Best Greek Island for families with kids
It’s always hard to say what is the Best Greek Island for families with kids simply because it depends on the age of the kids you are travelling with (I still travel with my boy)
Having a trip with a toddler requires an all different kind of attention than travelling with an adolescent, not to talk about having a trip with a baby
I have been travelling to Greece for the last 20 years, living there for several months too.
Admittedly I have not seen all the over 200 inhabited islands, however, I have experienced a good number of them, especially the most popular ones, reachable by boat or with a flight.
In this post, you will find all you need to make a decision on which Greek island is best for families like yours, also considering your available budget.
Without further ado, let’s dig into it
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Best Greek Island for families with kids of any age – in a nutshell
Keep reading after this section for a more detailed description of each island
- Best Greek island for families with babies: the island of Naxos is one of my overall favourites when I travel with my family. So easy to get around, with the main beach right in the old town which is nice and shallow enough for any baby, toddler or preschooler. A great alternative is Rhodes with the old medieval town absolutely stunning and easy to get around with the pram. It’s a much bigger island with many more facilities (hospitals, doctors etc), however, the beaches close to the main town are not as nice as in Naxos. Read more below about Naxos and Rhodes.
- Best Greek island with toddlers and preschooler: Again Naxos is a winner here with Skopelos a great runner up. Skopelos does not have a great town beach, however, it’s so easy to catch a bus and visit the whole island with a no worry experience. Read more below about Naxos and Skopelos.
- Best Greek island with teenagers and older: what I love about Mykonos is the mix of great nightlife and beach time too. It’s a win-win situation for the whole family when travelling with teenagers and older kids that want to have some time off at night but still enjoy together the beach during the day. Paros is another great alternative with some good nightlife in the two busy towns and many great beaches around. Read more below about Mykonos and Paros.
- For active families: Crete is one of the biggest islands in the Mediterranean sea with plenty of activities, from beach exploration to trekking in amazing gorges (Samaria Gorge is one of the biggest in Europe). Paros is the best spot if the family is into wind sports. It’s one of the most famous world destinations for kitesurfing and windsurfing, especially between June and August. Read more below about Crete and Paros.
- Best Greek island for a quiet family holiday: I have two great options here. Astypalaia is the best if you like a quiet time but still have that typical Cyclades whitewashed village experience (although the island is actually in the Dodecanese). The alternative is Alonissos, with a lovely old town and many beaches around, with more of an antique Italian architecture style. I was there just before the pandemic in August, the busiest time, but still, it was so quiet. Read more below about Astypalaia and Alonissos.
- For beaches and sea: Naxos is unbeatable if you just want to spend time at the beach with your family, a lazy holiday swimming in the beautiful water, building sandcastles and with the option to do some easy watersports. Read more below about Naxos
- For booking a family villa: Naxos again is a great winner here. There is a long beach called Plaka Beach where you can find some amazing villas with access straight to the beach, so gorgeous. You should check out for example the Ploes Seaside Houses. Read more below about Naxos
- For a luxury trip: The village of Elounda in Crete is famous for its luxury resorts and accommodations. It’s also very famous with VIPs that want to have the best that Greece has to offer in an idyllic spot on the island. You will find in Elounda mostly 4 and 5 stars accommodation of which Domes of Elounda is probably the most famous resort of all. Read more below about Crete
- Best Greek island hopping for families: Start your trip in Athens and from there catch a ferry to the quiet island of Sifnos where you will find a nice long beach straight out of the ferry, located on a beautiful bay sheltered from the wind. The next stop is Paros where you can have a nice Greek vibe made of nightlife, windsurfing/kitesurfing and beach time. If you are into a quiet time I suggest going instead to the tiny island of Antiparos (opposite Paros), so relaxed and chilled out. Naxos is the last stop for this island hopping for families.
- Best Greek island for families in April & May: this is a time of the year when most of the islands are still “closed”, with just locals around. The water is still too cold for swimming and for this reason I suggest a stay in either Santorini or Crete. Santorini because it is an around the year destination. April and May are two great months because you will avoid mass tourism. Crete has a few towns (Heraklion, Chania and Rethymno) which are fantastic also in spring as a base for restaurants and trekking.
- Best Greek island for families in June: both Naxos and Crete work great in June. It’s already warm enough for swimming and enjoying the beach.
- Best Greek island for families in July & August: again Naxos is one of my favourite Greek islands for families. It can however get very busy in the last week of July and the first two weeks of August. That’s the time when you should check out Skopelos, quieter and more off the radar.
- Best Greek island for families in September & October: Crete is still actually warm enough to have some beach time, especially if you stay on the south coast.
Best Greek Island for families to holiday
There are 6 groups of islands in Greece. You will find direct flights to most of them during summer. There are however a few islands without an airport (Sifnos, Skopelos, Alonissos, Antiparos)
- the islands in the Cyclades are the most popular destinations with the typical whitewashed villages. Who does not know Santorini, Mykonos or Naxos?
- the Sporades are probably the least known of all and for this reason still very quiet, except Skiathos (popular with British tourism). Alonissos and Skopelos are both great, although different on their own.
- in the Dodecanese you find more of an Italian/Venetian architecture with the beautiful old medieval old town of Rhodes.
- the Ionian islands are greener and more similar to an Italian destination. In fact, they have a few similarities with the Puglia coast. Corfu is the most popular island of all.
- the North Aegean islands are popular with Greeks. They are closer to the North of Greece and the Turkish coast.
- the Saronic islands are popular instead with the Athenians, usually visiting them in the weekend.
Here below the best Greek islands for families with more info about a visit with kids
Naxos is, in my opinion, the most family-friendly Greek island you can find.
It tops in many things:
- the coast and old town is flat enough to walk around with the pram without any problem. However, drive inside the island and you will be challenged with a few interesting walks, in case you miss some trekking
- it is quiet and relaxed, great for a chill-out stay. Still, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes around, including also a few late opening bars, but nothing loud
- plenty of beaches. The main one, meters from the ferry station, is a long beach with shallow water and no waves, perfect for little kids. Just follow the South-East coast and you will find a never-ending sequence of sand beaches
- lots of available accommodation with some great villas and big houses to rent along the sandy east coast. Plaka beach is my favourite spot.
- options for water sports. The south end of Old Town Bay is great for windsurfing and kitesurfing with a couple of centres to rent your gear
- easy to reach by ferry, flying dolphin or with a flight
It does get busy from mid-July to mid-August, however, the island is so big that you can still find quiet corners
I wrote a Full Guide on Naxos that you should check out with a great small selection of accommodation for families
Rhodes is one of the islands with the longest summer, from mid-May to mid-October
There are essentially two main towns, Rhodes Old Town and Lindos.
Between them, you will find many organised resorts which work great for families.
The area of Faliraki tends to be the most popular one when travelling with kids.
The Old Town of Rhodes is a lovely medieval old town listed by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre
It’s quite flat and you can easily have a walk with your pram.
Lindos is instead perched on a hill, more challenging to go around with a pram but it has 2 amazing beaches nearby.
You should check out my Full Guide on Rhodes where you can find a ton of information on the island besides a few suggested spots for families with kids
Read Reference Guide to Rhodes
Skopelos is not one of the most popular Greek islands, still untouched by mass tourism, except only for the beach where they filmed the popular “Mamma Mia!” movie.
Any other beach or village has kept its own charm, with a well-balanced tourism income.
The old town of Skopelos is a lovely one, inside a bay and perched on a hill.
It’s a great spot for toddlers and preschoolers that want to explore the maze of tiny streets.
The town beach is ok, however, take one of the many busses running on the island and you will be in no time in some amazing bays and hidden beaches.
It’s a no-stress experience, does not matter if you travel by bus or you rent a car.
Plenty of restaurants option at night with a lovely old square offering any kind of food to please also the little ones.
I was on the island recently and I wrote this Full Guide on Skopelos, a great reference for planning your trip and your accommodations.
Read Reference Guide to Skopelos
You may already know Mykonos for its famous party culture.
However, you may be not aware that Mykonos has some of the best beaches in Greece.
This is a great island if you are travelling with teenagers or older kids.
There are plenty of beaches to spend the day together, some of them with a DJ for some chill-out music.
At night the “kids” can explore the nightlife of the old town meanwhile the adults can enjoy a lovely dinner in one of the amazing restaurants followed by a few drinks in one of the many chill-out bars
You should check out my Full Guide on Mykonos where I also show the different areas of the island, for a quiet stay or a more “energetic” holiday.
Read Reference Guide to Mykonos
Paros is famous for 3 things:
- nightlife in either Naoussa or Parikia (not as crazy as Mykonos)
- beaches around Naoussa
- amazing wind for windsurfing and kitesurfing south of Naoussa (world-famous)
For these 3 reasons I usually suggest a trip to Paros if you are travelling with active grown-up kids that are after sport and a bit of chill-out nightlife.
The Naoussa area is probably my favourite part of Paros, although Golden Beach is the perfect heaven for windsurfers and kitesurfers addicted.
I wrote a Full Guide on Paros where I introduce all the different areas with the help of a map. I have also included a few suggested accommodations for families that you may want to check out.
Crete is one of the biggest islands in the Mediterranean sea and the biggest in Greece.
This is just to say that Crete has so many places to see and experience.
In fact, you can find in Crete at least 4 of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, however, they are far from each other, up to 5 hours by car
Crete has also one of the longest gorges in Europe, an amazing spot for a trekking day.
You have plenty of possibilities for a unique Jeep Safari.
And I could keep going with the available activities.
In Crete, you can also find one of the most exclusive towns for a family trip in luxury and style: Elounda.
You should check out this Full Guide on Crete that I wrote based on my trips in the previous years. An island that I keep visiting on a regular basis with my family
This is truly a well kept secret island and a great spot if you just want to have a quiet time with your family.
Although placed in the Dodecanese archipelago, Astypalaia has the typical old town with whitewashed houses that you can experience in Santorini.
The village is just spectacular, perched on a hill with a castle overlooking the tranquil bay.
There are a bunch of nice easy going beaches, small enough to feel a local after a week there.
It’s an island that never gets too busy, even in July, making it such a cool place to have a holiday
You should check out this Full Guide on Astypalaia that I wrote with all you need to know for your planning and staying on the island, including a few selected accommodations for families
Read Reference Guide to Astypalaia
Alonnisos is the surprise that you would not expect in this list of islands.
Most of the people don’t even know where it is, assuming they actually know of the existence of it.
Located in the Sporades archipelago, Alonissos is actually a good size island, however, most of it is a National Park.
This means that accommodation is somehow limited and the few villages are mostly new except the old town, perched on a hill inside the island, today home to a lovely art community.
Alonnisos is very very quiet. Just a few restaurants and bars in the main town where the daily ferry docks and that’s pretty much it.
Of course, every village and beach has the own family-run restaurant but do not expect too much.
And that’s the beauty of it.
There are mostly pebble beaches around the island, with amazingly clear water, perfect for snorkelling.
We recently visited Alonnisos with our 5 years old boy and we loved it so much.
I have written a Full Guide on Alonnisos with plenty of handy tips to plan your stay, including the best areas and accommodations for families. Don’t miss out on the water jumpy castle on Agios Dimitrios Beach.
Read Reference Guide to Alonnisos
Photo credits on a few photos in this post