We’re confident, at some point in your life, whether it was standing on a train platform or reading the Sunday magazines, your eyes would have feasted on Croatia.
From the iconic red rooftops of Dubrovnik, to pristine islands that dot the Adriatic Coastline, there is a lot of lure to Croatia. Historically rich, culturally diverse and very safe, makes this Balkan country a true gem to discover on holiday. But where is the best family friendly places in Croatia? In this article, we highlight our go-to places to try for next summer.
Split is the second biggest city in Croatia, a hub of excitement and a great place to stay. We would advise families to start or end their family holiday in Croatia in this wonderful city. We suggest a minimum of 2 nights, giving time to explore the various city highlights. Read our 48 hours in split blog here.
Rambling around the historical streets and shopping markets, or head to the ferry port and take a wonderful day trip. You’ll find regular day tours to Hvar, Korcula and the Blue Lagoon. Our top tip, would be to take the smaller group tours. They are more expensive, but the hospitality and service will be worth it. If you want to escape the city and coast, we can recommend families to book a trip to see the Krka National Parks. Famous for its many waterfalls.
Split is a very walkable city, neighbourhoods are safe, taxis are cheap. This makes for a very stress free experience for mums and dads, as tourists feel very relaxed in Split. For families wanting to combine the city life with access to the sea & beach, then look at areas east of the city: Firule, Trstenik, and Znjan are recommended, all close to Bacvice beach.
For family fun things to do in Split, we can recommend a Segway tour. It’s great value, lots of banter, teen friendly and a super fun way to see a lot of this fabulous city.
For fans of Games of Thrones, there are day trips to Klis Palace. Great views and keeps tricky teenagers entertained, with endless selfie & Insta opportunities.
The whole family can enjoy the sandy beach at Znjan. There are activities for young families, like bouncy castles and scooter rides. For active families with teenagers, they can rent paddle boards and kayaks. For a real teenager activity holiday in Croatia, then consider a professionally planned adventure holiday for families.
30 minutes from Split is the coastal town of Podstrana and is one of the best family friendly places in Croatia to stay. It’s quieter than Split, but enjoys easy access to the sea, canyons, islands and the airport. It has a beautiful marina, where families can find the 5 star hotel Le Meridien Lav.
Rated 5 stars *****
Dotted along this coastline, are restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, activity centres and cocktail bars. Watching the Sun retiring behind the horizon, lighting the nearby islands is truly wonderful. Some of the best sunsets can be seen from Podstrana. It’s one of the best areas to stay in the Dalmatia region if joining a week long family adventure holiday in Croatia or if self driving.
Not far from Podstrana, is the sea village of Brela. We recommend a day on this beach and to hire kayaks. Rated 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor for its crystal clear waters. It’s where the locals spend their days off.
For a great day out on the sea, family boat tours are highly recommend. A local tour operator collecting in Podstrana and Split is Summer Blues. Price range from £40 – £90 pp.
Podstrana is one of the best places to stay for families in Croatia, looking for competitive hotel and apartment prices. It’s much cheaper than Split, Omis and Makarska and has the advantages of better road connections.
That means less time travelling and more time holidaying.
The Makarska Riviera has some of the nicest beaches in Dalmatia. Boasting 40 miles of beautiful beaches, it’s the perfect place for a family holiday. Along the coastline, we suggest concentrating your search in; Brela, Baška Voda, Makarska, Tučepi and Podgora. These are all great for family holidays in Croatia, whether you have young children or active teenagers. There’s plenty to explore in this area too, from open air food markets, cave side bars, historical churches, vineyards, turquoise waters and majestic mountains. One of the best family activities to try in Makarska is paragliding.
4 great beaches to find
- Drašnička Vrulja – close to the village of Drašnice.
- Vrulja – No shade, so remember umbrella.
- Nugal Makarsk – Watch out for the waterfall.
- Plišivac beach – in Podgora and often voted best beach of the area.
We love Makarska Rivieria for the imposing Biokovo Mountain that stands behind it. We love the medieval churches, sand and pebble beaches. We love that it is family friendly and only one hour from Split Airport.
Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the must-see cities of Europe. For families though, we would recommend staying 10 minutes by taxi or bus outside the city, in Lapad. Our go-to hotel of choice is the 5 star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. It has its own private beach area, indoor & outdoor pool options and top-quality restaurant options.
A must-see is the famous cave bar, that looks like it might be found in a James Bond movie. Cave Bar More has been voted as one of the world’s best subterranean bars by CNN. It will even impress your teenagers enough to take a picture for Instagram. The boutique hotel and restaurant are also recommended and reviewed favourable on TripAdvisor.
The best family restaurant in Lapad is off the main high street, called Madonna. Sit upstairs and indulge in a great menu, at very affordable prices. For Michelin Star food head into Dubrovnik city centre and pre-book for Restaurant 360. This is elegant dining at its finest, with an extensive wine list, so parents can have a holiday too.
Fine dining at its best
One of the most popular tours in Dubrovnik for the day time would be to sea kayak around the old town walls. Paddling beneath the historical city walls is a breath-taking experience and highly rated by families staying in Dubrovnik for vacations.
Visiting some nearby islands is another great idea for a day trip. We recommend Lokrum, Sipan and Lopud which never appear on the cruise ship itineraries. So enjoy a day with the family away from the mass crowds, and relax in some of the most bluest sea waters you’ll ever experience. If still on the mainland, but also want to escape the touristic areas, head to either East to Gradac Park or West to Beach Sulic for drinks at Bar Dodo. This bar is a hidden gem and often not discovered. Parents can relax with a cold drink, whilst the kids swim in the sea below them.
The city beach is called Banje and you’ll find exclusive beach clubs there. The best one is Banje Beach Club, which offers high-end food and luxury comfort levels.
Walking the Dubrovnik city walls is an essential thing to do. Seeing the city from some many different angles really highlights how impressive it is. The whole walk is about 3km long and can take 60 minutes. Teenagers and kids will love it. There’s towers, fortifications and stairs to be climbed with rewarding views of red rooftops and blue seas. Inside the city, the main points of interest to Google Map are: Luza Square, Placa high street, Onofrio Fountain, Pile and Ploce gateways, Franciscan Monastery and Buza Bar for a well-served drink, with the best sun-set view.
The best sun-set view
Resting next to Croatia’s sun-kissed coast, is the city of Pula. Steeped in history, with a Roman amphitheatre at the centre, which is more preserved than the Colosseum in Rome. Walk through the cobbled stone streets to find; beach front restaurants, quaint cafes and ice cream parlours to keep the kids happy.
Pula & nearby Rovinj, are two perfect towns in northern Croatia.
In the Istria region, Pula & Rovinj are undoubtedly rated to be the best family friendly places in Croatia to stay. Both areas are teeming with family friendly day tours, activities, beaches and nightlife. Our favourite 5 star hotel in Rovinj is the Grand Park. Whether you have small children or enjoying a teenager activity holiday, this property has many sides to entertain the family. Their sister Hotel Mulini, is also highly recommended, with an even better beach area. Both hotels are a short stroll to the wonderful old town.
We recommend a SUP boarding tour in Pula for your family. Teenagers love stand-up paddle boarding and this adventure company, run a superb tour at night and during the day.
Sea kayaking in Pula is another family friendly activity to try. The cliffs and caves tour run by Pula adventure is very good and 5 star rated on TripAdvisor.
Boat tours and water taxis are a great way to get around and see more of the perfect coastline. Find your own secluded bays and explore in a very exciting way.
Zadar is seen as Croatia’s hipster city. A stunning place, that’s lost none of its old town charm, and has to be considered one of the best places to stay for family holidays in Croatia. With an old and new town, it offers something for all ages. Enjoy Unesco landmarks, open-air restaurants and some of the best bars in the Dalmatia region.
Not far from Zadar, is Pag island, which is also worth considering as a family friendly option. One of the biggest attractions, especially for Croatia family active holidays is Dugi Otok. This is the country’s 7thlargest island and a brilliant place to explore. Dugi Otok sea kayak tours are great value for families and the best way to see diverse wildlife and find secret bays and caves. Teenagers will love the tours on offer, as there are special places to snorkel and jump from the cliff sides.
Sunsets at sea
Family sailing tours are popular from Zadar. We would recommend the sunset sailing tour, to end the day on a magical high. Other popular sail trips are to Hvar, Split and Losinj.
If looking for the very best family friendly places to stay in Croatia, you’ll find them on Brac island. It’s a real gem and often overlooked, as a lot of tourists head to Korcula and Hvar. From our perspective, there is no better Croatian island for active families. You’ll find idyllic villages, the Golden Horn Beach (often voted as one of the World’s most beautiful), inflatable water park in Supetar, and some of the country’s best beaches. For families making independent travels, we recommend staying close to Bol at the Bluesun Hotel Elpahusa.
An almost perfect place for families
For parents wanting to book something very special for their children, then join the teenager Brac island family adventure holiday. On this one week active holiday, you’ll meet like-minded families and do wonderful multi-day tours, from: climbing & cycling to SUP boarding to kayaks. Places are limited, so early bookings are advised.
For a unique experience, head to the South-side to discover the UNESCO protected Blaca monastery. It’s one of the most special places to find and well worth your time if you appreciate culture and history.