Whether you're a beach-seeking bunch or a pack of well-seasoned adventurers, Croatia and kids go together like summer and sunshine – which is in strong supply on these stunning shores! From the historic treasures of Dubrovnik to the natural beauty of Istria, where will your next Croatian family holiday take you?
Sprinkled across some of Croatia's most well-loved regions, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a place to set up camp for a week or two. With villas that suit families down to the ground and a whole host of incredible attractions to discover – there's countless ways to keep the kids entertained. Beaches are safe and spotlessly clean, outdoor activities cover all abilities, and ancient architecture and fairy tale old towns are just the start of Croatia's historic wonders... Plus the country is known for being one of the safest family destinations in Europe.
Hanging into the Adriatic Sea like a heart-shaped pendant, the Istrian peninsula caters to families with kids of all ages. Tumbling waterfalls and mountainous interiors call to nature lovers, while seaside towns and unspoilt shorelines are the perfect place to get your fill of culture and hidden coves. Nature is the ultimate muse here, with scenes sprawling out for miles in deep shades of emerald green. Head for the hills and uncover secret stone hamlets and a taste of authentic Istrian life. Traditional villages like Groznjan and Buje are perched high on panoramic peaks, serving up breathtaking views of rural Istria and a wealth of walking trails for intrepid explorers.
Back on the coast, Porec and Rovinj prove themselves to be just as popular with holidaymakers as they were with ancient superpowers back in the day. Bursting at the seams with historical heirlooms, dinky beaches and delicious dining spots, it's little wonder so many families gravitate to these gorgeous towns to soak up the Croatian sun. Day trips are easy to add to your holiday agenda too, with nearby caves, dinosaur parks, waterparks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites all within reach. If that won't keep the kids entertained – nothing will!
One of the world's most beloved destinations, Dubrovnik put Croatia well and truly on the travel map. Skyrocketing to fame thanks to its leading role in Game of Thrones, the historical heavyweight is known far and wide for its illustrious Old Town. Iconic red rooftops and honey-hued stonework are the region's calling card, with plenty of medieval masterpieces thrown in for good measure. Tackle the 2km trail that follows the ramparts around the town for a bucket list experience like no other. From these hallowed heights you'll be able to spy Bokar Tower, Stradun, The Rector's Palace and Lovrijenac Fortress to name a few. Once little legs grow tired, take a cable car trip to the top of Mount Srđ and watch a spectacular Croatian sunset.
For most families, holidays revolve around three magic ingredients – sun, sea and sand. As luck would have it, Dubrovnik's talents don't begin and end at its wonderful walls. Surrounded by blissful bays and Blue Flag suntraps, you'll be beach bound before you know it!
Teeming with all the attractions a family could wish for while on holiday, Split is fast catching up to Dubrovnik when it comes to traveller's affections. Older kids will love the buzzing atmosphere and swanky café scene that stretches along the Riva promenade, while the whole gang can peer into the past as they wander through the city's ancient streets and UNESCO-listed heritage sites. The Roman retirement villa of Diocletian's Palace dominates Split's core and is a must-see for budding history hunters. Explore the maze of cobblestone alleyways as you trace your way around the grand palace and plazas. Needless to say – have your camera at the ready for this one!
For the days you want to dodge Croatia's cultural classics, head an hour out of the city to Krka National Park and spend time getting back to nature. Made up of a series of wonderful waterfalls – 17 to be exact – and large, natural pools, it's a spectacular spot for swimming and relaxing together. Surrounded by luscious greenery and a healthy dose of hiking paths to boot, active families can take their pick of 22 trails and jaw-dropping viewpoints. If you'd prefer to be within easy reach of the national park itself, our villas in Sibenik are less than twenty minutes away from the breathtaking scenes!
If your family are all about rest and relaxation, then look no further than the idyllic Dalmatian Islands. Sitting pretty in the sparkling Adriatic Sea, traveller's beeline for beach-laced Brač and historic Hvar, two of the most beloved spots of the entire archipelago. Just a short ferry ride from Split, you'll be in paradise before you know it! Holidays here are all about craggy coastlines, hidden coves and secret bays – welcome to family villa escapism at its finest…
Brimming with local charm, fresh cuisine and an authentic atmosphere – life moves at its own pace in the Dalmatian Islands. Take the kids on an aquatic adventure and rent a boat for the day, or discover the world beneath the waves with a spell of scuba diving and snorkelling. Thanks to crystal clear water clarity, you'll be able to spot fishy friends swimming along with you! Between blissful calm and action-packed watersports, you can tailor your itinerary to suit your family. Although whatever you do, be sure to swing by Brač's one-of-a-kind beach, Zlatni Rat. One of the most photographed places in all of Croatia, it's known far and wide for its distinctive 500m tongue that changes shape with the wind and waves.
As a family-friendly destination, Croatia boasts some fantastic waterparks and adventure parks. Kids of all ages are sure to love shooting themselves down gravity-defying slides and making a splash in the wave pool. There's plenty on offer for very small children too, with themed castles and miniature slides so they don't feel left out. Now the only question is – who's brave enough to take on the fastest flumes?
A day in nature is always a worthy addition to any holiday itinerary, especially if you have inquisitive little ones or health-conscious teens in tow! Croatia has a whopping eight national parks to choose from, sprawling from north to south and even out to sea. So whether you're after soaring mountain peaks or isolated islands, there's no end to adventure here! Taking the trophy as the country's most popular is the water wonderland of Plitvice. UNESCO-approved and a bucket list must, make your way around 16 terraced lakes and a showstopping series of tumbling waterfalls courtesy of a remarkable wooden walkway. Now that's how a day in nature is done!
Beyond the blissful national parks that have earnt World Heritage status, there's a whole host of historical masterpieces and ancient ruins to discover too. From Dubrovnik's fairy tale Old Town and fortified walls, to Split's palaces and Porec's Euphrasian Basilica – you're never far away from a cultural treasure in Croatia…
Head out on a once-in-a-lifetime family adventure and embark on a voyage across the Adriatic Sea! From themed pirate ships to semi-submarines and luxurious catamarans, prepare for a fun-filled trip above and below the waves. If you're staying on the mainland, it's a great way to sneak a peek at Croatia's incredible islands and get up close and personal with the local marine life. You might even be lucky enough to spy a dolphin or two!
With so much natural beauty above ground, you'd be forgiven for not thinking of what might be going on beneath the surface. Croatia's showstopping scenery goes far beyond its craggy coastlines though, with a huge network of epic caves just waiting to be explored. Istria's Baredine Cave allows visitors to walk through chambers filled with centuries-old stalactites and stalagmites, as well as climb some of the ancient walls. High on most traveller's bucket lists is the iconic Blue Cave on the island of Bisevo. Set out on a day trip from Split and witness the startling colour of the sea cave for yourself…
With over 4000km of coastline on offer, lovers of sun, sea and splash will be in seventh heaven! Made up of sand, shingle and pebble beaches, the whole family is shore to fall in love with Croatia's secret coves and buzzing seaside towns. Here's our top picks for families with…
Tiny tots – Bačvice beach in Split is the answer to every parent's prayers. In the heart of the city, it suits civilisation-savvy holidaymakers to a tee. All kinds of facilities and amenities are close to hand – including pavilions for dressing and changing – plus swimming conditions are perfect for your little water babies.
Kids and tweens – Nestled into Brač's northern shores lies the beautiful Bay of Lovrečina. A sun-soaked cove with shallow, turquoise waters and sweet-scented pines for shade, it's a strong contender for a full day spent at the beach. There's a local restaurant on hand to keep things carefree, plus Roman ruins if the family fancy a break from the bay itself.
Older children and teenagers – Just a stone's throw from Dubrovnik's Old Town you'll find Banje beach. Popular thanks to its close proximity to Croatia's star attraction, there's countless ways to keep everyone entertained here. From banana boats and kayaks to water skiing and parasailing, this is the place to get your adrenaline fix! There's plenty of parasols and lounge chairs to rent from the beach club, or simply pick a spot and roll out your towel.
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