When we booked our trip to Greece with Adventures by Disney earlier this year, I didn’t do too much research. I knew that we wanted to visit Greece, and we knew that we wanted to do that trip with Adventures by Disney (AbD). Beyond that, I didn’t spent too much time looking at the specific itinerary until we got close to our vacation time.
Athens and Santorini were definitely must-dos in our mind. We were eagerly anticipating seeing the Acropolis and visiting Delphi, because the kids are learning about ancient Greece in school. I was also dreaming about the blues of Santorini, and just knew I’d get some gorgeous photos. But, admittedly, we didn’t know too much about Crete. I have faith in the AbD itineraries, so I was eager to visit and learn more about the area. Our official trip took us to Elounda, Crete for four nights, and then we booked one additional night, so we had a total of five days to explore the area. I left with an incredible fondness for Elounda and the wonderful people who live there. The town is filled with passionate Cretans who love their island and enjoy showing it to tourists. That, combined with the gorgeous landscape, makes it a fabulous vacation destination. Although it’s not as popular with American families, it’s . It’s absolutely worth visiting Elounda with kids.
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Visiting Elounda With Kids
Location of Elounda
The main city on the island of Crete is Heraklion, where you’ll find the port and the airport. We arrived in the evening from Santorini through the port. It takes about an hour to an hour and twenty minutes to travel from Heraklion to Elounda, through highways and winding roads.
Elounda is located on the northern side of the island, right on the water. It’s part of the Agios Nikolaos municipality. I love waterfront and beach landscapes, and Elounda has some of the best that I’ve seen. The waters are a beautiful aqua color – similar to what you’d see in the Caribbean – and are so clear.
Things to Do in Elounda
The island of Spinalonga, a former leper colony, is located off the shores of Elounda. If you are traveling to the area, I highly recommend reading the historical novel, The Island, by Victoria Hislop. It really does a great job of highlighting what the area was like back in the 40s and 50s.
There are numerous excursions offered to Spinalonga. It’s a quick ride from the Elounda waterfront over to Spinalonga, which is filled with ruins from the leper colony. It’s so worth visiting for a short visit. I hadn’t heard about the island before, but it was so compelling. My kids were captivated learning about the island. Despite its history, it is absolutely beautiful.
If you have time, there’s also a train tour, called the Happy Train. We didn’t take a trip on the Happy Train, but we did see it in the town. It’s a four-hour tour that takes you through the towns of Plaka as well as other small villages.
We enjoyed just spending time walking through the town. It’s absolutely lovely, and has a variety of restaurants, shops, and cafes. We spent our last afternoon visiting the various shops, and enjoyed talking with the shopkeepers, who are proud of their island and eager to share their knowledge.
There are also a number of unique tavernas in Elounda, many located right on the waterfront. We ended up eating at one spot, Ferryman Taverna, twice. It was recommended by our tour guide, and was probably the best meal we had during our entire Greek vacation. But beyond the delicious (and generously sized) meals – we also enjoyed the fantastic view of the water that we had. It’s a special restaurant, and is also family-friendly, as they offer kid-sized portions of every entree on the menu. We were tempted to try a different restaurant on our last night in Greece, but ultimately decided that we wanted to go to Ferryman one more time.
Of course, with such a gorgeous waterfront location, Elounda is home to some beautiful beaches. We didn’t visit a local public beach, because our hotel had a private beach. There’s also a waterpark in Elounda – again, we didn’t visit it, so can’t provide a personal review.
Hotels in Elounda
There are lots of great resorts in Elounda for families. We stayed at the Porto Elounda Golf Resort and Spa and absolutely recommend it. If you don’t want to stay at Porto Elounda, there are other options, including the Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites and the Elounda Bay Palace.
A trip to Elounda is the perfect blend of relaxation, history, culture, and food. If you are planning a trip to Greece, I definitely recommend visiting Elounda with kids!