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The Best Tips for an Unforgettable Family Vacation on Crete

Chania family holiday vacation crete
Chania, Crete. The island is a great destination for a family vacation. Credit: Dimitra Damian/Greek Reporter

Crete is the largest island in Greece, and its coastline of 1,046 km or 650 miles is full of some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, which is a great way to pass the time on your family vacation on the island.

However, there is a lot more to do on Crete than meets the eye. Whether traveling with young children or your grandparents, a family vacation on Crete can be an amazing experience — you just need to know where to go.

Let’s look at some great tips and activities that you can do while on Crete for an unforgettable family vacation.

Where to go on your family vacation on Crete

1. Kokkini Hani

crete family vacation
Kokkini Hani, Crete is a great choice for a family vacation in Greece. Credit: Cheronissos Municipality/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Kokkini Hani, which is located 14 km (8.6 miles) east of Heraklion is a popular holiday destination for families.

The area remained almost untouched by the modern world until the 1960s, when full electricity and telephone services reached this part of Crete, and several hotels were built.

The beaches are beautiful and the hotels in this area cater to families, with activity schedules, pools, social events and beachfront access.

2. Agios Nikolaos

family
Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Credit: Tony Cross

Another fabulous vacation destination for you and your family on Crete is Agios Nikolaos.

The town of Agios Nikolaos is quaint and quieter than many other places on the island, and there are unique, stunningly lovely beaches such as Tsifliki Beach that you can visit.

Also, depending on where you stay, you can have fun-filled days with activities organized by your hotel, do water sports or just go out exploring on your own.

3. The Ancient Ruins of Knossos

Knossos
The palace at Knossos. Credit: Gary Bembridge/Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY 2.0

While on Crete, you must visit the ancient ruins of Knossos and the Minoan Palace, located at the site.

Every year, people visiting Crete stop by the ruins of the ancient city of Knossos to experience what remains from the capital of the ancient Minoan Civilization.

Experiencing Knossos in person is an unforgettable way to pass the day with your family.

The magnificent palace, which sprawls over 20,000 square meters on the hill of Kefalas, is the setting for many well-known myths such as the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, as well as Daedalus and Icarus.

4. Samaria Gorge

Something ideal for families with teens and older children is a trip to visit Samaria Gorge.

Samaria Gorge can be found near the city of Chania on the island of Crete, and visitors can get to it just by taking a pleasant hour-long bus ride.

Private cars are not convenient at all for this journey as the hike is long and ends very far away from the starting point.

The gorge was formed by a small river which runs between the White Mountains and Mount Volakias.

Although there are many gorges on Crete, Samaria Gorge is by far the largest, and is known for being the second-largest gorge in Europe.

The village of Samaria used to be located inside of the gorge, but it was finally abandoned by the last remaining inhabitants in 1962 to make way for Samaria Gorge Park.

The village and the gorge take their names from the village’s ancient church, Óssia María.

The entrance to the gorge is located at Aghia Roumeli, at the southern side of the park.

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