Think of Athens and an image of ancient ruins is likely to spring to mind. There is a lot more to the city than decaying buildings however, and the Greek capital is a particularly good destination for young children. We spent a very enjoyable week in the city last summer, and this is some of the advice we have for families travelling with young children.
When to visit
The summer months (June to August) are the warmest, and the busiest, months in Athens and should be avoided when traveling with young children. The weather is more pleasant between March and May.
Planning your trip
As a major tourist destination finding charter or budget flights to Athens isn’t difficult. Beware, however, that not all flights arrive at the main airport terminal, and getting around the Athens airport can be difficult with small children. Another thing to remember is that on most European flights, the luggage allowance is just 20kg.
Athens is a relatively large city and as it is hilly, so getting around with children can be difficult. On the plus side, taxis are cheap and there are lots of excellent bus tours available. Try to get accommodation near the main attractions for your trip to Greece, even if this means paying slightly more. Staying close to the National Gardens is a good option for families on an Athens city break.
While you’re there
During your Athens city break you’ll find lots to do with the children. We spent a whole day in the National Gardens where there is a playground, several duck ponds and a small zoo. There was also lots of room to run around, and a children’s library.
Pedion Areos, the city’s largest park, also has lawns and ponds, and is a beautiful place for a bicycle ride. The children particularly liked the cable-car ride to the top of Mount Likavitos. The New Eugenides Digital Planetarium is one of the finest in the world and the Kidom, next door to the Allou Fun Park, is an ideal amusement park for younger children. On the final day of our trip we took a trip Alimos seaside resort.
The city is generally safe but we did meet a family who had experienced pick-pocketing on the Metro. If you have more than one or two children, avoid taking the Metro, particularly during peak times, and remain vigilant in busy areas.
We plan to return with the children are older and among the attractions that we didn’t hit are the Museum of Greek Children’s Art and the Children’s Museum, The Hellenic Cosmos, a multimedia centre focusing on Greek history and culture.
Katie Palmer enjoys writing about her holiday experiences with her family of three, as well as giving practical information to parents about everything from travel tips to childcare.