Greece is a brilliant place to visit with kids, just a 3 hour flight from the UK, amazing food, sandy beaches and glorious weather from May to October. The Islands are often the big draw but the mainland is equally as stunning.
We headed to Halkidiki where we stayed on the Sithonia Peninsula at the Acrotel Athena Pallas Village. Here’s what we thought.
The Hotel is around 100km from Thessalonika Airport which took around an hour and a half in the car. Situated just over the road from its very own stretch of Elia beach where I don’t think I’ve ever seen sea so clear or sunsets so beautiful. Pine forests, delightful fishing villages and rustic mountains are all within 20 minutes drive. Although the hotel offers a lot of activities for kids I would recommend hiring a car so you can explore the surrounding area.
We somehow managed to get upgraded into a massionette room which was lovely and plenty large enough for the three of us. There was a little mix up on check in as they didn’t have my daughter included in the booking but they quickly made up an extra bed for her, unfortunately it wasn't that comfy – rock hard in fact!
The room had a balcony overlooking the pool where we enjoyed a card game each night and a cute fire place which must be lovely and cosy to light out of season. We were staying in early April so it still got pretty cold at night – we just switched the heating on for a bit.
The bathroom had a shower, and plenty of lovely Elemis products.
The shower was a huge disappointment, pretty dribbly and absolutely freezing, I ended up “showering” under the shower tap which was marginally warmer.
You get one complimentary bottle of water for your stay and will have to pay for any others – best to pop out to a supermarket to stock up on drinks. There is a pretty well stocked mini bar but with the usual extortionate luxury hotel prices so we just bought our own. There’s also a coffee machine with a couple of complimentary pods each day and kettle although no actual teabags – we just pinched a few from breakfast each day.
There was a small TV although it did not have many English speaking channels so my daughter mainly watched her iPad for her screen time. Wifi was free and fine although a little slow to download anything.
Being in a Maisonette gave us access to a stunning private pool area and a separate place to eat in the buffet restaurant. None of this was explained at check in so we spent the first day sneaking back into the private area behind other guests, only realising on the second day that our keys actually worked in the rather oppressive doors!
All the maisonnettes have a lovely outdoor seating area, overlooking the pool.
It felt a little odd having this special treatment but the room and private pool was just gorgeous and the dining area was slightly quieter than the main room.
The rooms were always pretty clean although on a couple of occasions the cleaners had not ensured that our door had fully closed so we came back to our room to find it was unlocked. A rather friendly cat spent most nights on our balcony which my daughter loved however the cleaners did not clean up the leftover cat hairs.
The hotel is set out like a traditional Greek village, it's beautiful, rustic and feels very authentic. There are a few onsite chapels as can be seen all over mainland Greece.
And plenty of gorgeous spots, perfect for a pic!
Our booking was full board which meant we got breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main restaurant, Doxato. It offers a selection of freshly cooked Greek cuisine with some child friendly favourites if you have picky kids, Piper had spaghetti bolognaise most nights whilst I enjoyed a greek salad with everything!
Breakfast had all the usual cooked and not cooked options, there’s a fresh eggs station serving gorgeous omlettes and the traditional spinach pie was simply delicious! There wasn’t a huge variety of fruit but lots of other healthy salad options.
Lunches were pretty dire so we only ate in the restaurant twice but the evening meals always had something we could enjoy, the moussaka was a particular favourite. It’s a buffet so as you would expect, it can get pretty busy and after a few days the monotony will set in. There are so many other amazing, cheap restaurants around Sithonia with beautiful décor and views, I wouldn’t opt for full or half board if we returned.
We ate at the onsite restaurant Lemoni one night as we were given a 20% discount on arrival and it made such a pleasant change. The service was exceptional and the food fresh and tasty. The waiter did everything he could to look after us and even gave us a few complimentary shots of ouzo – our heads were not great the next morning! Make sure to try the gyro (doner kebab), it was absolutely delicious!
The setting of the restaurant was beautiful, overlooking the main pool with the sea in the background. It’s all open air which made it pretty chilly on an April evening but the waiter wheeled over a couple of heaters meaning we were perfectly toasty!
We also had a burger at the pool bar on our first day which was very enjoyable.
The hotel is clearly working hard to cater to families and has a fair few activities for kids to enjoy. There is a kids club with daily crafting activities where kids can be left if they are over four, we didn’t use it as we were mainly exploring but the schedule looked pretty good.
There’s a lovely little play area near the onsite minimart which is a good place for a run around.
If you’re looking for indoor activities, the games room has two bowling alleys (€5 a game).
There's also foosball and billiards tables.
There’s even a small cinema showing pretty recent blockbusters although they didn’t always stick to the given schedule.
We also enjoyed a game of mini golf and Piper loved spotting the pet tortoises when they ventured out of their homes.
You can hire bikes to explore the surrounding area, although I imagine this would get pretty hot in the height of summer!
The hotel has a restaurant dedicated to Greek cooking lessons but it didn't appear to be open when we visited.
There’s a little Greek folk museum onsite with some traditional farming memorabilia.
The pools are absolutely gorgeous, both the public one:
And the private one for the maisonettes:
The only problem was that they are not heated so absolutely freezing in April, so much so we couldn’t go in, disappointing as that’s normally Pipers favourite part of any family holiday.
They do have an indoor pool in the Spa area although kids were not allowed in it apart from on the first day we arrived – it was open to kids for two hours but then closed again the next day. When I asked reception if kids would be allowed to swim anywhere they said no and were not helpful in suggesting anywhere else in the area, however on our penultimate day we heard kids in the pool and they had opened it again! This was pretty rubbish service – it would have been good to be told, especially as I had previously requested it.
There’s also a really strange system for getting towels for the spa – you have to request them from main reception, not the spa reception, leave a €15 deposit per towel then use a given token to collect the towel – we just used the other pool towels provided in our room!
If you go out of season it will be super quiet and great value for money, although for the issues highlighted above, it did not feel particularly five star.
Theres' a lovely little Spa onsite if you can grab some time without the kids, the treatments looked like great value!
As mentioned, the service wasn’t always great and for a hotel with so many child friendly amenities, it did not always feel 100% child friendly.
Be warned, they now have a new 5 star hotel tax which is €4 per day, we were only told this at check in.
It’s a big fat yes! Probably when it’s a bit warmer so we can all enjoy the pools and we would probably change our dining package but there really is so much for the kids and it's such a beautiful part of the world, one day we’d all love to return.
Acrotel Athena Pallas Village
P.O. Box 63088,
+30 23750 81410
Read more reviews and book the Athena Pallas Village here.
Have you been to the Athena Pallas Village in Halkidiki? We’d love to hear what you think, just leave us a review or comment below.
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