September 4, 2019

Why Greece is a Must-See Family Travel Destination

Temple of Apollo, Delphi. The Oracle of Apollo, also called the Pythia, gave advice and prophecies here.

Staggering columns, sweeping theaters and crumbling stone. Every temple, myth and moment of ancient Greece influenced western culture for the rest of time.

The best part? Our Greece Family Adventure is an exciting, accessible way for families to experience it. You’ll witness millennia of history and play cultural games the kids will love.

Here are the highlights.

Acropolis Hill, Parthenon, Athens, Greece.

Stand in awe of the Acropolis and Parthenon

The Acropolis needs no introduction – this 2,400-year-old jewel of Athens is one of the most recognizable cultural sites in the world.  Perched on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens, this masterpiece sanctuary is home to the famous Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and other historic buildings. Kids will marvel at the sheer size and dramatic staging of the site, as if it had risen above Athens to greet Zeus personally.

Delphi Theater, Greece

Play a Question-and-Answer game in Delphi

Located on Mt. Parnassus, Delphi was sacred to the god Apollo and home of the famous Oracle, also known as the Pythia. Citizens, noblemen and generals consulted the Pythia on public and private matters, and in return she would give cryptic predictions and guidance.

When you visit with Thomson Family Adventures, your guide will become the Pythia for your group, and play a question-and-answer game with the children. Don’t fret – no animal sacrifice is required!

Delphi is a stunning place – the theater offers a sweeping view of the sanctuary and the luscious Pleistos River Valley far away, sheltered by clouds and mountains. The nearby museum is an absolute must-see: it’s home to the marvelous “Charioteer of Delphi,” an ancient bronze cast depicting the victor of a chariot race in a sublime moment of victory.

Race Around Ancient Olympia Stadium

In 776 B.C., a working-class baker by the name of Koroibos of Elis won the first Olympic race ever at ancient Olympia. Our Greece Family Adventure lets your children follow in his footsteps (literally!) in a footrace around the old stadium, with a medal ceremony to follow.

Though it was also a hub for athletic events, this UNESCO World Heritage site was primarily a sanctuary dedicated to the worship of Zeus. In his honor, the games were held every four years, and the Olympic torch is still regularly lit in front of the Temple of Hera.

Step Back 3,000 Years at Mycenae

Located on a hill overlooking the long, fertile plains of Argolis, Mycenae is home to ominous shaft graves and the famous Lion Gate, standing since about 1250 B.C. Mycenaean culture dominated mainland Greece and served as a precursor to Hellenic culture to come. Among the top finds at this UNESCO World Heritage Site are magnificent golden burial masks, carved rings, cups and a lion’s head drinking vessel.

Ancient ruins of the famous Knossos palace. Crete, Greece.

Discover the Myth and Mystery of Knossos

Historically, Knossos was the home of the first royal palace in Europe (circa 2000 B.C.). Mythologically, it’s believed to be where Theseus fought the Minotaur in his labyrinth and where Daedalus and Icarus made their escape.

The palace’s red pillars, frescoes of bulls and griffins, gypsum throne and theater capture the imagination of those who love classical myth – if the children haven’t heard these stories, now’s the time!

The nearby museum houses the Phaistos Disc and Arkalochori Axe, objects stamped in ancient script that’s meaning has long since been lost to history. The pieces may be undecipherable, but they are still marvelous pieces of humanity’s past. You can only scratch your head and think, wonder, dream.

Learn to Bake Bread “the Old Way” in Rethymno

Rethymno never feels like a city – it’s a place that moves slowly, with romance, in its fairy-tale medieval style. Stroll past Venetian forts and Turkish minarets, low ports, painted masonry and orthodox churches, mosques, mansions and cobbled paths. During your travel with Thomson, a local artisan will guide you through the process of cooking warm, fresh Greek bread in a traditional wooden oven. Of course, you’ll get to taste it afterward!

In Margarites Village, clay flowerpots and jars stand outside houses and walkways, complementing stone streets and vibrant architecture. You’ll get to take a pottery class among the artisans, then enjoy a cooking class in the nearby Argyoupoli Village afterward. It’s an interactive, fun way for kids to learn about another culture.