Family Holiday in Crete, Greece

Our product manager Rachel Gleave recently visited St Nicholas Bay Resort in Crete – here’s her take on it.

I first visited Crete with my family when I was just three years old – I remember the whitewashed buildings, smashing plates, Greek dancing and buying leather shoes!! These are fond memories and I’ve always wanted to return. 40 odd years later, I returned in Crete with my own family, staying in the same north-eastern part of the island, near the town Aghios Nikolaos and it was well worth the wait!

My children – two boys who are nine and twelve – are very interested in Greek Mythology after reading the Rick Riordan books (Percy Jackson, Magnus Chase, Trails of Apollos and more); brilliant adventure stories linked to the gods and their children. So, as you can imagine, Crete, known to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and home of Zeus, had a huge appeal to them as well.

ben and thomas in crete

Arriving for our Holiday in Crete

We took the ferry from Santorini and hired a car on arrival so we could explore the island. A local company linked to our hotel ‘St Nicholas Bay’ arranged for someone to meet us off the ferry with the car, which was super convenient and saved having to get to the airport. The journey was about 50 minutes and very easy to navigate with one main highway all the way. The hotel can also arrange private transfers from the airport or ferry port. The benefit of having a car was the spontaneity of exploring the local area without too much planning. Of course, it is very easy to arrange a car and driver, or taxi if you prefer not to drive.

The island itself is spectacularly scenic with rugged mountain ranges, plateaus, gorges and incredible coastlines. A day or two driving exploring this eastern region is well worth the journey with photo opportunities around every bend. We drove up to the Lasithi Plateau, home to Diktaion Andron a magnificent cave full of stalagmites and stalactites and also known as the birthplace of Zeus – a big tick from the boys! My choice was a drive along the coast from our resort to Plaka, a charming fishing village which is now home to local taverns and boutique shops, appealing to the many visitors heading over to the historical island of Spinalonga. This tiny island is a five-minute boat ride from Plaka (or you can take a longer boat trip from Aghios Nikolaos) and is full of stories from the Venetian rule in the 1700’s through to its use as a leper colony from 1903 – 1957, when it had up to 400 inhabitants. It has now been made famous by Victoria Hislop’s book ‘The Island’ – a great read!


A luxury Crete resort

We stayed at St Nicholas Bay, a gorgeous resort just 20 minutes’ walk from the town but tucked away on a separate peninsular, with a small private beach and magnificent views of the surrounding scenery. Hands down, this Crete family resort has one of the friendliest welcomes of any place I’ve stayed. The team welcome you like family and the manager, Alex, couldn’t have done any more to ensure all guests were happy with their stay. The whole resort is built in the style of a traditional Cretan village with a mix of whitewashed buildings and local stone walls, surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens, linked by narrow pathways.

The spacious, classic style rooms are adorned with local artwork, with all the modern amenities you could need. Rooms vary from simple double rooms with balconies, through to Club Suites with their own generously sized pools, private gardens with unobstructed views of the ocean and private villas with their own kitchens, living space and pools. There really is something for everyone here and as the resort is so spread out along the headland, there is space for everyone to find their own personal corner to enjoy the beach, pool or sprawling terrace. The families tended to stay by the pool and beach, and those seeking more privacy would enjoy a lounger on the terrace, or their own private pool.

st nicolas bay crete

The perfect family holiday in Crete

Children will love the kids club, with a variety of crafts and activities suited to the younger ones.  Older kids can hang out in the air-conditioned activity room, complete with ping pong, table football, pool tables and Nintendo – my kids spent a LOT of time here! We on the other hand relaxed by the pool and enjoyed the spa.

The food was sublime with different spaces for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Minotaur, offering delicious pan Asian and European treats around the pool and our families favourite, the homely Kafenion, dishing up local Greek Cuisine on the waterfront terrace, backed by the beautiful surrounding scenery – we even enjoyed the Greek dancing, although there was no smashing plates this time!!

st nicolas bay

All in all, the whole experience couldn’t have suited us better. We sandwiched our stay with a few nights in Santorini, ending in Athens, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The resort and island of Crete is ideal for anyone seeking a beach escape with plenty to do both in and outside of the resort.


For A Bespoke Holiday Quote, Or More Information On Family Holidays in Greece,
Please Contact Our Team Of Specialists Today.
Call 01494 678400 Or Fill In Our Enquiry Form



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