Family Fun in Athens: From Kayaking Between Coves to Deciphering Ancient Legends
Athens is an old soul with an ancient beating heart, yet it has an endearing youthful exuberance all its own, making it an ideal destination for families. Families have long gravitated toward the Athens Riviera for long, languid summer holidays that entail swimming in the cool waters of the Saronic Gulf and letting youngsters enjoy the freedom of school-free days.
Today, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens continues this tradition and, just as Greeks warmly welcome children into their homes, so too does the resort. Whether you decide to visit during the summer, or the quieter seasons of spring, autumn and winter, there are plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions in and around the resort that will keep everyone happy.
Here are seven ways to entertain the family on an Athens holiday:
Spend Time on the Water Together
Thanks to a brilliant beachfront location with tranquil, clear waters and soft golden sand underfoot, there’s no shortage of water sports available at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens between April and October. Slide into a sea kayak or canoe and explore hidden rocky coves dotted around the pine-covered Astir Peninsula. Encourage the kids to go snorkelling or test their balancing skills on a standup paddle board. Teens will likely find the rush that foiling sparks to be more their style. At neighbouring Vouliagmeni Bay, youngsters can take ski, windsurf or wakeboard lessons in the safety of well-protected waters. Afterwards, feed ravished stomachs with a hearty traditional Greek lunch at the Hotel’s Taverna 37 then treat them to an ice cream at the gelato stand of our Kyma pool bar.
Stimulate Young Minds at the Kids Club
Youngsters aged 4 to 12 can engage in mind-stimulating arts and crafts activities as well as play games at the Hotel’s fully-supervised Kids Club, which operates year-round, as part of the Kids For All Seasons program based at Nafsika. Indulge in well-deserved downtime at the Spa, go for a swim on the beach or simply relax in your suite, while the kids have fun and socialise with children their own age. Make date night one to remember by booking a romantic dinner at innovative Mediterranean fine dining restaurant Pelagos and arranging an on-site babysitter.
Learn About the Caretta-Caretta Sea Turtle
Greece is home to one of Europe’s most significant populations of the caretta-caretta loggerhead sea turtle. Just a 10-minute drive from the resort lies the volunteer-run Archelon Sea Turtle Rescue Centre, in the suburb of Glyfada. Sick and injured turtles from around the country are brought in for rehabilitation before being released back into their natural habitat. Give the kids an opportunity to learn about the protected species and see the important work being done for these shy creatures. The centre, which relies on donations, is open to visitors on weekends, except in August.
Fun Family-Friendly Tours of Ancient Athens
Our concierge can arrange a wide array of family-friendly walking tours and interactive experiences in Athens’ historic centre designed to make mythology entertaining for children of all ages. Passionate guides, among them the odd archaeologist, vividly bring ancient Greek gods and heroes to life as you walk among the city’s most notable monuments. Some use a tablet to dissect and illustrate the layers of history beneath the Acropolis and Ancient Agora.
Rainy Days Are Made for Museums
If you happen upon a rainy day, take the kids museum-hopping in Athens. Young visitors to the must-see Acropolis Museum are provided with complimentary backpacks filled with games and activities that lead families along an exhibition-based trail. Best suited to toddlers, The Hellenic Children’s Museum invites youngsters to play and learn through collective games and experiments. At the Museum of Illusions, you won’t believe your eyes as you navigate a vortex tunnel, the upside down room and the gravity-defying infinity room. View a fascinating collection of toys, books and clothing hailing from four continents at the Benaki Toy Museum, which is housed in a restored neoclassical mansion in the southern Athens suburb of Palio Faliro.
Track Down Ancient Finds
In Athens, you don’t need to venture far at all to uncover ancient finds. When renovations took place at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens, previously unknown archaic remains came to light. Today, Hotel guests can see them up close. Join a mythology storytelling walk through the resort and you will come across colourful raconteurs who pop up unexpectedly and narrate tales of Greek mythology. Expect live music, traditional Greek music and local specialties, such as syrupy sweets for children and a glass of red wine for Mum and Dad.
Ace It on the Court
Rise early one morning and play a game of tennis with the kids on one of three courts or arrange lessons with a coach from the resort’s tennis academy. If they prefer to shoot hoops, go one on one at the basketball court. Young devotees of the spherical queen, of which there are many in Greece, can play a game of soccer on the resort’s sun-lit pitch.
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens