The Greek islands are perfection for family villa holidays. But which island to choose from such a vast archipelago?
1/5 Kassiopi, North East Corfu
If you feel like exploring, Corfu’s northeast coast is famously good for secret coves, and hidden bays. But you’ll find water sports and fun kids’ activities on long and sandy Kalamionas Beach, just a short walk from Kassiopi town centre.
- Kassiopi Castle – fun to ramble round, great for sea views.
- Hydropolis Waterpark – 15 minutes’ drive west of Kassiopi.
- Rodas – lively beach resort, 20 minutes’ drive west of Kassiopi.
- Sidari – Corfu’s best known holiday resort, 30 minutes west of Kassiopi.
- Corfu Town – historic island capital, an hour’s drive south of Kassiopi.
Villa Las, Kelia
Sleeps up to eight. From £2,828 for seven nights
Contemporary Villa Las sits overlooking the sea in the tiny hamlet of Kelia, less than two kilometres from Kassiopi.
Beautifully designed to make the most of Corfu’s gorgeous weather, it has an infinity pool, sunny terrace and fantastic views. Three en-suite bedrooms on the ground floor are ideal for younger children and the upstairs master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with bath and shower.
| sleeps up to eight | four bedrooms, four bathrooms | private infinity pool, sun terrace, open sea views | outdoor dining room, al fresco living room, sheltered sun pergola | satellite TV, WIFI, iPod dock | aircon in all bedrooms | welcome pack, pool towels | maid service |
Find out more about Villa Las in north east Corfu
Kalamaki Bay House, Kassiopi
Sleeps up to 10. From £3,504 for seven nights
Less than a kilometre from Kalamaki Beach, this lovely waterfront villa overlooks the sea, with views towards the distant mountains of Albania.
From its subtle paint colours, and rustic-chic wooden furniture to the sleek kitchen and elegant master bedroom with its own terrace, relaxed luxury is the theme in Kalamaki Bay House. The large, private infinity pool is surrounded by a sun terrace. There’s a charming outdoor dining room, and the villa also has a media room with a library of books, DVDs and X-Box 360 games.
| sleeps up to 10 | five bedrooms, two bathrooms, three shower rooms | large, private infinity pool, sun terrace overlooking Kalamaki Bay | outdoor dining room, built-in barbecue | media room with flat screen TV, DVD player, X-Box 360 | aircon throughout villa | welcome pack, bathrobes, toiletries | breakfast cook, maid service, concierge service |
Find out more about Kalamaki Bay House in north east Corfu
2/5 Barbati Beach, North East Corfu
Barbati Beach is one of the prettiest on Corfu’s north east coast, not least of all because it’s gleaming, white pebble shores are set against the backdrop of Mount Pantokrator, the island’s highest mountain.
- Mount Pantokrator – Corfu’s tallest mountain is the backdrop to Barbati Beach.
- Nisaki – charming seaside village an easy half hour walk north of Barbati
- Gouvia – lively resort town, 20 minutes’ drive south of Barbati.
- Corfu Town – 30 minutes’ drive south of Barbati.
- Aqualand Corfu – 25 minutes’ drive south of Barbati.
House on the Sea, Barbati Beach
Sleeps up to 10. From £4,307 for seven nights
With its whitewashed walls, traditional blue shutters, and olive tree trimmed garden overlooking beautiful Barbati Beach, House on the Sea is an iconic Greek island villa.
Two of the five bedrooms, enjoy the privacy of a separate annexe, and all have en-suite bathrooms or shower rooms. The 10m pool is surrounded by a sun terrace, and the villa also has a waterfront al-fresco dining area.
| sleeps up to 10 | five bedrooms, five bathrooms | private 10m pool, sun terrace | quieter end of Barbati Beach, one kilometre from local shops | dining conservatory, al fresco dining room, enclosed garden | satellite TV, WIFI, table tennis | aircon throughout | welcome pack | maid service |
Find out more about House on the Sea in north east Corfu
3/5 Kalami, North East Corfu
If you’re looking for Corfu from a gentler era, it’s here in the peaceful village of Kalami. The waterfront’s trimmed with graceful, old streetlamps, and traditional taverna serve lingering sea views, along with freshly caught seafood. Kalami’s uncrowded beaches are ideal for younger kids, and nearby Barbati Beach has water sports, diving, snorkelling, and sailing.
- Kalamaki Beach – big, family beach in Kassiopi, 20 minutes’ drive north.
- Hydropolis Waterpark – 25 minutes drive west in Acharavi.
- Corfu Old Town – an hour’s drive south of Kalami.
- San Stefano – Corfu’s largest beach, blue-flag, an hour’s drive south.
- Achilleion Museum – 20 minutes south of Corfu Town.
Yialiskari Bay House, Yialiskari
Sleeps up to 12. From £4,600 for seven nights
Magnificent views of Yialiskari Bay more than justify the broad sun terraces surrounding this lovely, family house, a short walk from Kalami.
It has a private infinity pool, al-fresco dining areas and a built-in barbecue. The lower ground floor is self-contained with its own kitchen, lounge and games room. The entire top floor is the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.
| sleeps up to 12 | six bedrooms, six bathrooms | private infinity pool, wraparound sun terraces | al fresco dining area, sea and countryside views | satellite TV, WIFI, iPod docks, games room | aircon throughout the villa | welcome pack, maid service | short walk from beaches, and Kalami village |
Find out more about Yialiskari Bay House in north east Corfu
4/5 Western Crete
The largest Greek island, Crete is also one of the most popular with families. The west coast, dominated by the White Mountains, tends to be a little quieter. The beaches are spectacular, and authentic Cretan life is found everywhere from pretty mountain villages to friendly waterfront tavernas. Crete’s west is the coastline for stunning beaches, and two of the island’s most famous, Balos and Elafonnisi, are just over an hour from Chania.
- Limnoupolis Waterpark – 20 minutes drive north of Chania
- Venetian Harbour – Chania’s lively, historic waterfront district
- Agia Lake –wildlife and bird spotting, 30 minutes drive north of Chania
- Balos Lagoon – Crete’s most photographed beach, an hour’s drive west of Chania
- Chania Old Town – one of the Mediterranean’s loveliest historic quarters.
Villa Meli, Gavalochori
Sleeps up to six. From £2,033 for seven nights
Just a short drive east of Chania, Villa Meli sits in a secluded rural estate, looking over the rooftops of Gavalochori village, towards the sea.
It has a large private pool, pretty terraces and plenty of outdoor space with an al-fresco dining area, pool kitchen, and playroom. All three bedrooms are en-suite and the house is designed in cool Cretan style with wooden beams and stone floors.
| sleeps up to 6 | three bedrooms, three shower rooms | private pool, sun terraces, outdoor kitchen, playroom | al fresco dining area, open countryside views | satellite TV, WIFI, DVD Player | aircon throughout | welcome fruit basket, maid service | short walk from Gavalochori village and beaches |
Find out more about Villa Meli in western Crete
Paxos is the smallest of the Ionian Islands, just south of Corfu, and a ferry crossing from the mainland resort of Parga. It has a well deserved reputation for laid-back cool, and intriguing little villages, historic towns, secret beaches and endlessly explorable countryside, make it an inspired choice for families. Kaki Lagada and Plakes are great family beaches close to Gaios town centre and Avlaki on the west coast, near Galazio, is great for swimming and snorkelling.
- Boat hire – sailing is almost a rule on Paxos and boat hire is very affordable.
- Walking – local routes used by locals for centuries are now brilliant walking trails.
- Gaios – good for shops, island heritage, and historic Venetian architecture.
- Coast cruises – Paxos’ dramatic coastline is best seen from the sea.
- Corfu – regular ferry crossings to Corfu take just over an hour and 30 minutes.
Villa Dimitra, Gaios
Sleeps up to six. From £1,375 for seven nights
Close to the bustling island town of Gaios, this original family villa is edged by olive groves, and has wonderful sea views.
Making the most of Paxos’ amazing weather, the villa opens on to a shady veranda, which leads to sun terraces surrounding a large infinity pool. There’s also a pretty al-fresco dining area, and two of the three bedrooms have private balconies.
| sleeps up to 6 | three bedrooms, three shower rooms | private pool, sun terraces, veranda | al fresco dining area, open sea views | WIFI, DVD Player, iPod dock | aircon in bedrooms | welcome pack, maid service | close to Gaios town centre, minutes from Kloni Gouli Beach |
Find out more about Villa Dimitra on Paxos
Villa Kalypso, Gaios
Sleeps up to six. From £1,964 for seven nights
Less than 20 minutes from Gaios, Villa Kalypso is surrounded by lush countryside, but has breathtakingly beautiful sea views.
The cool, relaxed design both inside and out reflects the spirit of Paxos. A large infinity pool is surrounded by sun terraces and there’s a shaded outdoor dining area. The first floor master bedroom has ocean views from a dual-aspect private balcony.
| sleeps up to 6 | three bedrooms, three shower rooms | private infinity pool, sun terraces | shaded outdoor dining area, open sea views | satellite TV, WIFI, DVD Player, iPod dock | aircon throughout | welcome pack, maid service | three kilometres from Gaios town centre |
Find out more about Villa Kalypso on Paxos
Siorra Elena, Gaios
Sleeps up to 10. From £892 for seven nights
Overlooking Gaios Bay, and set amongst olive groves and graceful cypress, Siorra Elena is naturally lovely, and effortlessly elegant.
Furnished terraces and balconies, as well as a large poolside terrace, take advantage of views in every direction. Inside, the villa is laid out over two self-contained floors, so it’s a good choice for larger groups, or families holidaying together.
| sleeps up to 10 | five bedrooms, four shower rooms, one bathroom | private pool, several sun terraces | two self-contained living areas with separate kitchens | WIFI, DVD Player | aircon in bedrooms | welcome pack, maid service | close to Gaios, and short walk from Kamini Beach |
Find out more about Siorra Elena on Paxos
Lefkada is the only Ionian Island where the influence is Ottoman rather than Venetian. It’s also uniquely connected to the mainland by a causeway, and even the landscape of lagoons, marshes, and majestic cliffs seems at odds with the rest of the archipelago. It’s famous for beaches. Don’t miss Lygia, just outside Lefkada Town, for seafood restaurants and Porto Katsiki in the south west, said to be the loveliest of all Greek island beaches.
- Lefkada Town – the colourful island capital
- Windsurfing – South coast Vasiliki is one of Europe’s best windsurfing areas.
- Mountain biking – almost 70% of Lefkada is mountainous, and trails are many.
- Horse riding – even younger kids can go riding round Lefkada
- Nidri – the island’s biggest resort is a bit brash, but great fun for kids
Kingfisher House, Geni Peninsula
Sleeps up to six. From £2,941 for seven nights
Tucked by the water on the peaceful east coast of Lefkada, Kingfisher House is surrounded by lush gardens, against a gorgeous forest backdrop.
From its private mooring and prolific fruit trees to sun terraces and stunning mountain views, the setting is remarkable. The house is filled with light; bedroom balconies look out across the bay, and there’s also a private pool, outdoor dining terrace, and private jetty. Boat hire can be arranged.
| sleeps up to six | three bedrooms, two shower rooms, one bathroom | mature garden, private pool, tiered sun terraces | private boat mooring, and jetty | satellite TV, WIFI, DVD Player | aircon throughout | welcome pack, maid service | minutes from Nidri, short drive to Lefkas Town and Vasiliki |
Find out more about Kingfisher House on Lefkada
Kalithea, Geni Peninsula
Sleeps up to 10. From £2,745 for seven nights
Kalithea sits surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens on the Geni Peninsula, just a short drive from the bustling resort of Nidri.
The villa has five bedrooms, all with views of open countryside or the bay. There’s a large pool with a sun terrace and an outdoor dining room with built-in barbecue and wood burning oven. A small beach and private jetty are a short walk from the house and boat hire can be arranged.
| sleeps up to 10 | five bedrooms, four shower rooms | landscaped gardens, private pool, sun terraces | short walk to beach and boat mooring | satellite TV, WIFI, DVD Player, iPod dock | aircon throughout | welcome pack, maid service | close to the resort of Geni, a short drive from Nidri |