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When you’re considering where to take the family on holiday this summer, you’re bound to have the kids clamouring for Disneyland Paris, or Thorpe Park, while you fancy a relaxing time on the beach and your partner wants to go hiking through the wilderness. It’s not always easy to keep everyone happy on holiday but there are places where everyone can have fun and one of the best is somewhere you may not even have thought of – Croatia.
Croatia is a country in the former Soviet bloc, situated on the Adriatic Sea and comprised of 20 counties. Split, in Dalmatia, has long been a popular tourist spot because of the history, architecture, and scenery for which it’s famed. There are 300 islands in the Adriatic that are part of Croatia, all having their own appeal. One of the most popular is Hvar, with its warm, clear waters and white sand beaches.
If you’re used to taking holidays in more familiar locations such as Spain and Portugal, you might wonder if Croatia can match them. In truth, Croatia not only matches the more traditional family holiday destinations; it surpasses them. Hvar isn’t the only place with white sand and warm seas, and the landscape across the country is satisfyingly diverse. There are plenty of places for the adventurous among your group to explore the wilds, and equally, there’s a vast selection of cultural, architectural, and historical sites to visit.
Most importantly, Croatia prides itself on being child-friendly, with plenty of entertainments and facilities for children of all ages.
Paklenica National Park
The park is part of the Velebit mountain range that separates the rest of Croatia from the Adriatic. The mountain scenery is breath-taking, and there are many beautiful walking and climbing opportunities amongst the gorges, shady paths, and mountain streams. The lower reaches of the park are covered in forest but as you ascend the climate changes from the Mediterranean to sub-alpine, giving you a taste of two very different ecologies. The park does have some exotic wildlife like lynx, bears, wolves, and eagles, so you may be lucky and spot one, but you’re more likely to see a chamois near the main entrance!
Split is the capital of Dalmatia and the second largest city in Croatia. Roman Emperor Diocletian built a palace in Split in the fourth century AD, and a tour around Diocletian’s Palace is a must when visiting the area. Split isn’t all about history, although there’s plenty of it to be seen; there’s also an abundance of modern culture and entertainments for both kids and parents. Split also has a very strong sporting tradition, and tennis or football fans will be thrilled to see the home of some of the sport’s greatest names. A perfect place to use as a central location from which to explore Croatia, villas in Split are the ideal accommodation for your family for your Croatian adventure.
Croatia’s capital city Dubrovnik is a perfect city for families, you can enjoy exploring the old city walls and monuments, or hire some bikes and cycle up into the lush green countryside surrounding the city. You’ll get some fantastic views when you reach the tops of the hills. Kids will love Lokrum Island, which is walking distance from the Old Town.
There are great beaches and the crystal-clear sea where you can swim or go snorkelling and explore sea life amongst the reefs. There are also the botanical gardens, rocky outcrops, and sea caves for the children to explore. For more wild adventures, take the kids to Plitvice Lakes National Park and marvel over the variety of water features amongst the forest, including waterfalls large and small, and beautiful blue pools.
Be prepared for your kids to be a bit surprised when you suggest Croatia as a place to have a first-class family holiday. Make sure you have plenty of information on all the places they can visit and activities there are available and don’t forget to tell them what a pleasant climate Croatia has for much of the year.
It’s not a bad idea to see if you can gather together a selection of videos of some of the highlights of Croatia, which you’re sure to be able to find online. Seeing the country on the screen will bring it to life far more effectively for the rest of your family and once they realise what there is on offer, they’ll be full of enthusiasm for a Croatian summer holiday!