Croatia with Kids
Family Holiday Tips for Travelling to Croatia
Shell collecting on the beach, snorkeling, exploring old fortresses, yacht excursions; there are plenty of fun things to do in Croatia with kids. Whether you spend a long vacation on the Adriatic Sea or in need of a quick break, this country is an ideal destination where your kids will also have a fantastic time thanks to the numerous festivals, fun activities and superb gastronomy.
Hello Kids! - This funny graffiti greets old and young alike in Novigrad, Istria
The Adriatic Sea
The greatest outdoor playgound
Are there any children who don't enjoy the beach? In Croatia most of the beaches are pebbly and rocky, some are with concrete surfaces. There are a few sandy beaches, as well, one of the best ones are the 2 km long Paradise Beach (Rajska Plaza) on Rab island around Lopar, the Vela Plaza in Baska (Krk island) and Lapad Beach in Dubrovnik. Ninska laguna on Pag island and beaches between Omis and Dugi Rat are also ideal places for serious sandcastle architects.
Favourite Beach Activities
What is your child's favourite activity on the beach?
What else does the Adriatic Sea offer for children? - (And their parents...?)
- Busy ports and charming marinas
Croatia boasts plenty of marinas where all kinds of water vessels float on the water from simple wooden boats to luxury yachts and huge ferries. The most interesting boats are probably those excursion boats which look similar to old pirate ships. Some cities have spectacular boat shows and regattas. The largest and best organised is Croatia Boat Show held in Split every year.
- Aquariums and fish markets
Those kids who arrive from landlocked countries will be amazed at the colourful marine life displayed in the aquariums. The most interesting aquariums can be found in Pula' Venetian citadel, in Rovinj and Dubrovnik. The fish markets are usually located next to the vegetable market and boast an impressive array of seafood caught in the Adriatic Sea.
- Maritime museums
Beautiful ship models, nautical instruments, weapons and objects from sunken merchant ships are showcased in Croatia's maritime museums. My favourite ones are the Gallerion in Novigrad with a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Austro-Hungarian Navy and the Maritime Museum in Orebic.
This old barque has just returned from Treasure Island
Liburna Donkey Reserve
This small reserve nearby Rasa, Istria is the home to native horses, donkeys and goats where they roam freely in their natural environment. You can even adopt a donkey for a year by donating 500 Kn (85 $) to the reserve.
Brijuni National Park
Another great place to visit with children. Take an excursion boat from Fazana (in Istria) to reach Brijuni islands, once the summer residence of the Yugoslav president, Josip Broz Tito. On Veliki Brijun island a small tourist train brings visitors to Roman ruins, a 16th-century citadel and the safari park in which zebras, zebus, lamas and elephants live.
Excursion boats leave for Brijuni islands from this port
Famous visitors of Brijuni
Knights Templar (!)
Croatian theme parks are pretty modest compared to the big ones throughout the world. Still, kids might enjoy a visit to these.
- Mini Croatia
Still in Istria, Mini Croatia is located 2 kms from Rovinj, along the road to Rovinjsko selo. Croatian castles and attractions in miniature are on display in this 5 500 mÂ² park. In the mini zoo kids can see and stroke domestic animals: goats, ducks and geese.
- Dino Park
If your child is mad about dinosaurs, you can not miss this theme park in Funtana (located a few kms from Vrsar, Istria). The exhibited life-size dinosaurs are even able to move and some are so tame that children can ride on them. The park offers several other attractions such as the kid's train to the world of dinosaurs, mini zoo (with non-extinct animals), playgrounds and a thrilling motorcycle show with the Flying Devils.
Fortresses and Towers
Take a tour back in time by visiting Croatia's medieval fortresses! Mirabela Fortress is Omis rises just above the old town so it can be invaded even with toddlers, too while climbing up to Fortica fortress (also in Omis) or Nehaj fortress in Senj might take a bit more time.
Karmelengo Fortress in Trogir and Sibenik's St Michael Fortress are also within an easy walk from where you will get a glorious view of the old town and the sea.
The most feared enemy: my nephews' attack on Nehaj Fortress
Famous Festivals for Kids
- Rijeka Carnival
Rijeka's carnival life looks back on long traditions. One of the most popular events of Rijeka Carnival is the Children's Carnival Parade when kids of all ages wearing colourful costumes march through the town's main street, Korzo.
- International Children's Festival
Sibenik is probably the most child-friendly city in Croatia. Every year since 1958 a festival dedicated to children takes place in this Dalmatian town featuring workshops, puppet theatres, open-air cinema, concerts and several other performances.