AquaWorld Aquarium, Hersonissos
This small but well run aquarium with snakes, alligators, eels, stingrays, turtles, tortoise, fish and lizards located on the Eastern side of Crete. Highly recommended if the mid-day heat of July and August prove too much for your children.
Chania (also spelled Hania)
This city of 60,000 on Crete’s northwest coast is a spellbinding mix of great restaurants (if a little touristy), charming hotels, and pedestrianised winding lanes and alleys that toddlers will enjoy strolling around and exploring. You can also visit the Agora, the town’s lively daily market. The town’s harbor has boats, cafes and restaurants which are ideal for families.
Cretaquarium, Former American Base in Gournes, Heraklion Crete
Cretaquarium first opened its doors to the public in December 2005 and has recently undergone extensive renovation, involving the addition of new tanks, species, educational programmes and innovative services. As one of Europe’s largest aquariums, Cretaquarium offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the magnificent Mediterranean Sea world.During the summer months the aquarium is open from 9.30am until 9pm daily and under 4s are free.
Knossos is probably the most accessible historical site for families on the Greek islands where you can visit and learn about this ancient world. Bring a sling or baby carrier for exploring. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion contains wonderful treasures and is best visited during nap time if possible as there are not many exciting exhibits for toddlers. The ruins of Phaistos, Gortys, and the Palace of Malia are also impressive. The island is covered with historical treasures, and there are many hidden gems, like the ruins of Gournia. These sites (as well as historic monasteries and other sites of interest) are marked with brown road signs in both English and Greek.
Imbros and Samaria Gorges
These aren’t easy walks and are better suited to older children. The Imbros is shorter, easier and less visited than the Samaria, making it a good compromise for the family seeking some adventure and exercise. Bring a lightweight baby carrier if you decide to do these walks.
Children love the Venetian fortress in the town of Rethymno and there is also a terrific traffic free promenade, perfect for walking with a stroller or for allowing toddlers to stretch their legs.
The Natural History Museum, Heraklion
The Natural History Museum of Crete will not disappoint. For little explorers, the museum has various sections including zoological and palaeontological (Deinotherium, Dinosaurs, Earthquakes). Founded in 1980, it constantly renews the exhibits and collections so as to attract the interest of young and older visitors. The Erevnotopos, is an area of 250sqm, specially designed for children where they can discover fossils in the sand, spend a night in camp, drive a small boat and explore the various ecosystems of the Mediterranean. The cafe is currently closed so bring drinks
Visit Crete’s Best Beaches
Agia Pelagia Beach – This is a great choice for babies and toddlers as it is calm, sandy and protected from the wind. There are restaurants, bars and tavernas as well as a stroller friendly boulevard.
Almirida – Visit the beaches of Almirida for calm, warm, shallow waters and golden sand.
Bali – This beach offers a series of accessible coves which offer shade from the sun. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops.
Elafonisi beach, southwestern Crete – This stunning beach has a small sand island you can paddle or wade out to. This beach is a 2 hour bus ride from Chania (leaves Chania about 9am and leaves Elafonisi at 4pm), or a 2 hour boat ride from Paleochora, but this means it is not overcrowded. There are a few small hotels and beach restaurants in the area also.
Matala village, southern Crete – This is a popular tourist destination for families which still retains some of its original charm. In large part due to the wonderful beach and the caves that line the cliff above the beach.
Marathi Beach, Akrotiri peninsula – The Perfect spot for families with children to swim and relax. The calm and beautiful waters make Marathi a great option. There is a small collection of restaurants, cafes and tavernas around the town. The beach is largely protected from wind and is an ideal spot for babies and toddlers.
Paleochora – Here there is a choice of two town beaches with safe bathing, perfect for babies and toddlers.
Vaï – This palm tree paradise is a wonderful spot for kids but gets very busy during the peak tourist season in July and August.
Water Parks Around Crete
Water parks make for a fantastic family day out and most will have some smaller slides and pools for babies and toddlers to paddle in. There are a number of water parks in Crete including;
- Aqua Plus, Hersonissos
- Star Beach, Hersonissos
- Limnoupolis, Chania
- Water City, Anopolis, Heraklion (the largest in Crete)