IF THERE’S ONE COUNTRY THAT ENCAPSULATES THE MAGIC OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, IT’S CROATIA.
Extending along the Adriatic and reaching inland past the Dinaric Alps, this hooked finger of rocky coastline and sweeping mountains has a natural beauty unsurpassed by anything in the Balkans. But beyond the Venetian old towns and the traditional stone villages, the lavender-cloaked islands and the famously clear waters, there’s also an interesting and complex culture, where the family comes first (great news for apprehensive travelling parents) and the cuisine is based so heavily on grilled fish and ice cream that most children will be counting down the hours between mealtimes.
Our latest family trip, Croatia provides a winning combination of historic towns and translucent seas. We walked Dubrovnik’s walls and rode the cable car to the top of Mount Srđ, nosed around the backstreets of Split and paddled amongst the Pakleni Islands. The word on this captivating country is well and truly out, though, and things can get very busy in summer, so to properly appreciate its charms, you’re best off bringing your kids here out of high season – the May half term can be a wonderful time to visit.
Whatever the time of year, in eight days our ultimate family itinerary to Croatia will take you from Dubrovnik’s Old Town to Diocletian’s Palace in Split. Along the way, you’ll swim in a “Dead Sea”, sunbathe on the “Golden Horn” and explore hidden coves and hillside villages. If you can tag an extra day to your itinerary, then a side-trip to the delightful town of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be added to the mix, giving you time to take in its Ottoman Old Town and famous hump-backed bridge on your way to Hvar.
BIG TRIP CROATIA
YOUR DAY-BY-DAY GUIDE TO THE ULTIMATE FAMILY ADVENTURE
THE BIG TRIP: CROATIA MAP
THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN
Delve deeper with our tips on what to read and watch before you go, foods your kids must try, and some key cultural advice
From traditional Dalmatian cottages to guesthouses in Dubrovnik’s Old Town – our pick of the most memorable places for families to stay in Croatia
NEED TO KNOW
A handy overview of Croatia’s weather and climate throughout the year, with recommendations for the best time to visit
Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety and how to get around
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