Croatia with Kids

Croatia is one of the best countries in Europe to travel with children. Distances between towns are short so you're never stuck in the car or on public transport for long. Most restaurants welcome little ones and have kid-friendly options on the menu like spaghetti or hamburgers while pizzerias, markets, and bakeries are plentiful so you can always grab a quick bite to stave off hunger (and it won't break the bank). There are national parks to explore, medieval towns to spark imagination, playgrounds aplenty, interactive museums, and when you're ready for a swim, you can jump into the sea from just about anywhere.

Where to Stay. Private accommodations, or self-catering apartments, are your best option when traveling with kids, as they can fit the whole family at a fraction of what a hotel would cost and you'll have facilities that will come in handy, such as a kitchen, laundry, separate bedrooms and bathrooms, more room to play, and sometimes even a private pool. There are also many campsites along the Adriatic where accommodations range from tents to bungalows with all modern amenities. Or if you want to treat yourselves to a hotel or resort, there are many excellent options with water parks, pools, kids clubs, and playgrounds on-site.

Outdoor Activities. The crystal-clear Adriatic is an instant magnet for almost any little one, but make sure to pack a pair of water shoes; most of the coast is rocky and sea urchins also tend to enjoy the clear shallow waters. If you're traveling with a toddler, you might consider visiting some of the sandy beaches scattered around the islands, which are easier on little feet; Rab is a great choice or further south opt for Saplunara Beach on Mljet. The islands are wonderful places for kids to enjoy the sea, nature, and life's simple pleasures: don't miss Lokrum, just off Dubrovnik, where they can wander through old botanical gardens spotting peacocks and bunnies along the way. Croatian national parks are also great spots to spend a day hiking, climbing, and admiring nature; Brijuni National Park in Istria might be particularly interesting with its history of dinosaurs and the exotic animals at the safari park.

Cities Croatian cities are extremely easy to maneuver with kids. They're safe, walkable, and compact. The Old Towns in cities like Dubrovnik and Split are car-free, so you can let them run around without worry. Even the capital city, Zagreb, is extremely child-friendly. There's a fun funicular to shuttle you between the Upper and Lower Towns, interactive museums, the biggest and best playgrounds in the country, and a myriad of parks to wander. If you're in Šibenik in June and July, the International Children's Festival takes over the streets for two weeks with fun workshops, games, concerts, and performances geared to kids.

Culture and History. Croatian culture and history is so evocative and entertaining that it will delight kids just as much as adults. They can watch a thrilling live sword dance on the island of Korčula, look at the cavemen at the Museum of the Krapina Neanderthal, or get lost in the Museum of Illusions in Zagreb.

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