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Things to do with kids in Crete

Thanks to its glorious sunshine, beautiful sea and superb cuisine, Crete is a holiday destination that families go to time and time again.

Part of what helps make the island so appealing to families of all ages is the fact that there's always a new way to spend some time around the next corner. In fact, Crete is among the most active and engaging islands to visit in all of Greece, if not the whole Mediterranean Sea.

Join us as we run down a few family activities sure to fill photo albums and put big smiles on suntanned faces.

Head to the beach

You might think it's the obvious option, but with over 100 beaches to choose from, Crete's giving you some serious variety.

Rather than feel overwhelmed by your options, simply take some tips in finding the beaches best suited for family breaks.

Those around Mirabella Bay close to Aghios Nikolaos always come to mind in that regard, being just the right mix of busy and laid-back, whereas those of you seeking some sea breezes alongside your sunshine would do well to take the kids to scenic and serene Plakias.

Bike through the heartlands

While the coastal regions of Crete hold obvious and tremendous appeal, it's a good idea to check out the scenery of the trails and meadows further inland.

The island's hills and dales are a pleasure to behold, and you can do so either by bicycle hire or by booking a biking tour that's been designed specifically to emphasise the highlights. Think olive gardens, woodland groves and paths showing off the best views on the island.

Meet the dinosaurs

Crete's ancient history is quite the spectacle, and combining the very ancient with a recently built tourist attraction, is Dinosauria, which all the family will agree is awesome.

Near Heraklion it features all your favourite dinos, from Triceratops to Tyrannosaurus, expertly rendered as scale – and indeed scaly – models. Photo opportunities abound, and of course the gift shop ensures that the kids can take a piece of the dino-action home with them.

You can also play a game in which you team up to excavate fossils.

Caves and gorges

Natural beauty is what Crete does well, but the kids needn't fear it's all just hills and valleys.

Indeed, there are some superb rocky formations and subterranean treasure troves to check out. The rugged nature of Crete's internal landscapes means that cave exploration is a real joy.

Delve into Dikteon Cave in the east to see bats and birds of every kind, although fans of myth will marvel to known this very cave was said to be the birthplace of Zeus.

If your kids prefer open spaces, check out Samaria Gorge instead. It's actually the longest gorge of its kind in Europe, rich with hiking trails and cute bridges over streams that are perfect for outdoor exploration.

If the kids still aren't convinced or don't fancy walking, give them two words to change their minds. Donkey rides.

Check out the waterparks

Crete boasts several waterparks, but the most popular among them is Acqua Plus, near Hersonissos.

The slides and chutes here weave and curve around one another to make massive mazes above the pristine pools, and more tame activities include slow stream rides and picnics in the park. The park is smartly divided between kids' and adults' sections, although each area boasts its own daring slides challenging the most brave among you.

If you prefer some fun with a difference, step inside the big plastic bubble-balls to walk and run along the surface of the water in your own little sphere. Fun in the sun has never felt so wet and wild.

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