Croatia

Croatia Customer Reviews

We are proud of the feedback we get from our trips and are pleased to share reviews from past travellers. These are kept as up-to-date as possible. To get a real sense of the kind of experience that you might have on a trip to Croatia with us, have a read. You might also like to see some photos of Croatia sent in by our customers. And of course please do ring if you’d like to talk with someone who has been there and has firsthand experience of travelling with children.

Dolphin watching in Croatia

Adams Family (with children aged 5, 9 & 12)

Travelled Summer 2023
Dear Liddy. Stubborn Mule has over and above exceeded our expectations we had an incredible holiday and we really felt you listened to our wants/needs and catered for us as a family; avoiding crowds, being adventurous, and exploring islands and a new country! The balance of moving around, free days, and planned activity was perfect for us as a family. The accommodation was brilliant and the transfers/taxis and the lack of having to over-think gave us the break we needed. The kayak trips were both brilliant and so different, we understood immediately that cycling with a 5-year old would have been too ambitious – so a huge thanks for removing that from our itinerary and replacing it with another kayak trip. With huge thanks to you and your team for a great holiday and we look forward to planning our next one with you again soon.

Hardwick Family (with children aged 14,16,18 & 19)

Travelled Summer 2023
Dear Liddy. Just back from Croatia today. Yes! And a huge thank you from all of us! We really did have a wonderful time and loved Croatia. I am catching up on a mountain of emails – so substantive points to follow! But essentially all worked very smoothly, our family minibus was fantastic, the hotels in Zadar and Split in particular were perfect and the activities were excellent (we loved the Zrmanja and Cetina Rivers – stunningly beautiful clear rivers). All the very best – and again a huge thank you.

White Family (with teenagers aged 12, 14 & 16)

Travelled Summer 2023
Dear Liddy and Jess. Just a quick note, for the moment, to say that we have had a wonderful time in Croatia! It is a beautiful country filled with wonderful people, and somewhere we would love to go back to, particularly as we decided to ditch the day trip to Dubrovnik because of the heat. The team in Croatia have been absolutely magnificent! Elvira has been an absolute godsend at times and has bombarded us with useful information, which was sometimes simply reassuring and at others incredibly handy, but never too intrusive. Incredibly kind, forthcoming and generally lovely. 


Thank you for putting this itinerary together for us. It was a bit too much at times but that says more about us, I think, than the itinerary itself. It was a bit of an experiment for us and we have learned from it, but we would certainly do it again!

Donaldson Family (with children aged 5, 9 & 12)

Travelled Summer 2023
Hi Sinead. We all really enjoyed Croatia. Thanks so much for all your help in organising such a fun and relaxing break. For me especially, it was a real treat not to be the organiser for a few weeks and to just follow the carefully planned itinerary. It was very beautiful, the kids really made the most of the sea and swimming pools as we hoped they would, the weather was great and we enjoyed lots of good food. 

Here are some of my thoughts in a bit more of a list.

– We felt the pace of the fortnight was about right. We enjoyed all the excursions and it was great to have free days in between the excursions and after travelling.

– We enjoyed all the excursions, with the kids particularly keen on the river.

– We found a nice place near the end of our canoeing adventure in the first week. It was a lively bar on the river bank and there were lots of families swimming and swinging over and into the river. There was good food in the bar and a very nice atmosphere.

– Considering we have three kids, we had a really relaxing time – me and my husband each managed to read 3 books!

– All the locals we encountered were very friendly and most spoke great English.

– We did get up early and attempt the waterfalls in Krka National Park, but as you said on the info sheets, it was rather horrifically busy and we didn’t on balance feel that it was worth it.

– We enjoyed the mixture of bigger and smaller places. In Zadar, we were quite far from the town, but in Split, we were right in the centre, and it was nice to experience both. We felt 4 places over 2 weeks was just right.

– We loved Lopud and it was a very relaxing and nice place to finish on.

– For us, it was nice to have a mixture of self-catering and a hotel at the end. The local team were amazing, they were always available on the end of the phone or on WhatsApp, even late into the evening, and were very prompt with replying to queries. There was one outing where the activity provider had thought we were making our own way to the start of the activity, but a quick call to the Croatia team and this was rectified in a very short time.

– All the accommodation was lovely and the hosts were easy to communicate with and responsive to questions.

 – We hadn’t thought to take insect repellent which was a bit silly of us, as we did all get quite bitten. Might be worth adding to the suggested kit list if it isn’t on there already.

– The private boat trip we took from Biograd was excellent and the tour guide was very experienced and professional.

Overall we were very happy with the holiday and would and have recommended you far and wide. Thanks again and very best.

Tobias Family (with children aged 10 & 12)

Travelled Summer 2023
Hi Sinead. We had a fantastic time. Your team on the ground were fab and were on hand when we needed them, and reminded of plans too! All the venues were spot on and the activities were superb. So thank you. We will definitely be returning to Croatia, and are keen to visit some more of the neighbouring countries at some point too. 

Rogerson Family (with two teenagers aged 15)

Travelled Summer 2022
Hello Liddy. Hope you’ve enjoyed your travels. We had the most amazing holiday. Everyone proclaimed it to be the “best holiday yet”. We couldn’t get over how smooth the arrangements were. Getting off a boat transfer and taxi is just waiting for you. I don’t think we realised how much hassle we normally absorb on a holiday!  It felt very decadent and special. We absolutely loved Croatia. It was definitely the right choice for us. What a stunning country. We even loved the drive from Split to the ferry port for Miljet. The beautiful lush valley then the gorgeous coastline, seeing the new bridge to bypass Bosnia (the Croatians are v excited about this!) and the surprise of stunning Ston. Of course the highlight for most was the speedboat day at Kornati! How the other half live…

Lopud was I think our favourite place – just beautiful and the hotel was perfect (much posher than our usual!) so it was a brilliant way to end the holiday. 

It felt like the perfect balance between sightseeing the towns, relaxing and activities, so it suited all of us. It also felt like we were away from the crowds a lot of the time – like we were seeing hidden treasures and I loved that. And the sea… we just loved swimming most days in that beautiful sea.

And how can I forget that veal risotto in Konoba Vinko? What a special place. 

I think it’s worth suggesting that people take beach shoes with them. The rocks are sometimes sharp or there are sea urchins… we had them and were very grateful for them.

Mljet was beautiful. One thing we did was hire kayaks at sunrise (the rental normally stops at 7 but we persuaded the gent to let us take them out for longer) and that was really wonderful as we were the only ones in the water at times exploring the tiny islands around. 

The only thing in terms of the itinerary I would say is that it was a little jam-packed at the start of the holiday with early starts so our teenagers flaked out in Split and spent the day in the apartment! They’re old enough to be left so C and I enjoyed our morning exploring split without the kids so it wasn’t a problem for us but maybe something to consider if others have kids of a similar age.

I could go on and on about more details but all and all it just felt like this was exactly what suited our family.

We would not hesitate to recommend Stubborn Mule (have done so quite a few times since coming home) and would love to travel with you again.

Based on the above, where would you recommend for our next trip? We were thinking either west coast Canada or Indonesia/Bali – I think we concluded it needed to be water-based as that seems to be what we like the best.

Margrave Family (with teenagers aged 12 & 16)

Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Kelly. The holiday was fantastic and the itinerary worked really well. We very much enjoyed the first hotel in Dubrovnik and we will definitely be revisiting Split without kids at some point in the future. Lopud was amazing and we frankly could have done with a few more days at the end of the holiday to enjoy relaxing on the island. Having a local contact on the ground to help with enquiries, etc was really helpful. Overall, a fantastic holiday enjoyed by the whole family. Thanks again for arranging a fantastic trip and now we’re looking forward to the next one…!

Spencer Family (with children aged 11 & 13)

Travelled Summer 2022
Liddy. The holiday was great, we had a lovely time and all the transfers/activities etc were great fun and super smooth from an organization perspective so thank you. Would definitely recommend Croatia.

Crean Family (with children aged 9, 11 & 11)

Travelled Summer 2022
We had a great time thank you!  Croatia is now a favourite destination for a family holiday.  We loved the landscapes, the adventures, people and food. Particularly loved the white water rafting, sailing trip from Split and kayaking and cycling from Lopud (seeing the green cave was a magical experience that we felt privileged to experience). The odd slight hiccup and one of the hotels was not great, but all in all a fantastic trip – thanks for all the help putting the itinerary together – your recommendations were perfect for us. Local support was also excellent and we used it via WhatsApp for local restaurant recommendations etc too – was really helpful, especially in Dubrovnik. Transfers all worked great.

Bird Family (with young adults aged 18, 20 & 20)

Travelled Summer 2022
Dear Liddy. Thank you so much for such a wonderful holiday! We have indeed arrived home and are already missing that incredible clear blue sea. The trip was really superb. The itinerary was perfect for us – lots of fun stuff to do but not so hectic that we ended up feeling we hadn’t had enough of a holiday! And you have put it together really well (can totally see that it works way better this way around going from north to south). The best thing was the fact that everything just worked – everyone was where they were supposed to be at the right times, it all worked like clockwork which was totally amazing.

Debora was really helpful and friendly and sorted out the one small issue really quickly. We found lots of lovely Croatian people and all but one of the people who looked after us were fabulous (the other was, at least, amusing!). Your trip notes were perfect: we found everywhere easily and it was so nice knowing where to go and what we should expect. 

We loved all the water-based activities: canoeing, white water rafting, and sea-kayaking were all highlights. It helped that on each we had really lovely guides… Sea-kayaking from Sudarad was awesome and our guide Luka was fabulous. We ended up going around Sipan to the green cave etc. then across to Lopud. We then spent the afternoon on SUPs at Lopud before getting the ferry back which worked very well. 

Dubrovnik was glorious and we can thoroughly recommend the Game of Thrones tour to anyone who is a fan. Debora changed the timings for us so we had 2 extra hours in the city which we were really glad to have. Just a shame we couldn’t have an evening there but we’ll have to come back for that! The logistics worked perfectly again, we were mighty impressed. 

All in all, we had an amazing holiday and will certainly look to you again for holidays where we actually get to choose where to go (usually we have to visit family living abroad!). We will also recommend you with enthusiasm to anyone looking to book a holiday!

Huge thanks again and all the very best.

Sissons Family (with children aged 10 & 11)

Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Liddy. Many thanks for the email, and we did indeed have a fantastic trip. Thanks so much for arranging it – all the accommodation was great and we loved each place, particularly Lopud island. All the arrangements worked really well and the kayaking excursion was fabulous. I have already recommended Stubborn Mule to a couple of friends and we will come back to you again because I think you do a great job of designing trips for families with young teens.

Anderson Family (with children aged 16 and 18)

Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Liddy, I’ll send a more in-depth review later, but we had an excellent holiday, thank you!  There were a couple of issues with transfers but nothing major and it didn’t take away from the fantastic experiences elsewhere.

Hendy Family (with young adult children)

Travelled May 2022
Hi Caroline. We had an absolutely fantastic time in Croatia thanks. It is a beautiful country and we loved every minute! Everything ran pretty smoothly with regard to the itinerary. No airport dramas either thankfully. I think the end of May was a good time to travel, as the weather was good, but not too hot, and we were ahead of the high-season crowds. Your colleague in Croatia was great and could not have been more helpful. It was really useful to have an in-country contact on the ground and we felt really well supported. He kept in regular touch by WhatsApp and was able to quickly iron out a couple of minor hiccups along the way.

Zadar was beautiful and the old city had a great feel about it. We really enjoyed the kayaking trip. The Kornati Islands boat trip was good too, although the weather was quite windy that day, which restricted our activity options a little, but the sun was shining. The hotel was excellent. There was a great bar/outside space directly opposite, which was a lovely place for an early evening cocktail. 

Split was livelier with the hotel similarly very good. We visited the waterfalls in the Krka NP on the way down, which were beautiful and found somewhere to swim too. We had a day exploring Split and the Marjan Forest Park and beaches. The evening was fun, as we were caught up in the excitement of the Croatian Cup Final, with the local team Hajduk Split winning for the first time in years. We watched the second half in the fan zone down on the Riva with singing, flares and beer showers. We also took an independent boat trip out to Hvar for a day, which was beautiful.

All went smoothly picking up A and getting across to Lopud. We absolutely loved it there. The hotel was lovely and the staff were brilliant. We had great fun exploring the island and the weather was beautiful. 

Dubrovnik was a great place to finish up and the hotel had an unbeatable location. We had a great time walking the walls and exploring the old city into the evening, watching the sun go down from a lovely outside bar we found through a wee gate in the walls.

Wheeler Rowe Family (with children aged 10 and 13)

Travelled Summer 2021
What a fun-packed, adventure-filled trip to Croatia!  Beautiful scenery, stunning rivers to paddle in and gorgeous old towns to get lost in. A fantastic mix of culture, adventure, and even time to kick back and relax and soak up the sun.  Can’t wait to plan our next Stubborn Mule trip!!

Parkin Family (with children aged 12 and 15)

Travelled Summer 2021
We arrived safely home yesterday after a fabulous (and remarkably straightforward) trip. The itinerary and activities were excellent, and Vedran was hugely helpful and flexible…. The general structure worked very well – travel for the first 8 days with the car doing activities, followed by 6 days in Dubrovnik and Elafiti Islands at a slightly slower pace. Overall, it was excellent and we would have no hesitation in recommending to friends and family. Many thanks to all at Stubborn Mule for making the trip happen.

Feedback on activities

Sea kayaking in Pula wasn’t possible due to the weather, but Vedran arranged for us to go mountain biking which was excellent (even though we were relatively timid novices) and we had a lovely swim. Tea, our guide was great.

Plitvice was amazing, very glad to get there early (thanks for the advice) – we walked about half of route C, which was starting to get busy, and then switched to route K about halfway round, which wasn’t much longer, but higher and off the beaten track and very few people and good views.

Paklenica hike was excellent – again the advice to start early was very helpful and good to have a call with Vedran before departure to confirm a route. We did about 15km in 5.5hrs but wouldn’t have wanted to be out any longer, as it was up to 37C by the time we were back to the car.

Kayaking on Zrmanja was also excellent, really enjoyed it. The guides weren’t hugely engaging, but they were looking after about 20 of us in a group and safety was the main priority, but it all worked out well, and the river swimming as we went along was amazing.

Speed boating around Kornati was one of our favourite days – the girls really enjoyed barrelling along at high speed, stopping to swim, and our skipper found us a great little taverna for lunch.

The Via Ferrata was great fun, and T (our younger daughter) really enjoyed it (E and A decided to give it a miss). Utterly fabulous views, great weather, and great guide (Filip). My one comment would be that if you have done much Via Ferrata (a protected climbing route) before, this isn’t a particularly challenging trip and can be done reasonably quickly – perhaps let experienced clients know that it is at the easier end of the spectrum and you are there for the views at the fort at the top of the cliff rather than the technical difficulty of the route itself.

We split the Elafiti island trip into two separate activities due to the weather – we self-guided the bike ride on Sipan as the weather was too rough to kayak, and then we kayaked a couple of days later when it was calmer. We hugely enjoyed both days and big thanks to Vedran for being flexible to be able to fit it all in without having to cancel due to the weather.

Other comments

Covid-19 – Paperwork can seem quite laborious, but in reality, travel was really quite straightforward after we had got our tests.

Driving – Croatia was one of the easiest countries I have ever driven in – excellent road infrastructure, signage, courteous drivers, easy toll roads. No issues at all (and the car hire was all straightforward too).

Parking – this was a real issue in Pula, Sebinik, Split and Dubrovnik (even the hotel car park was full on arrival) – this just comes with the time of year and towns that weren’t designed for cars, but possibly suggest to clients that they always leave half an hour extra to park in any of the cities.

Vegetarian / Vegan food – we have two vegetarians who don’t eat fish and one vegan in our family and Croatian cuisine doesn’t yet have much of an offering in this regard – again, no issue, but possibly worth mentioning to clients that they will have to work quite hard to find vegetarian offerings (although all the places we ate would offer a simple pasta and vegetables if asked, although one waiter did say to us that the bacon was cut very small so we wouldn’t really notice it, which amused us!)

And last but not least, Vedran was amazing throughout and is a huge asset to Stubborn Mule as an in-country partner for you – great proactive engagement, ability to get things done, flexibility, and humour.

Newman Family (children aged 16 and 18)

Travelled Summer 2021
Hi Liddy. The holiday was fab! Thanks SO much for all your help to get us out there.  Happy to share feedback etc if you want to call at some point.

Hawk Family (with children aged 12, 14, 14 & 18)

Travelled Summer 2020
What a great trip we had! Croatia is such a beautiful country, I’ve never seen water like it. So very very clear and idyllic. We swam every day and just loved all the water activities. The twins have become dab hands on a SUP and spent hours on these in Lopud. The day kayaking there was incredible as well – our guide Luka was just brilliant, really funny and very patient with us at first when we went round and round in circles!

Also our guide in Paklenika (Marko) deserves particular mention. He took us on a stunning route that we would NEVER have found on our own. The views were amazing. He also recommended a brilliant restaurant in Zadar that became our second home for a few days. Carrot cake to die for! And H loved it as they had masses of Croatian craft beers, so he felt the need to sample the lot.

Dubrovnik was just a little bit too busy for us. We had expected this but were very glad not to be staying too long – it felt like a wonderful escape once we arrived on Lopud and could relax and there weren’t quite so many people around.

All in all though, an incredible place and we’d love to go back to the north and explore further.

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