I live in Greece for more than 20 years and I absolutely love the beaches in here. But before I had kids, visiting the beach required little more than deciding which skimpy bikini to wear and to bring some fast tanning sun oil.
Now I have two young children and I have learned that planning a day trip to the beach with young kids is the equivalent of planning a two-week trip without them.
Between the packing, the swim/play/rest strategizing, the driving and parking at the beach, there are a lot of challenges. Do I need to bring towels? How many? Is there any kids suitable food on the beach, do I need the portable potty, are there any clean toilet facilities? How many towels should you bring? Can I shower my sand-covered baby and how am I going to get all this stuff from your car to the beach?
Both my kids were born in the summer and – despite the above challenges – they came with me to the beach as soon as we were ready to leave the house. My children and I enjoy the freedom, space, and free sand and water play opportunities of the Greek beaches all year long. We swim in the sea starting from April until autumn. This past winter I managed to take my 8-year old for a swim at the end of November.
Perhaps you wonder which parts of Greece are suitable for a beach holiday with (young) children. Which beaches offer some help with the above-mentioned challenges? And when is the best time to visit?
In a series of articles about beaches, I will share my experiences and everything you need to know before planning your family beach vacation to Greece. I will list my favorite child-friendly beaches, the best products for children to bring to the beach, water safety tips and more.
In my first article ‘Beach Please!‘ I have listed a number of family friendly beaches along the southern and north-eastern side of Athens and the Attica peninsula. Sand and Water Play on the beaches in Athens describes the water quality and cleanliness of the beaches in Attica. The Blue flag awarded Greece in 2016 the third place among 50 countries. 7 Blue flag beaches are located in the Attica region, these are all sandy beaches and start from Voula towards the South and on the East side of Attica. You can find them all in before mentioned article.
In this blog post, I will give you some general information that is important to know for any beach in Greece.
If you are planning a summer beach vacation, the best time to visit with young children would be overall in Greece in the months May and June or in September. These months are still relatively quiet and the beaches are less crowded than in the peak months of July and August. (Not to mention also the higher prices and congested ferries/planes). Not only is it more peaceful this period, the temperature for young children is better too. The sea temperature is colder in May and June than in September.
However, there are some varying weather patterns across Greece depending on the topography and distance from the coast. High mountains, for example, have a very different climate to the islands, the south is hotter and drier than the north.
Most summer visitors to Greece choose the Greek Islands. Here, in general, a Mediterranean climate prevails with long, hot, dry summers. The summer weather in the islands begins in May with daily highs in the mid-20s. In July the daytime temperature is often in the 30s. As mentioned before July and August are the hottest summer months, the temperature will rarely drop below 20°C even at night. Some islands are visited by the so-called ‘meltemi’ a cooling wind that blows from the north and northwest. The winds are strongest in July and August when they are needed the most. You do not need to worry about these winds but you can check if your destination is part of the Meltemi islands. The winds can affect the sea and sometimes causes rougher seas for a few days even on the calmest child-friendly beaches.
When to visit the beach with kids
The morning and afternoon hours are the best times to be in the beach with your children. It is recommended in Greece to go to the beach with babies and young children before 11 in the morning or after 5 in the afternoon. Babies can swim safely in the sea from 6 months old. It is very important to avoid any direct sun for babies and young children. They have to stay in the shade at all times. Sunscreen, hats, umbrellas and special protective swim wear are very important to keep your baby safe in the Greek sun. A beach play tent can be used too but only in the shade. They will get to hot in direct sunlight.
Some criteria to choose a beach destination
- For young children, it is best to choose a sandy beach over pebbles
- Check if the sea is shallow and calm
- Is there any shade on the beach in the form of trees or umbrellas?
- Can chairs/umbrellas be rented? It is very convenient to have a chair when you visit the beach with a baby. Easy to change the diaper and also a good place to sleep away from sticky sand
- Are there any toilets on/near the beach? I may be exaggerating but that’s because I have children who really need to go once they need to go
- Choose your accommodation close or on the beach. If your accommodation is not on the beach, check the route towards the beach.
In our next beach post we will list the best family friendly beaches in Greece!
Celeste Tat is an expat living in Greece for 16+ years, she is the mother of 2 young children and always searching for family friendly activities and vacation destinations. She is Family Travel Blogger and creator of Family Experiences Blog. She writes also for Family Goes Out in Greece.