The type of vacation that you take with your children is very different to the type of vacation that you took as a couple, or back when you were single. Some of the activities you got up to when you didn’t have the little ones to think about are now out of the window! Having kids can make vacation planning difficult. We worry about how we’ll keep our children entertained – that’s a priority – but we’d also like at least a little something available for ourselves when the kids are distracted, or occupied elsewhere!
The Greek islands are perfect for a family holiday, and they’re positively child-friendly. At many of the resorts and facilities on the Greek islands you’ll see the phrase “Paidiá kalosírthate.” That’s Greek for “children welcome.” Several of the islands have their own identity and charm when it comes to fun for all the family, and we’ll demonstrate that for you below when we run through the most outstanding of them.
The Greek islands are a place where modern entertainment blend with a beach vacation and a rich cultural history to make a great all-around vacation option. Ancient Greek myths and legends might have been your favorite subject at school – and it might be your kids’ favorite subject now! The tales of Zeus and Mount Olympus have been turned into everything from movies to mobile slot games, which reflect the fact that they appeal to adults and children alike. Just as Ancient Greek lore can be adapted into anything from Vegas Slots game for adults to a cartoon for children, the Greek islands can adapt themselves to entertain adults and children alike – and as the economy is still recovering from a recession, you won’t need to win a big mobile slots jackpot to get yourself there!
Here’s an overview of the most exciting and family-friendly of the Greek islands.
You’ll find Rhodes in the Aegean Sea, surrounded by a series of tiny companion islands. It’s one of the best-known and most-loved of all the Greek islands. Rhodes could make a strong case for having the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in all of Greece – and when you’ve seen the white sands and gorgeous coastline of the Greek mainland, you’ll know that’s not a small achievement. Rhodes itself is a medieval city, much of which has been preserved for the entertainment of tourists. There are two castles which are worth a visit – one at Monolithos, and one at Kritinia. The island plays host to numerous family-orientated resorts, many of which have special activities for kids including plays and dance events. The Butterfly Valley and the huge aquarium are popular with visitors, too.
Corfu is very close to rivaling Rhodes when it comes to both popularity and culture. The Old Town of Corfu has even been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2007. It isn’t nicknamed ‘The Garden Isle’ for no reason; the whole island is alive with vibrant colors which comes from the many plants and fruits which grow here. The Old Town might not necessarily be thrilling for children, but adults should be enthralled by all the ancient British, French, and Venetian works of art and architecture that can be found there. You can make it up to the children later by taking them to see a cartoon movie at one of the open-air cinemas, or signing them up to one of the competitions run by the family-friendly hotels. There are daily programs for entertaining kids at several of the hotels, many of which have a four or even five-star rating. Timing your visit to coincide with the International Corfu Festival of Music wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Crete sits in the same part of the ocean as Rhodes, but is distinct and different from its near neighbor. Walking through history doesn’t get any better than this; it’s believed that Crete played host to the very first civilization to settle anywhere in Europe. As you might expect, that means the island is rich in archaeology, and offers several great museums to walk around. Families with kids are welcome to join in on the boat trips which are organized by several of the hotels, and cultural walking tours happen regularly, too. If you think this all sounds a little too dull for your kids, we should also direct your attention to Chania’s water park, which has massive waterslides, and Disney-themed games! Consider visiting one of the wine festivals later on to calm down from all the excitement.
The southernmost of the Ionian islands is Zante, which was won a coveted Blue Flag for each one of its stunning beaches. The whole island has something of a Venetian theme, which is obvious from the grand architectural style of the island’s buildings. Surrounded by family-run tavernas, fruit and olive groves, you almost feel like stepping foot on Zante is going back in time. A visit to Shipwreck Bay of the Anafonitria monastery will only enhance that feeling. It’s not all about the old world, though – the kids will have a great time when you take the to the Marine Park, much of which is underwater and allows little ones to get an up-close-and-personal look at the loggerhead sea turtles which frequent the island’s waters! You don’t have the same degree of choice in terms of hotels and facilities on Zante as you do with some of the other islands, but it does boast two windmills you can rent and stay in. What could be cooler than spending a vacation in a windmill? Act quickly if that’s attracted your interest, though – as there are only two of them, they book up quickly!
The best thing about staying on any of the Greek islands is that you don’t have to stay there for the duration of your time in Greece. Once you’ve seen everything you think there is to see, simply head back to the mainland, or try another island. You could choose to spend a few days on each one, or just treat one of them as a (scenic and beautiful) base from which you can explore the rest of Greece. The nation and its people are warm and welcoming – and the kids will never be bored!
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