Croatia in family : pratical guide


Croatia is an ideal destination for holidays in family between land and sea. Spreading just like a wake on the blue shades of the Adriatic Sea, this country hides a great deal of treasures. Splendid coastlines, dreamlike islands, cities loaded with history, authentic villages and lush and verdant natural parks, Croatia is an invitation to discover ever more. Inspirational, exceptional, Croatia stays among the staple destinations for a serene trip with children. 


Enjoy incredible landscapes and cities during your stay in Croatia.

From Rijeka to Dubrovnik, not to forget Split, Croatia offers large pebble and rock beaches, deserted creeks that are optimal for a swim, you will also find small fishing ports, elegant Mediterranean villages, ancient buildings and peaceful convents. By the coasts, the Adriatic Sea is dotted with islands that seem to have been dropped here and there, all covered in a subtropical vegetation. At the heart of the country are grand forests hiding mad waterfalls that run through the country. Standing as a fascinating transition between Central Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, cultures and external influences cross and merge there. To complete the idyllic picture, its mild climate, the smile of the Croatians and the vastness of its gastronomy must not be missed. Croatia is a leading destination for anyone who longs for a sunny life. Thanks to this practical guide, you will experience colourful holidays in this splendid and quiet location. Now discover the ideal time at which you should go, where to stay and what to do in Croatia with your family. 


When is the ideal period for you to go to Croatia? 

With a Mediterranean climate, the coastal Croatia offers to travellers dry and hot summers with a 26°C sea water and mild winters. The interior part of the country knows a continental climate with hot and stormy summers and tough winters during which snow may fall. Overall, Croatia benefits from a pleasant sunning, especially during summer: roughly 11 hours a day. The country can be visited during any season, although the most pleasant months are comprised between spring and the end of summer when temperatures are not too high, that prices are more affordable, and the touristic places are less crowded. The month of August is the busiest. Thousands of foreign visitors then tread the streets of the cities, each flat rock lighted by the sun is filled with tourists, laying there much like seals on the floe, queues add up everywhere except in the natural parks where entries are limited and for which a reservation months prior are required. Our piece of advice: if you can, avoid this period of the year. Prefer the May, June and September. 


Is Croatia a safe country for holidays in family? 

On the safety side, Croatia is safe day and night. No worries then, head there with a restful mind and enjoy your holidays in family by appreciating the quietness and sweetness of the way of life of the Mediterranean country. 


Where to go in Croatia as a family? 

Croatia is a very long country. 6,278 km stand between north and south. To visit it completely, you would need a bit more than a month, and many hours driving. Croatia can be divided into 4 major touristic parts: Istria, a version of Croatia with a northern-west Italian twist, the Kvarner, a perfect mix between sea and mountains, the southern Dalmatia and Dubrovnik, and Slavonia, an agrarian region with a strong historical heritage. The best option for a week of vacation is to go for one of these regions and to focus on it. Two weeks would allow you to visit a second one or to explore the islands, but a whole month would be necessary to visit everything. We would recommend you to take your time and not to rush the visits with your children. 


The best activities with children 

Endless swims in cerulean-blue waters 

With more than 6,000 km of coasts and countless islands, Croation brings to sailing enthusiasts endless possibilities in terms of activities. Known for diving or regatta, it is also a very suitable place for long swims with children: the temperature of the water is optimal. In certain marinas, Croatians built concrete pontoons that bring smiles to the faces of children: they love to jump and dive from them, again and again. The nautical excursions are a good way to sail at the heart of a sea dotted with islands, among which some of them truly are marvel to contemplate and admire the thousands of years of sea erosion. It is quite easy to rent a boat in Croatia, even without a permit, in which case you will have your own zodiac boat. You can also book an excursion in the sea through one of the many agencies that organise cruising from the continent. Go discover the mesmerising natural phenomenon of the Blue Cava during a boat excursion of a day starting from Split. 


After a walk, relax on the fine sandy beaches under the sun.


Hikes in the Plitvice Lakes National Park 

Midway between the city of Zagreb and the coastline, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is also known as the “Garden of the Devil”, is a nice discovery to make with the children. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1979, this nature gem, filled with some of the oldest and tallest trees of the continent. As you venture through it, you encounter a truly lush vegetation, a green cathedral with spans, arcades, mould carpets, columns and rays of light infiltrating the branch roofs and the lianas. 

This forest is crossed by small rivers and torrents, but also 16 lakes, all interconnected through 92 waterfalls. On a geological aspect, the lake system is divided into 2 groups, Gornja jezera, the superior, spacious and serrated lakes, and Donja jezera, the inferior lakes that go through a narrow canyon with steep slopes. Trails that are adapted to children in terms of difficulties can be found everywhere in the park. The entrance price varies accordingly with the period. During the high summer season, from June 1st to September 30th, it costs 40 € per adult and 16 € for children. Children aged less than 7 can enter for free. 


Discover an extraordinary environment while walking in the national park.


Visit of the Museum of Broken Relationships in the historical centre of Zagreb 

In a baroque palace of the high city, the museum exhibits artifacts that individually represent a love story that would have ended badly, an artistic concept thought by the cinema director Olinka Vistica and Dražen Grubišić. The museum offers a visit filled with emotions from all around the world through touching breakups. In 2010, this museum was awarded the EMYA Kenneth Hudson prize for the most innovative and challenging project of museum in Europe. The old capital city of Croatia, Zagreb, illustrates this museum. Sometimes joyful, sometimes moved by history, but it keeps being touching. Perched on a hill, it is surrounded by palaces with pastel façades and dominated by the medieval tower, the Lotrscak. The most courageous will walk to the top to appreciate a wonderful panorama on the high and low city of Zagreb which is the complete opposite: airy, geometric and modern. 


Walk in the alleyways of the ancient city of Dubrovnik 

The flashing white of the ancient houses of the “Pearl of the Adriatic” mirrors the vivid sun of Southern Croatia. Passing through the narrow alleyways, you then discover the architectural and historical treasures and the rich cultural heritage of the fortified city. From the Rector’s Palace to the beautiful Dominican and Franciscan convents alongside the ramparts, you will automatically fall in love with Dubrovnik. During summer, the city hosts the “Petit Festival du théâtre” for poetry lovers and amateurs of performance and good comedy. The ideal opportunity to introduce children to this art. 


The island of Lokrum in the sea, near Dubrovnik 

20 minutes is the time you will need to reach the old city’s port of the island of Lokrum. Green bower, 0.72 km² where the cicadas sing, this island, once inhabited by Benedictan monks allows the tourists to venture in a true Mediterranean décor. Visit the remnants of its monastery, dive into its pristine waters, tan endlessly on the flat rocks blessed by the sun that can be found all along the coastline and breathe the calmness before going back to the very and sometimes too busy city of Dubrovnik. 


Discovery of Split and its historical centre, part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage 

Second most visited city of the country, unique in the world, Split puts the visitor in a maze of alleyways paved with glossed limestone tiles. Discover the grand palace of the last pagan Roman emperor, Diocletian, around the 4th century. Through the years, the city centre grew bigger and was inspired by the architecture of this palace. For a moment of calmness, walk in family in the park of the Marjan hill which offers wonderful views on the city and the surroundings. And whenever hunger strikes, head to the Bokeria, where food is divine and where live music is often played in the evening. Also take your children to discover the marine world aboard the red semi-submarine Marijeta. It is moored in the Riva, right in front of the terraces of the cafés. Children quickly go along with it and learn more about submarines and the underwater life. 


Tasting the Croatian gastronomy 

Fresh fish, lamb from the islands with aromatic herbs, beef pašticada, spinach soparnik, Pag’s ewe cheese, Komiza pie, corn cake or quince spread. Besides its climate and dreamlike beaches, Croatia now turned into a new trendy gastronomical destination. New restaurants appear every day and adapt their cuisine to a larger array of tastes. Your children will love the čevapi, which are small pieces of grilled meat served with fries and Ajvar, a bell pepper and tomato puree. In terms of alcohol and wine, Croatia do not have to blush! Its rich soil is suitable for the vineyard culture. From continental Croatia to Dalmatia, not to forget Slavonia and Istria, these 4 regions produce delicious wines that taste like sun. Fresh, aromatic, fruity or sweet, whether they’re from large wine domains or hidden grape varieties, the Croatian wines are countless. Not your cup of wine? Try the plum alcohol (Sjivovica) which fame is long ascertained. There is the plum, but more specifically the marasca, a cherry variety from Dalmatia that is the main ingredient of a worldwide known liqueur: the marasca. Juice of Dalmatia’s watermelons, melons, grapes, oranges, peach or apricot nectar, children will also have a great share of choice in terms of drinks. 


Sailing to the Croatian islands 

The islands are among the greatest attractions of the country. Small heavens spread in the Adriatic Sea, they offer to travellers very different landscapes depending on the geographical position and their history. There are so many that it is sometimes hard to know which one to visit. They surely are all different, they all are worthy in their way, which is why you will undoubtedly fall in love with at least one of them. Just to name a few, the Krk island stole our heart with its relaxed atmosphere, its small fisher ports and the pine forests with incomparable scents, the Mljet Island and its national park surrounded of trails on its coastlines which offer exceptional hikes, the Hvar Island for its easy access from Split, its idyllic beaches and lavender fields. See also the Cres Island in the Kvarner Gulf, a wild and untouched haven with boat parades when the bridge linking it with the Lošinj Island opens twice a day, or the famous Pag Island at the north of Zadar for its rocky and desertic landscapes and its small creeks. 


Croatia is full of unique islands that you can discover on a wonderful boat excursion.


What not TO forget before leaving for Croatia? 

In order for you not to forget anything, the armbands for baby or the favourite buoy of your little princess, we made a list of the essential items for holidays in the sun. As the weather almost is always at its best, it is important to protect your loved ones against sunburns and insolations. 

  • Sunscreen (for baby, here is our selection of 8 sunscreens) 
  • Cap or hat 
  • Sunglasses (find here our article on comparison of sunglasses for babies) 
  • Beach towel 
  • Bathing suit and anti-UV t-shirt for the youngest 
  • Beach games 
  • Armbands and buoys 
  • Diving mask, palms and snorkel 
  • Water mister for the hotter days 
  • Mosquito repellent 


Our selection of hotels for families in Croatia 

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik ***** 


This 5-star hotel is located in the small town of Orasac, at less than 10 kilometres from the old city of Dubrovnik and the Dominican Convent, an exceptional address. The hotel Sun Gardens Dubrovnik ***** is elegant and reflects the softness of the Adriatic Sea through all its large windows. The chic and rustic atmosphere and the luxurious decoration is an invitation to relaxation while feeling just like home. The hotel offers a wonderful view on the Adriatic Sea and provides with 3 pools as blue as the sea. The beach is at only 3 minutes on foot. The spacious accommodations and the suites, with panoramic bathrooms giving off a view on the sea are laid out in a design and decorative spirit, yet faithful to the Croatian traditions. The establishment offers a great variety of services in an enchanting setting. In family, everyone will have the chance to spend wonderful moments: sports activities (tennis, squash, table tennis, climbing, football) and nautical activities (waterskiing, jet-skiing, banana-boat), spa “Anne Semonin Spa”, free time on the private beach of the hotel, swimming pool… Everything, for everyone, of any age. 

The children love: the sports academy of the hotel offers to teach to play squash, football, tennis, basketball or swimming. This training programme is available for children aged between 7 and 15. The young athletes will also have the opportunity to join the training camp that takes place from Monday to Friday, with competitions on Saturdays, a great chance to learn sports with amazing coaches within a high quality infrastructure. Moreover, the children will be given a bag, a t-shirt, shorts, but also a medal and a certificate (we all know how much kids love to receive awards). 

The youngest, aged up to 3, will join the Baby-Club where they will take part to awakening activities. Young tots aged between 3 and 6 can join the Mini Club where they will discover sports adapted for their age, crafting activities and play in the kids pool or on the beach. While your children spend a wonderful time at the Marco Polo Kids Club, you, parents, can relax at the spa, or compete against each other at tennis, squash or badminton. 


Maslina Resort *****


On the heights of the Hvar Island, in the sea, by the coastline of Split, is found a unique hotel that welcomes travellers in a sumptuous setting. Perched on a cliff with a lush vegetation, the hotel Maslina Resort ***** is a paradise on an island thoughtfully designed by architects and Léonie Alma Mason. This establishment subtly combines noble, natural materials, and soft tones, for a rare refinement, much like a manifesto for pureness. The frontiers between the interior and the exterior of the hotel fade away to let wilderness offer a splendid panorama. Besides the 50 rooms and suites facing the sea, the hotel boasts of 3 villas, each with a private pool that overflows over the cliff. The atmosphere invites to wellness and relaxation, but all while remaining amenable to nature: the garden, the beach bar made of local wood, or the pools treated with chlorine-less ozone… The Pharomiq spa offers cares made of bio aromatic herbs from the garden of the hotel, mixed with a selection of local essential oils. 

The children love: the playroom where they can appreciate a large choice of activities. Depending upon the season, the young ones can take part to cooking classes, visit local farms, learn of cheese is made, craft, play board games and discover an array of fitness-oriented entertainment. Ecology also is a great part of this Playroom. Children will have the chance to help the hotel to plant trees and will learn the joys of gardening. For the most daring, a climbing wall and a water park are available. 

While they spend unforgettable times in the Playroom and make new friends, parents can try wine tasting at the Wine and Culture Club. Organised by the local oenologist, this club offers wine and cigar tasting and several workshops for any guest willing to know more about wine history in Hvar. On another aspect, the Organic Beach Garden proposes its biological garden on the sand beach so to discover vegetables and aromas from the country.  


Aminess Khalani Beach Hotel *****


The Aminess Khalani Beach Hotel *****, located at a 20-minute walk from the centre of Makarska embodies luxury itself. Not the snazzy luxury of charmless hotels, but a sophisticated and subtle luxury. There, the azure blue of the Adriatic Sea is an invitation for a relaxing swim. Nested by the beach, the hotel also boasts beautiful pools and large outdoor spaces. Spend a great moment on the terrace before appreciating the reflection in the water and dive in it. To stop the hunger, the Restaurant “Eat Like a Local” offers regional dishes alongside delicious wines from Dalmatia. Two other restaurants and bars also are available around. The Beach Bar is the place where to duly hydrate, with an exotic cocktail or a fresh fruit juice. In the evening, back to the rooms it is, minimalist yet chic accommodations, decorated with clear tones and equipped with balconies giving off a view on the sea. 

The children love: the sports tournaments organised by the kids-club. For every age category, a club gathers children of the same age and schedule adapted activities. The youngest for to the Mirami Fun Factory in the game area, the Mirami Baby Playroom, specifically dedicated to children aged between 0 and 3. Teenagers also have their own space and own programme: creative workshops, dance, video game tournaments, swimming, etc. As soon as the sun sets, they gather for crazy Hollywood themed nights, neon parties or movie nights. While children have plenty of fun, parents can also have their own nights as all sorts of activities are organised for all ages: tai chi, yoga or meditation sessions. Sports tournaments also are organised and seminars are held to learn how to produce coffee. In the night, dance shows, fireworks and movie nights complete the hotel entertainments. 



Have a great trip ! 





Audrey, 25 years old, journalist, from Brussels

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