Best Greek islands for families
The 10 best Greek Islands for families depend upon whether you have young kids, adventurous kids, and the kind of family holiday you’re looking for. Here you can discover which of the Greek islands is best for your family’s next holiday. We’ll cover the best kids’ activities for kids of different ages as well as family-friendly beaches on the best Greek island paradises.
Where: Between the Greek mainland and Africa, just south of the Cyclades islands.
Features: Greece’s largest island, the best island for ancient archaeological sites
Best Activities for kids or families – visiting the labyrinth of the Minotaur, hiking Samaria Gorge, swimming in the Balos Lagoon.
✈️ You can fly directly to Chania or Heraklion. Direct flights from many European cities make this, like Rhodes, a good option if you don’t want to take a ferry directly from Athens.
⛴️ The ferry is a great experience for kids though, and you can easily get ferries between Greek islands, such as Santorini and Mykonos.
🔱 Famous Crete is Greece’s largest island (both in size and in population) and the best one for visiting the archaeological sites of the great Minoan culture.
Some of the most interesting sites are the ancient Palace of Knossos, the walled towns of Chania and Rethymno, and many of the island’s history museums.
🥾 Older kids, especially nature lovers, will love hiking through the nearby Samaria Gorge National Park, where rare species such as the kri-kri (the ancient Cretan goat) play amongst the rocks and the bearded vulture still soars.
A Greek island that feels like a whole continent.
Meanwhile, Heraklion is just a stone’s throw away from the great archaeological zone of the Palace of Knossos, which rates as one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe.
The home of the Minoan kings that reigned long before Odysseus left Troy, adults and kids alike will be awestruck by the site’s beautiful architecture and colorfully restored artwork.
🔱 I’m sure they’ll love hunting for the Minotaur who was believed to be imprisoned under the Palace in Daedalus’ labyrinth!
Where: In the southern section of the Cyclades archipelago.
Features: Greece’s most stunning island with amazing sunset and unique architecture
Best Activities for kids or families – walking the Fira-Oia path, cliff-jumping at Amoudi Bay, outdoor theaters
This Greek island is a natural wonder in its own right.
🌋 Shaped by a disastrous volcanic explosion thousands of years ago, the island is a crescent-shaped caldera, surrounding the remnants of the old volcanic cone in the center.
🥐 The peculiar croissant shape of the island, its multi-colored volcanic island soils, and dark-sand beaches contrasting the azure Aegean Sea are complemented by one of the most interesting architectural styles of all the islands.
The whole family will love exploring the alleys with cliff-hanging houses, galleries, blue-domed churches, museums, and squares in Oia and Fira towns.
And the island’s volcanic past with stunning rock formations is always a huge hit with the kids.
🚡 Santorini offers lots of fun to older kids, from the black-sand beaches of Perissa, towering cliffs with stunning sunset views at Oia, or trips in the vertical Santorini Cable car with panoramic views.
📽️ After dinner, outdoor cinemas are a treat that the whole family can enjoy. The films are in English and are the latest blockbusters and favorites.
Even better, oftentimes they are part of an outdoor restaurant and bar which means you can combine cocktails, dinner, and a movie as the stars come out!
Where: Centrally located in the Cyclades archipelago.
Features: A party island with a family-friendly side
Best Activities for kids or families – windmills exploration, Delos excursion, Little Venice cafes next to the sea.
Mykonos might be best known as a party island but there’s plenty here for visiting families as well, including beaches, ferries, windmills, and a nearby sacred island of Delos.
Mykonos is very easy to get to and is filled with family-friendly accommodations.
🏞️ Why not tire the kids out at safe and fun Platis Gialos beach before heading into Mykonos Town, taking a detour to look at the island’s iconic heritage windmills?
🍹 Stroll down the quaint Matoyianni street for an authentic souvenir before ending the day together on a sunset boat cruise or at Little Venice, where the old merchants’ houses look out towards the Cycladic sunset and bars are virtually just next to the sea break wall.
Mykonos is another destination offering 5-star family resorts that offer crèche and kindergarten services and private babysitters, so you can afford some alone time while on holiday. Great when traveling with younger kids.
The next day, head out to the sacred island of Delos on a ferry ride.
🏛️ Traditionally neutral, barely inhabited, and spoken about with reverence by citizens of the various Greek cities, Delos was something like the Vatican of the ancient Greek world.
Nowadays, it’s the perfect place to take the kids who are enthusiastic about the Greek myths from Hercules to Artemis.
Painstakingly excavated and partially restored, Delos has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
⛴️ After taking a quick boat ride from the nearby Mykonos, make sure you visit the local archaeological museum followed by a half-day tour with a fully qualified guide to give this ancient site the attention it deserves.
Where: Just next to Athens in the Argo-Saronic Gulf
Features: Car-free island with rocky secluded beaches, historical sites, and boat rides
Best Activities for kids or families – cliff jumping, hiking, horseback riding, making friends with the locals
Although only a quick ferry ride from Athens, Hydra is a serene world of its own.
Home to great historic merchant families, artists, creative expats and Athens’ elite, Hydra is the Greek epitome of quite luxury and old money.
At the same time, it is also great for family holidays as it is not big and you will not be torn running between sites. Ideal for a relaxing family stay with style.
Around Hydra, you won’t have to worry about your little ones wandering into traffic.
Cars are banned on Hydra, and in fact, the only motorized vehicles allowed on the islands are municipal garbage trucks.
Instead, the locals and tourists alike get around by foot or donkey.
Your kids will love these gentle beasts of burden, and the family is able to go on donkey and horse rides all around the island’s historic harbor and around its hiking paths.
🏝️ Another feature of Hydra is its rocky beaches (only one soft sand beach on the whole island) where kids start learning cliff jumping along with the local children.
Great place for you too, family jumps are great fun!
Where: Central Cyclades
Features: Island that has it all – history, golden beaches, pebbly beaches, sleepy villages, watersports, stylish towns, shopping, and dining
Best Activities for kids or families – Renting a car and exploring the archetypical Greek island, island hopping
Paros combines a little bit of everything, which means everyone from your travel party will enjoy it, so it is great for extended-family visits.
🏝️ Paros is known for its varied beaches, ranging from rocky and intriguing Kolymbithres, which gives kids plenty to explore, to long and sporty Chryssi Akti (Golden Beach) which offers plenty of kite-surfing and water sports for older children.
⛴️ Paros is a great base if you don’t want to restrict yourself to one island.
🏺 Lively Parikia and Naoussa towns offer virtually all you need – ancient ruins and early-Christian heritage, museums and galleries for culture lovers, narrow alleys for authentic souvenir shopping, chic cocktail bars, and fine dining.
The inland villages offer good hiking opportunities, especially Lefkes with its Byzantine Trail.
For me, Paros is a perfect Greek island!
Where: Central Cyclade, next to Paros
Features: Tiny island with beautiful nature, posh inhabitants and pristine beaches
Best Activities for kids or families – swimming, snorkeling, Cave of Antiparos visit
🏝️ Quieter than the neighboring Naxos, Antiparos is another island well known for its natural beauty.
🏖️ Besides the Venetian castle in Antiparos town, the island is well endowed with lovely beaches, most notably Glifa Beach and Livadia Beach (although stunning Agios Georgios is well worth a look).
More adventurous families can bond on the 411 steps down into the depths of the Cave of Antiparos (the biggest vertical cave in Europe).
Look closely and you can spot the names of famous figures throughout history who have made the descent, including the great poet Byron. Nowadays, the global elite frequents the island.
Make sure to take a jumper though, for even in the heart of summer, Antiparos Cave is a good degree cooler than the sweltering heat outside.
⛵ The perfect destination for a boat tour family trip from Paros.
Where: Central Cyclades
Features: Biggest of Cycladic islands, Naxos is a world of its own whose charms are both along its shores, with gorgeous sandy beaches, relaxed beach bars and tavernas and boat trips, and inland – in its many lively villages
Best Activities for kids or families – Hiking, horse-riding, watersports, old museums in inland villages, relaxed swimming on golden beaches
The largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos is quieter than bustling Paros, with less nightlife and big resorts.
🏖️ It is however ringed with long sandy beaches with crystal clear waters, making it a great place for a beachside holiday.
🐎Plaka Beach is rated one of the best in the country, with a wide range of aquatic activities for young and old, while other beaches like Agios Georgios and Agios Prokopios can be visited via wild back trails on horseback, scooter, or ATV.
Also, make sure to check out the Portata the remnants of the island’s never-finished ancient temple to Apollo, and the Temple of Demeter just a little inland from Naxos Chora (Town).
⛫ Venture into the interior towards the old Venetian castles, whitewashed monasteries, and one of the best Olive oil museums in Greece. Halki is a village not to miss. Ideal for family vacations.
Where: Western Greece, among the Ionian islands
Features: Best Greek island for nature and wildlife, waterparks, and animal encounters
Best Activities for kids or families – shipwreck beach visit, swimming, diving, watching wild seals and tortoises
🏖️ Zakynthos is internationally famous for hosting what has been rated as one of the best beaches in the world.
In 1981, a ship called Panagiotis ran aground in a cove of fine white sand, secluded from the rest of the island by towering cliffs.
It came to form the centerpiece of this popular beach called Navagio or Shipwreck Beach, a must-see destination on the island and one of the best family trip ideas in the Ionian Sea.
But that’s not the only thing Zakynthos has to offer for families.
🦓 The island also has a range of kid-friendly waterparks that offer hours of aquatic fun, while the Asksos Stone Park is part open-air museum and part natural zoo, with a wild range of wildlife.
🥾 The island’s south coast is adorned with lush greenery and is great for hiking.
🐢 A quick boat trip to the little islet of Marathonisi takes you to unspoiled Gerakas Beach where the endangered loggerhead tortoises and the Mediterranean monk seals make their homes.
Where: Southern Greece in the Dodecanese archipelago.
Features: Crusader knights castle, picturesque bays, easy access, beautiful sandy beaches.
Best Activities for kids or families – history tours, education, swimming, watersports
⚔️ In centuries past, Rhodes was the base of the crusading military monks known as the Knights of Saint John.
🏰 Although the knights are not there, much of their legacy remains in Rhodes Town, especially the magnificent Castle enclosing its narrow cobblestone streets.
These impressive fortifications built by the knights are now the UNESCO-listed Rhodes Old Town, which is the largest active medieval settlement in the world.
🏛️Through a maze of cobbled streets, many of which sell period souvenirs, the Old Town offers families an immersive learning experience like no other.
Don’t forget to check out the site where one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world stood – the famous Colossus of Rhodes.
🛶 Once you become tired of the ancient adventures you can strike out to other parts of the island, where crisp sandy beaches offer plenty of watersports, ranging from exhilarating windsurfing, and active sea kayaking, to calm paddle rides around the island.
A Greek holiday matching culture, nature, and activities with family beaches and beach clubs.
Where: Northwestern Greece, capital of the Ionian islands
Features: Venetian towns, Tuscany-like landscapes, excursions to nearby islands
Best Activities for kids or families – history tours, education, swimming, watersports
A distinct Venetian influence makes Corfu different from other Greek islands.
You will not see whitewashed sugar-cube houses, but beautiful mansions and townhouses with collonades along the cobbled pedestrian streets.
This makes Corfu one of the most elegant of the Greek islands, a reason that one of two Greek ex-Royal Family palaces is located there.
✈️ Also, its direct flights from the UK, Europe, and Athens make it a perfect family vacation location.
When visiting with kids, do not miss the famous Aqualand, which has to be one of the best water parks in Europe.
🌊 Ranging over 75,000 square meters, Aqualand Corfu ranges from the high-octane Black Hole and Kamikaze rides to a relaxing journey along the Lazy River or sometimes bobbing about in the artificial wave pool.
Once your skin is pickled to a prune you can check out Corfu Town, a Venetian kastropolis or castle town that is full to the bream with architecture and living culture.
🎒 Mainland Greece is also close, in case you want to venture for a day trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best island for a family vacation?
Depends on what are you looking for, but one offering a bit of everything is Naxos. Rhodes has the most resorts with kids’ clubs and the island is used to hosting families and so you’ll find kids’ activities galore. Corfu and Crete are also large and very child-friendly islands with direct flights from the UK and European cities.
Where are the best kid-friendly beaches with warm shallow waters of all the Greek islands?
Every island has beaches suitable for kids, but the one with most of them is Naxos. The area around Chania in Crete also has many different kinds of beaches, bays, and coves.
When is the best time to visit Greece with kids?
All summer long, but you would probably like to avoid the summer crowds and the heat during July and August which can be extreme. May, June, and September are the best months for a family-friendly paradise trip with younger kids.
Where can I find the most family-friendly places?
Look for the bigger islands, like Rhodes, Corfu, Naxos, and Paros.