When it comes to the best family-friendly destinations in Europe, Greece is hard to beat. All-inclusive hotels and resorts are perfectly placed to cater for holidaymakers. Fine sandy beaches stretch for miles on the edge of the sea and thousands of years of history blend the old with the new in a fascinating way. While I was at university my summer holidays were filled of island-hopping in Greece! It was such a beautiful way to get around this amazing country and see all it has to offer.
With sunny summer weather and mild winters that offer a break from the cold, damp grey of the UK, Greece ensures the whole family will be comfortable throughout the year.
Here are three suggestions to get you started…
Explore Crete, the “Great Island”
As the largest Greek island, Crete is a great place to start exploring. The Romans, Ottomans and Italians have all left their cultural stamp here in the form of architecture and archaeological sites.
Be sure to visit the Fortezza in Rethymno, a 16th-century Venetian fortress overlooking the sea and town. Rethymnon is right in the centre of Crete, so it’s an ideal base to explore the picturesque gorges and villages of the mainland and the exotic beaches of the Libyan Sea in the south. You can also take day-excursions to all major sightseeing spots on the island.
Travelling with family means your hotel needs to be located within easy reach of attractions. Just three miles from the city of Rethymno, Grecotel Creta Palace is a 5-star resort with a private sandy beach, 2 landscaped pools, 10 restaurants and bars, plus ultra-spacious and supremely comfortable accommodation on the waterfront.
Kids aged 7–14 years can take part in Discovery Adventures, a fun club offering creative crafts, culinary lessons and outdoor activities that inspire them to create awareness of the environment, culture and healthy eating.
Families with children aged 0–3 years need not worry: Grecobaby offers babysitting and gives parents the opportunity to order all manner of baby items prior to arrival.
As well as enjoying crafts, competitions and celebrations, kids will love playing farmer for the day at Agreco Farm, where they can learn about the organic production of the island’s simple and healthy food.
And what’s more: guests at Creta Palace have access to the aqua park at Club Marine Palace, an award-winning Grecotel property with fun slides and pools for all ages.
Discover Athens, the capital of Greece
There’s plenty of room for families in Athens, the capital of Greece and its cultural heart. Start with a visit to the Acropolis to be intrigued by the glory of the world’s oldest civilisation. Relax on the coastline before a family dinner at chic restaurants in the town centre.
Wander the cobbled streets and pastel-coloured buildings of Plaka, or splurge in the markets of Monastiraki. For nature lovers, a catamaran cruise to the Athenian Riviera is sure to hit the spot. Meanwhile, the Temple of Poseidon at dusk is the prime location for the prettiest sunsets you’ve ever seen.
Just opposite the Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounio, part of the Grecotel portfolio of luxury resorts and hotels, features spacious villas and family bungalows with fully-furnished balconies overlooking Sounio National Park. There are also seven restaurants, two secluded beaches and a seawater pool.
Children will love playing in the Grecoland Kids Club, splish-splashing at the pool and frolicking around the beaches and multi-coloured gardens. The best part: Kids up to 14 years old get to enjoy free dining at the Tasty Corner and stay free in the parent’s room.
Full of art, glamour and genuine hospitality, Pallas Athena is ideal for short stays.
Kids will love the comic-themed graffiti rooms you can see above in the picture above!
Live the island life in the Peloponnese
If you really want to experience Greece’s natural beauty, look no further than the Peloponnese. Here, you will find far-reaching valleys and forested mountains peppered with citrus, cypress, olive and plane trees, plus plenty of family-friendly activities.
Don’t miss Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of Olympic Games, just 45 min away by car. Or take a half-day cruise to the nearby islands of Zakynthos and Cephalonia. Go shopping in Patras, or explore the natural reserve and Forest of Strofilia.
Enjoy the best of the Peloponnese at Grecotel’s Olympia Riviera: a mega beach resort comprised of four amazing hotels, 20 uniquely appointed restaurants and bars and a multitude of resort facilities, all on a 5km beach of fine white sand gently sloping to the Ionian Sea.
New this year is the Riviera Olympia Aqua Park, the largest mega-waterpark in a Greek resort. 12,000 m² of adrenaline-pumping water slides, rides and aqua towers provide the ultimate day out for the family in a safe setting.
On dry land, families can take part in everything from tennis academy and mini-soccer to basketball and archery, mountain biking and horse riding to trekking and paintball.
While the kids play, why not take a parents’ day off at the Elixir Thalassotherapy Spa Centre? This 4,500 m² spa facility features columned porticoes, open-air whirlpools and domed massage rooms where trained therapists perform modern wellness treatments.
Inspired by its superb location, each of the 30 luxury hotels and resorts in the Grecotel collection all over Greece is a unique architectural experience in itself and a paradise of opulent amenities, gourmet restaurants and elegant details embodying the essence of genuine Greek hospitality.
Visit www.grecotel.com for more information.