4 minute read by Island Hopping Last updated 21st Aug 2023

The 10 Best Greek Islands for Families

The best Greek islands for families are the ones that offer all sorts of vacation fun and enjoyments. There's likely to be a little bit of classic R&R, protected beaches where swimming is safe, and hotels that suit those with the little ones in tow – think splash pools and entertainment schedules for the evenings.

But there are also those family hotspots that come with a side of adventure and culture. They range from the mighty castles of Rhodes to the gasp-inducing beaches of Zakynthos; the places where the kiddies can wander UNESCO fortresses and find secret coves and grottoes where there's hardly another soul around.

This guide runs through 10 of the very best Greek islands for families. It travels right across the Aegean and Ionian alike to find them, offering places that are easy to get to and others that are a little more off the beaten path. Happy holidays…


Just imagine what the kids will think when they lay eyes on the crenulated castle tops of the Crusader knights that once inhabited Rhodes. It's like being in an episode of Game of Thrones, only with cheese-sizzling tavernas on the side for when they get hungry. You'll want to take a few days to be enthralled in the UNESCO heart of Rhodes Town. It's a labyrinth of café-filled squares, moody Ottoman spires, and hidden alleyways, all culminating at the incredible Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, where mosaics lurk in long-forgotten keeps.

Then, it's time to head out and explore the island. The largest of the Dodecanese chain, Rhodes quickly sheds its historic character for that cocktail of Mediterranean sun, sand, and sea that many a family comes in search of. We'd say skip Faliraki because it's a party resort. Better options include lovely Lindos, a wide sweep of perfectly manicured sand that's crowned by a white-painted Greek village, or Lardos, where low-key hotels roll down to meet the Aegean Sea.


No guide to the best Greek islands for families could possibly ignore Crete. This one's long been a favourite for travellers with the little ones in tow. That's partly down to just how accessible it is. There are two airports (one in Chania in the west and the other in Heraklion in the east), along with ferry connections to Athens, Santorini, and Rhodes. On top of that, the whole north coast of the island is a montage of built-up resorts, complete with beachside hotels and little villas with their own plunge pools. Oh, and the season here is nice and long – Crete gets warm by May and doesn't cool again until at least October.

And there's stacks to be getting on with, too. You can whiz down the twisting waterslides and zoom through the space bombs of the massive Acqua Plus park near Hersonissos if you're keen on cranking up the adrenaline. You could go get lost in the enchanting lanes of Chania town, to see if the tykes can spot the Venetian windmill and the Byzantine-era fortifications. Adventure-hungry families might also want to venture to the south coast, where you can be wowed by pink-hued sands at Elafonisi or meet mountain goats in the great Samaria Gorge (although be ready for a hefty hike there!).


Life is slow and sleepy on Lefkada. One of the jewels of the Ionian islands, this one's also one of the easiest to get to in the western part of Greece. That's because it's actually joined to the mainland by a causeway, which means fast road links to the airport in Preveza. So, there should be less of that 'are we there yet?' on the trip in. What's more, there's a seriously wonderful array of villas in the coastal hills down Lefkada's west coast, offering enough room for the whole crew and sea views that are simply divine.

During the day, hit up Nydri port. That's home to oodles of motorboat rental spots that will let dad or mum take command of their own vessel. You'll be free to sail across to Meganisi island to seek out your own swimming coves and lazy beach tavernas for lunch. An organised boat trip is also a top idea – excursions can take you around to the chalk-white cliffs and pebbles of Porto Katsiki Beach, or go south to Kefalonia for lunch on the harbourside. It's an island for families who prize R&R, that's for sure.


Just a mention of the name Zakynthos is enough to conjure images of cotton-white beaches and turquoise seas. We still shiver at the thought of this island, which takes care of all sorts of travellers, from backpackers to luxury lovers to hedonists. Families also have loads to like. Dodge the main party town of Laganas and the rest of the south coast is a joy if you're coming with younger ones. Places like Keri, with its pebble shores and dramatic sunsets, or Kalamaki, where the beaches are sandy and the waves are always still, are top choices.

One thing's for sure, the whole troop is going to be wowed by the sight of Shipwreck Beach. It's not just the best beach on Zante; it's one of the best in the world. Going by boat is the only way to arrive because the cliffs soar hundreds of feet up. Alternatively, there are lookout points that will reveal the shimmering bay on the west coast from high above. Aside from that, visitors to Zakynthos can head to Turtle Island to swim in the company of the namesake reptiles, or dive into the Tsilivi Water Park for slides and splash pools galore.


Forget the busy Cyclades islands or the pricy Ionian chain, Skiathos is your chance to explore the Sporades. They dot the Aegean Sea to the north of Athens, stringing out in a line of mountainous silhouettes close to the mainland port of Volos. Skaithos is the first one you'll get to on the ferry and also the most developed of the bunch. It greets visitors with a gorgeous harbour town (Skiathos Town) that sort of jumbles over the cliff sides and down to the azure water below.

The marina can actually get quite lively in the summer months. That's why we'd recommend that families make a beeline for the resorts to the west. They're riddled with beachside B&Bs and charming hotels with restaurants and sunbeds on the sands. Among them, Paralia Achladies and Koukounaries stand out for being long stretches of golden sand with chilled little villages backing them up. The western bay of Big Banana Beach also beckons with water skis, pedalo rentals, and sunbeds (just don't confuse it with Small Banana Beach, which is reserved for those who prefer to sunbathe au natural).


Naxos might lie at the beating heart of the Cyclades chain but it's not really like its compadres. Instead of rugged volcanic geology and soaring cliffs a la Santorini, it's characterised by long, uninterrupted stretches of powdery white sand. And if that sounds like it's the perfect place to take a family that's craving wild swimming and water sports in the Aegean, that's because it is! Simply named Plaka is the place to aim for. It's nearly 2.5 miles long and runs down the east coast in a medley of tavernas and outfitters offering everything from SUP boards to water bikes.

Naxos also manages to shed the sometimes-eye-watering price tag that goes with a vacation on the Cyclades' more famous isles (places like Mykonos, for example). Because it's so big, there are plenty of sea-view hotels to go around, meaning there isn't the same spike in accommodation rates when the warmer months get rolling.


Corfu is so darn used to tourists that it can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. That's not to say it's touristy, though. There are still hidden villages in the northern mountains – Klimatia, Sokraki, Nymphes - where it's possible to bed down in working Greek sheep farms and have the sound of the goat bells and swaying pine forests wake you in the morning. Those are perfect for adventure-seeking families keen on hiking through olive groves to mountaintops or waterfalls, and those who want to dine at rustic agrotourismos on fresh olive oils and hand-worked cheeses.

Others will prefer to stay down on the coastline. Corfu is brimming with resorts and fishing villages that fit the bill for families. Benitses is perhaps the most obvious choice, offering cobbled lanes by the side of a pebble-sand beach that's well protected from the waves. But then there's Sidari up north, where the coastline fragments into rocky, white-marble bays and the hotels offer full-on, all-inclusive service.


Kos might have a bit of a rep as a party island, but don't be fooled. It's also one of the best Greek islands for families. It has its own airport and excellent boat links to nearby Rhodes, so you shouldn't find it too much of a chore to get over there. When you do, be ready to encounter what many say are the piece-de-resistance beaches of eastern Greece. We're talking water sports meccas like Mastichari (windsurfing, anyone?) and beautifully deserted Marmari (sandcastle building 101 required). And that's just two of over 20!

When you tire of days on the sand on Kos, there's plenty more to be done. Brave the hair-pinning roads that weave into the Dikeos Mountains and you'll find the bougainvillea-strewn village of Pyli, with its maze of small streets converging on tavernas that serve local mezze. There's history that can entertain elsewhere, too. Look for that at the Asklepion, a 2,400-year-old hospital built by the ancients, and at the Castle of the Knights, another sea-view citadel that dates to the Middle Ages.


Andros is one of the northern members of the Cyclades chain. That puts it close to Athens, with ferry links to the capital's port at Rafina that can get you on island turf in less than two hours. Then the whole place is your oyster, a whopping stretch of hilly, olive-speckled backcountry that measures 20 miles up and 10 miles across. We'll get to the beaches in a second, but suffice to say that the interior is riddled with walking paths and waterfalls (especially the Pithara Waterfalls near the village of Menites - beautiful!).

Down on the coast and there's all sorts. Epic doesn't quite do it justice over on Tis Grias, where slender rock stacks lurch from the Aegean Sea. Then you've got uber-secluded Zorkos Beach, where the tykes will have all the sand they need to construct castles without another soul around. The main town of Andros is the Chora port. Stay there to dine in seafood (Andros is famous for its fish) restaurants under the gaze of a wave-splashed lighthouse.


The nerve centre of the ever-popular Cyclades islands has a very deserving place on this list of the best Greek islands for families. For starters, it shouldn't be difficult to get to. The island is connected by boat to Athens, to Santorini, to Crete – the list goes on and on. It's actually become something of a transport hub, and lots of people don't even leave the port of Parikia on the east coast. That's a real shame, because there are some seriously lovely bays and beaches on the north coast, not to mention the slow-paced yet lovely village of Naoussa…

A shock of whitewashed cottages with a harbour that's filled with paint-peeling skiffs, the town up north is perfect for families who value authentic Greek vibes. There's a small water park nearby, but, really, it's all about taking fishing trips with the locals or boat taxis out to neighbouring islands for the day. The town is also right on the edge of Kolymbithres Beach. That's worth a special mention because it's downright stunning, offering Seychelles-esque boulders before a lagoon of gleaming teal blue sea.

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