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7 of the Best Things To Do in Crete with Kids for History-loving Families

7 of the Best Things To Do in Crete with Kids for History-loving Families

Things to do in Crete with Kids | Palace of Knossos Heraklion

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Celeste.

Crete is a wonderful destination for families who want to enjoy the beauty and culture of Greece. Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. It has a rich history that spans thousands of years, from the ancient Minoan civilization to the Venetian and Ottoman empires. 

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Things to do in Crete with Kids

Heraklion view from Koule forthress venetian port SH scaled

Due to its history and landscape, Crete is very versatile and there are many things to see and do. You can explore the impressive archaeological sites, such as the palace of Knossos, the birthplace of the legendary King Minos and the Minotaur.  You can also visit the museums, monasteries and castles that showcase the island’s heritage.

In this article, we have listed 6 of our favorite things to do in Crete with kids. These activities are all history focussed.

Palace of Knossos

Things to do in Crete with Kids | Palace of Knossos Heraklion

When you are visiting Crete with kids, the world-famous Palace of Knossos cannot be missed. After Athens, the most popular archaeological site for families in Greece, Knossos has to be part of your Crete vacation. The Palace of Knossos is partly restored and is connected to the legendary King Minos, his labyrinth and the Minotaur.

Archaeological Museum Heraklion

The Best things to do in Crete with Kids | Heraklion

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is the second most visited museum in Greece. Collections cover approximately 5,500 thousand years of history, dating from the Neolithic period to Roman times, but it’s most famous for its collection of Minoan art and objects. 

The Archaeological Site of Aptera

The Best things to do in Crete with Kids | Ancient Aptera

The ancient archaeological site of Aptera is a fascinating place. Aptera was one of the most powerful and prosperous city-states of Crete, dating back to the Minoan period. You can admire the remains of various monuments, such as a two-part temple, a Roman cistern, a theater, a villa, and a fortification wall. 

The Archaeological Museum of Messara

The archaeological museum of Messara. Photo source: Culture Ministry

The brand new Archaeological Museum of Messara showcases the archaeological wealth of the Messara region in Crete. The museum covers the human presence in Messara from prehistoric to Christian times, with over 900 exhibits displayed in three halls. It is fun for kids because of its interactive information apps, digital guided tours and educational digital material.  The museum is located near the ancient city of Gortyna, one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete.

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Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos

The best things to do in Crete with Kids | Agios Nikolaos

The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos, showcases antiquities from Eastern Crete dating from the Neolithic to the Roman period. The museum has been closed for 12 years but will officially reopen its doors in the fall of 2023 with twice the exhibition space and upgraded digital info apps. 

The Folklore Museum of Chania

The best things to do in Crete with Kids | Folklore Museum in Chania

The Folklore Museum of Chania is located at the centre of the old city of Chania, in Halidon Street, next to the Catholic church. It includes folklore and traditional exhibits that allow the visitor to have a representative picture of the way of life of older residents of island during the 18th and 19th century. Kids will like the collection of tools, home handicraft, home arts, and craft-based works. Interesting is the workshop of the museum that revives the Cretan embroidery art and where embroidery paintings are being created.

Read Also: Museum of Typography in Chania, Crete

Visit Polirinia

Let me also tell you about the charming village of Polirinia, nestled in the Chania region of Crete, Greece. There are two parts of Polirinia:

  • Ancient Polirinia:

    • Polirinia is not only a picturesque village but also an archaeological site. Its ruins are perched on a steep hill, offering breathtaking views of the Cretan and Libyan Sea.
    • The city of Polirinia likely had its origins with the Achaeans around 1100 BC. During the Roman period, it flourished and developed close trade relations with various regions, including Sparta, Milos, Rhodes, Thiva, Ionia, and Egypt.
    • Interestingly, the name “Polirinia” is derived from the words “polla rinia,” which means “many lambs”—perhaps a nod to the town’s prominence in livestock.
    • The ancient city had two ports: Falassarna and Kissamos.
    • As you explore Polirinia, you’ll encounter signs pointing to places of interest. Look out for remains of a Roman aqueduct and a building adorned with huge Venetian arches. Don’t miss the lovely rock chapel with its shaded yard outside.
    • The rolling hills, sleepy villages, and olive groves create a serene atmosphere, and the Bay of Kissamos adds to the enchantment.
  • Modern Polirinia:

    • Today, Polirinia is a traditional mountainous village with approximately 100 residents. It lies near Kissamos, just 6 km from Kastelli and about 49 kilometers southwest of the city of Chania.
    • Formerly known as Upper Paleocastro, the village was renamed Polirinia due to its proximity to the archaeological site.
    • Set atop a hill, Polirinia commands stunning views of the surrounding area. It’s a peaceful spot, perfect for those seeking a taste of authentic Cretan life.

Whether you’re drawn to its ancient history or the tranquility of its present, Polirinia is a gem waiting to be explored!

Crete is a treasure trove of history and culture, where your kids can immerse themselves in the past and learn about the people and events that shaped this island. Whether you are interested in the ancient Minoan civilization, the classical Greek and Roman periods, the Byzantine and medieval eras, or the modern history of Crete, you will find plenty of activities and attractions to suit your preferences. Crete is a place where history comes alive, and where you can experience the rich and vibrant culture of the Cretans!

The best things to do in Crete with Kids | Family Experiences Blog | Ancient Aptera
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