Gorges Rivers And Lakes
The island has a number of gorges, such as the Samariá Gorge, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Ha Gorge, Platania Gorge, the Gorge of the Dead and Richtis Gorge and waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia.
The rivers of Crete include the Ieropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, the Giofyros, and Megas Potamos. There are only two freshwater lakes in Crete: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania regional unit.Lake Voulismeni at the coast, at Aghios Nikolaos, was formerly a freshwater lake but is now connected to the sea, in Lasithi. Three artificial lakes created by dams also exist in Crete: the lake of Aposelemis Dam, the lake of Potamos Dam, and the lake of Mpramiana Dam.
|Map this section’s coordinatesin “List of islands of Greece” using:OpenStreetMap|
A large number of islands, islets, and rocks hug the coast of Crete. Many are visited by tourists, some are only visited by archaeologists and biologists. Some are environmentally protected. A small sample of the islands includes:
The Best Places In Crete To Visit With Kids
Although different regions offer a wide range of attractions, some places are truly exceptional. The most popular cities such as Heraklion, Rethymno, Chania, and Lasithi are always bustling with fun activities for all ages. If youre looking for rustic surprises, head to one of these mentioned places below:
Where To Stay In Chania
For our stay, we were able to arrange a beautiful villa through HomeExchange. It was so nice to spread out in the house and live like a local, complete with a locals recommendations for things to do in Chania and the best restaurants in the area.
If you prefer to stay at a hotel, be sure to check out Almyrida Beach Resort. Its adjacent to our favorite local beach and there are numerous solid restaurants there as well. The resort has several different options to suit various needs and budgets. See all of the choices here.
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Top Things To Do In Chania
Chania is the starting point of many excursions. The most famous is a visit to the gorge of Samaria. This is a must-do tour when visiting Crete with kids for older children. Young children will enjoy a visit to the tropical white beaches of Falassarna, Elafonissi en Gramvoussa or a boat trip in Suda Bay around the historic Akrotiri peninsula.
Crete With Kids: A Guide To The 10 Top Family Friendly Activities In Crete
Crete is known for its exciting and rich history, full of myths, stories and legends told about the Greek gods and goddesses. The Palace of Knossos is a must-see historical attraction Europes oldest city was the home to King Minos, a mighty ruler who was greatly feared but respected. Inside this mythical palace your kids will love to hear the stories about Theseus who fell in love with beautiful Ariadne, daughter of Minos and how she helped him escape the labyrinth and the Minotaur by following a path marked by the magic twine, that safely led him out of the maze.
The Palace of Knossos is approximately a twenty-minute drive outside of Heraklion city centre.
Crete is a water lovers paradise blessed with turquoise waters, pristine beaches and coves as well as a glorious underwater world.
If your children are old enough, they can enjoy water sports activities such as scuba diving, wind surfing, kayaking and kite surfing. There are several tour companies offering day trips to the nearby famous dive-sites of Crete where you can scuba dive or simply go snorkeling.
Crete is famous for some of the worlds most amazing beaches. Many of the beaches in Crete have shallow safe waters with lovely soft sand, making them ideal for families with children.
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Getting Around Crete/ How To Get To Crete With Kids
| Driving in Crete is relatively easy. The main highway runs from East to West along the North of Crete. Its a modern & well-made road, either single or dual carriageway depending on where you are. Theres a variety of car hire companies operating in Crete.
Note | You are expected to carry documents, a photo driving licence, insurance papers and car-hire details with you in case police pull you over to check your documentation. Parking by the coast and in small villages is relaxed. However, its often not clear where you can park in the larger towns. ItItssually better to pay for parking .
| Crete is one of the more touristy Greek islands. Many tour companies operate on the island, from global travel companies to independent local businesses. Due to the size of the island, a coach tour is a great way to see the island. With kids, its better to book a tour where youre dropped off in a location rather than a guided bus tour. View the best trips of Crete on Get Your Guide here.
| There are 3 airports in Crete, Chania , Heraklion and the smaller Sitia airport . ItItsest to book a flight to the airport nearest where youre staying. Heraklion is the main airport in Crete, serving international destinations but mainly UK destinations, other Greek islands and Athens. Main routes include London Heraklion with Jet2 or Easyjet.
Koules Fortress / Rocca Al Mare
This is a beautiful castle right on the sea, built by the Venetian rulers of Crete in the 13th century. It was initially a defensive fortress. Since then, its been a barracks, a prison, and more. Nowadays, its its own museum, still built into the original fortress structure and what kid doesnt love castles? Its an unmissable part of any Heraklion city break.
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Aldemar Cretan Village Review 4*
The Aldemar Cretan Village is an all -inclusive themed Crete hotel, with the style and colours of a traditional village. None of the rooms are above 2 storey and the site is easily accessible with a pram. On-site facilities include a mini mart, Aldemar shop, and jewellery shop. The mini-mart stocks gifts, food, baby supplies, milk should you need.
The rooms are conveniently laid out for families where you have a separate room to your children, a bath for younger ones, in room facilities including a fridge, kettle, pool towels etc. The main restaurant has kid friendly opening hours and even has a dedicated kids section complete with mini chairs and kiddie buffet, where you can opt for the traditional kids fare such as fish fingers, nuggets etc or choose healthier options from the main restaurant.
One of the Aldy Kids Club team supervises this area, so should your children want to eat there and watch a movie whilst you eat in the main restaurant, they can! Should you have any dietary requests, the chef can talk you through what is suitable or create something specific. WiFi is complimentary and is available around the site.
The playground incorporates a play house with slide, swings and a sandpit. Conveniently, some little splash areas were dotted around perfect for toddlers and babies to cool off on warmer days. The site also comprises of 5 pools and a mini crazy- golf course.
Cretaquarium One Of The Top Crete Things To Do With Family When Its Raining
Dive under the waters of the Med that surround Crete without even having to pull on the snorkels, all courtesy of the incredible CretAquarium. It showcases the rich marine life of the region and the Aegean Sea, through a number of eye-catching marine exhibits. Youll find it in the area of Gournes, conveniently sat smack dab in the middle of the main resort strip west of Heraklion. CretAquarium is open every day of the week, including weekends.
Inside, youll see all manner of bubbling water tanks. The most famous exhibits let you get up close to formidable sand tiger sharks, one of the more feared predators of the Aegean and a critically endangered species beside. There are also enclosures of stingrays and octopi, along with learning tanks that reveal the importance of more invisible ocean life like plankton.
The CretAquarium also boasts an on-site café and gift shop. The former has an al fresco terrace area where you can sit and sip coffee after seeing the sharks and whatnot indoors. Its also possible to organize guided tours with qualified aquarium staff , but its a good idea to book ahead for that.
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Tackle Samaria Gorge Europes Longest Gorge Hike
One of the islands most visually stunning hikes on the continent, the main trail in Samaria Gorge National Park is a must for adventure and outdoor enthusiasts. Across the roughly 15-km-long trek, towering rock faces provide both shade and beauty, with flowing streams and unique wildlife popping up along the way.
Hike Through The Imposing Imbros Gorge
Running parallel to Samaria Gorge, the lesser-known yet arguably more spectacular Imbros Gorge which starts just below the village of Imbros runs 11 kilometers through some of southern Cretes premier canyon landscapes. As you hike under the steep, rocky walls, keep an eye out for curious rare birds like ravens, griffon vultures, and falcons.
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Natural History Museum Of Crete
Museums in Heraklion are known to be plenty, but planning a trip to the Natural History Museum of Crete is a good idea. This stunning modern museum, located directly on the seaside, shows the finest of Crete. A tsunami and earthquake simulator is one of the fun activities kids and adults can enjoy. Furthermore, an entire level is dedicated to stuffed creatures that inhabit or used to exist in the Mediterranean region.
- Minoans Words 3D Museum
- Botanic Park & Gardens in Chania
A beautiful region filled with Venetian and Ottoman architecture, Chania is a city thats definitely worth exploring. The Venetian Harbor is one of the most picturesque spots in all of Crete and is home to some astounding restaurants with terraces overlooking the harbor.
The old town of Chania is also a great place to wander around. Its filled with narrow streets, colorful houses, and small squares. The variety of restaurants in Chania will make traveling less hassle since it offers great dishes ideal for kids. If youre looking for something a little more adventurous, take a hike up to Mount Pachnes. At 2,345 feet high, this is the highest peak in the region and offers stunning views over the entire island.
Your kids will also love checking the Archeological Museum of Chania, which contains artifacts from the Neolithic to Roman periods. The museum is located in the San Francesco Church, a bright and open domed space constructed by the Venetians and afterward used as a mosque by Turks.
Fantastic Things To Do In Crete With Kids
Theres a vast range of things to do in Crete with kids. In fact, Crete is regularly voted one of the best islands to visit with kids. Travelling around Crete, youll find crystal clear turquoise waters, white-sand beaches such as Elafonisi and Falassarna, family-friendly attractions, towering mountains, and a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. Here are some of the best things to do in Crete with kids based on travelling to Crete with my daughter and the recommendations of other family travel bloggers.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
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Head To Paradise On Earth: Preveli Beach
Undisputedly one of the best things to do in Crete thanks to its warm, crystal-clear waters famous Heart Rock and its location at the mouth of the Kourtaliotikos Gorge, a day at Preveli Beach is simply non-negotiable.
At first glance, visitors quickly realize why Preveli has developed the reputation as the islands most famous southern beach.
Where To Stay In Crete With Kids
Holidays with kids in mind should also cater for accommodation that even if its not dedicated to kids, its at least kid-friendly.
You might also want to read: Best seaside hotels in Crete.
Many resorts on the island are great for families. A few of them have been built with kids in mind. One of these structures is Paradisio Baby and Kinder Hotel in Stavros, Chania. The beach of Stavros is good for children since its a shallow lagoon. In the hotel, kids will find a special park and dedicated facilities, a 400-m² play area, a go-kart track, a tree-house, and ping-pong table, and an animal farm.
Another hotel that welcomes young travelers is Mythos Palace Resort and Spa, close to Georgioupolis, another a calm sand beach ideal for children. The hotel has beautiful gardens, and a kid-friendly beach, and offers entertainment, such as magic or games.
If your kids are a bit older and all into technology, Olive Green Hotel in Heraklion is also a good choice. This eco-friendly hotel wins over any kid who loves to spend time online. Theres a tablet in every room that allows us to watch movies or play games. Their restaurant has a tasty child-friendly menu.
- Do you prefer the comfort of a home to prepare your meals, have your own time, or even enjoy a pool with your family? Stay at a rental home!There are plenty of rental homes everywhere in Crete
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Take A Dip In Lake Kournas
With a host of snorkeling, paddle-boating, kayaking, and swimming opportunities, the calm waters of Lake Kournas are quickly gaining popularity. In recent years, the area between Rethymno and Chania has gentrified, now hosting souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars and while that can sometimes mean more tourists, it also means plenty more to do and see!
Fun Things To Do In Crete
- Balos Lagoon is worth the effort to get there! You will have a long drive down a bumpy unpaved road and a bit of a hike over rocky terrain to reach it. Once there you can enjoy the gorgeous crystal clear waters and sandy beaches. The water is shallow-great for children of all ages. There are boat tours that visit here as well. Facilities are limited so best to pack a picnic lunch and drinks to bring with you!
- A visit to Aquaworld Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Crete with kids. Located in Hersonissos this aquarium is home to pythons, crocodiles, octopuses, giant tortoises and more! It is small and interactive with opportunities for the kids to hold and feed several inhabitants. The staff are very friendly and informative. You can return multiple times on your holidays once you purchase your initial entrance.
- Elafonissi Beach is one of the best beaches in Crete for kids. Not only is it stunningly beautiful with pink sand and turquoise waters. The water is shallow making it great for babies, toddlers and children. There is change facilities, toilets, snack bar and umbrella and chair rentals.
- A visit to the small village of Sasteria is one of the unique things to do in Crete with kids. This charming couple will be your hosts. Your children will love seeing and learning about the planets and stars in the garden observatory. You can also have art lessons here or take guided walks. Accommodations can be arranged as well.
Plan your Greece holidays here:
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Let The Kids Go Wild In Greeces Waterparks
Up to know, I have listed places to explore and discover in Greece with kids but there are a lot of child-friendly attractions in Greece too that are perfect for sheer holiday fun.
Theme parks and water parks are becoming more and more popular due to tourist demand and they are independent parks or part of all-inclusive resort.
Take A Guided Horseback Riding Tour For Kids
At Zoraïdas Horse-Riding, your kids can experience the powerful connection between horses and people on a ride through beautiful Cretan nature.
Key Information: 15 Long pants and closed-toe shoes required Ride lasts 30 minutes.
Good To Know: Parents are welcome to walk or ride alongside, but will not be on the horse with their child.
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Hike Through The White Mountains
Occupying the majority of central and western Crete, the White Mountains are ever-popular for outdoor adventure, with over 50 rocky peaks to ascend, many soaring over 2000 meters above sea level. Plenty of single- and multi-day trails and tours are available, with something for every level of difficulty.
In winter, when covered in snow, their beauty only intensifies.