Best Place in Greece for Holiday
Beautiful beaches, warm sea and lots of sunshine, not to mention mountains, olive groves and cosy tavernas - it’s little wonder Greece is loved by UK parents as a family holiday destination.
Here’s our guide to taking your family to Greece, with advice on travelling, accommodation, eating out and shopping.
What's the best way to get to Greece?
Flying is the easiest way to get to Greece. It takes around four hours to fly from London to Athens. If you're heading to the north-west islands such as Corfu or Zakynthos, it'll take about three hours.
It's possible to travel to Greece by boat, but you'll probably have to go to Italy or Cyprus first. If you really want to take your own car, you could take a ferry or the Eurotunnel shuttle to the continent and then drive to mainland Greece. However, this journey will take several days, and long car trips can be especially tough with a baby in tow. You may find it much easier to simply rent a car when you arrive.
If your little ones aren't in school yet, it’s worth booking your holiday outside summer holiday peak season. In late May and June, or September and early October, it’s quieter and the sun's not quite so hot.
How can I get around in Greece?
Hiring a car is an excellent way to see a lot more of your holiday destination, and it also makes it easier to cart around all those baby supplies. Just bear in mind that the driving rules in Greece are less rigid than the UK. You'll need to be prepared to share narrow roads with an assortment of vehicles, from lorries to mopeds.
Although it's sometimes possible to hire a car seat, you can't be sure that it will meet the safety specifications that experts advise. The safest option is to take your own and make sure it’s properly fitted. Another thing to bear in mind is that fuel stations aren't that common in Greece, so fill up when you see one.
Buses run on most of the islands, and trains run on the mainland. They don’t always seem to follow timetables though, so allow extra time for your journeys.
Getting around the islands can often be easier by boat. There are plenty of ferries and smaller boats hopping from cove to cove or island to island, and it's a fun way to see more of your destination.
Children younger than four should travel for free on buses and boats, and there is usually a discount for older children. Take your own food and water when you're travelling by ferry though, as it's not always provided.
Some parents recommend taking a baby carrier rather than a pushchair to negotiate difficult paths and cobbled streets. However, a lightweight stroller can be excellent when your baby needs a nap when you’re out and about.. Think about what activities you're likely to do and what kind of transport you'll be using, and plan accordingly.
Where are the best places to visit in Greece?
From the historic wonders of the mainland to relaxing island hideaways, there's something for everyone in Greece.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, boasting spectacular scenery and beaches with sparkling blue-green water. It’s equally well known for its ancient historical and cultural sites. There are plenty of family-friendly hotels too, most with pools.
Although you may simply want to relax on the beach, there's loads of culture to enjoy in Crete too. Perhaps take your family to Knossos, near the city of Heraklion. It’s the most important ancient palace on the island.
Corfu is said to be the most beautiful Greek island, but this does mean it’s also one of the busiest. You may want to steer your little ones clear of the well-known Kassiopi resort, popular with water sports enthusiasts and clubbers.
Paleokastritsa is a beautiful cove with a backdrop of green hills, excellent for luxury-yacht spotting. Older children may love Aqualand, one of Europe’s biggest water parks.
For good sandy beaches, head to spots such as Agios Georgios, the busier Acharavi, Sidari, Glyfada or Agios Stephanos. Be prepared though, the west coast beaches can be windy. You may need a windbreak and a sun protection tent for your baby.
Find out about local events too. Most villages and towns have a festival in the summer. These can be wonderful ways to have a taste of Greek life, with parades, dancing, music and food.
What accommodation is available?
Most UK tour operators offer holidays to mainland Greece and the Greek islands. Accommodation ranges from self-catering apartments and villas, to bed and breakfast and all-inclusive hotels.
A self-catering holiday is ideal if you'd rather be in control of what you eat and when, or just want to save some money by not always eating out. The self-catering accommodation in Greece varies hugely, from basic apartments to luxury villas. Some even offer babysitting services.
If your accommodation has a swimming pool, find out if it's kept safe with a gate or fence around it. It also pays to check what the local beach is like. A rocky beach with a steep drop may be ideal for snorkelling, but not for your paddling toddler.
How can I find baby supplies in Greece?
Be sure to keep an eye on local shop opening times. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, they usually open twice, once from 9am to 1pm and once from 6pm to 9.30pm. On other days shops are usually only open from 9am to 2pm. So shop in the morning!
You may also find it useful to take your own supplies of baby essentials. Nappies and jars of baby food are available in supermarkets, mini-markets and pharmacies, but they're often expensive. There may not be much choice either, even in the busier tourist areas.
If you can find a large supermarket or pharmacy nearby, they should stock formula and nappies. They'll also have baby wipes, dummies and other supplies. Hotel shops do often sell nappies and reusable swim nappies. Check online or ask your travel agent to find out what's available near your accommodation. .
Can I eat out with my baby?
Eating is a family affair in Greece, so your baby will be very welcome.
However, bear in mind that meals usually happen a bit later in Greece. Lunch is from about 2pm and dinner from 9pm. Restaurants in tourist areas do open earlier. Bakeries also sell savoury pastries that make good picnic food.
Bread is always served when you order in a restaurant. Your little one may also enjoy the kebabs, feta cheese, olives, ripe melons, and small cheese and spinach pies.
Buffets are popular in some hotel restaurants. However, the food may have been left out for some time, so try to get there as soon as they start serving.
While breastfeeding isn’t widely adopted in Greece, there is no law against public breastfeeding and you are unlikely to encounter any problems. You may like to carry a muslin with you to give you and your baby privacy.
How can I find healthcare in Greece?
Pharmacies are the best for minor ailments. They're usually open between 8.30am and lunchtime. The pharmacists usually speak English, are knowledgeable and can supply a wide range of medicines and first-aid supplies.
In the event of an emergency, you can call 112 and ask to be connected to an English-speaking operator.
British travellers are entitled to free or reduced cost emergency healthcare in Greece. You'll need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which you can order online at or from your local post office. You should also take out travel insurance with medical cover in case you use private healthcare or for uncommon emergencies such as search and rescue.
What else do I need to know?
The heat and sunburn are the biggest concern for babies and small children. Hats, cool clothing that covers up limbs, and sun protection lotions with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 are a must.
Plastic shoes are good when paddling or swimming, to protect against sea urchins as well as poisonous weever fish, which thankfully are rare.