Week Long Family Vacation to Crete
Hi, we are planning on coming to Crete for 7 days in June. We will have 2 adults and 4 children (1 to 9 years old). We are staying at an all-inclusive resort and know that a lot of our time will be spent there, but what are a few things you suggest doing so that we can explore the island a bit with the 4 kids in tow?
Long, extensive hikes are not ideal and because of our large number, it would be expensive to rent a van for our time there. Is public transportation easily accessible and reasonably priced for a family of 6 or should we budget for a rental?
Also, it be a shame to go to Crete and not visit a surrounding island such as Santorini.
Can you advise how we go about doing that? It all seems so overwhelming and I don't want to miss the opportunity to see things in the area.
Thank you so much!
Exploring Crete with Kids
You have a lovely holiday planned and will be able to choose a few interesting excursions for your group, to ensure you get a real taste of Crete.
The local transport is safe, reliable, convenient and cheap. For some distant places it would make sense to hire a car for the day. Otherwise you can join a number of organised day tours which take away the worry of transport.
As we are not sure which location you have chosen for your holiday, we have made generic suggestions that can be achieved by bus, hire car or organised tour and have noted these options below.Aquarium
- (Bus) - There is an aquarium in Gournes not far from Heraklion named Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos, which would be great for the kids. Perhaps combine this with a visit to Anissaras Beach and nearby taverna, then everybody will be happy.Day Trip to Balos Lagoon
- (Organised Tour) - Balos Lagoon sits at the far north-western tip of Crete, 53 km from Chania town. It is very beautiful and boat trips visit daily as it is quite remote. This is truly a spectacular sight not to be missed - you will return to this vision in your dreams for years to come. Knossos & Archaeological Museum
- (Bus) - These are really the best education your children can receive and should not be missed. Perhaps they can write about their experiences for school. These can be visited independently - make it a day out in Heraklion which is also an interesting town with a lot to see - lovely pedestrian shopping streets and plazas - we suggest seeing Knossos site as early as possible before the crowds and the heat, then perhaps lunch in town and see the museum in the afternoon. Allow the history of Crete to sink into your bones - and into the children by osmosis!Part of Agia Irini Walk
- (Hire Car) - The entrance to this walk is 43 km south of the town of Chania in the west of the island. You could complete part of this walk with children, then turn around and return to your starting point. The drive there is beautiful and you could combine it with a visit to Chania town and Agia Irini village. Perhaps the return route could be via Omalos Plateau.Crete to Santorini Day Tour
- (Organised Tour) - yes you can visit Santorini for the day on an organised tour, the ferry only takes two hours - it is a long day but worth it and the tour company does pickups and drop offs from most hotels or resorts on the island.Psychro Cave
- (Hire Car) - Do all kids love caves? This is a good one with high caverns and plenty of stalagtites and stalagmites. The drive is lovely and takes you to lesser known parts of the island, to the Lasithi Plateau located in the central east of the island, where you can find plenty of tavernas with good local food - so again - everyone should be happy. There is s short walk up from the car park to the cave, but this is not too far for the kids.
We trust you have plenty of options to choose from and that you can see a little bit of Crete together with your children, who will remember it forever. The information pages you will need for these ideas are below.Thalassocosmos AquariumAnissaras BeachBalos LagoonGramvousaKnossosAgia Irini GorgeOmalos PlateauCrete to SantoriniLasithi PlateauTzermiado
Bon Voyage! Kalo Taxidi!
We are staying in Kamisiana, so some of these are great options.
We've decided that we'll need to rent a car, otherwise we will spend just as much in transportation to/from these places or for guided tours. Hopefully that means we can get around easier.
Any other hidden spots?
Back Roads in Chania, West Crete
Ah yes, some of those ideas will be possible from Kamisiana, we can also suggest the following beautiful day trips, which will be possible as you have decided to hire a car.
Day trip to visit the Old Plane Tree in the village of Vlatos, the organic taverna at Milia Village and Topolia Gorge (80 km round trip). Wonderful exploring back roads and mountains.
We also suggest the Old Olive Tree Ano Vouves, it is at least 2000 years old and some people argue it is the oldest olive tree, there is also the Olive Tree Museum of Vouves, which is really close to you and would be a 16 km round trip.
A good taverna to visit is Leventis Taverna which is 20 km east of where you are staying, on the way to Chania. See our page about Cretan culinary journeys here...Milia Mountain RetreatOlive MuseumLeventis Taverna
Bon Voyage! Kalo Taxidi!
Thanks for your suggestions, we just got home today and had a great time! We went to Elafonisi, Balos/Gramvousa, the Olive Tree Museum, the Cave of God's Wisdom and go-karting in Hania! We couldn't have done it without your advice :)
I would definitely recommend the Olive Tree Museum! There was no one there when we went so we had the whole place to ourselves to explore. The shop next door had tons of goodies for purchase as well. We also walked up to the church nearby and enjoyed the amazing views! Maybe a 1-2 hour stop, depending on how long you linger.
The cave we stopped at on our way to Elafonisi was the Agia Sofia Cave. It was a fun stop and we enjoyed lunch at the tavern connected to it. It was a difficult hike through the cave with our 4 children and very slippery, but overall, we all enjoyed it. Good hiking shoes are recommended.
We went go-karting at MegaDrive Go Kart. We found it very expensive once we got there, but they did not list their prices anywhere, so we had to go to find out. By then, our children were excited to race, so we each went once. Costly, but fun; who doesn't want to go go-karting on an Greek island?! I would not recommend it, however, because of the price.
We also took the Gramvousa/Balos boat tour, which was fun, but we wish it was a longer trip. We felt there wasn't enough time for us to exit the boat, set up, have fun and return to the boat in the 1 and 3 hour time slots with our 4 children. However, it would be a perfect day trip for a couple or family with less children.
Overall, great holiday! So glad we got to explore some of the island :)