On our family vacation to Greece last year, our agenda included five nights in Crete. Until we arrived, I was unfamiliar with this large Greek island, but now, it’s one of my favorite places on Earth. While it’s hard to describe why we loved Crete so much, there are many reasons why you should consider it for a family vacation, especially if you are already planning on a Greek family vacation.
I’m so glad that it was included in our group trip agenda, because I probably would have overlooked it if I was planning my own trip. Here are five reasons to visit Crete, Greece with your family.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is located south of Santorini. There’s an airport in the city of Heraklion. Many of the flights into Heraklion are to and from Athens, although we flew to Zurich on our way home. You can also take a ferry to Crete, which is what we did from Santorini.
5 Reasons to Visit Crete, Greece
Gorgeous Views With Turquoise Waters
I love seeing clear blue/turquoise water, and Crete has some of the most gorgeous water that I’ve ever seen. It’s crystal clear when you are swimming in it, but it has such a beautiful blue color when viewed from a distance. Our resort offered water sports and a private beach, and we spent so much time just enjoying the time in the sea.
While I wouldn’t just travel so far for a beach, it’s definitely a compelling reason to visit Crete with kids, especially if you are already going to Greece. I always thought Santorini would be my favorite place for the views, but I actually loved Crete even more.
Of course, you’ll have the opportunity to experience delicious Greek cuisine wherever you visit in Greece. But the food and restaurants in Crete were special. Each of the restaurants we visited offered a unique experience, with a glimpse into Greek culture and cuisine.
Food is definitely such a big part of a family vacation to Crete. Specialties include fish and octopus, lamb, pork, and of course – Greek salad (which is, surprisingly called Greek salad in Greece, and not just “salad”). Many of the restaurants are located along the water, with gorgeous views. Every meal was an experience.
If you are planning on experiencing the rich history of Greece, you are probably thinking of traveling to Athens and Delphi. Both are absolutely worth the trip – but you can combine those destinations with a visit to Crete. The most famous of the historical spots is Knossos, an ancient city that dates back to 7000 BC. Go early, because this place gets packed quickly. We arrived at the opening and saw loads of tourist buses lined up as we were done.
I was most surprised by Spinalonga, which is an island located off the coast of the city of Elounda. I hadn’t heard of Spinalonga, which is a former leper colony, but it was a beautiful and humbling place to visit. Before you go, I’d recommend that you read the historical fiction novel The Island, which takes place on Spinalonga. It’s a great read on its own, but it also provides some great context about what happened on Spinalonga.
Our resort, the Porto Elounda resort, is easily one of the nicest resorts that I’ve ever stayed at – anywhere. I was so impressed with the quality of the resorts located in Crete. This gorgeous resort offered beautiful rooms, numerous pools, a world-class spa, delicious restaurants, and a private beach. I was thrilled to have five days to spend there, because it’s definitely a place you could spend an entire week. If you do plan a family vacation to Crete, I’d recommend that you stay at one of these fabulous resorts.
We visited several towns in Crete, including Plaka and Elounda, during our vacation. They all offered delicious restaurants and fun shops with products of Crete, like olive oil and soap. While I enjoyed looked at all of the products, it was also great to talk to the various shop owners, who were all wonderful ambassadors of the island.
Have you been to Crete?