Croatia has rocketed up many peoples bucket list in recent years, and with good reason. The country has seen a strong revival since the conflict of the now-distant 90’s. Masses of tourists now flock to its coast and explore the more than a thousand islands scattered nearby. We consider it to have some of the best kid-friendly destinations in Europe.
Croatia’s most popular destinations are located along its coast on the Adriatic Sea, just north across the sea from Italy. You will find numerous towns founded centuries ago, and their stone houses, surrounding nature and easy going lifestyle are an integral part of their charm and appeal. The coast was ruled by the Roman Empire and Venetians for centuries, wherever you look architecture and ruins from these occupations are on hand to provide spectacle.
There are 116 Blue Flag beaches on Croatia’s coast and various marinas for sailing enthusiasts, certifying it as one of the best destinations in Europe for sea lovers.
So without further ado, here are some of our favourite kid-friendly destinations to be found in Croatia!
This is the undisputed gem of the whole Adriatic Sea, an ancient town with a colourful history that changed owners and rulers again and again, but nevertheless has succeeded in carving out its own unique character and charm.
It reached prominence in the 15th and 16th centuries thanks to maritime trade, when it was known as the Republic of Ragusa. Its Old Town is famous for its fortified walls which surround the maze of the tiny streets which cross the main promenade, the Stradun. The whole Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take your kids on a cable car ride above the city to the Srdj hill and enjoy spectacular views of Dubrovnik Old Town, the deep blue sea and the surrounding islands. Or visit the Aquarium inside the Sveti Ivan tower and discover species straight from the Adriatic Sea, even including sea turtles – the kids will love them!
The busy hub and the departure port to the popular surrounding islands of Hvar, Korcula and Vis, Split is the second largest city in Croatia. Its streets and squares play host to the previously mentioned Venetian architecture, and its promenade along the sea offers a chance for a beautiful, relaxing stroll.
The highlight of Split is the ancient Diocletian’s Palace built in the 4th century AD By the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it speaks volumes of the city’s ancient history.
Take your little ones on a Segway tour around Split and explore its key highlights in an exciting and novel way. Older kids will enjoy a cycling tour visiting Split’s hidden bays, beaches and marinas.
This island is easily reachable from Split; the town of Hvar is a hot spot for celebrities and their yachts from around the world. The island is famous for its endless lavender fields and vineyards, and the locals claim that it has the highest number of sunny days in the Adriatic Sea.
The fortress above the town of Hvar stands as testament to the island’s military and strategic importance throughout the ages. Today it offers a spectacular view of the old town and Pakleni Islands nearby.
Take a speed boat with your kids to the Blue Cave, the incredible natural phenomenon, or visit one of the many turquoise blue hidden bays in Pakleni Islands using the local boat excursions.
Legend has it that the famous seafarer Marco Polo was born in the fairy-tale old town of Korcula on the island of the same name (the jury is still out as to whether he was in-fact born in Venice or Constantinople). The island of Korcula is famous for its wines (Posip and Plavac, among others) and its wonderful nature and beaches.
Korcula town is a beautifully preserved fortified labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys designed to slow down the strong winds, but also to confuse pirates during the old maritime wars.
Your kids will love the traditional performance called “Moreska” performed here as far back as the 15th century. It’s a sword fight between the white and black armies to rescue the princess from the hands of the black king.
Just northwest from Split, this picturesque town is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. A small coastal town, it has a rich history and some of the most visually stunning Renaissance architecture.
It has been under the Venetian rule for centuries and its noble palaces and the cathedral are a testament to the golden age of this town. Its promenade along the sea is lined with cafes and restaurants where your little ones can freely run around after a full day of exploring the tiny cobble stone streets, finding hidden passages that were built centuries ago.
This peculiar island is quite unique among all of the Croatian islands. Its strategic position meant that it was much sought after, and so it changed rulers many times throughout history. However, from the end of WWII through to 1989, it was a Yugoslav military base closed to outside visitors.
This long period of isolation was a sort of blessing in disguise, since when the island opened to the world in the 1990s it finally showed its completely unspoilt, untouched nature in all its glory. Today, the visitors are amazed at its untouched beauty, hidden coves and beaches that the friendly locals are happy to show you around. The island is known for its fishing tradition and the excellent white wine, Vugava.
Stimulate your intrepid little adventurers as you discover hidden beaches and tiny bays surrounded by unspoilt nature. It’s a great day trip from Split which will show your kids a special way of life and both stunning and pristine nature.
This article was contributed by Anna Kay, the Editor at www.MedCruiseGuide.com