The largest of the Greek islands and the cradle of early Mediterranean civilisation, Crete is a fantastic family holiday destination, blessed with great beaches, sparkling blue seas, gorgeous white-washed fishing villages and stunning landscapes of rugged mountains, wildflowers, vineyards and orange groves, dotted with forgotten ruins and isolated chapels. Plus there's huge choice of family-friendly hotels and apartments for all budgets. All this and within a four-hour flight of the UK…


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Things to do with kids in Crete

Head for the beaches or pool. Among the best beaches in Crete with kids are Váï (Finikodassos), a conservation area with a backdrop of the largest natural palm grove in Europe. A good place for snorkelling, it also has windsurfing and jet-ski hire. With toddlers, head for Pahiá Ámmos with its gently shelving waters.

Go on a dolphin or whale-spotting cruise from Rethymno, take a fishing and snorkelling excursion, or try diving. At Hersonissos, the Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre is also well worth a visit.


Make a beeline for Crete’s natural and ancient wonders. Impressive remains dating from different periods of its history include Minoan palaces, Byzantine churches, Venetian castles and Turkish minarets. The frescoes at the 13th-century Byzantine church of Kera at the entrance to the picturesque village of Kritsa, 20 kilometres from Elounda, are considered the most beautiful in all Crete. Another must is Knossos (Palace of Minos), Crete’s most important ancient palace, around which the Minoan civilisation grew and prospered. It's just south-east of the capital Heraklion, where you'll find Ottoman and Venetian buildings and an interesting archaeological museum.

Take a trip to the Plateau of Lassithi, where the legendary Dikte cave is located – Zeus, father of the Gods, was born here.

Diving in Crete.© Dolphin Diving Center, Rethymno

Diving in Crete.


Crete has the sort of food kids recognise and love – humous, tarmasalata, olives, pitta bread, chicken kebabs, cheeses in wispy filo pastry, and desserts oozing honey and nuts. Plus there’s the odd glass of retsina for grown-ups…

Catch of the day in Crete.© Visit Greece

Catch of the day in Crete.

When to go to Crete

The most southerly outpost of Europe, Crete has a mild, exceptionally dry climate, with average monthly temperatures ranging from 22 to 35°C. In July and August the meltemi, a northerly wind, brings a cool breeze to the warm summer days – perfect for family holidays.

Open-air theatre in Heraklion.@heraklion.gr

Open-air theatre in Heraklion.


Competitive packages and a good choice of self-catering accommomdation make Crete a good-value family holiday option.

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Destination stats

Capital city

Flying time4hrs All flight times are based on flights from UK London airports, to the capital or nearest destination airport.

Carbon footprint2.35 CO2 Estimated tonnes of CO2 produced for return flights for a family of four.

TimezoneGMT +2


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Fish in a harbour, Crete.© Rhonda Carrier

Fish in a harbour, Crete.

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Ruins at Knossos.@heraklion.gr

Ruins at Knossos.