THESSALONIKI AND THE SURROUNDING AREA
It’s a delight to perambulate around this lively seafront city, with its numerous parks, sculptures, landmarks and refreshment stops. The colorful city and its scenic promenade offer plenty of opportunities for fascinating museum visits, leisurely strolls and fabulous food, and, not least of all, the kinds of desserts children will remember forever.
Science Center and Technology Museum
Apart from a giant 3D Cinema Screen, a Digital Planetarium and Motion Simulator, the hands-on, interactive science center offers hours of geeky fun for kids and adults at its exhibition areas.
You can buy a general entry ticket at this ride-filled fun park for kids of all ages (it even has a ‘Babyland’ area).
On a cooler day, escape into this giant mall to watch a film (there are 11 cinemas to choose from) and play at the Village Arcade Center or PaidoCosmos.
Not to be missed, the giant parkland features around 40 real-size dinosaurs, some even making realistic sound effects and motions. The multifaceted park also includes a Mammoth Museum, Ancient Greek Farm, Botanic Garden, the Cave of the Human Species Evolution, a Sea Life Park and a Park of Reptiles.
With 145m2 of climbing walls, this urban spot is a great place for restless children; trainers are available for assistance.
A man-made lake created in 1932 and part of the Natura 2000 network, Lake Kerkini and its scenic surrounding areas are ideal for relaxing family fun in nature.
Florina, 150k from Thessaloniki, is a region of lakes like Vergoritida and Hermotitida and picturesque villages such as Nymfaio, considered one of the most beautiful in Greece.
Around 100k southwest of Thessaloniki, the Pieria prefecture in Macedonia is ideal for hikes among stunning forests and mountain landscapes.
Stroll around quaint traditional villages such as Palaios Panteleimonas, on the slopes of Mount Olympus (there are numerous refuges to stop at on the mountain),which has a 180-degree view. Visit nearby archaeological sites such as that of Dion, a sacred ancient Macedonian site. Bordering the Aegean Sea to the east, it also has a beautiful coastline where you can eat at a seafront taverna.
If you’re in Thessaloniki for a few days or longer, it’s well worth taking a day trip to explore Macedonia’s incredible ancient sites.
While driving to the Peloponnese – one of Greece’s most naturally magnificent regions that offers a wealth of opportunities for hiking and active sports, as well as cultural excursions – make sure to stop at the Corinth Canal for a breathtaking peek down to the sea.
Family Adventure Sports
The Radical Kite Center in Nafplio offers lessons for kids by specialized trainers.
For a family adventure surrounded by awe-inspiring Arcadian springlandscapes in the heart of the Peloponnese, Trekking Hellas organizes rafting and trekking tours, including cultural visits to traditional villages.
Another way to take in the region’s blossoming nature is on two wheels. Arcas Travel takes families on bicycle tours along coastal Messinia and Laconia.
Cycle Greece organizes “multisport” family trips, suitable for kids aged 15+, that include cycling, hiking and rafting.
During the weekends only, visit (no need to book in advance) The Ranch in Corinth, a massive — around 160 hectares — western ranch-themed sports and education complex offering sport, cultural activities and tours.
Its Educational Village theme park educates kids on traditional trades, while there are stables with around 30 horses, and a multitude of sports facilities (for archery, football, basketball, volleyball, water polo, swimming, wall climbing and horseback riding).
There is a saloon, restaurant, and BBQ food eatery on site. For longer stays, The Ranch runs a summer camp that also includes education on Greek culture and mythology, a nature and healing retreat, and features agrotourism and Greek Gastronomy.
Springtime Nature + Culture
As well as being an important historical site with a major fortification and castle that was continuously occupied from archaic times until the 19th century, Acrocorinth is also a Natura 2000 EU-designated habitat with a rich flora that will have you stopping every few steps to admire different species of flowers.
Below lies Ancient Corinth, a wonderful site to stroll around with a museum full of fascinating finds — from bold mosaics and sphinxes to statues of the life-sized twin “Kouros” statues.
Don’t miss the archaeological site of Olympia where the Olympic Games were held in classical times, and its excellent museum.
Mycenae in the northwest part of the Peloponnese, and once inhabited by kings, queens and warriors during the great Late Bronze Age era of Greek heroes, ranks among the most awe-inspiring places a visitor can experience in the Peloponnese.
Epidaurus with its remarkable ancient theater and the nearby seaside town of Palaia Epidauros, where the Small Theater is located, are ideal for walks, touring and seafront dining.
Two other stunning, history-steeped destinations in the Peloponnese that perfectly combine the joy of orgiastic springtime landscapes and refreshing sea views with cultural allure are the remarkable medieval castles of Mystras and Monemvasia, which are ideal for either a day visit or a few days stay.
Greece’s largest island is hugely diverse; the capital of Irakleio in central Crete is the busiest and main entry point.
Rethymno and Hania to the west retain a Venetian influence, Aghios Nikolaos to the east is the most touristic resort area while the south coast, across Africa, is wilder and least touristy.
Elounda in the northeast is a luxurious seaside nest, while the island’s hinterland in the west is where you’ll find the 2000m-high White Mountains.
For explorers regardless of age
Cretaquarium & Aquaworld
Among Europe’s largest and most awesome aquariums, Cretaquarium offers guided tours and programs for all ages. The Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Center displays sea life and encourages interaction and compassion for rescued animals.
A giant (2,500m2) park with 30 life-sized dinosaurs (realistic sounds and movements included) from the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic periods, as well as 5D and 7D cinemas, a restaurant, playground and a shop.
In Rethymno, try Plakias which offers lessons, tours and walks.
Odysseia Stables in Hersonissos offers horse-riding family holidays, with lessons and trips for kids aged 4-15 years and family accommodation.
The Finikia Horse Riding Tours offer walks, tours and expert hippotherapy for children with mobility problems, autism or developmental issues.
Zoraidas in Hania offers walks and tours for all ages.
Hellas Bike in Hania rents bikes with baby seats (from 9 months) and bicycles, as well as providing organized tours for different age groups.
At Vamos traditional village families can stay at a traditional house and take cooking classes and tours to meet local food and wine producers.
Grocery store and restaurant Bakaliko organizes cooking classes for families (not unattended kids) in which they teach about Cretan products and cuisine.
Kids Loves Greece, a child-centered travel agency, organizes Cretan cuisine classes for kids of all ages.