We’ve seen tremendous demand for families looking to explore Europe’s beauty beyond the well-worn tourist path, and Croatia ticks just about every box. Croatia is a welcoming and safe country, ripe with authentic experiences, stunning scenery and outdoor activities galore, all with fewer crowds than more heavily traveled countries. The best itinerary for a Croatia family vacation combines time in cities like Dubrovnik and Split with sailing along the gorgeous coastline, hiking the terrain and other active pursuits. Here’s the inside scoop on where to go and things to do in Croatia from our preferred travel partner in the Adriatic region.
Croatia offers a tremendous amount of diversity of things to see and do in a relatively small territory. Families can enjoy the completely different landscapes and cultural experiences of the mountains and the ocean, as well as historic towns, all within an hour or so. That is quite exciting for most people visiting Croatia.
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The best times to visit Croatia are when the weather is nicest, generally from May until the end of October. This timing happens to coincide nicely for families with school/summer holidays.
Croatia offers something for everyone and will satisfy outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs and families simply looking for a relaxing vacation set against postcard-worthy backdrops. We suggest that Croatia will be most accessible and interesting for kids starting from ages 5+ through their teenage years.
There are endless options for families in Croatia, from chartering a yacht or boat to explore between islands, memorable hikes, sea and river kayaking or even canyoning for the super adventurous (picture a mash-up of climbing, swimming and hiking set amidst cascading waterfalls). Windsurfing, kiteboarding and paragliding are also all on offer.
The ideal amount of time to spend in Croatia is around 10 nights. This gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy three destinations in an easy manner and a relaxing way. Particularly for first-timers to the Dalmatian Coast, plan to spend three days in and around Split (Game of Thrones fans should keep an eye out for Klis Fortress); three days exploring one of the islands such as Brač (the closest island to Split) or Hvar (arguably the poshest island); and finish with three days in Dubrovnik.
About an hour and a half north of Split is the jewel known as the Zadar region. There are many special outdoor places to enjoy, such as the Kornati Islands National park. The park is an archipelago that includes 109 largely uninhabited islands and reefs. In addition to the reefs and cliffs, there is also a 6th-century fort perched on Tureta Hill. Swimming, snorkeling, diving and hiking are all hugely popular ways to savor the beauty of this area.
Just north of the Kornati Islands National Park is another “secret” spot. Dugi Otok (Croatian for Long Island) is a 45-km island located off the coast of Zadar. Dugi Otok offers tranquil bays and white sandy beaches, including the shallow waters of Sakaran Beach, which is a favorite with families. It is also home to Sea Cave Golubinka, a spectacular cave that can be explored by kayak.
Another favorite insider location is Vis island. Vis is somewhat less traveled than other islands (such as uber-popular Hvar) and therefore a bit more untouched. It is a haven for nature-loving families with opportunities for water sports and fishing. Visitors will not be surprised that Vis was used as the location for the movie Mamma Mia 2.
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