling. The sand and pebble beach is beautiful and has views to the peninsula with its unusual rock formations and caves.

Crete Santorini Naxos - Matala Caves in Crete

Keep young children close, but let them explore these intriguing caves where history comes alive.

Explore the Beaches of Santorini

Crete Santorini Naxos

Crete Santorini Naxos - Perissa is a black beach in Santorini

Crete Santorini Naxos - Red beach in Santorini

Getting to Crete

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.

More on flights and ferries below.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

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