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With Mama Mia: Here We Go Again hitting the cinemas this summer, we’ve been dreaming of the sun-dappled beaches and beautiful whitewashed buildings of Greece. Luckily it’s a great destination for a family holiday, not only for its famously friendly and welcoming atmosphere, but also for almost year-round sunshine, a rich culture and some of the most delicious cuisine imaginable. Widely considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, and boasting no fewer than eighteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a trip to Greece can also be a transformative and inspirational experience for young minds.
Whether enjoying the hospitality of Greece’s vibrant towns and cities, or heading out into nature to visit pristine beaches, lush forests and romantically rugged mountains, we’ve teamed up with Chic Retreats to bring you the best spots for families.
The capital and largest city in Greece, Athens was the beating heart of the ancient world and remains a thrilling and exciting place to visit with the family. Among its most well-known landmarks is the Acropolis, and no stay in Athens would be complete without a trip around these stunning hilltop ruins – great for kids and adults alike.
Off the beaten track you’ll find the beautiful streets of Plaka, a neighbourhood which has some of the best little ice cream stalls and cafés for the kids and fantastic neoclassical architecture for the grown-ups to enjoy.
If you want to experience Athens as the locals see it, Psirri is the place to head. You can strike out on your own or tag along with a guided walking tour to see the local street art and get your sticky fingers on the delicacies produced by the local artisan bakeries.
How to get there
There are flights to Athens from all major London airports, and the flight will clock in at just over 3 hours 30-minutes.
Crete is a family-friendly paradise, with plenty to keep the whole family entertained. There are, of course, plenty of beaches for sandcastles and sunbathing, but head further into the island and you’ll be able to enjoy a range of great activities and events.
About twenty minutes’ drive outside Heraklion you’ll find Labyrinth Park, a unique theme park which strikes the perfect balance between fun and education. Wander the snaking paths of the labyrinth and solve puzzles whilst learning about ancient Greece, then round off the trip with lunch at the café for a perfect day out.
Dig a little deeper into Cretan culture with a day trip toArchanes, an historic little town which boasts some of the finest restaurants on the island. If you’ve packed comfortable walking shoes, and your little ones are up to it, you could try walking off your lunch with a hike up nearby Giouchtas, which rewards you with a stunning view over the island if you reach the top.
How to get there
Flights to London arrive at either Chania or Heraklion Airports, and are 3 hours 45-minutes in length.
There’s far more to Mykonos than its reputation as a ‘party town’, and it’s really geared up for families with children. Both Panormos Beach and Agrari Beach are child-friendly, the latter with a small playground and supervised water sports.
To experience some of the history of the place, head to the sacred island of Delos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is said to have been the birthplace of Zeus and a trip to the Archaeological Museum of Delos is well worth it if you want to understand how important this island has been to Greek civilisation.
If you fancy escaping the city for a few hours then Armenistis could be your ideal destination. Located seven kilometres north of Mykonos Town is the island’s lighthouse, which offers breath-taking views out to sea and gives you a chance to spend a lazy afternoon in the sun, watching the comings and goings of the boats.
How to get there
There are direct flights to Mykonos from all major London airports, and are just under 4-hours in length.
Santorini is renowned for it’s postcard perfect beauty and romantic vibe, but it is also a brilliant place for the whole family to enjoy. Take a half-day boat tour to marvel at the volcano and Caldera cliffs. Afterwards, enjoy a dip in the romantic hot springs.
Santorini has beautiful beaches, but Monolithos is probably the most child-friendly, with its shallow waters and sand.
There is plenty for adults to enjoy, including the Caldera Massages studios and spa for ultimate relaxation. For the wine lovers out there, you can take a four and a half hour vineyard tour and wine tasting session.
How to get there
You can fly to Santorini from all London airports, with a journey time of about 4-hours.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and although it’s less touristy than many of the other islands, it has plenty to do for the whole family. It is home to 40-kilometres of coastline, but we’d recommend the Agios Georgios the most for children as the water deepens gradually so it’s ideal for swimming.
There are plenty of water sports to enjoy but if you want something on-land, then you can go for a tour on horseback (or ponies for young children) with experienced riders and well-trained horses.
Naxos is home to some fascinating archaeological sites, so for history lovers, it’s the place to be. See the Temple of Demeter or the more famous Portara (or, Great Door); a large marble doorway standing proudly on the island. Take a walk around this great wonder, taking in the mesmerising views.
How to get there
Naxos is a little bit off the beaten track, making it the perfect spot for adventurous families who don’t mind long journeys. If the idea of the 6-hour flight from Heathrow leaves you cold, combine Naxos with a trip to Mykonos or Santorini, both of which are linked to the island by a 2-hour ferry journey offering spectacular views.
For great family boutique hotels in Greece, see here. The home of small and independent, unique boutique hotels, Chic Retreats brings discerning travellers together with passionate hosts in some of the world’s most beautiful locales.
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