How To: Organising a Family Holiday to Crete

The thought of organising a big family holiday abroad can bring fear to even the most organised of parents, especially when it can seem so much easier to hop in the car and opt for a staycation. Yet, before you throw in the towel, a family holiday abroad can not only be simple to organise, but will also create amazing memories for everyone in the family. You might have seen my previous post on tips for flying with a baby last year.

Now, your first big decision when planning a holiday is to choose your destination. A place that will have plenty of activities for the kids, doesn’t break the bank and has some amazing weather so you can soak up on all the vitamin D we miss from the gloomy British weather. One place that certainly springs to mind is the island of Crete!

Europe’s most southerly Greek island, Crete, has become a firm favourite for family holidays due to its diverse breadth of culture and things to do. Not only does this island have gloriously long sandy beaches that are perfect for the kids to play on, but there are also mountain regions for hiking and plenty of quaint villages full of history and welcoming locals.

Of course, choosing where you go on holiday is the easy part, it’s the organisation into planning that holiday that causes the stress. Which is exactly why I’ve put together this simple guide to planning your Crete family holiday. So simple, in fact, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t book one sooner!

Documentation and Vaccines
First things first, it’s essential that you get everyone’s passports sorted. Children under the age of 15 can apply for a children’s passport, while those nearing 16 should apply for an adult passport. A child passport will last 5 years, while an adult passport lasts 10 years. Both passport types can be applied for online with a child passport costing £46 and an adult passport £72.50.

As the UK is part of the EU, you don’t currently need a visa to visit Greece. You will, however, need to get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You’ll also need medical insurance as your EHIC won’t cover non-urgent treatments, and travel insurance.

You should make an appointment with your GP around 6 weeks before your holiday so they can advise if you or the children need any vaccines based on medical histories. 

One easy way to book your holiday is to book a package with a company like Thomas Cook. This can be beneficial as it means your flights and accommodation are both taken care of, and companies like Thomas Cook often have all-inclusive packages or deals for families with children, which makes it easier to budget.

A cheaper option is to book your flights and accommodation independently as you’ll be able to research the best deals. Booking a villa or apartment via a site like HomeAway is very simple and reviews from past visitors means you’ll be able to find the rental that’s perfect for you. Renting a holiday home also means you can cook some of your own meals and prepare lunches to save yourself some money. This is a particularly good option for longer stays where you might be able to negotiate a better rate per night.

When it comes to flights, budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet both fly to the Crete, but you’ll need to book in advance to get the best prices during peak season.

Great Activities for the Family

There are tons of great family activities in Crete, especially if you love water. Water sports are available on all of Crete’s gorgeous beaches, including kite surfing, paddle surfing, wind surfing and sea kayaking. There’s also good snorkelling to be done offshore or for the more adventurous scuba diving trips are available through various tour operators. If you prefer to admire the sea life on dry ground, the Crete Cretaquarium is one of the most modern aquariums in Europe, and a great back up plan if the weather turns sour. The Acqua Plus water park is similarly a must-visit for families.

For kids who love history, the archaeological site of Knossos should be on your list. You can visit the spectacular palace and learn about local legends such as Minotaur and the story of Daedalus and Icarus.

Of course, nothing beats a lazy day on the beach where you can sunbathe while the kids paddle in the sea and make sandcastles. Elafonisi beach is particularly beautiful as all the sand is pink. 

Yorkshire Dad

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK

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