Crete: The Ultimate Family Vacation
Being the largest, and arguably the most interesting of Greek islands, Crete is almost like another country. Everything screams bucolic. From the quaint mountain villages to the dusty donkeys riding up the road, you know Crete is as authentic as they come. Sure, tourism plays a part, but people here live their own life, unperturbed by the sirens calling. In the island that gave us the Mediterranean diet, life hums along at an altogether different pace.
Its long history is manifested in Minoan palaces (as we speak, archaeologists are unearthing several new undiscovered Minoan palaces around the isle), Venetian fortresses, Byzantine monasteries and Roman theaters. It is the definitive ‘x marks the spot’ destination, most notably as being the beginning of any semblance of organized civilization; the Minoans.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Ruins and archaeological sites can be interesting. For you. But if you’re travelling with kids it can be a living nightmare. Luckily for you, Crete can be a doddle. And that’s because there are tons of things to do with the nippers.
Seeing as you’re in Greece, and its multitude of beaches, it should come as no surprise that building sandcastles and waddling around the beach will be the children’s favorite pastime. Those plastic buckets and picks are your best friends. Trust. Alternatively, if the kids tire of constructing edifices there is always the trusted water sports route. At any given beach in Crete, you’re likely to find some sort of water sport recreation. Even underwater. Crete has a plethora of underwater caves which are just awesome. Whether it be paddling, kayaking, snorkeling or water skiing, the kid’s herculean energy reserves should start dipping by the afternoon. Which is a perfect time to get those sunset cocktails.
Crete also boasts of two aquariums. And as we know, kids and animals are friends. Ergo, if you want your kids to get off your back already, you better get them some fluffy things to gawk at for a while. You still have to buy them ice cream every five steps, that’s certain. But at least you’ll be spared the whinging.
Another great kid activity is the Dinosauria Park, which is, you guessed it, a huge dinosaur exhibit with interactive features and mechanical models recreating the primal sounds of the creatures. That ought to calm them down a bit.
But the pick of the bunch is without doubt the water parks, of which there are two. Acqua Plus and Limnoupolis. Both are awesome (even for adults) and really, if there’s a better way to keep kids entertained we’d love to know.
In addition to these, Crete also offers some great outdoors-y activities of the kind that make you sweat. Hitting the mountains on your bike is one of them. If your kids are athletically inclined (if not you can dangle their Iphone in front of them like a carrot) working up a pulse on the White Mountains shouldn’t be a hard sell. Especially if they get to encounter wild goats on the way.
Crete is an outdoor paradise. The history, the food and the people are what grown-ups go for. But kids? Give them water, sand and something to play with and you’re golden. You’re welcome!