With 227 inhabited Greek islands to choose from, finding the perfect island for your family holiday can feel like seeking a needle in a haystack. Whether you want unspoilt white sand beaches, a selection of watersports or the chance to explore ancient ruins and forgotten villages, the Greek islands offer you this and a whole lot more.
Children are treated with a strong sense of social inclusion in Greece and they’ll be met with genuine warmth and kindness by the locals. For younger kids and toddlers it’s worth thinking about visiting in spring, early summer or autumn when temperatures are pleasantly warm. But whenever you decide is the best time, one thing is certain – Greece is a place your children will never forget.
With seemingly infinite options, we’ve picked a few of our personal favourites.
Nestled in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, Crete enjoys a glorious coastline with desert-island beaches and glorious mountains. The calm beaches of Bali and Kato Gouves on the north of the island offer a series of accessible coves and rock pools for young explorers, while the sunloungers sprawled across the sugar-fine sand are serviced by local tavernas, offering some welcome relaxation for parents.
Your family Cretan adventure isn’t limited to the coast. Active families can enjoy horse trekking in the mountains, exploring the coast on a pirate ship, or heading to one of the four waterparks the island has to offer. If you’re staying on the east of the island, head to WaterCity in the Anopolis Mountains for an adrenaline-fuelled day away from the beach.
Travel back in time with the kids and wander around the remaining buildings and palm trees at Fortezza in Rethymnon. An ancient Venetian fortress built in the 1570s, this magical building protected the city from pirates and provides spectacular views of the city and ocean.
For a day out of the sun, head to the Cretaquariam, one of the largest aquariums in Europe, and get up close and personal with magical sea creatures.
The often overlooked, three-fingered peninsula of Halkidiki comprises of Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos, jutting into the Aegean Sea from the north of mainland Greece. The first finger, Kassandra, is bright and bustling and packed with family-friendly resorts. With its stunning scenery and slow pace, the middle finger of Sithonia offers families a tranquil holiday haven.
Long stretches of white sand and inviting transparent, sapphire-blue water borders the entire coastline of Sithonia and Kassandra, with many beaches boasting Blue Flag-accreditation. Trani Ammouda beach is one of Sithonia’s best-kept secrets and with a soft, sandy sea bed and shallow water, it’s the perfect retreat for families with younger children. With beach bars and restaurants in close proximity to the sand, you can enjoy a more peaceful resort without feeling isolated.
Hire a car and explore the peninsula at your leisure, beach-hopping along the coast, or head inland and discover the beautiful pine-covered mountains which offer a selection of hiking trails. Take to the sea and explore the coast on an exciting boat trip, dipping into the refreshing Aegean for a quick snorkel before stopping at a local fishing village. If ancient archaeological sites are your family’s cup of tea, Halkidiki is bursting with ancient ruins for you to discover.
Corfu is one of Greece’s most popular islands and arguably one of the greenest and most attractive. Known as the emerald isle, its resort-studded shoreline sits against a backdrop of cypress trees and olive groves and is the second largest of the Ionian islands.
Corfu offers countless family-friendly beaches with crystal clear water and an array of watersports. Avlaki Beach has calm water and great facilities, making it a haven for families. Older children who fancy learning something new can head to the watersports centre and try their hand at windsurfing or sailing while younger siblings will be entertained paddling in the shallow water. If your kids prefer land-based activities you’ll find a selection of horseriding schools offering lessons and guided tours for seasoned riders across the island.
Back at sea, enjoy a boat cruise around the coast where you’ll have the opportunity to swim in caves, spot dolphins and discover secluded beaches. Many tours offer a barbeque on board and the opportunity to snorkel, discovering the diverse marine life of the Ionian Sea.
The largest of the Dodecadese islands, Rhodes offers an abundance of beaches, ancient sites and family-friendly activities. The island’s main resorts are dotted along the uninterrupted coastline, and range from sleepy Blue Flag beaches to bustling tourist traps. For a taste of authentic Greece, head inland and discover traditional villages among the chalky mountains.
Some of the best beaches are located on the eastern side of the island and can become very busy in the summer. If you’re staying in Rhodes Town, Elli Beach, just north of the harbour has sunloungers, beachside tavernas and shallow, calm water for paddling, making it popular with families. If you’d prefer to escape the crowds head to Vlicha Beach, where you’ll find children playing with their buckets in sand that gently slopes into the sea.
Faliraki might be infamous for its vibrant night scene but the resort’s beautiful, calm beach is a great choice for families with small children and has the added appeal of a nearby waterpark and bowling alley. For an enchanting reprieve from the sun, head inland to Petaloudes and wander around the wooded valley, which swarms with butterflies from June to September.
Can’t wait to get that family holiday of a lifetime started? Book your getaway today!
Sensatori Resort Crete
Lyttos Beach, Crete, Greek Islands, Greece
Sun Palace Hotel
Faliraki, Rhodes, Greek Islands, Greece
Holiday Village Rhodes
Kolymbia, Rhodes, Greek Islands, Greece
Which Greek island is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.