Two thousand kilometres of coastline boasting sparkling turquoise waters make Croatia a natural paradise for beach lovers and adventurous families. It’s not just the pristine waters though, which have put Croatia in the top spot for mid-haul family holidays, far from it.
Awash with more national parks than seems fair, Croatia’s spectacular craggy mountains, waterfalls, and canyons in its interior, its remote islands where you’ll have coves and beaches to yourselves, and truly stunning ancient towns like Dubrovnik and Split to explore (Games of Thrones fans will love!) means there truly is something for every member of the family here to make even a two-week Croatia family holiday different every day.
Don’t believe us? Read on and see what you and your family could be doing this summer (everyone else seems to be!) in our Croatia with kids blog.
Our favourite activities when holidaying in Croatia with kids
1. White-water rafting on the Cetina River
Inland from Split is the Cetina River, its emerald waters tumbling over boulders in a white-water rush. This is the ideal place for a family-friendly white-water rafting excursion. Board your raft and hold on tight for a white knuckle ride through the canyon, facing raging rapids and narrow rock clefts.
2. Via Ferrata in Omis
Omis is a small seaside town just south of Split. Here the Dalmatian mountains soar high above the sea, rising sharply direct from the coast. There is an exciting Via Ferrata route up the side of the mountains. Get your harness on and start climbing, stopping to enjoy the incredible views along the way. Some parts are precipitous and scary (although perfectly safe as you are in the capable hands of a climbing guide and firmly attached at all points) so this is not for the faint-hearted!
3. Mountain biking in the Pula Peninsula
Just near Pula there is a narrow peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic. Covered in fragrant pine trees, the peninsula is fringed by rugged beaches, with a walking and cycling path around the edge. The views are spectacular and you can stop along the way to swim, enjoy a drink in a beach bar and soak up the views. All the family can enjoy this relaxing half-day activity when holidaying in Croatia with kids.
4. Eating a gelato in Dubrovnik
Picture-perfect Dubrovnik is an absolute delight and kids will greatly enjoy circling the city on the vast city walls. The views are stunning and the staircases, towers, and walkways make sightseeing more interesting for children. Nevertheless, after a morning of exploring, flagging children will be greatly revitalised by delicious gelato. Generous scoops are deposited in crunchy cones, demanding to be eaten quickly before they start to drip. Yum!
5. Canoeing along the Zrmanja River
The Zrmanja River cuts a swathe through Northern Dalmatia as it makes its way down to the coast. The scenery here is gorgeous, with high sparsely vegetated cliffs on both sides rising sharply above the river. In two-person inflatable canoes you make your way down the river, sometimes meandering slowly to soak up the view, and sometimes down (gentle) white water sections for an added adrenalin rush. The grande finale is a 3m drop that the faint-hearted can walk down, but for kids wanting a dose of adventure, it’s a wonderfully exciting end to the day.
(See more snaps of Stubborn Mule families enjoying outdoor activities in our Croatia in photos – summer blog.)
6. Cookery class in Konavle Valley
The Konavle Valley is a pretty and fertile valley that cuts inland between the mountains of Bosnia and Montenegro. Here there are groves of fragrant orange trees and verdant vineyards set against a beautiful mountain backdrop. We’ve found a lovely little farm set in a village here, where you can learn some of the secrets of Dalmatian cuisine. Freshly cooked bread, meat roasted over an open fire, and vegetables picked straight from the garden!
7. Sea kayaking and cave swimming on Sipan
The twin islands of Lopud and Sipan sit staring at each other across the beautiful azure waters of the Adriatic. A perfect sea kayaking distance from each other you will cross from one to another by kayak, stopping en route to swim in a beautiful cave. On Sipan if you have the energy, you can continue on by bike, cycling across the island to a picturesque beach where you can enjoy a swim. There’s also a wonderful local restaurant here that serves the most delicious fresh tuna …. The ideal lunch stop!
8. Cycling and swimming around Mljet National Park
Mljet is one of our favourite Croatian islands, with comparatively few visitors and little in the way of tourist development. At one end of the island is the beautiful Mljet National Park, centred around two large lakes. Cycling and hiking trails circle the lakes and head up into the hills beyond. There are an infinite number of places where you can stop and swim, in increasingly beautiful and deserted spots. In fact, we’ve found the most incredible hidden cove that we can give you details of….but which remains a secret until you book!
9. Cliff jumping in Kornati National Park
The 90 islands of Kornati National Park comprise the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean, with endless dramatic rocky cliffs, hidden coves, and absolutely crystal clear turquoise water. Best explored from a private speed boat, you can spend your day exploring, stopping to find ever more vertiginous cliffs that fearless children can jump from. Those of a more nervous disposition will still love the excursion, swimming off quiet beaches, jumping off the edge of the boat (far less scary than a cliff!), and keeping eyes peeled for dolphins.
10. Hiking in Paklenica National Park
Driving through Croatia the scenery is stunning and you will be surrounded frequently by towering mountains that rise sharply from the coast. Many of these areas are difficult to explore but Paklenica National Park is an exception, a dramatic gorge that cuts inland from the sea and is criss-crossed by a series of well-signposted footpaths. Our favourite route takes you up into the main section of the gorge and then heads up a less-visited side path to a viewpoint with the most incredible panorama over the mountains towards the sea. You need to start early as it gets hot later in the day, but this is a sensational hike.
More about holidays in Croatia with kids
Want to know more about Croatia with Kids? Take a look at what other Stubborn Mule Families have done in Croatia and be inspired!
Stubborn Mule has three sample Croatia family itineraries. Choose from Highlights of Croatia (2 weeks) Croatia short break (7 days) or combine it with neighbouring Slovenia in our Slovenia and Croatia trip (15 days)
We tailor-make all our holidays and will work with you to create your own unique family itinerary. Call us on 01728 752 751 or get in touch using our enquiry form for help arranging your trip.
Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel