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5 of the Best Experiences for the Family on Crete, Greece

by Eugenia Lazaris

Mar 15, 2020

Photo: Georgios Tsichlis | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Greece’s largest island, Crete is a must-see for families looking to experience an island vacation, but one so large, you may forget you are actually on an island. The island is home to a variety of terrains, from pristine, sandy beaches to rugged mountains and everything in between. There are so many wonderful activities to entertain every member of the family, you won’t know where to begin. The island is steeped in ancient history and mythological lore, not to mention the beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages waiting to share their secrets. Check out the following list of experiences to guarantee your family enjoys their time on the island.


Explore Chania

The island’s port city is not only easily accessible but full of fun things to do. Spend some time exploring the city’s maze of narrow streets or strolling along the waterfront visiting the patisseries and restaurants to discover the local flavors. There are plenty of museums to explore and history buffs will love the 16th-century lighthouse that stands guard over the Venetian port.


Chania, Crete, Greece. Photo: Georgios Tsichlis | Dreamstime.com


Uncover Ancient History at Knossos

The ancient city of Knossos is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the country and is a great way for the family to learn about the history of the Minoan civilization. This site, located in the city of Heraklion, is often referred to as the oldest city of Europe and is home to the remnants of an impressive palace and some of the most beautiful frescoes created by the ancient Minoans.


Commune With Nature at Samariá Gorge

Samariá Gorge, located inland on the western side of the island, is an ideal way for an adventurous family to explore nature on the island. The gorge, part of Samariá National Park, is also a World Biosphere Reserve and known for its most impressive feature, the Iron Gates. This is a part of the gorge that narrows to 4 meters (more than 13 feet) with sheer cliffs that rise 300 meters from the base (more than 980 feet). A hike through the gorge is approximately 15 kilometers (nine miles) long.


Hiking Samariá National Park. Photo: Dziewul | Dreamstime.com


Visit Spinalonga

When Crete’s overwhelming size makes you long for a little peace and quiet, head to the tiny island of Sipnalonga, off the coast near the island’s northeastern town of Plaka. The island is uninhabited and great for a morning or afternoon of exploring the ruins of a 16th-century Venetian fortress and what remains of a former leper colony.


Explore an Ancient Cave

Psychro Cave is not only a fascinating natural phenomenon to explore, but it is fun for mythology buffs as Psychro is known as the possible birthplace of Zeus. The cave was used by Cretans for centuries, often for cult purposes, and ancient artifacts have been found within its chambers. Visitors today can explore the cave and experience its stunning stalactites and stalagmites.


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