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First time in Greece with school-age kids

Hi all. My husband and I will be traveling to Greece with our 7 and 9 year old. We will spend about a week on Crete and then two nights (a little more than 48 hours) in Athens before flying home. I’ve got the flights sorted but have not booked any accomodations. We’d like to be very close to the beach and in central Crete so we don’t waste a lot of time driving. The thought is we will spend some time in the afternoon at the beach most days but have an outing planned most mornings. I looked closely at Chania (which looks amazing but I imagine will be crazy in early August), and I’m leaning toward Rethymno. I’d love to hear thoughts on these two locations or other recommendations. I’m also interested in whether people recommend certain lodging. We can be flexible about hotel/resort v. something more like AirBnB or VRBO. If you have a hotel recommendation for Athens, I’d love to hear about that too. Thank you!

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If you are comfortable driving I recommend the Akrotiri Peninsula near Chania. Much more local vibes, a few expats, mostly European tourists, and tons of kid friendly local beaches at reasonable prices.

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We've stayed in both Chania and Rethymno and I vote for Rethymno.

Chania is indeed a charming town to sit and people watch, but we stayed in a pension on one of the side streets in town and to swim we would have needed to catch the bus to the beach. There are resorts nearby but I've not stayed in those so you might look into that.

In Rethymno we stayed at the Astali Hotel. Wonderful owners. Right on the beach, easy to walk into town for meals or a stroll. You might run into a problem finding a hotel with a room for all four of you. Maybe email the property for help there.

We did not rent a car on Crete, but took a couple of one day bus tours.

Whichever you choose, enjoy your trip! We love Greece.