Travel advice: Holiday resorts in Croatia with beaches suitable for young children

Hallo, I have an unusual request – please recommend beaches for a small baby (2 years).

I would like to  sandy beaches  or small pebbles beaches from gently sloping to the sea that is shallow. I would also like to have restaurants, bars, shops, swimming pools. Two years ago I was in Zaton Holiday Resort and I’m looking something like this in Istria, Kvarner or Dalmatia – north or central.

I am grateful for the help. A.G.

The first thing to say is that Croatia is not that well known for its sandy beaches. By far the majority of beaches are of the pebble variety. However, I understand that for some people (especially those with young children!), sandy beaches are important.

Of course, if you don’t mind pebble beaches than you will have a lot more choice – as I said, the vast majority of beaches in Croatia are pebble-y. I would say that many would also be gently sloping with quite a bit of shallow water – it would be quite rare to have anything that would be quite deep quite suddenly.

Based on the place you mentioned you stayed in before (Zaton Holiday Resort), you might want to take a look at CampingIN Park Umag in Istria, which is very suitable for families with its various facilities (including pool) and features both Mobile Homes and Premium Homes.

Alternatively, you could also consider Camping Park Soline (again, with mobile homes) that is in Biograd na moru, North Dalmatia. It is close to both a pebble and a sandy beach.

The Solaris Camping Beach Resort near Sibenik, also in North Dalmatia is again very family-friendly, although perhaps the pebble beach area is quite small – but the resort does say the beach area is child friendly.

If you’d prefer to be a bit further south – between Split and Makarska – then you could consider Kamp Galeb. This is located in Omis, which is about 25-30km south (along the coast) of Split. The Omis Riviera is one of the places in Croatia that does have sandy beaches.

Kamp Galeb itself is located alongside a sandy beach, and its mobile homes are situated directly on the beach.

In fact, the camp itself says that the beach is very suitable for families with small children.

Again, the camp has a range of facilities – a few shops (bakery, also supermarket close by), a restaurant, a playground for children and an aqua park.

All of the above resorts have been included on the Croatian Camping Union’s best camping resorts list.

Camper van

How Croatia’s campsites have fared this year for visitors

Today’s Vjesnik featured an article on this year’s visitor numbers at Croatian  campsites. Much has been made of the fact that Croatia has had a good tourist year in 2011, with a healthy rise in both the number of visitors and the number of nights stayed (with promising number levels arriving in pre- and post-season), although recent news has suggested that campsites haven’t fared quite as well. In particular, signs point to the fact that campsites are still receiving the vast majority of their visitors right at the peak of season, particularly during the month of August. Nevertheless, let’s take a more detailed look at the number of visitors Croatian campsites have received this year.

Camper van

Figures from the Croatian Camping Union show that, up until the end of August, two million tourists arrived at the country’s campsites, staying for 13.4 million nights in total – up 750,000 nights on last year. This means that there was 5.5% more arrivals and 5.9% more nights stayed on the same period in 2010. Some of the largest increases in visitors numbers were registered by campsites in the Croatian interior, indicating promising future growth for such sites.

80% of the nights stayed at Croatian campsites were by visitors from just five countries – Germany, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Italy and Austria. Domestic visitors, on the other hand, clearly aren’t ones for holidaying at campsites – during January to August this year, only around 50,000 stayed in camps, staying 391,000 nights in total. Although the number of Croatian campers did rise from 2010, they still make up a very small percentage of the total visitors – and, in fact, the number of nights they stayed this year was just 3% of the total.

Taking a look over a longer-term period – from 2009 to 2011 – there was an increase in the number of and nights stayed by visitors of each of the countries of Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK. However, there was a fall in the number of nights stayed annually by camp holidaymakers from the Netherlands (down 4%), Italy (1%), Denmark (3%) and France (2%).

The best performing campsites in Croatia – some even seeing visitor growth of over 10% – were those of best quality in the facilities that they offer (therefore being the most expensive to stay at!) whilst those that haven’t been as heavily invested in have had problems encouraging visitors to their sites.

If you fancy staying on a campsite in Croatia during your holiday, do take a look at the excellent website of the Croatian Camping Union. They offer details of nearly 300 campsites in Croatia (the majority of those in the country are situated on the coast) with something for all sorts of budgets. Don’t forget that many sites have very good facilities – swimming pools, sports areas, facilities for children – so can be a great alternative to a hotel.

Sources: Vjesnik