Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and offers a perfect holiday destination for families seeking a fun-filled adventure vacation. The island offers stunning beaches, ancient ruins, unique landscapes, and delicious cuisine, making it a perfect destination for families. In this article, we will explore the top family-friendly activities and adventures to enjoy in Crete and answer some frequently asked questions.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions Located in Crete for Families
1. Palace of Knossos
Located near the capital of Heraklion, The Palace of Knossos dates back to the Bronze Age making it one of the oldest and most important archaeological sites in Greece. The Palace is famous for being the home of King Minos and the legendary Labyrinth.
2. Samaria Gorge National Park
Samaria Gorge National Park is a nature reserve found in the southwestern part of Crete. It is renowned for the famous Samaria Gorge which is a 16 km long canyon that is considered one of the most astonishing natural wonders of Crete.
3. Aquaworld Aquarium Park
Located in Hersonissos, the Aquaworld Aquarium Park is a a great place for children to get up close with marine life. There is a variety of fish species, as well as sea turtles, and the staff organizes interesting exhibits and educational shows.
4. Watercity Waterpark
Watercity Waterpark is an exciting water park located 15km east of Heraklion. The park offers a wide range of water games, slides, and pools for all ages. It’s perfect for a fun day out for the whole family.
5. Lychnostatis Open Air Museum
Located in Hersonissos, The Lychnostatis Open Air Museum offers a unique educational experience for kids to learn about Cretan history and culture. Displaying traditional costumes, old tools, a wine press, and more, the Museum allows families to get a glimpse of the Crete of the past.
6. Dinosauria Park
Located in Gournes, Crete’s Dinosauria Park is a fascinating activity center for dinosaur lovers of all ages. With its robotic life-size dinosaurs and rides, children can be transported back in time.
7. Limnoupolis Water park
Located in Chania, The Limnoupolis Water Park is a large, modern water park that offers visitors a fantastic day out. Filled with thrilling water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and more, the park provides lots of excitement for all ages.
8. Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos
Located in Gouves, Cretaquarium is an enormous aquarium with a collection of over 2000 marine species. With its interactive exhibit’s children can explore virtual reality applications while learning about marine life.
9. Elafonisi Beach
Located on the southwestern coast of Crete, Elafonisi Beach is renowned for its stunning pink sand and crystal clear waters. The beach offers an excellent opportunity for families to relax and sunbathe, while the children play by the sea.
10. Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Located in Heraklion, the Archaeological Museum is the perfect place to learn about the history and culture of Crete. Famous for its Minoan collections, the museum also houses an extensive variety of Greek artifacts.
Family-Friendly Activities and Adventures in Crete
Crete’s amazing coastal scenery creates an ideal surfing environment, particularly during the summer months. Several surfing schools operate on various Cretan beaches and offer lessons for families with inclusive equipment rental.
2. Horseback Riding
There are several horseback riding schools in Crete that offer tours of the island’s many mountains and valleys. Families can enjoy an amazing view of the island’s landscape while gaining a unique experience.
Crete offers an excellent opportunity for family cycling holidays. Families can rent bikes at many of the island’s major towns, and follow designated cycling routes such as along the coast. Cycling tours give adults and kids alike the chance to explore the island’s stunning scenery at a leisurely pace.
Crete boasts an intricate network of hiking trails, offering the perfect family adventure through its natural terrain. For example, the Imbros Gorge is a hike that traverses the rugged terrain of the White Mountains and is suited for family adventures. Hiking tours in Crete can be organized by several local tour operators.
5. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
With its crystal-clear water teeming with an array of marine life, Crete is an excellent spot for families to explore underwater. Bays such as Almyrida and Elounda, and the beaches around the coastlines, are ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.
6. Boat trips
Family boat trips and tours are great ways to explore the hidden coves and beaches of Crete’s coastline. Families can book boat tours from several Cretan ports, including Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Chania, and Rethymno for opportunities to explore the Aegean sea.
The rugged terrain of Crete makes it a great destination for climbing enthusiasts. Families can find guided tours to many of the island’s cliff faces, where they have an opportunity to learn safety skills, technical climbing skills, and more.
Families can visit museums and galleries dedicated to art, history, and culture in many of the island’s cities. In addition to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, there is also the Natural History Museum of Crete, and other smaller places like the museum of Typography in Chania and the Marine Life Museum in Rethymnon.
9. Cooking classes
Food lovers can also take in cooking classes with traditional Cretan cuisine experts. Kids can learn to make Greek sounds like Baklava, Pastitsio, Dolmades, and Souvlaki, and the adults can discover secrets about traditional Cretan wine.
FAQs about traveling to Crete for Families
Q: What is the best time of the year to visit Crete?
A: The best time to visit Crete is during the summer season, between May and September when temperatures range from 20-26°C. Some festivities or activities start as early as April or as late as October, therefore plan accordingly.
Q: Is Crete an expensive vacation destination?
A: Crete is not as expensive as other European destinations on average, however, some luxury resorts can charge relatively expensive rates. The price may depend on the season, the quality of the accommodation, and activities that families plan on engaging during their stay on the island.
Q: What is the cuisine like in Crete?
A: Traditional Cretan cuisine is renowned for its healthy, fresh food, which comprises various vegetables, fruits, herbs, and healthy oils. Apart from their long tradition, dishes like stuffed vine leaves, salads, and feta cheese are widely acknowledged in Greece.
Q: Are there direct flights from major European cities to Crete?
A: There are numerous direct flights from many European cities to Heraklion and Chania airports in Crete. Several airlines operate low-cost flights.
Q: How safe is Crete for families?
A: Crete is generally safe to visit, as there are rarely any major incidents affecting travelers. However, it is still recommended to be cautious, take the usual precautions, and ensure you follow local rules and regulations. Familiarize yourself with establishments and hotels that provide security, and be careful on promenades, beaches, and active volcanoes.
In conclusion, Crete is an exciting family vacation destination that offers an abundance of entertainment, adventure, and exploration. With its beautiful beaches, rich history and culture, and array of thrilling activities, Crete is the perfect place for families to make unforgettable memories together.