Crete is Greece’s largest island and has an exquisite coastline dotted with numerous coves, bays and peninsulas, which afford a multitude of soft, sandy beaches along the beautifully blue Mediterranean Sea. There are loads of family friendly hotels (See Where to Stay), restaurants and activities which are suitable to babies, toddlers and younger kids. Greek people tend to be very welcoming to children and will treat them as special guests where ever they go.
Crete is roughly 4.5 hour flight from the UK and Ireland which can be tricky with an active toddler. See Kinder Travel Guide’s tips for surviving air travel with a toddler for more information. The island is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations and it is hugely popular with families due to the abundance of beautiful sandy beaches and fun activities for toddlers and older children.
When to Travel to Crete With a Baby or Toddler?
For younger kids and toddlers it’s worth thinking about visiting in spring, early summer or autumn when the sun is not too strong and temperatures are pleasantly warm. June is probably the earliest your kids can swim in the sea; anytime before and the water is cold. July and August are peak season however, visiting off season means cheaper prices and cooler weather.
Best Places to Visit in Crete with Babies and Toddlers
Most big resorts have developed beside accessible, shallow and easily serviced swathes of clean sand and can be relied on to meet all expectations for family fun. You need to be more careful at isolated beaches and coves that may have potential hazards such as hidden reefs and offshore currents.
The island’s historic importance cannot go unmentioned and ruins of the Minoan civilization can be seen throughout, with important archeological finds at Knossos, Phaistos and Gortys, is evidenced by the tens of thousands of visitors to these sites each year. Heraklion is the largest city and capital of the island, with the archaeological highlight Knossos. It is not the most attractive city, although there are a number of attractive old buildings and churches. The city’s Old Town has largely disappeared. The harbor (a major cruise and ferry port) boasts Venetian walls and a Venetian fort.
The city of Chania is worth visiting and its Old Town is largely intact. The harbor here boasts an old Venetian lighthouse (faros) and old Turkish mosque.
Rethymno has a charming old town with a lovely old town and some fantastic family hotel options.
Some of the best beach resorts include Sitia, popular with French tourists, it has a beach in the centre of the town and there are some stunning sandy beaches within close proximity to the centre. Elounda is the jet set part of the island with plenty of luxury resorts.
Malia has taken over as the “party capital” of the island and the centre should be avoided by families as it is popular mostly with young (especially British) travelers, and has a fairly unsavory reputation for drunken tourists staggering around the streets and beaches until dawn. The town is filled with discos and music bars, as well as many restaurants catering specifically to tourist tastes, including Mexican, Indian, and British restaurants. There is even a McDonald’s and KFC.
Chersonissos (Hersonissos) — a charming harbor town in winter, and very popular with tourists in the summer. While there are many “party” spots, this town is more sedate and refined than its neighbor Malia.
IN AN EMERGENCY – The island is generally safe and one of the main dangers your child will encounter is dehydration and too much sun exposure. If you run into any difficulties dial 117 for the tourist police and 112 for general emergencies.
See below for all the information you will need for travel to Crete with a baby, toddler or young child.