It will surely come as no surprise that Croatia is a truly excellent place for a family holiday. And we mean for any kind of family! Whether you’re travelling with babies and toddlers or have rambunctious teenagers in tow; are a small family duo or trio or are travelling with a massive group of all sorts of ages, you’re sure to enjoy Croatia as a destination. Here we take a look at some ideas and suggestions for family holidays in Croatia.
Things to know before you go
Croats are family-orientated people and you’ll notice kids of all ages out and about with their parents and relatives seemingly at all times of the day in summer, even late into the evening. Most Croats you’ll encounter on a holiday will be very welcoming to families and children.
Croatia is a very safe country for all travellers, and you won’t encounter any dangers to children or families.
The vast majority of Croatia’s beaches have very calm waters, and most are pretty shallow as well – ideal for kids to swim and paddle about it. (Obviously, please do always watch your children near water, however shallow it may be.) The one big bit of advice here, however, is to make sure you pack swim shoes or waterproof sandals as most beaches are of the pebble kind. Whilst this generally makes the water wonderfully clear, little feet can sometimes find it difficult to walk on pebbles.
If you’re travelling with younger ones, be sure to take a look at our special page on Travelling to Croatia with Babies and Toddlers for some useful tips. Our Safety and Healthcare in Croatia page will also give you advice should you need to seek medical assistance.
Best areas for a family holiday in Croatia
There’s no bad area to base yourself in for a family holiday to Croatia – there are great resorts and other accommodation options, beaches, amenities, facilities and more right up and down the coastline.
However, Istria does offer a number of attractions – waterparks, Croatia’s offering of theme parks (see below), adventure and more. If these sorts of things are important to you, you can’t go wrong in this region of Croatia.
Family Holidays in Croatia – Accommodation and Hotels
Take a look at our Family Hotels in Croatia page for the large variety of hotels on offer that cater to families and children in particular. There are options all along the Croatian coastline, from Istria to Dalmatia and on the Croatian islands too.
Visit Croatia personally enjoyed (but was not sponsored or paid to do so!) the Amadria Park Hotel Jakov near Sibenik, and would heartily recommend it. Take a look at our full thoughts on holidaying there: Visit Croatia review: Amadria Park Resort, Sibenik. Next to it is the Amadria Park Hotel Andrija, a fully-fledged “kids hotel”.
Although I’m an adult (yes, honestly), I’m still a sucker for a mascot so somewhere like the Family Hotel Vespera on the island of Losinj is a big draw for me with its full kids entertainment programme involving its mascot Pino. Maybe for some kids too! They even have – what they call – a baby club for kids aged 2 to 5; a kids club for 5 to 8 year olds and a junior club for 8 to 13 year olds plus plenty of activities for teens. They are also able to provide baby equipment – strollers, baby bathtubs, changing tables, potties – subject to availability.
For Istria, take a look at the Family Hotel Amarin in Rovinj. As well as all the usual excellent amenities for families, there are some excellent play facilities here, both indoor and outdoors. And there are some lovely extra touches here too – like rooms with an interactive wall; a special buffet for kids and even spa and wellness treatments for them too.
Croatia isn’t exactly the land of all-inclusive hotels as some Mediterranean destinations are, but you can still find some options for you if you prefer to take your meals all in the same place. (Hey, it really is the easiest option, isn’t it, especially when you’ve got little ones!)
Family Holidays in Croatia – Large groups
If there’s a large group of you all holidaying together – perhaps with kids of different ages and adults across several different generations – you’ll need accommodation that will easily house all of you as well as offering something for everyone to enjoy. As I see it, you have three options available to you.
Option 1 – Hotels
It’s easy to book multiple rooms in the same hotel to accommodate your group. Those with kids can even opt for interconnecting rooms so the kids can rampage around – sorry, play – easily when the day calls for some downtime. Those without children – I’m meaning grandparents or perhaps aunts and uncles or friends – can choose to stay a little further away, and then gather together with the rest of the group poolside or for meals.
If those without children really want to distance themselves – in the nicest possible way – you could opt to stay somewhere such as a large resort with multiple hotels. An example would be the Amadria Park resort near Sibenik; this is home to both the family-focussed Hotel Jakov and the kids’ hotel, the Hotel Andrija but also to the more adult-targeted Hotel Ivan and the Hotel Jure.
It would be easy to gather all together in the resort’s multiple restaurants or on the beach when the whole family wants to get together.
Option 2 – A villa
A large number of travellers would prefer to opt for a villa to accommodate their group, and we can totally see why. With everyone gathered together in the same place, kids can easily share rooms, you can spend the whole day out by the pool or in the garden without being disturbed by other guests (or disturbing them) and meals, tea/coffee hour and evening drinks can be taken at your own pace and with your own wishes. (Although someone needs to volunteer to be head chef!)
Option 3 – Mobile homes
Croatia is home to many a campsite but we’re not suggesting bringing along a tent and a full supply of camping gear and tins of beans on your holiday (unless that particularly floats your boat). These campsites also often offer mobile homes which would be ideal for groups. And before you start worrying, mobile homes can be rather luxurious and very modern indeed these days!
You would be able to book multiple such mobile homes close together, with each offering their own catering facilities. And you can all enjoy the amenities the campsite has to offer, such as a pool, beach, restaurants, sporting facilities and other things to keep you all entertained.
The Croatian Camping Union website has a guide to campsites with mobile homes for you to search through. Some top picks are the Zaton Holiday Resort near Zadar; the Oaza Mira Resort near Pakostane; and the Holiday Centre Bi Village near Fazana in Istria.
Family Holidays in Croatia – Activities
Croatia sure is home to many an impressive and ancient sight but we know, we know – there are only so many palaces, fortresses, castles and similar that kids can be dragged around before they want something specifically targeted to them. Here are some of the best kid-friendly activities in Croatia.
Waterparks in Croatia
One of the best waterparks in Croatia is the Aquapark Istralandia, near Novigrad in northwestern Istria. Spread over an area of 81,000 square metres, there are multiple pools (including a dedicated kids pool) and slides, a splash zone, a pirate lagoon…the list goes on! There are food options on-site and additional entertainment (such as aqua zumba), so you really can spend a whole day here.
Also in Istria is the Aquacolors Porec, the largest waterpark in Croatia. There’s a lazy river and a wave pool, some rather extreme water slides for adrenaline seekers and a much more sedate kids’ water playground and pool. Adults will be amused by the crocodile cave bar, an underwater bar where you’re served from a crocodile’s head whilst you stand in a pool. (It makes more sense in real life.)
Aquapark Dalmatia is a fairly small waterpark next to the Amadria Park resort near Sibenik in north Dalmatia. There’s a lazy river, jacuzzis, a large central splash fortress with multiple slides and several small pools for kids. This waterpark probably has more for kids than adults, but if the younger ones are happy and entertained, the older ones are happy…right?
Dalmaland is another fairly small waterpark; it is located near Biograd na moru. Part waterpark (but mostly for the littler ones) and part theme park, this place is recommended if you’re staying in this area.
Aquapark Cikat (on the island of Losinj) is another small waterpark, part of Camp Cikat. (Indeed, camp guests receive free entry to the waterpark.) There’s a large regular pool, a smaller fun pool with water cannons and similar, and a small pool for babies and toddlers.
At many beaches all along Croatia’s coastline, you’ll notice fairly large inflatable “aquaparks”. These structures generally have climbing areas, running/balancing zones and slides directly into the sea. Users need to be competent swimmers as these structures are located a fair bit out to sea and need to be swum to; once you’re on, there’s lots of opportunity for falling off! (Essentially the whole idea.) You need to purchase a ticket – on the beach – to use these aquaparks, and you normally only get an allocated amount of time to use them, generally a maximum of one hour. (At this point, you can obviously purchase another hour if you so wish.)
Theme parks in Croatia
Croatia definitely isn’t inundated with theme parks. In fact, there’s hardly any! One of the best is Dinopark in Istria which is – as you’ve likely guessed – a dinosaur-themed fun park. There are a number of rides and shows to entertain guests, as well as play areas, a kids’ zoo, pony rides and more. This place is relatively small, it has to be said, and is probably better suited for younger children.
Not quite a theme park, more of an extra large playground for kids, is the relatively new Maro World in Dubrovnik which has 13 different areas for kids to have fun in. There are trampolines, outdoor playgrounds, a “smart play” with plenty of STEM-based activities, ball pits, a cinema lounge, a gaming room and an old-school games room. Kids aged 3 and over can be supervised in one of the clubs, so you can even enjoy some quiet time elsewhere without your little ones!
Activity and adventure
Sky Fox Adventure Park in Istria is an aerial park with different trails for kids and adults. (If you’re worried that this isn’t the place for the really little ones, there is in fact a ‘baby trail’ for those aged 1 year +.) There’s also an 800m long zip line, a 7m-high giant swing, “human table football” (yes, really) and a free-fall jump platform that is 10 metres high.
Motodrom Porec is a go-karting track that’s suitable for kids aged 12 and above. (Kids aged between 6 and 12 can also go go-karting using smaller vehicles and on a separate track.) This track is next to the above adventure park, so you could combine the two into one fun-packed day.
Zip lines in Croatia
Older kids and brave adults will for sure love the idea of ziplining on holiday. There are a number of zip lines in Croatia, some in rather spectacular settings. One of the best is Zipline Omis which is over the Cetina River canyon; there are 8 zip lines altogether with a total length of 2,100m; kids aged 7 and above can take part.
Zipline Sibenik is located over Cikola River Canyon using 3 zip lines of 1,400m total length. Family packages are available.
The Zipline Pazin Cave is indeed over a cave in inland Istria; there are four lines and you can reach speeds of up to 50km/h.
Zipline Split offers 6 ziplines totalling 2,500m in length. Participants must weigh 30kg or over, so this one is suitable for 10-year-olds and above.
Family Holidays in Croatia – Museums and Attractions for Kids
One of the most kid-friendly and entertaining museums in Croatia is the Museum of Illusions in Zagreb, suitable for the whole family! This museum has since greatly expanded to other locations in Croatia (and in fact the world!) – you can also find them in Split and Zadar.
Escape rooms are a big deal these days; whilst older kids will find ordinary escape rooms fun, in Croatia there are special escape rooms aimed at younger kids. Kids Escape has locations in Rijeka, Pula, Split, Zadar and Slavonski Brod and offers junior escape rooms for kids aged between 5 and 7, and kids escape rooms for those aged 7 to 13.
We’re not sure whether to include this here…but kids do like the weird and wonderful, so why not? Froggyland in Split is a museum containing 507 taxidermied frogs displayed in “everyday” situations – playing music, at school, in bed, enjoying life in a local bar… The frogs have been stuffed in a complex manner with no incisions made. What did I just read, you’re probably wondering? Whatever. Get your kids here.
Get your kids excited about Croatia!
Before you set off for your hols, why not ask your kids to find out a bit more about their holiday destination? Perhaps they could peruse this website for starters! 😃
Please do get them to listen to this enchanting folktale, read by Andrew Scott (him off of Sherlock and Fleabag). Part of a series of travel folktales for kids, The Wandering Knight of Zagreb tells the tale of an 11th-century knight who founded the city of Zagreb.