Greece is steeped in culture, history and literary greatness, making it a superb location for families to have a fun and educational holiday. Whilst Homers Iliad may be too much for young children to take in, an overview of the classics and a hands on exploration of Greece can steer them in the right direction for future learning. Children’s books are a great way to introduce the classics without the information being too overbearing. Barefoot Books have a great range of books, including the fabulous ‘Adventures of Achilles‘ and ‘A Family Adventure with Odysseus‘.
The book introduces children to Achilles, the son of a king and a goddess and also the best warrior in Greece. So when Prince Paris claims Helen from a Greek King, and Troy declares war, everyone knows that Achilles will be vital to the Greek cause. With the help of the gods, can young Achilles lead his fellow countrymen to victory against the Trojans? The hardback version of the book Includes two full-length CDs narrated by the authors, making it a great choice for when you are out and about on the road or perhaps when travelling to Greece.
For hands on learning, what better way to follow on from your storytelling sessions than to head over to Greece for your families very own Achilles adventure. We take a look at some of the best areas to explore on your heroic adventure.
Achillion Palace, Corfu
This stunning Palace can be found just outside the pretty village of Gastouri on the popular Greek Island. Built between 1890 and 1892 by the Empress Elizabeth of Austria after being inspired after a visit to the island, this large palace is full to the brim with sculptures, paintings and traditional Greek artefacts. The most popular statues of Achilles looking up to Mount Olympus as he is about to die and the statue of Achilles Triumphant. Of course, you can simply show your children pictures of Achilles but they would not get a sense of atmosphere that a trip to Greece would invoke. There are lots of fun family activities in Corfu, on the beach and beyond, so there really is fun for all of the family.
Visit the ancient ruins of Sparta and step back in time to Ancient Greece. Located in the Laconia region, Ancient Sparta was built on the River Evrotas which provided water and acted as a natural fortress. Visit the area now and you will see remains of ancient theatres and artefacts that remain from the Roman period. Head to The Menelaion, where excavations are uncovering a significant Mycenaean settlement. The views over to Sparta are amazing from here so it is well worth the drive and there are always opportunities to stop off along the way for some glorious Greek food.
Mount Olympus was very significant in Ancient Greek Mythology as the home of the Twelve on the Mightiness peak. The whole region of Pieria’s Olympus was declared archaeological and historical site and is sure to be a magical place to visit for children to imagine the battles between Achilles and Zeus and to explore the origins of Greek Mythology. Modern day Mount Olympus is the highest in Greece and is a great spot for walking, hiking and rambling. A short drive away from the sea is Dion, sacred city of the ancient Macedons, dedicated to Twelve Olympians.
The modern Olympic games that are adored by adults and children alike were inspired by the Ancient Olympic games. Set up in honour of Zeus the Olympic Games were held every 4 years throughout from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD and the modern games reflect that pattern. Go on an adventure through the forest and hills, where the remains lie, and get a little exercise yourself. When you watch the Olympics again on TV, your children can see them in a whole different light! There is so much to see in Olympia, including the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera, the Olympic Stadium and the magnificent Archaeological Museum.
As you journey around on your Achilles adventure, there are lots of activities that you can take part in to keep your children entertained on the road or at your hotel. Why not download this fun Mythical Maze puzzle or check out the Barefoot Pinterest for lots of great ideas. Enjoy your adventure with your little heroes.
If you love visiting archaeological sites and museums, Kids Love Greece has selected the top six that should not be missed on any family visit to Greece. Click here to see our relevant blog entry: Take your Camera and Say CHEESE!