Beach holidays on the Makarska Riviera, island hopping, city breaks or wild mountain adventure, what Croatia doesn’t do for family holidays isn’t worth mentioning.
With a gorgeous Adriatic coastline, some of Europe’s most fascinating historical sites and warm, sunny weather from early spring until well into autumn, the country really is an incredible all-rounder and works for kids of all ages. Younger children love the friendly, barefoot atmosphere in seaside villages. Teenagers are reliably thrilled by Split and Dubrovnik. And nobody is ever less than enchanted by islands which mix up deserted coves with bustling towns, great water sports and rugged outdoor action.
Direct flights from London to Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb all year round.
Over 1000 islands and dozens are holidays in their own right or hop-able from the mainland for a day – or two.
The historic centre of Split is an Ancient Roman palace built for Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd
Dramatic Dubrovnik doubles as King’s Landing in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Plitvice National Park is a World Heritage site with 16 interconnecting lakes, vast waterfalls and a wilderness of forest. It’s less than two hours from Zagreb with some of the country’s best family camping.
Dugi Rat on the Makarska Riviera is known as one of the loveliest beaches in the world.
One of Europe’s top eco-destinations, Croatia has over 500 family campsites on islands, across eight national parks, in protected nature reserves, on the coast and in the country.
Check out our run down of the best family-friendly hotels in Croatia
The country’s most famous holiday coast stretches for 60km just south of Split. This is where to find quaint and pretty seaside towns, unspoiled little villages above tiny coves, delightful natural harbours and the ever present drama of Mount Biokovo as a backdrop.
It’s hard to decide what to love most about the ancient city of Split. Is it the Roman palace at its heart, acres of mysterious underground caverns, landscape of red-tiled roofs drifting down to the sea? Or is it the sea itself, trimmed with fantastic urban beaches, restaurants, cafés and, quite honestly, one of the most spectacular promenades you’ll ever have strolled along?
Dubrovnik is one of the most beautifully preserved medieval cities in Europe and a World Heritage site. Perched on cliffs overlooking the sea, its starring role in Game of Thrones is no surprise – if you have a fan in the family, there are some excellent location tours. What is a revelation is how much fun such an historic place can be – even if you’re just dropping in for the day.
Hvar is an idyllic island less than two hours by ferry from Split. With lavender fields, vineyards, mountains and delightful beaches it’s a bit like Provence without the costs and crowds. Add in 2500 hours of sun a year, peaceful prettiness for young kids, outdoor activities for older ones and gorgeous Hvar Town to entertain teenagers and it’s easy to understand why this is where Croatian families head to for holidays.
Croatian cities are compact to explore on foot and have good public transport outside the historic centres. There are regular daily ferry services to the main Adriatic islands from both Split and Dubrovnik. Makarska also has ferry for island day trips. Hiring a car is a plan for visiting the national parks and touring around the coast and into the countryside.