The best beaches for babies and toddlers are the ones where you can relax a little and indulge in that small time window when kids are still content to paddle in the sea, even shells seem magical and every sandcastle you build is an awesome work of art. Here’s the pick of Europe’s top 10, enjoy them while you can.

10. Agios Panteleimonas Beach, South East Crete

Crete has some spectacular beaches, even the busier ones are impossible to dislike. But the word that’s most often used to describe Cretan seas is, ‘choppy’, occasionally downgraded to ‘breezy’, but either way, not great for paddling with toddlers.

Gorgeous Agios Paneleimonas Beach in the south east of the island bucks that trend completely with calm, shallow waters as far as you’re ever likely to wade with a toddler. It also comes good on softest sand, and Crete’s infamous pebbles are almost nowhere to be found. You can hire sun loungers and umbrellas on the beach, and several small resort towns and villages are within easy driving distance.

Where: One hour and 30 minutes south east of Heraklion

Where to stay: Relax at Crete's spacious Istron Luxury Villas. Situated above Istron Bay, the villas boast private swimming pools, an on site restaurant, complementary wifi and airport shuttles. Soak up the sun while accessing the facilities at nearby Iston Bay Hotel including a flood-lit court, a kid's club and a number of bars and restaurants. Children's cots available upon request. A two bedroom villa with a private pool in June starts at £190 per night

Nearby: Koutsouras village, Makry Gialos