Best Greece Family Vacation 2019: Athens, Santorini, Crete

Greece terrace with a beautiful view of the Aegean Sea
A 10 day trip to Greece 
5 out of 5 stars
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Handcrafted for 2019, this Greece family vacation to Athens, Santorini, and Crete combines activity and history, highlighting the myths of the ancient world with the beauty of the natural. This adventure filled with the fun and excitement of exploration. Discover entire cities preserved in ash, and stand in the footprints of philosopher kings with picturesque views of the city, in the company of family. The oracle whispered tales of kings and falling empires. The Parthenon towered over Athens with opulent marble in homage to Athena. Black rock spouts from the azure waters around Santorini. The shadow of the Minotaur looms over the Minoan Palace of Knossos.

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General Information

Mother and her son in Greece watching boats sail by on the Aegean Sea
The Chania Church at midday in Crete, Greece
Street view of pedestrians and parked vehicles in Chania, Crete, Greece
An outside cafe on the beach of Chania Harbor with the Lighthouse of Chania standing tall in the background
Aerial view of a ship anchored in a bay on the pristine waters of the Aegean Sea in Greece
The famous blue-dome Santorini Church with the Aegean Sea in the background
Collage of weathered doors in Chania, Crete, Greece
Group of donkeys walking up a step-road from Ammoudi to Oia, Greece
The Parthenon and Herodium temples sitting atop Acropolis Hill at dusk | Athens, Greece
The stone ruins of the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia in Delphi Greece
Ancient Greek stone columns being restored under a large canopy at the Apollo Temple in Bassae, Greece
The statues of Cecrops and Pandrosos in the new Acropolis Museum | Athens, Greece
A podium placed in the middle of an empty Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro | Athens Greece
View of Chania Harbor at night with the Lighthouse of Chania in the background | Crete, Greece
Upward view of hiking-stairs in the famous Samaria Gorge on Crete Island in Greece
Close up of the ruins of the Knossos Palace in Crete, Greece
View of the predominantly white architecture of Fira, Santorini, Greece
The ruins of a labyrinth stone-design at the Palace of Knossos | Crete, Greece
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Athens, Santorini, Crete

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Symbol of Civilization

Athens has a remarkable atmosphere year round, cradled underneath the gaze of the Acropolis. Cobblestone streets wind around the Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of the city. Marble pillars continue to decorate the famous hilltop and the grounds below, from the mansions lining the ancient boulevards to the temples in the Roman quarter radiating both power and grace.

When you arrive at the airport, your private transfer is waiting to greet you. Olive groves outside of the city fill the air with an herbaceous quality. The marble summit of Mount Pentelicus reflects the sunlight on your way into the old city. History and culture meet in marvelous fashion throughout Athens, from the blissful aromas of traditional confections drifting out of the bakeries to the allure of the Parthenon crowning the hilltop. You settle into your comfortable hotel situated in the heart of the city, offering a view to the continued splendor around you and the family.  

What’s Included: airport transfer, dinner, accommodation

Day 2: Ancient Marvels Today

In the morning, the aroma of Greek pancakes and an omelet filled with graviera cheese accompanies the scent of creamy Greek coffee. At breakfast, the kids notice the view to the Parthenon crowning the Acropolis. The hills used to be the tallest point in the ancient city, standing 521 feet above the surrounding streets. Your Greece tour begins as your guide meets you at the hotel ready to take you through the majesty of the Panathenaic Stadium and upwards into the beauty of the Acropolis hills.

Your guide is active and energetic. He tells the kids stories to keep them interested and attentive, filling in historical facts of the ruins to help inform you along the way. The cobbled streets turn into marbled walkways, pleated with thin steps leading to the top. You step through the Propylaea, lined with massive pillars, and finding the Parthenon exuding the images of classical Greece. The architect designed the temple to look the same size and height from all angles when seen from below.

When seen up close the Parthenon’s columns have a slight tilt. The temple was completed in 432 BC, positioned with Doric columns. The kids marvel at the friezes decorating the metopes and pediments. The east pediment narrates the birth of Athena, springing forth from the head of her father, Zeus. Your guide emphasizes the mythology, captivating the children, and bringing your exploration of the Acropolis to a different, enthusiastic plain.  

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Searching for Oracles

In the morning, your spirits awaken with a taste of sweet and creamy Greek coffee. The kids indulge in a cheesy omelet before you set out on your adventure to Delphi. The cult site of Delphi stands on Mount Parnassus, overlooking the lush rolling mountains, and known in the ancient world as the sanctuary of Apollo. The aroma of olive groves fades behind the scent of pine trees. The rugged limestone summits frame the ancient city. Your guide leads you along the Sacred Way, the road from the gateway stretching 656 feet to the Temple of Apollo. Pillars and monument bases illuminate the wealth and vast reach of the city’s past.

When you reach the temple of Apollo, the foundation remains, offering a stunning view to the mountains beyond the ancient site, framed by the enduring Doric columns erected in the 4th century BC. Your guide tells stories of the Pythia, the priestess of Delphi and the mouthpiece of the Oracle, who provided insight into politics and love, war and commerce as directed by the God, Apollo. The stories have been passed down for generations and continue to resonate with luster and exuberance.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Island Life for the Family

After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your flight to Santorini. The island is known for lavish views, delicious volcanic soil, and ties to the mythical city of Atlantis. From the plane window, you can see the sparkling azure waters of the Aegean Sea. After you land, the salty and sweet mixture of the air welcomes the family to the treasured island landscape. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to a winery that offers plenty of family entertainment fun for both kids and adults.

The volcanic soil around the island has natural minerals that plants absorb, giving the produce around the island a richer, deeper flavor, including the wines. In a cave 20 feet below the earth’s surface, the winery has a wine museum featuring an animatronic donkey. The subterranean cavernous walls keep the air cool. A barrel of grapes is positioned inside the museum. Your guide leads the family to the barrel. The kids take off their shoes and with eager eyes, plop into the grapes, feeling the supple and juicy fruit squish between their toes. You sample the Assyrtiko to find an enticing smokiness and an earthy, lingering finish.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Boating around the Aegean

You never thought your view could be better than looking out to the Acropolis in the morning and seeing the Parthenon; in Santorini you have found a better view. At breakfast, you can sip on fresh squeezed orange juice and look out to the stunning azure waters of the Aegean wrapping inside the caldera. Your transfer meets you at your hotel and leads you down to the marina where you board a boat chartered for the family’s enjoyment.

The wind blows through your hair leaving salt crystals in its wake. The aroma of the sea is intoxicating. The blue sweeps into the horizon. The sails capture the wind urging the boat forward. You pass the stunning display of colors from the Red Beach and the White Beach, known for the stones that border the gravelly shores. The landscape at the volcano’s rim turns rugged and lunar.

Your guide leads you along the sparse, rustic gravel. The blacker the rock, the more recent the lava cooled, most notably from the 1950 eruption. The legends of the island’s genesis stem from the volcano the family explores, listening to the interconnected histories of the island, the caldera, and the summit. When you look back at Santorini, you can see the whitewashed houses and blue roofs glinting in the sunlight.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Images of Atlantis

The sun rises over the horizon and spreads a staggering light across the Aegean. Your panorama at breakfast is nothing less than exquisite. After your meal, your guide meets you at the hotel and takes you to the archeological site of Akrotiri, known as the “Minoan Pompeii,” and also the possible location of Atlantis. Dating back approximately 1,600 years, the volcano underneath the island erupted, carving the current crescent shape of the landscape, but also covering the ancient city of Akrotiri in ash. The earthen aroma of the site is compelling.

The streets and houses are divided into organized grids. The kids marvel at the size and age of the city. Your guide explains the affluent nature of the thriving city and points out various frescoes decorating lavish homes. One such home has a wall painting of antelopes and blue monkeys climbing over rocks. A river runs beneath them. The vibrant hues have been preserved by the ash and archeological efforts. The landscape depicts similar volcanic rocks as to the scenery near Akrotiri. Today the family truly immerses itself in history. In the afternoon, you venture to the harbor where you meet the high-speed ferry heading to Crete.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 7: Braving the Sea

In the morning, you have an unencumbered view of the coastline of Crete. An infinity pool looks like it touches the cobalt waters and reaches the horizon. You sip a Greek coffee at breakfast and let the day slowly begin. After your meal, your guide leads you to the marina where you board a private boat to the island of Spinalonga. The island is less than 22 acres and has been uninhabited since 1962. The Venetians constructed a fortress on the island in the 16th century, which was overtaken by the Ottomans in the 18th century.

The rugged landscape and cream-colored walls add a golden hue rising out of the Aegean Sea. You can see the entire island on a kayak tour, dipping your paddles into the water and feeling the refreshing temperature splash against your skin. The kids are eager to wade through the crystal sea. Your guide tells stories about the history of the island as you circumvent the fortress. You are learning, to your delight, that wherever you go in Greece, there is sure to be a historical story involved.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 8: The Lair of the Minotaur

Crete is the home of many mythological figures, from Icarus to the Minotaur. It is the largest of the Greek Isles encompassing 3,219 square miles of a mixture of rugged mountains, sapphire coastline, and pearled historic harbor cities. The legends of the island captivate visitors from all over the world, including you and your family.

The Palace of Knossos was home to King Minos, who had Daedalus design the labyrinth. Your guide leads the family on a private tour of the grounds where the cream colored stone outlines the palace’s varying degrees of complexity dating back to 1,900 BC. The palace is complex and flamboyant, decorated with lavish frescoes and painted pillars. The atmosphere of the grounds differ from the mythologies, radiating joy, and celebrations situated in the frescoes, and the architectural plans open up to the large courtyard. The Grand Staircase leads to the Royal Chambers. Ruby Minoan columns support the upper reaches of the building. In the queen’s chambers, a fresco of dolphins decorates the wall. The elaborate blue stands out against the textures of the underwater ambiance. Although the kids haven’t found the labyrinth, the allure of the palace remains.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Island Indulgences of Crete

The olive groves of the island carpet the undulating hillsides of the interior, casting shade over the rugged landscape and filling the air with a savory aroma. After breakfast, the family heads into the hills for a full island immersion. The traditional villages of the region invite you and the family to experience the culture of the island, unique to Greece and the world. The rural heartland comes to life in the serene countryside. The air is brushed with barbecuing meats and vegetables. Musicians lounge in the shade and tune guitars. Men and boys continue to wear the traditional dress of breeches tucked into knee-length boots.

At lunch, your guide leads you into a cozy café where the owners welcome you like family. The aroma of savory cheeses and yogurt emanate from the kitchen. The chef of the restaurant becomes your guide for the moment, leading the family into the kitchen to learn how to make Greek cheese pie, otherwise known as Sfakianopita. The chef encourages the kids to have fun, get messy, use the flour and enjoy themselves because cooking is a measure of joy. When the cheese wrapped in filo dough hits the frying pan, the sizzle makes your mouth water. The kids eagerly wait. The chef takes the pie from the pan, drizzles it with honey, and the sweet and savory concoction melts in your mouth.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 10: Stepping Away from Mythology

In the morning, you wake up early enough to catch a final glimpse of the sunrise over the Aegean. At breakfast, the kids share stories about your time in Greece, talking about their favorite Greek myth, and whether they believe Akrotiri is truly the location of Atlantis. The sweet and savory flavors of the cheese pie linger in your thoughts; you have taken the recipe and plan on making it at home with the kids. You sip your final Greek coffee enjoying the view and the company.

Your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby helping you make your way to the Heraklion International Airport for your flight home. The mythos and antiquity of Greece continue to inspire your family, creating and shaping the unique memories you’ve made on your vacation.

What’s Included: breakfast, airport transfer


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.