I have lived in Greece for more than 25 years and I absolutely adore the Greek beach. But before I had kids, visiting the beach required little more than deciding which skimpy bikini to wear and to bring some fast tanning sun oil. Now I have two young children and I have learned that planning a day trip to the beach with young kids is the equivalent of planning a two-week trip without them. Between the packing, the swim/play/rest strategizing, the driving and parking at the beach, there are a lot of challenges. Do I need to bring towels? How many? Is there any kids suitable food on the beach? do I need the portable potty or is there a clean toilet? Are towels provided and if not, how many should I bring? Can I shower my sand-covered baby and how am I going to get all this stuff from your car to the beach?
Both my kids were born in the summer and – despite the above challenges – they came with me to the beach as soon as we were ready to leave the house. My little one had her first dip at 3 months old. My children and I love going to the beach and enjoy the freedom, space, and free play opportunities. Nothing relaxes us more than being on the beach together. We swim in the sea starting from April until November and we splish splash all winter. In Athens, we visit the beaches near our home in Northern Attica towards the regions of Marathonas or towards the south at Anavyssos or Sounio. We also like some of the organized beach clubs in Athens. During our travels, we visit sandy beaches, pebbled ones, remote romantic hidden away beaches, tropical ones with palms or organized resort beaches. Adding up the years that my husband and I were exploring Greece by boat, it is safe to say that I have seen a lot of beaches in Greece. Did you know that Greece has 13,676 kilometres (8,498 mi) of coastline? The largest in the Mediterranean!
Perhaps you wonder which parts of Greece are suitable for a beach holiday with kids in Greece. Which beaches are organized for families or what is the best time to visit them? In a series of articles about going to the beach holiday with kids in Greece, I will share my personal recommendations and experience.
Let’s start with some general information about beaches in Greece.
If you are planning a beach holiday with kids in Greece, the best time to visit with young children would be overall in Greece in the months May and June or in September. These months are still relatively quiet and the beaches are less crowded than in the peak months of July and August. (Not to mention also the higher prices and congested ferries/planes). Not only is it more peaceful this period, the temperature for young children is better too. The sea temperature is colder in May and June than in September. However, there are some varying weather patterns across Greece depending on the topography and distance from the coast. High mountains, for example, have a very different climate to the islands, the south is hotter and drier than the north. Most summer visitors to Greece choose the Greek Islands. Here, in general, a Mediterranean climate prevails with long, hot, dry summers. The summer weather in the islands begins in May with daily highs in the mid-20s. In July the daytime temperature is often in the 30s. As mentioned before July and August are the hottest summer months, the temperature will rarely drop below 20°C even at night. Some islands are visited by the so-called ‘meltemi’ a cooling wind that blows from the north and northwest. The winds are strongest in July and August when they are needed the most. You do not need to worry about these winds but you can check if your destination is part of the Meltemi islands. The winds can affect the sea and sometimes causes rougher seas for a few days even on the calmest child-friendly beaches.
When to plan a beach holiday with kids in Greece?
The morning and afternoon hours are the best times to be at the beach with your children. It is recommended in Greece to go to the beach with babies and young children before 11 in the morning or after 5 in the afternoon. Babies can swim safely in the sea from 6 months old. It is very important to avoid any direct sun for babies and young children. They have to stay in the shade at all times. Sunscreen, hats, umbrellas and special protective swimwear are very important to keep your baby safe in the Greek sun. A beach play tent can be used too but only in the shade. They will get too hot in direct sunlight.
Some criteria to choose a beach holiday destination
- For young children, it is best to choose a sandy beach over pebbles
- Check if the sea is shallow and calm
- Is there any shade on the beach in the form of trees or umbrellas?
- Can chairs/umbrellas be rented? It is very convenient to have a chair when you visit the beach with a baby. Easy to change the diaper and also a good place to sleep away from the sticky sand
- Are there any toilets on/near the beach? I may be exaggerating but that’s because I have children who really need to go once they need to go
- Choose your accommodation close to or on the beach. If your accommodation is not on the beach, check the route towards the beach.