Best Greek islands for families

The Greek islands, among the most popular summer destinations in the world, are not only perfect for youth and couples. They are also ideal holiday places for families with kids, coming either by plane or by car from central Europe and the Balkans. With no criminality, safe beaches and many self-catering apartments, the Greek islands provide the most relaxing environment for family holidays.

Family holidays in Kefalonia

Best Greek islands for families: Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest island in the Ionian Sea and among the best Greek islands for families. The island is famous around the world for the fantastic beaches and the green scenery. Myrtos and Antisamos are the two most famous beaches of Kefalonia, both large bays with amazing waters. Antisamos beach is surrounded by green cliffs and the water is blue green, while Myrtos is surrounded by wild stone cliffs and the water is exotic blue.

Skala, Lassi and Lourdas are probably the best places to stay for families in Kefalonia. They are close to the beach and have many tourist facilities, from Kefalonia beach hotels and restaurants to mini-markets. Assos and Fiscardo are also nice places to stay, due to the picturesque architecture and the relaxing atmosphere. A car is necessary during holidays in Kefalonia because distances are large and public transport is not very convenient or regular.

Milos

Best Greek islands for families: Milos

Located on the western side of Cyclades, Milos island is not a very famous destination but it surely is among the best Greek islands for families. The wonderful beaches, the relaxing atmosphere and the family Milos hotels are enough to make a nice family destination. Pollonia and Adamas are the most convenient and organized places to stay in Milos, with many restaurants, public transport and beaches in walking distance from the village center.

This is very convenient for families with kids who need to be close to beaches and facilities like restaurants, mini-markets and health center. A rented car would be necessary for holidays in Milos so that visitors discover at their own pace all the beauties of the island, including beaches and fishing villages.

Lefkada

Best Greek islands for families: Lefkada

The island of Lefkada in the Ionian Sea is not only famous for its exotic beaches. It is also popular as one of the best Greek islands for families. The relaxing environment and the gorgeous places to swim attract many families with kids to Lefkada. As this island is accessible by bridge from the mainland, visitors do not need a ferry but may come with their car.

There are many great family villages with Lefkada hotels on the island. Vassiliki, Agios Nikitas, Sivota, Agios Ioannis and Mikros Gialos are surely among the best places for families due to the wonderful and safe beaches. In summer, Vassiliki and Agios Ioannis are getting very popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

During your holidays in Lefkada, you should also not miss the top three beaches of the island: Porto Katsiki, Egremni and Kathisma, world famous for their exotic waters and the wild landscape.

Paros

Best Greek islands for families: Paros

Although Paros is partly famous as a youth destination, it is also a wonderful place for family vacations. The Cycladic architecture of Paros, with the white houses and the blue domes, create a charming view while the golden beaches with the shallow waters are perfect for kids, who want to build castles on the sand and be all day at the sea. Golden Beach, Alyki, Livadia, Piso Livadi and Naoussa are great places to stay for families due to the many Paros hotels and the organized facilities. Public transport in Paros is good and reliable, although a rental car would be surely more convenient for families.

Top sightseeing in Milos

Although the island of Milos is mostly known for its stunning beaches, it also has many interesting things to see. Sightseeing in Milos varies from churches and museums to old sulfur mines, catacombs and gorgeous places to swim.

Sightseeing in Milos: the Beaches

Sightseeing in Milos: Sarakiniko beach

The most charming places in Milos are certainly its beaches. Due to the volcanic background and the rare geological landscape, Milos beaches vary in beauty. There are typical sandy beaches with shallow water as well as strange rock formations with underwater caves. Most visitors are actually looking for Milos hotels by the beach so that they enjoy swimming all day long.

The most famous beach in Milos is Sarakiniko, a wonderful spot of white rocks from where people usually jump in to reach the water. The white rocks of Sarakiniko make a very special landscape that looks like moonscape. Under these white volcanic rocks are underwater caves that constitute frequent diving spots. Such rare volcanic rocks are also found in Papafragas beach, also on the northern side of Milos island.

However, the wildest beaches in Milos are found on the southern side of the island. Tsigrado stands out for the exotic waters and the soft sand, while visitors need to go down through a small gorge. Firiplaka beach is a large bay surrounded by white volcanic cliffs, while Agia Kyriaki is also a large beach with nice waters. The most organized beach in southern Milos is Paleochori, a long beach with black sand and tourist facilities, like restaurants, beach bars and water sports.

Kleftiko Sea Caves

The most impressive place to swim in Milos is Kleftiko, a complex of tall sea rocks and underwater caves on the southern side of the island. This place can be reached only by boat from the ports of Adamas or Pollonia and people have to jump from the boats to get into the water. The exotic water with the blue green colour is truly rewarding, while many boats provide snorkeling equipment to their passengers so that they explore the caves, which used to be shelters of pirates in the Medieval times.

Fishing villages

Sightseeing in Milos: Klima and the other fishing villages

The fishing villages of Milos with the special architecture are very typical spots of the island. Klima, Fourkovouni, Fyropotamos and Mandrakia are the most famous of these fishing villages, who ports are lined up with colorful houses built right by the sea. These houses are constructed on rocks and have carved boat garages on the ground floor. These garages are called syrmata and is where the locals store their boats during the windy days of winter.

The geological side of Milos

Sightseeing in Milos: the old sulfur mines

The history and geology of Milos is strongly connected to the two volcanoes of the island, which are still active. Since the ancient times, Milos has been famous for its mines that remain in use until today and provide an important income to the local economy. To get a view of this side of Milos, apart from visiting the two volcanic craters, one in the center and the other on the south part of the island, it would also be very interesting to take the dirt road to the abandoned sulfur mines on the eastern side, at the beach of Paliorema.

An easier thing to do would be to visit the Minerological Museum of Milos, found at the port of Adamas. This museum hosts collections of valuable local stones, such as the obsidian of Milos, and narrates the mineralogical story of the island.

The Catacombs

Among the most interesting sightseeing in Milos are also the Christian Catacombs. Located close to Plaka, the capital town of the island, these Catacombs are almost as old as the famous Catacombs of Rome, dating from the 1st century AD. Due to the busy port of Milos that time, Christianity quickly reached the island and became popular to the locals, which soon carved the underground of Milos to create a worship place and cemetery.

Only a small part of the Catacombs is open to the public as works are continued there. So is the Ancient Theatre of Milos, which is found very close to the Catacombs but is close to the public due to restoration works.

Holidays in Kefalonia and Ithaca, the sister islands

Located in the Ionian Sea, one island side by side to the other, the islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca can be perfectly combined for vacations. With easy ferry connection and similar landscape, holidays in Kefalonia and Ithaca is perfect for all ages: from romantic couples looking for a secluded retreat to families with kids and other visitors longing for beach holidays.

Holidays in Kefalonia

Holidays in Kefalonia island, Greece

Kefalonia became widely known after the Hollywood movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed there in 2001. Shooting locations were mostly restricted to Sami and Antisamos Beach, however this was a perfect chance for people around the world to hear about the beauty of the island and come to spend vacations.

Holidays in Kefalonia are especially popular among families with kids, due to the sandy and safe beaches of the island. The shallow and clean waters are important factors for a family to pick up a holiday destination. Myrtos, Antisamos, Skala and Lourdas are the most popular beaches in Kefalonia, while equally frequented are Makris Gialos Beach, Platis Gialos and Xi Beach. Except for Myrtos and Antisamos, which are secluded places to swim, all the other mentioned beaches are also tourist-developed places where you can choose your perfect beach hotel in Kefalonia. Some tourist places are very developed (like Skala and Makris Gialos) and others are less developed (like Lourdas or Xi).

Apart from wonderful beaches, holidays in Kefalonia should definitely include a visit to the picturesque villages and interesting sights of the island. Fiscardo and Assos are the most fantastic villages of Kefalonia, with cozy architecture and lovely ports. As for Kefalonia sightseeing, the most impressive is the Lake Cave of Melissani and the Cave of Drogarati, with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.

Holidays in Ithaca

Holidays in Ithaca island, Greece

Even more secluded and quiet than Kefalonia, Ithaca island is a fantastic place for absolute relaxation. Holidays in Ithaca are a unique experience. Upon your first step on the island, you feel the special vibrations in the air and the fresh breeze of the Ionian Sea. Ithaca is famous all over the world as the beloved homeland of Ulysses, the famous Homeric hero. Since then, in literature the word Ithacastands for the purpose of life, an important desire that we must fulfill in order to find peace.

Indeed, even today, the atmosphere of Ithaca gives something peaceful. You will not find the long, sandy beaches of Kefalonia in Ithaca or the large hotels with pools. Although this island is famous around the world, tourism is kept in low profile. The majority of beaches in Ithaca consist of small coves with blue green water, non-organized with sun lounges or umbrellas. Only two beaches are organized: Filiatro and Sarakiniko. A stunning beach is Gidaki, accessible only by boat from Vathy port.

The most picturesque villages of Ithaca are Vathy and Kioni, both seaside places with traditional architecture. Although many houses and buildings on the island were destroyed by the severe earthquake of 1953, most of these houses were later restored and today they host beautiful Ithaca hotels and boutique hotels.

Ferry connections

How to go to Kefalonia: Kefalonia has a local airport that receives internal flights from Athens 2-3 times per day. Also in summer there are charter and low cost flights to Kefalonia from many European airports.
Ferries from Kefalonia to Ithaca: The most popular ferry connection between Kefalonia and Ithaca is the ferry from Sami port in Kefalonia to Pisaetos port in Ithaca. These ferries are daily and the trip lasts for about 40 min.
Occasionally, in high season, there are ferries from the port of Fiscardo in northern Kefalonia to Frikes port in Ithaca. These ferries are run by the local company West Ferry, usually 3-4 times per week. Also there can be daily ferries from Poros port Kefalonia to Pisaetos port Ithaca. These ferries started operating last year (2014) and they may not run every year.

Top 5 things to see in Kefalonia

Among the most popular islands of Greece, Kefalonia is a fantastic destination for summer or spring vacations. Apart from wonderful beaches and nice seaside villages, Kefalonia island also offers many things to see. Its long and interesting history has left many monuments, spread all around the island. Here are the top 5 things to see in Kefalonia.

# Melissani Lake Cave

Top things to see in Kefalonia: Melissani Lake Cave

The lake cave of Melissani is probably the most impressive among all things to see in Kefalonia. Located just a couple of km from Sami town, on the eastern side of the island, this lake cave was actually discovered in 1951 when an earthquake made the roof to collapse. Many archaeological excavations followed and ancient statuettes were discovered. In fact, in the antiquity, this lake cave was known and people believed that it was the residence of nymph Melissani, which is how the cave took its name today.

The most interesting part of this lake cave is that the water comes from the region of Katavothres in Argostoli. Katavothres is a natural phenomenon close to Argostoli town, where sea water enters the underground, crosses Kefalonia for 30 km until the other side of the island, passes the Cave Lake of Melissani and reaches again the sea at the fishing port of Karavomylos, close to Melissani. This is why the water of the cave is actually sea water.

When visitors enter the cave, they walk few steps down until they reach the shore the lake and there are boats waiting to take them on a tour around the cave. This is a very interesting and impressive experience overall.

# Drogarati Cave

Top things to do in Kefalonia: Drogarati Cave

Another fantastic cave close to Sami town is Drogarati Cave. This large cave is a miracle of nature, with stalactites and stalagmites of impressive size and shape. Although it was discovered in the 18th century, it only opened to the public in 1963. Speleologists estimate that this is a 150 million years old cave, while the humidity reaches 90% inside. Due to its wonderful acoustics, concerts of classical music have taken place inside Drogarati Cave, which has the capacity of host 500 people.

# Lighthouse of Saint Theodore

Top things to see in Kefalonia: Lighthouse of Saint Theodore

The Lighthouse of Saint Theodore is located 2 km from Argostoli town, overlooking the bay between Argostoli and Lixouri. This lighthouse distinguishes for its architecture and is a popular wedding spot in Kefalonia, particularly in sunset time. This circular structure of 20 columns and an 8-meter tall tower was originally built in 1828, when Kefalonia and all the Ionian islands were under British rule.

The severe earthquake of 1953 caused large damages to the lighthouse but it was later reconstructed and works until today. Just few meters from the Lighthouse of Saint Theodore, visitors can see the Katavothres, the geological phenomenon where the sea water enters the underground of Kefalonia.

# Castle of Saint George

The Medieval Castle of Saint George is located 7 km from Argostoli, just above the village of Peratata. This castle was originally constructed by the Byzantines in the 12th century but got its present form during the Medieval era, when the Venetians ruled the island. Today the largest part of the Castle of Saint George is ruined, except for the remains of some buildings and the external walls that still survive.

In the Medieval times, this castle used to host the first capital of Kefalonia, an entire town with public buildings, storehouses, churches, private residences, mansions of noble families, hospitals, prisons and more. In 1757, this organized capital town was gradually moved to Argostoli to be closer to the port. The Castle of Saint George is open for visit in morning hours, until the early afternoon.

# Monastery of Kipoureon

The Monastery of Kipoureon is located on the western coasts of Kefalonia, in the peninsula of Paliki. At a distance of 15 km from Lixouri, this monastery is famous for its fantastic location that offers breathtaking view to the sea and the sunset. In fact, although this monastery is not among the most famous things to see in Kefalonia, watching the romantic sunset and the rocky cliffs reaching the sea from there is a wonderful experience. Today only one old monk lives there and you will probably see him sweeping the yard and lighting the candles during your visit.

Greek island tour to Western Cyclades

The group of Western Cyclades, geographically located between the central Cyclades islands and the coasts of Peloponnese, consists of islands with traditional architecture, calm environment and away from mass tourism. Here are some fantastic islands for summer holidays in Western Cyclades.

#Milos

Milos island in Western Cyclades

Although Milos has special beauty and wonderful spots, it is a fortunate thing that it has not opened to mass tourism. Hotels in Milos are family places with traditional style and the number of tourists is kept in normal scale, even in high season (July and August).

Due to its volcanic background, the geology and coastline of Milos island in Western Cyclades have special shapes and forms. This volcanic composition of the ground is responsible for the many caves and underwater caves of Milos as well as for the obsidian mines that support the local economy from the ancient times until today. These characteristics have made Milos island popular among geologists and volcanologists. In fact, in order to get to know better this special side of the island, the Mineralogical Museum of Milos has created a project of hiking walks called Miloterranean Geo Walks.

The most impressive places to visit in Milos are the fantastic beaches and the fishing villages with the characteristic local architecture. Such villages are, for example, Klima, Fourkovouni, Firopotamos and Areti. Built along small fishing ports, these villages have white houses with colourful window shutters and boat garages at the ground floor. These boat garages are called syrmata and protect the boats from bad weather and strong winds. They are actually carved against the rocks and show the excellent skills of the locals in rock-carving. This skill is evident in the Christian Catacombs of Milos, created as early as the 1st century AD.

The most fantastic beach of Milos is Sarakiniko, a large white rock created millions of years ago when the volcano of Milos exploded and poured hot lava that was later solidified. The moon-like beach of Sarakiniko is the most photographed place on the island. All around the coastline of Milos, there are such beaches with special characteristics, such as Firiplaka, Papafragas and Agia Kyriaki, while the most impressive place to swim is the sea region of Kleftiko with the many sea caves and underwater passages, on the southern side of the island.

#Sifnos

Sifnos island in Western Cyclades

A small island of Western Cyclades, Sifnos is the perfect Greek destination for fantastic beaches plus traditional Cycladic architecture. The seaside villages of the island are lined up with Sifnos beach hotels, delicious taverns and cafeterias. Many beaches of Sifnos are sandy and organized, such as Kamares, Platis Gialos, Vathy and Faros, which are also the most popular places to stay on the island. However, a hike around will bring you to fantastic, secluded bays to enjoy private moments. In Sifnos, do not miss the picturesque village of Kastro, a Medieval settlement that used to be the old capital of the island.

#Serifos

Serifos island in Western Cyclades

Away from the popular tourist routes, Serifos is a lovely island of Western Cyclades and ideal for total relaxation. There is not much to do in Serifos than swimming and hiking. In the day time, people are spread in fantastic beaches with crystal waters. The frequented beaches of Serifos, such as Livadakia and Avlomonas, are lined up with many Serifos beach hotels and studios. Other beaches of Serifos, such as Psili Ammos and Agios Sostis, are peaceful and non-organized.

On the western side of Serifos, just above the beach of Megalo Livadi, is an important historical landmark of the island: the Old Mines, where a large strike broke out in 1916, resulting in the death of three mining workers. In the evening, head to Chora, the picturesque capital of the island, where it is a pleasure to walk through the Medieval paths and have dinner in the many taverns.

#Kythnos

Kythnos island in Western Cyclades

Apart from the traditional Cycladic architecture and the relaxing atmosphere, Kythnos is also famous for its thermal springs. In the seaside village of Loutra, on the northern side of the island, there are thermal springs that pour from the antiquity until present. These springs cure various diseases, such as spinal disorders, rheumatic pains, arthritis, neuroses and more. For treatments, there is a Hydrotherapy Center in Loutra that works from May to October. Two open thermal springs are also found on the side of Loutra Beach, with hot water all day and night.

Apart from Loutra, which is a tourist place with many Kythnos hotels, taverns and car/bike rental agencies, another tourist village in Kythnos is Merihas, the port of the island. Kythnos also hosts one of the most beautiful beaches in Western Cyclades, the beach of Kolona. Chora and Driopida are the most traditional villages in Kythnos, with Medieval architecture and relaxing atmosphere. An important sight is also the Church of Panagia Kanala, the protector of the island, that attracts many pilgrims every year on its celebration day, on August 15th.