Walking in Crete
Samaria Gorge is the perfect place for walks. The famous Iron Gates, where the gorge shortens to only four feet wide is a marvellous spectacle of nature that is a definite must-see if you’re walking in the national park. Zakros, also known as Kato Zakros is an 4000 year old archaeological site on the eastern side of the island.
For traditional Cretan delicacies and dishes head to a local taverna or eastatria, these are the bar/restaurants where the locals eat. If looking to sample the local seafood dishes which are freshly caught then have lunch or dinner in a psarotaverna. For the local sweet delicacy of cakes and coffee try out the zacharoplasitos found in most Cretan towns.
Knossos, home of the famous Labyrinth that once held the Minotaur of legend is a Minoan palace whose ruins are one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The Basilica of Ayios Titos in the Cretan city of Gortys is an important Christain monument, it is the first church founded on the island.
Ayios Nikolaos Archaeological and folklore museums are home to the thousands of archaeological discoveries that have been made on the island over the centuries, many date back three or more millennia. Iraklion has 2 museums one houses the artefacts from excavations on the island, the other is a historic museum displaying the historic art and culture of Crete.
Coming to Crete for the beaches? Don’t fear the island has some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. For beach bars, activities and plenty of water sports head to the 6 kilometre Malia Beach which has everything a group could want to keep entertained during the day and night.
Malia is packed with bars, pubs and clubs, most open well into the early hours, perfect for dancing the night away. Dimokratias Street is the main strip where most of the bars are situated, the roads are closed to traffic at night and most of the partying happens in the street.
Water Sport Activities
Water sports are the perfect way to spend the day when on a group holiday to Crete, most of the beaches have water skiing, banana boating, paddle boats and other similar water sports available. Boat trips go from most of the major towns on the island and make a great change from the beach.
If you’re feeling adventurous head to a local Tavern or an Estiatria to sample some of the local Cretan food. If an English breakfast is more to your liking then the towns such as Malia and Hersonissos have plenty of English and Irish style pubs and cafes serving up fish and chips and other British classics.
Aghios Nikolaos beach it a great place to relax, there’s plenty of grass and trees making it a lot cooler. Hersonissos has plenty of great beaches to choose from, Star Beach has plenty of activities such as paragliding and paddle boats that are ideal for couples.
Things to Do
If you want to get away from the beach and explore the island there are plenty beautiful views and historic ruins scattered all over the island. Be sure to check out the ancient city Knossos, the ruins of the palace and the Labyrinth that once held the mythical Minotaur.
For traditional Cretan food head to a local taverna or estiatoria, where the locals and tourists go to eat, examples of traditional dishes are moussaka and kleftico. If looking to sample some traditional dishes try Psarotaverna, a restaurant specialising in fresh fish dishes, for cakes and coffee try visiting Zacharoplasito for a Cretan treat.
Samaria Gorge is a national park on the south side of the island and is a beautiful place to spend a day exploring the gorge. If you are interested in wildlife, AquaWorldis Crete’s aquarium that displays local and worldwide marine life and reptiles. A boat trip is a great way to explore and discover some of the most beautiful parts of the island, discovering all its hidden coves and bays.
Family Friendly Beaches
Agia Galini is a large beach popular with tourists that is very children friendly, there’s also plenty of bars and restaurants to eat during the day. Golden Beach or Chrissi Akti are great for swimming with beautiful shallow waters and are easily accessible from the town. Rethymno Beach has amenities for all the family, water sports for the adults, great shallow stretches for the kids as well as plenty of restaurants.
Things to Do
The ancient Palace and Labyrinth of Knossos makes for an interesting and entertaining day away from the beach, the facilities are well equipped for children of all ages and who doesn’t enjoy a maze?AquaWorld Aquarium is great place for a family day out. The aquarium houses hundreds of species of fish as well as reptiles from all over the world.
If you are interested in sampling the local cuisine then any one of the local tavernas is a good place to start. For traditional cakes and sweets head to a zacharoplasito a Cretan equivalent of a bakery, or if its burgers and chips you are after then most of the bars and restaurants in the resort towns have tourist and children’s menus.
If walking and exploring is what your family enjoy then explore the Samaria Gorge with its many trails and pathways. Water Sports can be found on almost every large beach on the island, with companies offering everything from paddle boating to paragliding and boat trips are a great way to spend a day as a family exploring the island by sea. For families with older children there are diving centres that run tours of the caves and bays of the island.