Planning Family Travel to…Greece

Greeeeeeece!

Our family loved travelling in Greece.
I have to warn you now though, we didn’t do ALL the things.
Greece is just packed with super famous historical sites, beaches, churches, food…you name it.

As usual, we prioritized having a great family adventure over sightseeing.
And getting a little deeper into the places we stayed.
And just soaking up as much ‘Greece’, but not necessarily sights, as we could.

That being said, you can plan your travel in Greece with your family however you like!

The strategy for planning family travel in Greece is not that much different from planning a trip in general.
But there are a few specifics things to know about planning family travel in Greece.

Here are some of our experiences, and tips:

Window with blue shutters and white curtains, Greece
Simple. That’s what Greece is made of.

Home Bases

Outside of Athens, the big historical sites are far apart.
Think Mount Olympus, Sparta, Delphi, etc.
There will be some significant travel to see those things.

There are also hundreds of islands in Greece.
That you need to travel to get to.

Figure out what type of trip you want, and aim for that.
I know I’m always preaching it, but prioritize.
Each island does something well.
Luckily, there is tons of information out there about each of them.
Lonely Planet never lets me down.
(Although I really prefer the paper guides better than the digital ones).
And I like Frommer’s Favorite/Best Experiences and Itinerary sections too.

Really try to remember here that less is usually more.
It’s so hard not to get excited about EVERYTHING.
But moving home bases, or hotels is expensive in terms of time, and your kids’ attention.
And trying to see all the things will just set you up for disappointment when you can’t get somewhere because your kids refuse to go to another church/museum/set of stairs, etc.

Here were our bases:

  1. Athens for the Parthenon
  2. Meteora for the stunning natural beauty, and to see the countryside on the mainland
  3. Santorini to see up close the quintessential Greece from postcards
  4. Naxos, a fertile green island,  for a super relaxing beach house vacay

Again, our goal was mainly to enjoy our family, eat beautiful, fresh Greek food, and get a good feeling for Greece outside the main attractions.

These things may bore you and your most important destinations might be many, or fewer, or just different.
Figure out what is most important for you.

View of Athens, Greece
Athens

Length of Stay

We lingered.
For sure.

But honestly, when you are mapping out a rough plan of what you want to do in each of your bases, don’t forget to schedule in down time.
It will make your trip in Greece so, so, so much more enjoyable.

Greece is hot.
And the sights involve a lot of history and corresponding ruins, museums, churches etc. , that will not likely be interesting for your kids after the first time (if that).
Make sure there is time to recoup.

There are NOT a lot of super stimulating attractions for kids (i.e. theme parks etc.)
However, there is a whole bunch of stunning nature and outdoor stuff they’ll likely be into.
Think walking, hiking, biking, beaching, watersports…

We spent 6 days in Athens which is insane for most people.
(Some advice says you can see everything in 2).
We were definitely not rushed.
It was great. And relaxing.  And felt a little like normal life (but cooler).

We also spent like 10 days on Naxos.
Not ‘seeing’ all that much to be honest.
But it was our favourite part of the trip.

I mean, rush through if you must, but Greece is definitely a place to savour.

View from hotel balcony, Meteora, Greece
Super glad we stayed longer than we ‘needed’ to in Meteora.

Money Money Money

So, now that you know what you want to do, it’s time to figure out what your ultimate itinerary will roughy cost.
I really hope that you get to ‘see’ everything you want to, while staying within your time or money budget.
Likely though, you will have to strike some bases (or at least days in each base) from your itinerary once you get to this step.
It will be okay.

As far as accommodations, there are a lot of great Airbnbs in Greece.
And tons of hotels if that is your thing.
At really, all price ranges.

Food is not inexpensive in Greece.
It is comparable to food here in Canada.
We ate all breakfasts at our Airbnbs and bought groceries for snacks, lunches and dinners as much as we could.
There were lots of grocery stores and it was easy to shop and find what we needed, inexpensively.

Entrance to sights are pretty standard (Canadian standard), so again, not inexpensive.
The beach can be free though:)

Church on a hill, Naxos, Greece
Countryside on Naxos

Figure out Travel Between Bases

This killed us in Greece.
We moved bases only 4 times (using planes, trains, ferries, taxis, foot) and it was killer for my kids (and us really).
Essentially it took all day, each time.
So 4 days not enjoying our vacay.

Try to remember that in Greece, all islands are different, but they are also very much the same.
It’s also expensive to physically move bases in Greece.
I’m convinced that visiting more ‘different’ islands, does not pay off (unless you are after something specific).

Not to say we wouldn’t do the same again, but consider this carefully and be realistic when planning for it.

Will beautiful Santorini, Greece make your list when planning travel with your family?
Santorini. So, so, so much money for these views out your window.

Don’t Sweat It…Really

Greece is just so packed with history and man made wonders, and also natural beauty and culture.
There is no way you can do everything.
And that’s okay.

Figure out what is important to you, what makes a good or memorable trip for you (and your family).
Make sure it fits within your timelines and costs and then don’t spend another second second guessing yourself.

Greece will be amazing whatever you choose; it is just that kind of place.

What is the most important thing for your family to do/see while travelling in Greece?

What was your biggest payoff while travelling with your family in Greece?

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