Crete is probably one of the most family-friendly islands of Greece. Activities for kids and young teenagers flourish on the island all over the year, and especially during summer. The capital city of the island offers several options to spend a relaxing time, with excitement and fun for everyone. In fact, family holidays in Heraklion is nothing but one of the best vacation ideas.
Best Beaches for Kids
For those who cannot think of a holiday on an island without visiting a beach, the prefecture of Heraklion has endless possibilities. Very close to the city center, families are welcome to enjoy the shallow waters of Lygaria. The beach is located just a few minutes away from the city.
The bay presents a stunning landscape, ideal to spend a wonderful day on the beach. Clear sand and crystal waters add to a beach that is well protected from Northern winds, making it safe and enjoyable. Lygaria is also popular among locals who enjoy the quiet familiar atmosphere over the more popular beaches east of Heraklion
If you enjoy a pleasant ride through the mountains, head towards the south of the island driving through the Asterousia mountains. At the exit of a breathtaking gorge, there is a tiny coastal village with a delicious beach. It is known as Tsoutsouras and its waters are said to be medicinal. In fact, the high level of iodine in the water offers, according to locals, therapeutic effects.
Sarantaris beach is part of the collection of bays known as Limanakis. Not far from the city center, Sarantaris offers calm waters, fine sand and a relaxing atmosphere with a lack of strong winds. This is a family favorite place to spend a lazy day under the sun while kids safely enjoy a day at the sea.
Entertainment and Fun
There are endless other options to enjoy the wonders of the Cretan sea, but if your kids enjoy more challenging activities, Heraklion will not disappoint. Many are the entertainment parks around the city which propose educational as well as fun ideas that are perfect for kids of every age.
Less than twenty kilometers from the city, in Anopolis, it is possible to ride one of the many water slides in Water City. Kids would enjoy the day in this water amusement park while parents will be able to relax and enjoy several pools and other water-related activities.
Another wonderful park kids can enjoy in Heraklion is Dinosauria. Located in Gournes, the park showcases true-to-size dinosaurs as well as a fossil exhibition. Kids can also enjoy a visit to the dino hospital as well as play in the sand trying to discover fossils. A 7-D movie theatre adds joy and adventure to the day while the food served in the canteen is perfectly Dinosaur-themed.
For those kids interested in the Minoan past of the island, a visit to the Labyrinth Park is probably one of the best ideas. The amusement park is located just a few minutes from Hersonissos and it presents a series of Labyrinths to explore. There are educational quizzes as well as pure fun games. Children can choose between pottery lessons, archery, mini-golf, laser labyrinths, and a real size Minotaur, for a whole day of endless fun
It is impossible for kids visiting Crete not to show enthusiasm and interest when telling them the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. Kids will be able to experience the real thing during a day spent at the Palace of Knossos. This archaeological site has been restored getting a very impressive realistic feel to it, which will definitely excite children.
Combine it with an afternoon visit to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the most popular museums in the country. The impressive collection tells the story of the Minoan civilization while children can relate artifacts and exhibited objects to their previous visit to the Palace of Knossos.
Another venue kids usually enjoy is the Museum of Natural History of Heraklion, a few steps away from the center of town. Among the exhibits, kids will find holograms a must-stop during the visit, as well as the earthquake simulator up to 6 Richter!
Contact with Nature
Kids also adore nature. One of the best ways to get in touch with the sea is paying a visit to the Cretaquarium. Not far from Dinosauria park, children will be able to witness over 2500 marine species in endless aquariums of several sizes. The Mediterranean life at its best: seahorses, jellyfish, octopus and even sharks will make kids adore the experience.
Several gorges in the area also offer families the possibility to spend a day far from the beach in closer contact with nature. Read our guide for gorges and canyons of Crete to have a complete insight of which gorges are more apt for kids
Nothing healthier and delicious for children than the wonders of the Cretan diet. And nothing more appealing than the thrill of super edgy fast food. Why not combine the excellence of local ingredients with the innovative cuisine of 626 All Day Lounge and City Garden located right next to the kids friendly Olive Green Hotel?
Delicious French fries together with impressive sandwiches and hamburgers will quickly become a family favorite. Combine the unique atmosphere of one of the city’s most delicious gardens with the best kid-friendly in town!