If you are a single parent looking for a summer destination, look no further than the Greek islands: Calm waters, sandy beaches, unspoiled natural beauty and plenty of things to do!
That is why we have created a list of the best 6 Greek islands for a family holiday to help inspire your next summer escape and all those unforgettable family moments.
Thassos – (6 best Greek islands for a family holiday – 1/6)
Thassos is one of the most family-friendly destinations in Greece but is Often overlooked by tourists. Situated in the Northernmost part of the Aegean Sea, the islands turquoise beaches are surrounded by breathtaking pine forests.
Don’t expect to see hordes of partygoers arriving at the port town of Prinos as this island is famous with the locals for its laid-back attitude. Thassos has beaches for every kind of traveler, and most of them are safe for kids. The best one can be found at Skala Rachoni, its waters are shallow and safe enough for children of all ages, and there are plenty of restaurants around. However, the 1-km long Chryssi Akti beach is also worth investigating as it’s been a favorite for Greek and foreign families alike for years!
How to get there: Catch a ferry to the port of Prinos from Kavala or Keramoti (the cheapest option).
Cephalonia – (6 best Greek islands for a family holiday – 2/6)
Cephalonia has a reputation as one of the most regally beautiful Greek island and is renowned for its hospitality. Located in the southern part of the Ionian Sea, the island is also world famous for its emerald coastline and imposing landscapes.
Bond with your kids by taking part in one of the many water activities near Skala or explore the cobbled streets of Fiskardo. As for beaches, there are just too many to mention: Makrys Gialos, Myrtos, and Ksi are just some of the prettiest. Also, don’t forget to swim in the fascinating Cave of Melissani at Karavomylos, one of the island’s most famous landmarks.
How to get there: You can catch a ferry from Kyllini (the westernmost part of the Peloponnese), which is less than 300km away from Athens and there is also a wide range of flights from many airports across the UK.
Rhodes – (6 best Greek islands for a family holiday – 3/6)
When it comes to family summer holidays, Rhodes would typically be the first island a local would recommend. Most of the island’s eastern coast is uninterrupted coastline with shallow, warm waters, full of all-inclusive hotels and fun activities for children. Rhodes is ideal if you want some time for yourself, there is no shortage of things to do with your kid.
The medieval town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a walk through its narrow alleys will take you on a journey through the times of the Templar Knights. It is quite challenging to recommend kid-friendly beaches in Rhodes since most of the island’s Eastern coastline is ideal for children. Vlychia is a local favourite because of its shallow waters. Katsouni, Haraki and the Anthony Quinn beaches are also very popular with families since they are perfectly safe for younger ones. If you are travelling with tweens or teenagers, then the beaches of Faliraki and Lindos are also perfectly safe choices.
How to get there: There are daily routes to Rhodes from the port of Piraeus, with stops in the islands of Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos and Kos. The trip is quite lengthy and will take you about 12 hours. Alternatively, there are direct flights from all over the UK and Ireland, as well as Athens.
Naxos – (6 best Greek islands for a family holiday – 4/6)
Quiet, spacious and picturesque, Naxos promises everything that a single parent family needs for their summer holiday: child-friendly sandy beaches, water sports, sightseeing opportunities, cheap eats and lots of colorful villages to visit for an evening walk. Stroll through the paths of Apeiranthos and Filoti and explore the Venetian Castle near the old capital town.
In addition, the mythology surrounding the island is an excellent opportunity for some fantastic children stories: Did you know that Zeus spent his childhood years in Naxos? Unsurprisingly, there is a large selection of beaches for you to choose from. Children will love the sandy beach of Agios Georgios and the emerald waters of Agia Anna. Other family-friendly beaches are Agios Prokopios and the more secluded Pyrgaki.
How to get there: There are daily routes to Naxos from the port of Piraeus. The journey takes 3.5 to 5 hours and a warning that the airport of Naxos is only connected with Athens airport.
Milos – (6 best Greek islands for a family holiday – 5/6)
Milos has a long-standing reputation among Greeks as a couple’s destination. The dramatic landscapes and azure beaches make it a perfect setting for a romantic getaway. However, there is a lot to do for single-parent families as well.
Besides enjoying the sea, you can organise educational excursions to the Archaeological and Folklore Museums and learn more about the island’s adventurous past. For many years, Milos used to be a fearsome pirate haven, making for some stories that kids will love! The beaches of Papikinou and Provatas are ideal for younger children. If you are traveling with grown-up kids, you can head to the magical Sarakiniko beach or the lunar landscape of Kleftiko. Paliohori is the island’s most famous organised beach, with many taverns and bars nearby.
How to get there: There are daily routes to Milos from the port of Piraeus. The journey takes 5 to 7 hours with a regular ferry, while the high-speed vessels will take you there in 3 to 5 hours. In the summer there are also direct flights to Milos from Athens airport.
Alonnisos – (6 best Greek islands for a family holiday – 6/6)
Often overshadowed by its vastly more popular neighbor (Skiathos), Alonnisos is the hidden gem of the Sporades. Tourism is not yet fully developed in Alonnisos, but this is precisely what makes the place magical: forget 5-star hotels and the comforts of all-inclusive packages. This is a destination for those who love nature, peace and breathtaking views. The Marine Park of Alonnisos protects a wide range of local sea life, including the Mediterranean monk seal.
If you are traveling with older kids, don’t miss the chance to go snorkeling. It’s a lifetime experience, and you’ll probably get to see seals up close! Alonnisos is a tiny island, and most of the beaches are near each other. Chryssi Milia is by far the best for small children, as it is extremely shallow. Leftos Gialos, Megalos Mourtias and Agios Dimitrios are also suitable for kids, while Kokkinokastro is quite deep and not recommended for younger children.
How to get there: During the summer months, there are routes from Thessaloniki three times a week. You can also reach the island from the port of Volos, which is much closer.
Halkidiki – Bonus
Halkidiki isn’t technically an island, but we couldn’t help ourselves from adding it to the list as an extra! The region can be easily spotted on the map because of its distinctive geography: three similar-sized peninsulas (resembling “fingers” or “legs”) extending all the way to the Aegean sea. The locals swear by the beauty of the beaches, claiming that some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece can be found here. From the bustling “first leg” of Kassandra to the quiet, family-friendly Sithonia in the middle, you will surely find something you like.
There are so many family-friendly beaches around Halkidiki, it would be impossible to list them all. In Kassandra, you must visit the picturesque village of Afytos and its sandy beach. Sani and Kallithea are also excellent choices for families. Sithonia is less crowded and more suited to those who want a more peaceful holiday. Koviou, Agios Ioannis, Karidi (photo) and Vourvourou are just some of the many family-friendly beaches in the area.
If you are thinking of visiting Halkidiki with the kids, you could take a look at our single parent beach holiday in Kallithea on the beautiful Kassandra peninsula. Our 5-star all-inclusive hotel offers all the amenities you and the kids could wish for and the golden beach and crystal clear waters are a beach lover’s paradise!
How to get there: Thessaloniki airport is the nearest airport for Halkidiki. The transfer to Kassandra takes about an hour.
We intentionally left the more famous Greek islands such as Skiathos, Corfu and Crete out of this article. These places receive so much publicity that we thought it would be nice to focus on the hidden gems.
Don’t forget to check out our friends at Stasher if you ever need luggage storage in Athens while you are waiting for a late departure from the airport or the port of Piraeus. You can see a lot of things in Athens in just a few hours, so don’t let the opportunity pass. Summer is short — make the most out of it!
We’ve also got two other fantastic new articles out now for you to read, check out:
Andrea travelled abroad extensively as a single parent with her now grown up son. Their travels inspired her to quit her city job of 20 years and focus on organising holidays for single parents and solo travellers. When Andrea is not working for Single Parents on Holiday, she enjoys blogging, snowboarding and travelling to far flung places. Her favourite destination is the Caribbean.