Hi, we are planning our first trip to Europe with our 2 boys, ages 9 and 7. We would like to combine some time in possibly Amsterdam/Paris along with some time in Greece. Our boys have great interest in Greek mythology ( big fans of the Riordan Percy Jackson book series ), so we are thinking that would be a fun connection. What is the best way to combine these destinations in 1 trip. Thinking a couple of weeks. Safety and ease of travel is important for kids at this age. What Greek islands would best fit the bill, they love beaches of course? Thanks!
Think about taking them to Delos, the Greek island considered the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. It can be easily reached from Mykonos in a short time or in 2 hours from Paros or 3 hours from Naxos. All 3 of these islands have excellent beaches, and are accessibly by both ferry and plane from Athens. No one is allowed to spend the night on Delos so if you want to see it you'll have to go to one of these islands first. In combination with Athens this should give them a great experience of Greece's history and mythology.
Crete is the home to the site of Knosses, home of the Minotaur, King Minos, Adriane, Daedelus, and birthplace of Zeus. It has some lovely beaches, particularly around the south coast, and is easy to reach via Athens. Hotels are reasonably priced.
For ancient Greek sites related to mythology, other than Crete, you are best to stay on the mainland. Visit the Ancient Agora and Acropolis in Athens, along with the Archeological and Acropolis Museums there. Delphi is a short 2 hour trip from Athens and is an impressive ancient site with an intact stadium and amphitheater. It is a more dramatic and impressive site than Olympia. I think they would also enjoy Myceanae outside of Nafplio, also a 2 hour drive outside Athens (but in the opposite direction). Mycaenae was reportedly the home of Agamemnon (you can see "his treasure" in the Archeological Museum) and while mostly ruins, some of the beehive tombs are still very intact and the Lion Gate is impressive. Nafplio also has an impressive Byzantine fort that the kids will like and is a quaint pedestrian town that you will love. Nafplio has a beach too. Your biggest issue will be to fit in everything in two weeks. Amsterdam and Paris could fill most of that time and to visit Athens and nearby sites would be about a week.
Are you thinking of next summer, as that will have some impact on your trip.
Yes we are planning to go after school gets out in mid June.