The most southerly, largest and, arguably, best known Greek island, Crete needs very little explaining to its legions of fan-families. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, now’s a great time to find out what all the fuss is about? How Crete manages to secure such undying devotion? And – most important of all – where’s good to go for your particular type of family holiday?

Because Crete is nothing if not diverse. Agritourism was born here, so you can pretty much tick any responsible travel boxes you like. Sporty families can get up to anything from world class scuba diving and windsurfing to snorkelling, sailing or paragliding - the island even has excellent golf courses. Spring, summer and autumn weather is warm and sunny, which is good because Crete isn’t short on stunning beaches ranging from secret coves to several ranked in Europe’s top-ten. No surprise to find that such an eco-aware island also has a fabulous natural larder and serious cooking skills. Ancient history is strewn all over from cities and towns to tiny villages, UNESCO World Heritage sites, infamous islands and even under the sea. And if kids are heart-set on waterparks, theme parks and wild old fun, Crete does all those beautifully too.

Where to begin? The experts at Visit Greece have put together their top tips for Crete’s four different regions. Each comes with its own allure, so have a look, see where you like and start planning your island adventure. As a bit of an extra incentive, direct UK flights to Heraklion or Chania take from just under four hours.

1/4 Chania

Chania is Crete’s most westerly region, home to the myth-laden White Mountains, the White Mountains Protected Forest, spectacular gorges and some of the loveliest beaches in Greece. With all this natural splendour going on, it probably won’t surprise you much to discover that Chania’s also the region where Crete’s commendable agritourism industry started out: way back in 1994 when the concept of responsible travel was barely a blip on the global radar. As far as family holidays go, one of the many great by-products of a longstanding commitment to environmental and cultural stewardship is an amazing range of activities and experiences which come good on eco-creds but don’t fall short on fun - great news for kids and almost perfectly on message for the most wide awake of woke teens.

Why choose Chania for family holidays?

  • Chania is Crete’s former capital and if food’s your passion this lovely city is one of the best places to indulge. Hunger for heritage is satisfied by a wonderfully atmospheric historic district centred around the ancient Venetian Harbour.
  • Vamos is the village where agritourism was born in Crete. Visit to see eco-excellence thriving everywhere from graciously restored mansions to charming taverna and award-winning ‘green’ guesthouses.
  • Let kids be archaeologists for the day at Kasteli where Archaeolab workshops give them a chance to excavate, discover and learn the secrets of the past, for real.
  • Discover magical beaches like Balos in the far west - world famous for its ethereal lagoon and shimmery white sands. Or go see the pink shores of Falassarna just south of Balos. Or pick one of the dozens of sporty, family-friendly beaches like Chrissi Akti, Troulakis and Paralia Agia Marina which surround Chania city.
  • Chania’s the region for hopping to beachy and beautiful islands and islets like Elafonisi, Gramvousa and Gavdos on the most southerly point of Europe.
  • For extreme outdoor adventuring, gorge walking, hiking in Lefka Ori (White Mountains) and exploring the untamed and magnificent White Mountain Protected Forest, head to wild, thrilling and totally unique Sfakia in the south of Chania.
  • Hike the legendary Samaria Gorge (the longest in Europe) with older kids and teens. It’s a five-hour trek through unforgettably natural beauty, one of the top ‘only on Crete’ experiences and destined to be a holiday highlight for adventurous types.

Find out more about family holidays in Chania with Visit Greece