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Greece Family Trip

My Wife and I are planning a one week trip to Greece at the end of March 2010 (the week prior to Easter). We have not traveled to Europe before with our kids who are in Grades 6, 4 and 1.
We plan to spend a few days in Athens and then move on to Islands close by.
I am looking for suggestions on where to stay and best places to visit and eat for a family of 5. Much of what I read doesn't provide any tips for traveling with children.

thank you.

Posted by
2866 posts

A good island choice would be Hydra. It's only a couple of hours from Athens/Piraeus by ferry and is quite charming since no vehicles are allowed there.

Posted by
2583 posts

I am going to be contrarian. I urge you NOT to go to Greece (1) if you have only one week and (2) it is in March; still the rainy season, and cold and (3) with 3 youngish children.

Why? Cruelly short time, iffy weather. From Annapolis, your SHORTEST trip will require a flight before noon on day 1, changing in Philly, Newark or New York, to arrive by 9 or 10 on day 2... a 15-16 hour duration +7 hours clock-time change = 24 hours. Your family will have only 6 days, then an exhausting trip back... not to mention that rain may interfere with sightseeing (AND many things closed due to Easter) and it's too cold to swim or sunbathe. All this, with 5 round-trips costing at least $800 each!! Unless you are totally wealthy, I URGE you to save Greece plans until you can go for 2 weeks -- go in Mid-June, see Athens, & then enjoy beach time in perfect weather on a perfect island for young families, such as Naxos.

If you want Europe in March, do London! Short flight, much cheaper, loads to do indoors if weather is bad, a good intro to foreign travel. "Old hands" can enjoy Greece at any time, but I beg you, don't have your first Europe trip be a rushed visit in a rainy Season that might mar your impression of Greece - a magical land that is meant to be seen in warm sunshine.

Posted by
21243 posts

Janet raises some good points - a bit harsh maybe - but accurate. The islands will just be waking up and not in full swing until closer to May and may not be that comfortable. Second our sons didn't join us until around 8 and 9 and even then they could be very trying because their museum interest was not high. In general I don't think of Greece as being that kid friendly. Is there a particular reason you chose Greece as you first European trip? That might us to respond better to your question.

Posted by
2 posts

My wife traveled Europe extensively with her family years ago and Greece is one country she has not yet visited. So it is high on her list. I appreciate the perspective on what we could expect there that time of year. Best Regards.

Posted by
2583 posts

Frank, I don't like your saying I'm "harsh" -- I'm not harsh on people, just being blunt about the actualities of greek weather, and the looong and costly journey to get there. I do this because I do love Greece, and want others to have a great experience, not a disappointment. If I would soft-pedal the pitfalls, they might well choose to turn a blind eye & do wishful thinking and then regret their choice. I've visited Greece 8 times on extensive visits, taking along newcomers almost every time, and have also counseled scores of other people about trips at every time of year and received their feedback ... so I'm not just guessing here.

Posted by
10344 posts

Just one opinion here: I like Janet's approach to giving accurate and clear advice to the OP. Her fact-filled reply helps the OP make better choices, by not sugar-coating weather-related and time of the year issues.

What we often see here is that North American travelers who are inexperienced in Europe, or at least inexperienced in being in a region of Europe in the winter or off-season, often don't have a realistic idea of the weather in the region at the time they're thinking about going. People, especially from warm-weather states, appear to often make the assumption that the weather in "Europe" will be warmer than it's likely to be based on historic weather data.

Sugar-coated replies such as "Well, the weather might be a little iffy but I'm sure you'll have a great trip!"--these kind of saccharine replies don't help travelers avoid bad trips and make better choices of region or time of year.

So when people don't know what they're getting into, and especially when they are not locked in, accurate answers that don't sugar coat things have their place in getting the attention of the OP and helping them to make better choices that will enhance their experience. Even if they're locked in, having realistic expectations about weather is better than being blindsided by unanticipated conditions.

Posted by
1 posts

I could use some help on a trip to Greece also. we are a family group of 6, parents, adult daughters and spouses. We have only a week and a half and are thinking of Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. Does this seem do-able? Other options? Also, is it easy to get from Island to Island? Are Ferry schedules as regular as they seem, even this early in the season?

Thank you, Pat

Posted by
2866 posts

Pat, timewise it's doable, but you didn't say when you plan to make this trip. There will be no ferry between Mykonos and Santorini until March 24. Here is the link: http://www.ferries.gr/hfd. Take note of the no-sail dates. Once the ferry schedules are set they're reliable for the most part unless the occasional strong winds force a smaller ferry like the FlyingCat or the SuperJet to stay in port. That being said, it's always a good idea to check locally to be sure there have been no other last-minute schedule changes.

You might want to reconsider and choose either Mykonos or Santorini, plus another island close by. This will give you the most diverse experience of the islands. There's not a lot to see and do on Mykonos other than sunbathe, shop and partake of nightlife, whereas other islands do offer more activities. Santorini is known for the amazing views, shopping, nightlife and the black sand beaches. If you choose Mykonos the closest islands are Tinos, Syros and Andros. If you choose Santorini the closest islands of interest are Naxos and Paros. These alternative islands have great beaches, watersports, interesting villages, some archaeological sites and small museums. If one of your reasons for including Mykonos is so you can go to Delos, you can still get there from Paros or Naxos on a daytrip boat excursion.

I strongly recommend that you plan your arrival in Greece so you can leave immediately for your first island. Save Athens for the end so you have that extra time to return to the mainland in case of the rare cancellation I mentioned above. Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than stressing out about a last-minute island to mainland connection for your flight home.