This guide to the best family destinations in Greece will reveal nine of the most tempting places for travelers coming with the kids in tow. It’s got islands in the midst of the Aegean where the beaches are simply wonderful, more adventure-filled spots where you can kitesurf and hike with the crew, and R&R meccas for those stints in a villa with a view.
Yep, prepare to be whisked from the whitewashed hamlets of the Cyclades chain all the way to the rugged mountains of Crete, from the historic ruins of Athens to the off the beaten track towns and villages of the lovely Peloponnese, all in the hunt of fantastic family locations in the home of feta and moussaka.
We’ve tried to prioritize islands and locations that aren’t only easy to get to, either offering their own airport or direct road access from a major airport, but also places that give a good mix of things to do and see. Some are good choices for a little bit of your trip (AKA Athens for two or three days), while others can be a destination for a whole fortnight if you like. Let’s begin…
If you’re craving a taste of the uber-famous Cyclades islands with the family but don’t want to fork out the stacks of dosh it costs to hit Mykonos or Santorini, then Naxos could be just what you’re after. It’s the largest island in the region and one of the main transport hubs of the central Aegean Sea. The upshot? There are lots of ferry links from Athens and other islands, and oodles of little towns where you can escape to with the crew.
The southeastern coastline is the one that hits the headlines. It’s basically a long run of more than 10 miles that is stunning beach after stunning beach. What we love is that none of it’s too built up, but you do get the happening town of Plaka to start things off. That’s a family fav, with watersports outfitters and long runs of clean sand backed by hotels.
The other reason that we put Naxos up there with the best family destinations in Greece is that it’s a fantastic jump-off point for getting to other islands in the area. Boats leave for Folegandros (a chilled spot with great sunsets), Ios (a party island that might be a good choice if you’re bringing young adults in tow), and Siros (a remote isle that offers R&R) all throughout the summer months.
The top family hotels in Naxos are:
- Orkos Beach Hotel ($$) – The Orkos is a lovely new hotel that’s recently been refurbed. There are whole family suites on offer with self-catering. It’s close to the popular west-coast beaches of Naxos.
- Finikas Hotel ($$$) – A three-star choice that’s on the cusp of lovely Alyko Beach. There’s a pool, plus fantastic breakfast spreads.
Crete is basically a great island for any sort of holiday. It’s got party towns for the hedonists – Malia, mainly. There are upscale beach resorts for the honeymooners, strung around the north coast and in Bali and Vai. You’ll find adventure meccas like Samaria and the Aradena Gorge. But there are also easy-to-access places for families, complete with all the necessities – think proximity to the beach and hotels with in-house entertainments and multi-room suites.
We’d say that the resort strip that runs west from the town of Chania is the best place for families on Greece’s largest island. It starts with Agii Apostoli Beach and runs all the way to the sleepy village of Kolymvari. Basically, the further you go the more remote things get, while sticking close to the town means things will be simpler to get to from the airport and there should be more hotel choices overall.
There’s also a lot to be said for eastern Crete. You could start a trip there in the island capital of Heraklion, seeing the ancient palaces of Knossos, and then head over to the bustling summer resort areas of Agios Nikolaos and Pacheia Ammos, where the beaches and simply divine and there are more family-friendly tavernas serving Cretan food than you could possibly need in a fortnight.
Here are just a couple of the best family hotels we’ve found in Crete over the years:
- Georgioupolis Beach Hotel ($$) – There’s unrivaled access to the beachfront and a pool on the grounds at the Georgioupolis Beach Hotel.
- Marakis Villas ($$$) – A fine villa option that has nine beds (so, good for two whole families). There’s a large garden pool and private parking. The location is also pretty near to the airport in Heraklion.
The Peloponnese is a HUGE part of Greece, but it’s often overlooked by holidaymakers in favor of more popular island destinations like Mykonos, Rhodes, and Zante. That’s a shame, because it’s got so much to offer, coming cut through by hulking mountains and dotted with rustic Greek towns and fishing villages where the vibes are indelibly local.
The other great thing about this area is that you can drive here. Yep, there’s no need to hop on passenger ferries or load the car onto a cross-Aegean boat. Simply whiz into Athens and then cruise west down the (brand new) motorway for about 1.5 hours and you’ll arrive, but only after crossing the amazing Corinth Canal en route!
Choosing the Peloponnese as your family holiday spot is only the first step. After, you need to choose precisely where in the Peloponnese to go. There are lots of options, but we especially love the eastern peninsula of Troizina and the distant Mani, where the towns have basically been left unchanged for decades.
Check out these alluring family hotel options in the Peloponnese region:
- Foresta in Medias Mores ($$) – Families who want to ditch the beaten path and hike in the inland mountains of the Peloponnese should head to this distant lodge in the mountains. There are trails on the doorstep.
- Marzi Boutique Hotel ($$) – A more quintessential vacation of sun, sand, and sea awaits at the Marzi Boutique Hotel down in Nerántza.
There’s no question that Athens is one of the most incredible cities on the planet. An ancient city of ancient ruins, it hosts myriad landmarks that are all but certain to wow the little ones. We’re talking the UNESCO-tagged Acropolis, the mighty Parthenon and the adjoining museum, the hulking columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Roman Forum around it. History loving families, eat your hearts out!
We’d recommend staying somewhere near the Plaka district. It’s the most tourist-friendly of the lot, and there are actually some parts of Athens can be a touch sketchy (Exarchia, we’re looking at you!). Plaka also brims with traditional tavernas serving all the Greek food you can dream of, from sizzled saganaki cheese to creamy tzatziki dips and beyond.
It’s probably not a good idea to spend a WHOLE two-week trip to Greece with the family in the capital. Things get very hot here in the middle of summer and about two or three days is usually prime for ticking off the main history sites. After that, you can high tail it down to Piraeus port and catch a boat to one of the islands.
The best family hotels in Athens are…
- The Gem Society Hotel ($$) – This fun and quirky hotel has family suites and a retro design that takes it back to the glory days of 1950s Athens.It should be a memorable stay for all.
- Acropolis Stay ($$) – If proximity to all the main history sites is what you’re after, then the Acropolis Stay does exactly what it says on the tin. And it shouldn’t cost too much.
Like Athens before it, Rhodes will wow the kids with historic ruins that could easily fit into a Harry Potter book. Yep, one of the first things you’ll encounter when you set foot in Rhodes Town (the island’s capital) is the great Hospital and Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, a vast and sprawling medieval fortress that’s now a deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take some time to wander there and explore the nooks and crannies of the old city, dining in the shade of 1,000-year-old keeps and walls. Then, head south and west along the coast road. It links up a whole string of simply divine beaches, not least of all the snorkeling mecca of Anthony Quinn Bay and the lovely arch of yellow sand that’s Lindos Beach.
Talking of Lindos…that whitewashed town built in the Cycladic style is generally considered to be the best family base on the island. It’s home to plenty of midsized, mid-priced B&Bs with good access to the beach, and even puts you within reach of the kitesurfing bays of Prasonisi further south.
Here are just a few suggestions on where to stay in Rhodes with the family…
- Olive Garden Hotel ($$) – Twisting waterslides descend into a big outdoor pool area, meaning there’s plenty to entertain the little ones at this resort without even leaving.
- Rhodian Sun Hotel ($-$$) – We mention the Rhodian Sun Hotel because it can offer some serious bargains, even in the peak summer months when the school holidays have pushed up prices.
We think Zante is 100% up there with the best family destinations in Greece. First off…it’s simply jaw dropping. The whole west coast of the island is a place of unfathomable drama and beauty. It’s home to the legendary bay of Shipwreck Beach, which is incredible from the soaring lookouts above and from the shimmering white sands below (we’d recommend doing both, though).
Looks aside, Zante happens to sit in one of the most wildlife-rich corners of the Ionian Sea. There are marine reserves to the south of the island that host huge schools of multicolored fish for the snorkeling enthusiasts, and even little islets off the coast that are known mating areas for rare Hawksbill turtles.
The main resort areas of Zante are all located on the south coast. They start with the more chilled town of Keri in the west and run all the way over to Vasilikos in the east. The liveliest area is in Laganas, which is more of a party town for 18-30s, so best avoided if you’re coming as a family unit.
Zante’s top family hotel options include:
- PanoPlagia Villa ($$$) – Peace and calm up in the hills of Zante is on offer from this stunner of a villa. It’s got an infinity pool and a very sleek modern design.
- Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort ($$-$$$) – If you prefer the full service of a resort, then pick the Atlantica Eleon, which sits plum on a Blue Flag beach.
Last but most certainly not least is the island of Corfu. A classic holidaymaker’s dream, it’s blessed with a lush interior of pine woods, high mountains that gaze across to Albania, and small fishing towns that look like something off a postcard. It’s hardly a surprise that it’s up there with the best family destinations in Greece.
Thing is, Corfu can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. The eastern shoreline in the south is packed with quintessential resort hotels by pristine sands. Further north, the bays get more rugged, and you can sleep in little inns by the fishing jetties. Over on the west coast, you find wonderful beaches like Palaiokastritsa and Agios Georgios Pagon.
And it’s not just about the coastline. You can also escape to the inland areas to seek out rustic farms where the kids can meet donkeys and herds of Corfoit sheep, see real olive oil presses and cheese farms, and hike to high lookout points with 360-degree views across the Ionian Sea. You’ll some energy for that though!
A couple of the top family hotels in Corfu:
- Tria Adelphia ($$) – Hidden in the olive fields some 10 minutes’ walk from a quiet west-coast beach, this is a fine family hotel with a midsized pool. They also serve full English breakfasts.
- Villa Vigla ($$$) – Bag yourself your very own property in Corfu at Villa Vigla, a modern six-person home with a n infinity pool overlooking the Corfiot coast.
- Beachside Escape ($$$) – The beachside escape is an eight-person villa that’s literally steps from the sea. The garden has its own pool and the interior design is contemporary and packed with mod cons.
We’re not going to come out and say spend the whole of your family holiday in Delphi, just a bit of it. The reason? How does arguably the most incredible and striking history site in the whole country sound? How does half-ruined temples where intoxicated oracles once predicted the future sound? Yep, one of the most important ancient digs in Greece straddles the slopes of Mount Parnassus on the edges of the mainland here. It’s now even tagged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The main historical compound is broken roughly into two parts. The upper part is the most impressive. The little ones can wander between treasuries set up by the great city states there – Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes. At the top, they’ll reach the sacred Temple of Apollo. That was once the home of the Pythia, a fortune-telling priestess who’s thought to have breathed in toxic volcano fumes before counselling on the future.
The lower compound contains the Tholos of Athena Pronaia, a once-domed temple from ancient times, and the Castalia Spring, where the people once gathered their water. The modern town of Delphi is also downright lovely. It sits to the west, clambering up a few terraces with plenty of tavernas and boutique hotels to go around.
Here’s where to stay when traveling to Delphi with the family…
- Kastalia Boutique Hotel ($$) – A charming and very traditional Greek hotel with some boutique vibes, this one’s tucked into the winding streets of the Delphi old town.
- Amalia Hotel Delphi ($$$) – The Amalia Hotel Delphi is cool as. It’s a modernist structure that spills down ridges on the edge of the town, with rooms that have sweeping views of the mountains and a pool that’s simply stunning.
Chalkidiki is the three-pronged headland that juts into the far northern Aegean Sea from the city of Thessaloniki. We’d say start in that city – it’s got Byzantine-era treasures and a vibrant promenade area filled with seafood tavernas. From there, it’s easy to push onto the main beaches and beach hotels.
You’ll need to pick between one or two peninsulas. The first and the thinnest is Kassandra. That’s probably the best choice, although the vibe has been changing to more luxury and upscale hotels in recent years. Alternatively, pick Sithonia, the middle peninsula. That’s got the finest beaches and the most undeveloped shoreline, plus some quirky glamping sites suited to adventurous kiddos.
Clear seas and white-sand beaches are the order of the day virtually the whole time. On top of that, Chalkidiki reigns as one of the best-known snorkeling destinations in Greece since it has still and uber-clear waters. It’s also famed as the home of Mount Athos, which is the third peninsula on the headland. That’s out of bounds to mere mortals, though, since it hosts mysterious Orthodox monasteries that are cut off from the outside world.
Here are some of the top hotel options for families in Chalkidiki:
- Hotel Paralio ($$) – A small-scale hotel by the side of wonderful Possidi Beach, offering units with self-catering facilities.
- Chrousso Village ($$) – You’ve got everything you need right on site here, including a restaurant and swimming pool. The nearest beach is about 5 minutes’ walk away.
The best family destinations in Greece – a conclusion
It’s not an easy task, pinning down the best family destinations in Greece. The fact is that this country is brimming with top places for you to holiday with the whole crew. From the idyllic coves of western Crete to the turtle-dotted bays of Naxos, there are lots of spots that offer classic R&R, sun, sea, and sand. But there are also amazing history sites that will enthrall and educate the little ones in tales of Greek myths and wars, along with lesser-known parts of the mainland where you can go to explore local fishing towns and hamlets.