Crete is very well equipped with things to do for kids, due to its popularity as a tourist destination and it’s wealth of amazing history. You’ll find lots of museums with interesting exhibits for kids, aquariums, hotel kids clubs and some stunning natural scenery to explore. Crete is a fantastic destination with great outdoor activities for families, combining stunning scenery, ancient history, a wonderfully warm climate and plenty of beautiful beaches. Some of the activities on offer include horse riding, snorkelling, kayaking, trekking and canoeing. The island’s natural beauty is suffused with myth and legend. This is a wonderful pace for the kids to soak up some culture and sunshine at the same time.
So without further do, let’s explore our favourite things to do in Crete with kids:
1. Natural History Museum, Heraklion
Marvel at bears, zebras, dinosaurs and lions in this fantastic museum, which has lots of interactive exhibits for children.
Your children would love taking some time visiting The Stavros Niarchos Discovery Center within the museum too.
Opening Hours: Weekdays 9am-9pm, weekends 10am – 9pm
2. CretAquarium, Heraklion
Discover over 2,000 species of marine life at this award winning aquarium, which is one of Crete’s best things to do with kids indoors.
They will also love the open tank sections where you can see colourful jellyfish and the sand tiger shark is sure to be a highlight too.
Address: Gournes, Crete 71003, Greece
Opening Hours: Open daily 9:30am – 7pm
3. Dikteon Cave (Psychro Cave)
This famous cave is believed to be apparently the birthplace of Zeus in Greek mythology. And it’s one of Crete’s most visited indoor activities. It is fairly remote, so if you book a coach trip or a hire car, be prepared with a bag stuffed full snacks and water for the kids.
There is also a nice walk to entrance that takes around 20 minutes (0.8km) but it should be do-able for even young children as the shaded path is even and not too steep.
Don’t take your buggies though!
More info: +30 2841 022462
4. Agora Covered Market, Chania
Soak up the sights, smells and sounds of a typical Greek market at this huge covered one in bustling port city Chania. Built between 1909 and 1913, this historic market was modelled on the covered market of Marseilles.
Taste local produce, pick up souvenirs and enjoy some friendly bartering with the stall holders. You will find everything here from fruit and veg to kids clothing and toys for example. A good way to spend an hour or two, if the day is cloudy or you want to escape the heat.
Address: Pl. Agoras, Chania 731 32, Greece
Opening Hours: Mon, Weds & Sat 8am- 2pm. Tues, Thurs & Fri 8am – 9pm. Closed on Sundays
5. Minoan’s World
Firstly, learn all about Crete’s history at this interactive cinema and museum. Kids will love this entertainment whilst learning about Crete.
Stroll around the small museum before entering the movie theatre, where an “epic” film (narrated in English or Greek) tells a short history of Crete and Greek mythology.
The whole family is clearly bound to be entertained by the stories of Zeus and Icarus who flew too close to the sun. Or King Midas and the eruption of the volcano in Santorini.
Finally, the experience comes complete with snow, rain, bubbles…. the kids will love it!
Address: Ipsilanton 10, Chania 731 35, Greece
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm- 9pm. Closed on Sundays
Crete has a huge number of beaches to choose from, most of them with calm, shallow waters that are perfect for little ones. For the best photos don’t miss the pink sand at Elafonisi Beach. Beware that this could be quite a drive away from the main tourists resorts of Chania, Heraklion and Lassithi. Most of the main tourist towns mentioned have several beaches surrounding them, our favourite being the area around Agios Nikolaos.
It’s worth hiring a car for your stay on Crete, as there are so many beaches to discover all over the island – Paleochora and Vai beaches are both worth a visit.
7. Gorge Walk
Although Crete’s famous Samaria Gorge may be too difficult to tackle with young children, there are numerous others which are do-able with the kids. The stunning mountain scenery of Crete’s rural heartland is not to be missed – a great way to work up an appetite for lunch! Manageable walks include Imbros Gorge, Agia Irini Gorge and Kounaviano Gorge.
All of these have clearly, stable paths that are not to steep and often shaded by trees . Check out the useful website below for more information.
8. Horse Riding
One of the best ways to see the Cretan countryside is on horseback. And there are loads of riding school around the island which offer beginner lessons and rides for all ages. A fantastic chance for the whole family to learn something new, or practise an old skill, this is sure to win smiles all round!
Zoraida’s Horse Riding is conveniently located between the popular tourist resorts of Chania and Rethymno with guided pony treks for children. There is also the opportunity for more experienced riders to do an excursion to beautiful Kournas Lake. Or even “swimming” with horses – unsaddling them and riding them into the sea!
9. Visit a Waterpark
There are several water parks to choose from in Crete, where the whole family can keep cool, have fun and burn off some energy before bedtime! Some of the most popular are in the Hersonissus area, fairly close to each other. They include Water City (the largest on the island), Acqua Plus and Star Beach.
All are very well equipped for both young and older children, as well as adults, with a mix of high adrenaline rides, calmer play areas , large open spaces for swimming and sunbathing and lots of food and drink outlets. Which one will you choose?
10. Explore Rethymno
One of the top places to see in Crete is the beautiful town of Rethymno, which has a maze of romantic cobbled streets, 4km of beaches and a Venetian Fortress to discover. On one hand, little ones will love the stories of the fortress protecting inhabitants from pirate invaders. On the other hand, adults can admire the beautiful views and the ancient church inside the grounds.
If your kids can ride you could also hire bicycles and cycle along the coastline. And why not stopping for lunch in one of the numerous seaside tavernas, followed by a dip in the sea. So go and visit Rethymno, a great city among our recommended activities to do in Crete.
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