Five Fantastic Reasons why Greece is the Perfect Family Holiday

I love Greece. It’s the place I dream of escaping to every summer. It has everything I’m looking for in a family holiday: it’s beautiful, it’s laid-back, it’s full of history and, given that we’ve had nothing but grey skies and rain recently in the UK, you’re guaranteed sunshine in the summer. What’s more, it’s easy to get to and great value for money.

There’s an estimated 6,000 islands and islets in Greece of which 227 are inhabited. As a family we’ve visited lots of Greek islands but we’ve never been to the same place twice. That’s the other great thing about Greece. Each island has its own distinct character so there really is something for everybody.

THE FEEL

When I go to Greece I feel as if I’ve captured the Mediterranean as it was supposed to be. It’s what I imagine it was like in Italy and southern France in the 1950s. There’s a timelessness and an old-fashioned feel to Greece that you find so rarely in other parts of the Med where it’s just so busy in the summer, the roads clogged up with cars and people fighting for space in the restaurants and on the beaches.

There are, of course, busy resorts in some parts of Greece but it’s not very hard to find that picture-perfect little harbour with colourful wooden boats and a couple of simple tavernas. If you go to a beach in August, chances are that you won’t be packed in like ever so many sardines jostling for space along the sand.

So much of Greece still feels unspoilt and old-fashioned. You’ll wander around a village where men play backgammon all day and old ladies dressed entirely in black sit over their lacework. If you go to some villages in the afternoon it’s so quiet that it feels like a ghost town – because everybody is having a siesta.

It’s the perfect place for a family holiday. Children are adored and given attention by everyone they meet and the atmosphere is so chilled out and laid-back that the whole family relaxes.

THE FOOD

Everyone in our family loves Greek food. It’s delicious, it’s healthy and it’s fun to eat and share different things together. On the Greek islands, we eat fresh fish every day and lots of salads and vegetables. We can quite happily munch our way through plates of whitebait, calamari, octopus (fried or thinly sliced in olive oil), sardines, anchovies and red mullet.

We usually order a variety of different foods for the whole table to try: the fish; dips like houmous and taramasalata; Greek salad; stuffed peppers and tomatoes; stuffed vine leaves and courgette flowers; cheese and spinach pies; and grilled feta cheese. It’s all delicious and everyone has their favourites but we all try to taste a bit of everything.

It’s a great way to encourage children to try lots of different things. My youngest still refuses to eat salad and the eldest won’t eat the whitebait because the eyes put him off – but at least they’re trying everything else.

Eating mezze-style like this makes our mealtimes so much more social. Sharing the food makes us interact more with each other. We all talk more and everybody has a better time.

In Greece we don’t tend to go to the fancier, more expensive restaurants because the simple tavernas offer everything we could possibly want, whether we’re sat under a reed canopy beside the beach or in a shady spot in a small town square. The atmosphere is always relaxed and unstuffy and the food just perfect.

THE BEAUTY

Greece is, quite simply, stunning. Its crystal clear waters, whitewashed houses, picturesque harbours and stunning sunsets make it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. So much of it is still unspoilt so you won’t find as many of those ugly developments that you get on so many other Mediterranean coastlines.

Greece has the second largest coastline in Europe (after Noway) so it makes the perfect beach or sailing holiday, with plenty of child-friendly beaches with shallow waters and sheltered bays. But you can also find dramatic mountain ranges, vast gorges ideal for hiking and tiny villages with cobbled streets and white houses draped in pink and purple bougainvillea.

THE HISTORY

The myths of Ancient Greece and its gods are full of wonderful stories to fire up any child’s imagination. History really comes alive in Greece where you can find a temple dedicated to one of the gods or goddesses on even the smallest of islands.

You can see where Theseus fought the minotaur at the Minoan palace of Knossos in Crete, climb to the top of the Acropolis in Athens to gaze at the Parthenon temple, visit Mount Pelion, home of the centaurs or take a trip to Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games.

Some of the oldest European civilisations developed in Greece so you’ll spot Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman influences as well as the Ancient Greeks. You could visit the extraordinary 14th-century monasteries perched on top of rock pillars at Meteora or the sacred grotto on the island of Patmos where St. John had the visions which led to the Book of Revelation.

THE VALUE FOR MONEY

Greece has always been good value for money. You can stay in gorgeous boutique hotels for much less than you’d pay in Italy or France and a family of four can eat out for as little as 45 euros.

But in recent months the relatively weak Euro has made a trip to Greece even better value. Most foreign visitors don’t need to pay for a visa and if you book early you can pick up relatively cheap flights. What are you waiting for?

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44 thoughts on “Five Fantastic Reasons why Greece is the Perfect Family Holiday

  1. Pingback: My Four Favourite Boutique Hotels for Families | suitcases and sandcastles
  2. I worked for a tour company in Greece before children and have many fond memories of the country (including meeting my other half there). I haven’t visited for several years now though, really must get back again. #Mondayescapes

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  3. Pingback: My Family Travel Wish List for 2016 | suitcases and sandcastles
  4. We are thinking about potential destinations for our holidays this year and to be honest I hadn’t really thought about greece but will check it out. Love that you put a variety of dishes on the table such a good idea. I am sure Monkey would love the food as he’s always trying new things (we are so lucky!). #MondayEscapes

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    • It is great to get your children to try a selection of foods – there’s always going to be a few things they like eating! I always find it much easier to have relaxed family meals when we’re on holiday in the sunshine. Thanks so much for commenting. #MondayEscapes

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  5. You just inspired me even more. After such a long time trying, finally this year I will visit Greece for the first time and I’m very excited about it 😀 I can already imagine all these reasons! Lovely post!! 😀

    Thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes

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  6. Pingback: Monday Escapes #26 - My Travel Monkey
  7. You’ve really captured the essence of Greece and I particularly love the section “the feel”. One of my most impressionable travel experiences was going there as a young teenager for a work abroad summer program, and I fell in love with it. Would love to take my two girls there some day. #mondayescapes

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    • Thanks for having me on the Linkup – I’m so enjoying reading everyone’s posts. I really am in love with Greece. I’d like to visit outside the summer to see what it’s like outside the season. I’m going again this summer. Can’t wait!

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    • Good question – and really difficult to answer! OK, Crete, Kefalonia and Syros. For now anyway. We’re going to try out the tiny Cycladic island of Folegandros this summer so who knows whether it will change? Thanks so much for commenting. I love your linkup! Could you please put me on your email list to let me know what topic is coming up next? Thank you!

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