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Our family’s 1st trip to Greece

Hello everyone,

My husband and I, along with our two daughters, who will be 11 and 16 next summer when we will be traveling to Europe are planning 7 days in Greece (June 15-23). I have family in Germany and we plan to stay with them a couple of weeks before flying into Athens and then flying back home (North America) out of Athens.

We like to explore but we would also add a couple of half or full days at the beach. We were thinking of going to an island for about 4 days then end 2 days in Athens before flying home that last day.

I’m a bit overwhelmed with all of the islands, as there are so many! We’d like something that we can easily get to from Athens so we’re not adding an extra day of travel if possible, and a place that’s family friendly as well. As beautiful as Santorini and Mykonos are we are probably going to skip those islands. We have read about Naxos which isn’t too far and that looks beautiful and sounds like it’s family friendly, but we’re looking for other options as well! Maybe an island that’s not too touristy or that people normally think of that would be worth visiting…?

Any recommendations of family Friendly Islands, as well as recommendations of places to stay, ferry companies, amount of days to stay on island/Athens, places to see, transportation, etc? This is our first time to Greece so any advice is welcome.

Thank you in advance!

Posted by
125 posts

I join in the recommendation for Rhodes. It is an easy flight from Athens. It is a good mix beaches and historical sites. We stayed in a great bed and breakfast in the Old Town. We rented a car for the day to drive to the beach near Lindos.

If you want a beach that is driving distance from Athens then I recommend Nafplio (sp?). We loved it so much we stayed extra days. The beach is lovely and there are many interesting historical sites nearby.

Posted by
2031 posts

Also note that if you are leaving from Germany, the Greek islands being very popular with Germans, there are direct flights to Rhodes from several cities in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf.

Also direct flights to Kos which is also in the Dodecanese.

From these islands you can fly to Athens before returning home

Posted by
2 posts

We will add Rhodes and Napflio to our list of places to consider! Thank you!!!

We do have a direct flight from Munich to Athens booked already.

Any other locations that may be accessible by bus/train/ferry instead of another flight from Athens? Not opposed to flying to an island or another location from Athens though if needed. Thanks!

Posted by
2031 posts

On the mainland there are lots of things to do and see. Another of the most beautiful Greek sites are Meteora and its monasteries. Located a few hours by train or bus from Athens. You have to stay there for at least a night or two.

In the Aegean there are at least 40 possible destinations in the Cyclades, Dodecanese and Saronic golf islands. About a dozen of which are accessible by plane from Athens.
Plus all the other possibilities on the West side in the Ionian Islands (Corfu, Zakynthos, Kythera, etc.).

You only have 5 days (plus the 2 days in Athens) so you will have to make choices if you don't want to spend your vacation in transport and unpacking/repacking your luggage. Especially with young kids

You won't have much time left to go to an island and rest on its beaches if you visit mainland sites like Nafplio or Meteora, etc.
And vice versa, if you choose to go to an island, choose only one island, and an island easily accessible from Athens by ferry or plane.

Sifnos, for example, is a very beautiful island relatively unspoiled by mass tourism and about 2 hours by ferry from the port of Piraeus.
With its superb sandy beaches, blue-domed chapels and white-washed houses, small fishing port, excellent cuisine, countless hiking trails, wild creeks with turquoise water, a large choice of accommodation. Everything is there, and for half the price than in Mykonos or Santorini and with 50 times fewer tourists.

Posted by
1177 posts

If you want a nice island very close to the mainland then I would recommend Aegina.

It has everything one would want in a Greek Island without the hordes of tourists.

However, summer is high season so no matter what island you go to they'll be tourists but Aegina doesn't get overwhelmed especially with nightlife and party goers.

It has a nice main town on the water, archeological/historic sites, seaside villages, abandoned Byzantine village in the hills, beaches and a nice vibe.

Less than 2 hours depending on type of boat you choose.

Athens deserves at least 2 days with 3 better but 2 should be OK.

Here's a great website not only for Athens, Islands but also the mainland:

Posted by
2031 posts

Aegina is a great choice too.

And I agree with "tommy k5": Matt Barrett's website is a great website created by a greece lover for greece lovers

Posted by
15679 posts

I haven't been to Aegina but it's a 1 hour ferry ride from Piraeus so it's probably the closest. Going to an island farther away will take a lot longer. I believe you can get to Piraeus harbor faster than to the airport from Athens city center and even a 1 hour flight will add another hour or more to your total journey time.