The Best Family Friendly Greek Islands
Greece is without doubt a fantastic place to visit with kids. With stunning beaches, wonderful family friendly hotels, locals who welcome kids at restaurants, ancient history and charm, a plethora of fun activities and of course those crystal clear seas with a range of sandy, pebbly and volcanic beaches. Many people return again and again to Greece – with so many islands to explore I can see why. Read on to discover what are the best family friendly Greek islands and what they have to offer for kids of all ages.
Why visit the Greek Islands for your family holiday?
Greece is very easy to get to from the UK, with many flights from regional airports as well as the larger Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Luton etc. With flight times of 3.5/ 4 hours a lot of Greek islands can be accessed directly. Getting to the Greek islands from the U.S. will currently require two flights (usually connecting in western Europe) or changing in Athens.
When is the Best Time To Visit Greece for a Family Holiday?
The best weather in Greece for kids, families, swimming, and beach time is from late May to early September. There is very little rain and temperatures average at 27 degrees in July/August. If you don’t need to worry about school holidays and are holidaying in Greece with a baby, toddler or preschooler, then mid-September is a good bet. The weather is essentially the same as late June but while the water can still be chilly in early summer, by September it’s perfect. The crowds have dissipated a bit so there is less of bustle around streets, ferries or at your favourite restaurant.
May and October can be great, but plan for some rainy day activities – just in case. However, this slightly cooler weather can be much better if you are planning an activity based family holiday, especially for cycling or hiking or exploring ruins.
How do I get to the Greek Islands?
There are several ways to reach the Greek islands. The easiest way is obviously to fly direct, especially with a young family.
Fly directly to a Greek Island from Europe
The main travel hubs are London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and Amsterdam – although low cost carriers such as Norwegian, Ryan Air, Whizz Air etc often fly from smaller, regional airports. Do check if you are flying from out of Europe as you may fly into one of the major airports but need to make a connecting flight to another airport, even if in the same city.
Also, only a handful of islands have direct flights from outside of Greece. Currently, the Greek islands that have scheduled international flights are Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Zakynthos, Crete, Lesvos, Samos, Kos, and Rhodes. Some package holidays offer direct chartered flights from the UK.
Fly to Athens, then fly to the islands.
This is what I did when I lived overseas. I flew internationally directly to Athens and then made a smooth transfer to Mykonos. It was easy to do and the airport is easy to navigate. Flying from Athens opens up some further islands to explore- which don’t have international arrivals.
Fly To Athens and then catch a high speed ferry
Go to the port and hop on a ferry as to make your way all the way back to the airport, go through security, and wait for your plane. When you factor in the extra time that taking a flight involves, a highspeed ferry will get you to some of the Cycladic islands nearly as fast as a flight.
Family friendly accommodation on the Greek Islands
There are several accommodation options for families on the Greek islands. These range from all inclusive resorts with childcare, kids’ clubs and activities included (age dependent) – such as Mark Warner on Rhodes, Lemnos and Kos. Hotel rooms range from family rooms, to suites, apartments, villas and self catering options. Several hotels can fit an extra bed in.
Things to do in the Greek Islands with Kids
Things to do in Lemnos with Kids.
Lemnos island is small and unspoilt by mass tourism, with charming villages and stunning beaches (0ver 30!) Getting to Lemnos will likely mean a transit via Athens, unless you are on a seasonal chartered flight with a package holiday.
The beaches are a huge draw with lots of watersport activities. The Mark Warner Lemnos Beachclub Resort offers a huge range of these and consistently rates well as a family friendly hotel. The resort is nestled with shady trees and has the feel of a traditional Greek village. Onsite you not only have a great kids’ club, but you can try sailing school, windsurfing lessons, waterskiing, wakeboarding and tennis. Mountain bikes are available free of charge. Twin rooms, family suites and interconnecting rooms are available.
Other activities include:
- Archaeological Museum of Lemnos – a small museum with artefacts over 1000 years old. Goof for a rainy day or to escape the heat.
- Lemnos Playland – an amusement park for children with playgrounds to entertain older kids too.
- Myrina – ruins of an ancient castle which is free to enter and offer a magnificent view of the coast.
- Spot flamingoes at the salt lakes
- Visit the picturesque Plati Beach located in the Plati resort. It is not considered one of the best beaches in Greece by accident and is shallow for little ones.
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights
Things to do in Rhodes With Kids
Rhodes is situated in the Aegean sea and is part of Dodecanese island group. It is easily accessible from Luton, Gatwick, Stansted & Manchester. Package holiday flights also go direct from Leeds Bradford and Heathrow. With numerous blue flag beaches it is a popular choice for families.
- The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes is a citadel which dominates the main town and harbour of the island.
- Aquarium- located in the Old Town of Rhodes – free for under 5’s.
- Butterfly Valley – A nature reserve with a small river with butterflies ad moths.
- Water Park, Falkari
- Ostrich Park
- Tour the Medieval City – a maze of streets and alleys that transports you back in time.
if you are looking for somewhere to stay, Nell from Pigeon Pair and Me, writes up her experience in Levante, Rhodes here.
Things To Do in Kos With Kids
Kos is the third largest island of the Dodecanese. Beautiful white sandy beaches and hidden coves are it’s biggest draw. It is easy to reach Kos directly from the UK with flights from Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, Birmingham, East Midland and Newcastle. Some package holidays offer chartered flights with BA from Heathrow and with EnterAir from Gatwick. There are several things to do in Kos Town itself;
- Asklepion Temple and ancient hospital ruins
- Kos Archeological Museum
- Acquatica and Lido Water Parks
- Thermal Springs (more for older kids)
- Alice, from Project Wanderlust has a great post on exploring Kos by car with kids which you may find useful too, along with Cathy from Mummy Travels, who explores several of the above kids friendly activities in Kos in more detail here.
Mark Warner – Lakitira, Kos
- If you are looking for somewhere to stay, Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog, writes a detailed review of her Mark Warner holiday accommodation in Lakitira, Kos. whilst Sarah from Extraordinary Chaos explains all the activities available for teens here.
- Lisa from Travel Loving Family details all aspects of childcare in a very useful post here.
Things To Do In Crete With Kids
Crete has so much for families of all ages. I have written a very detailed post here which covers
- Dinosauria Park
- Labyrinth Park
- Lychnostatis Open Air Museum
- Water parks
- Family Hotels
- Exploring the Hills and Villages
- Knossos Palace
Things to do in Corfu With Kids
Corfu is an idyllic Ionian island where there is plenty more than just beaches to keep the children entertained. With winding alleys meandering through the old town, ancient history brought to life in museums, and waterparks, aquariums, watersports, open air cinemas, horse treks and more. Getting there is easy with plenty of direct flights from the UK.
- Aqualand Water Park – a huge water park with 36 water slides and 15 adventure pools with shallow pools and miniature rides for little ones, and for older dare devils, some thrilling high-speed rides.
- Horseriding treks
- Corfu Aquarium – a perfect place to escape the midday sun or the odd rainy day.
- A glass bottomed boat ride
- The beautiful sandy beach at Saint Gordios, which is also not to long a transit from the airport.
- Visit Kerkyra with traditional buildings and winding pathways.
Things to Do in Santorini with Kids
Santorini is more thought of as place for couples, but when we visited, we still saw lots of children. Older kids will love visiting the caldera and the volcano tour plus all the water sport activities.
Which Greek island do you enjoy the most?
Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Mark Warner.
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