What To Do In Croatia With Kids
The Perfect Croatia Family Vacation
We traveled to Croatia with a toddler and had the best time of our lives! When we started planning our Croatia trip, the first question we had, was where to go for the best family vacation in Croatia? We also made it a priority to find the best beaches in Croatia for families since we were going to be there during the heat of the summer. Since our time turned out so great, we want to share the best sports to go in Croatia for a family holiday that is sure to delight the kids and parents both!
This guide mainly covers the coastal areas of Croatia. We think the coast is super family friendly because of the ease to access the beaches and the islands. Less time driving to get around means more time enjoying the holiday together!
Which part of Croatia is best for families?
Let's cover the cities and Old Towns that are the most popular and family friendly in Croatia, because that's where the real site seeing happens and where all the excitement is (sure to get the "wiggles out"). There are some really great cities to check out all along the coast and here are a few of our favorites. The first two are going to be major tourist attractions while the third is a great little "secret" to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Personally, I think that Dubrovnik Old Town is one of the most beautiful places that I've ever been! I though that my second time visiting it would not be as exciting, but it was just as, if not more, jaw droppingly gorgeous for me. I know that a lot of people complain of how busy and touristy it has gotten due to it's fame from being in big blockbuster movies, but you just can't skip this place when in Croatia. I would suggest, though, to try to visit during the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall. If you do happen to be there in the summer, like us, we can tell you that getting an early start in the morning would behoove you!
You can stay right in the Old Town (we will go over some advise on where to stay below) or just outside the Walls, but there is a great town (village) just under 30 minutes away from Dubrovnik that is a fantastic area to be. We will talk about this town in a bit, but what makes it great is that you can easily do a day trip to Dubrovnik and have a more peaceful place to stay.
Dubrovnik offers loads of amazing sightseeing; from walking the walls to hanging out at fortresses and getting amazing sunset views riding a cable car, there's plenty to keep the kids and parents thrilled all day! Not to mention, some delicious gelato to fuel everyone for all the walking around!
Split is a great city to check out for a couple of days (we made it kind of a base for a few weeks). The Old Town Split itself is very congested during the summer. People all tend to gather in the same general area, unlike Dubrovnik where people disperse to different parts.
A pro tip for visiting Split Old Town would be to go during the early morning hours. Getting there before 9 in the morning is ideal if you was cooler temperatures as well as a little more peace and quiet. This city is also great for visiting off-season. What we loved about Split is that it offered more than just the Old Town.
Taking a tour like the one below is a great way to learn about this place:
Split has a few beaches that give kids a chance to splash around and not have to walk around in crowds all day. It's also a great opportunity for parents to get a little break!
The Riva is also a nice place to hang out outside the Old Town. This promenade is lined with great eateries along the water with plenty of space for kids to run around. The palm tree-lined walking area along the water was a perfect way to spend some time in the afternoon for us with our toddler bouncing around while we relaxed on the benches.
Split also offers a mall (great for getting out of the heat). There's even a fortress just outside of town with great views. Another, easily accessible spot for fantastic views is the Marjan Forest Hill. An easy walk from the Old Tow, the hike up Marjan Hill is not too strenuous and delivers stunning scenery of nature and the city!
Earlier in this section we mentioned a great place to stay when you first land in Croatia and this is that place! Cavtat is just a few minutes from the Dubrovnik Airport which means you can get it and settled quickly to get some rest after your flight. This "village" is a super underrated spot to spend a couple of days at the beginning and the end of your Croatia holiday.
Cavtat is not that big but offers amazing amenities for visitors. The town has a promenade with fantastic restaurants without the touristy vibe of the other two cities we mentioned. It's a quieter place to be while enjoying the beautiful coast of Croatia but still close enough to get to the "action" if you wanted it.
There are a couple of fun little beaches that are really great for families with little ones who want to enjoy the water with less people around. Our favorite part was the pathway around the town where we could take our toddler in the stroller and enjoy breathtaking views of the bay!
National Parks In Croatia To Explore With The Kids
There are a total of 8 National Parks in the country of Croatia. If you are a nature enthusiast, these are all amazing places to visit. You will also need to set aside a good amount of time if you want to see them all. However, we want to suggest the top two that we had the pleasure of visiting. These are the ones with gorgeous waterfalls which make them extra visit-worthy!
Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park is a magnificent place to visit in Croatia. It is no wonder that this place is one of the op tourist attractions. With mutiple lakes and waterfalls of all sizes and heights, there is so much nature to explore here.
While you can certainly do a day-trip to Plitvice, we recommend staying the night and spreading youtr visit over two days to really enjoy it. If you are visiting with a child under 5 years old this would be the least stressful way to do it. The park requires a lot of walking so be prepared!
Krka National Park
While it may not get as much attention as Plitvice Lakes, Krka Park is nothing to be snickered at. I highly recommend visiting both if time permits. The good thing about visiting Krka Park is that it requires way less time and energy. It is certainly the easier one to do with a toddler!
It's true that visitors can no longer swim by the waterfall, but the boardwalk that encircles it provides a wonderful viewpoint. There are also several other viewpoints on the trail that give you a glimpse of the waterfall from different angles.
If you are short on time, Krka National Park should be on your list. You can see it within a couple of hours and it is easy and quick to get to from Split!
best beaches in Croatia for families
If you are traveling to Croatia during the warm summer season, taking the kids to the beach should be on your list! The coast of Croatia is loaded with some of the best beaches you can find around the world!
Beaches In Split For The Family
Bacvice Beach and Firule Beach were our top go-to beaches during our extended time in Split. Bacvice beach has an area of sand which is not that common compared to the other pebble beaches. Both of these beaches are super family friendly and have loads of restaurants surrounding them. There are also floating waterparks that make it super exciting for the kids!
The two beaches do connect via a cement walkway that people also lay on and jump into the water from. it's nice that the area is large enough that people can spread out. We enjoyed having the options of choosing which area to be in.
Going to the beach early is our number one tip for the summer visitors, as temperatures can be uncomfortable in the midday. A lot of locals go to the beach before 9am and after 6pm during the summer!
Plaza Banje is the only beach we have visited while in Dubrovnik. The great thing about this beach is that it is within walking distance of the Old Town, so if you are staying there, it is very convenient to get to. It is also the best beach to go to if you are only spending a short time in Dubrovnik. The downside is that it is pretty crowded in the summer!
While the beaches at Cavtat are not the biggest, they are the most charming. The pebble beaches definitely require some water shoes for comfort, but it's nice that the water is very calm. The views of Dubrovnik across the way are a bonus and so is the fact that they are much less crowded.
The best beach in Croatia that we visited is on the island of Brač. It is more than worth it to go here and spend a couple of nights since it is one of the best islands to visit in Croatia. You will want to stay a bit so you can really enjoy the town and the unique beach of Zlatni Rat (AKA Golden Horn Beach).
Named for it's hornlike shape jutting into the sea, this beach is an absolute gem to visit! We could easily say that this was our absolute favorite place in Croatia on this visit to the Balkans. The town of Bol has a very chill vibe even though it can get busy. We dined at some of the best restaurants there and loved walking down the promenade in the evenings.
Of course, the highlight of our time was this exquisite beach. The water was generally very calm, there was a floating play area for kids, a few restaurants nearby, and lots of room to enjoy on this beach!
Where To Stay In Croatia With Kids
Here are our accommodations recommendations for each area in Croatia:
Cavtat: Boutique B&B Villa Faggioni
Bol, Brač: Villa Zlatni Rat
Dubrovnik: right in the heart of Old Town at Apartment Petra IV
What To Do in Croatia For One Week
Land in Dubrovnik and stay in Cavtat
Da 1-Dubrovnik for the day
Day 2-Trip to Krka Waterfall
Day 3 & 4-Bol (Brač Island) 2 days on the beach
Day 5-Back to Split for Marjan hill hike and beach time
Day 6-Old town Split and Riva
Day 7-Plitvice Park Day trip
Back in Cavtat for flight
Is Croatia good for a family holiday? We would give a resounding yes as a reply to this question! It's one of the best family travel memories we have so far!
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!