Mother and son looking at Dubrovnik, Croatia, Europe

Travel Guide to Croatia with Kids: Sample 10-day Croatia Itinerary

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Planning a trip to Croatia? Not sure where to start? This travel guide to Croatia with kids will cover everything you need to know from the perfect 10-day Croatia itinerary to where to dine and which cities in Croatia are the best to visit.

Want to know where to find the top destinations in Croatia? Or perhaps you need help planning your Croatia trip, I’ve got you covered with helpful information from the best time to visit Croatia, packing lists, information about the most famous National Parks in Croatia and tips on where to stay.

So let’s dive into my Croatia travel guide with kids (or without), because let’s be serious, just because we have kids doesn’t mean we aren’t seeing the top sights and attractions.

Split, Croatia: One of the best cities to visit according to Croatia Tourism sites.

Table of Contents

Where is Croatia located?

Where's Croatia? Croatia is located between Slovenia and Bosnia/Herzegovina and across from Italy on the Adriatic Sea.
Map of Croatia

Croatia is considered “western Europe”. It is located across from Italy along the Adriatic sea with its crystal clear waters and inviting beaches. Slovenia is it’s neighbor to the North and Bosnia/ Herzegovina is it’s neighbor to the West. With over 1,000 miles of coastline and 1,200 islands and inlets, it’s a beautiful country to explore and becoming more popular as the years go by.

If you were to drive from Zagreb in the North down to Dubrovnik in the South, it would take a total of 6 hours driving without stops, but I wouldn’t recommend that! Croatia is too beautiful not to explore.

Where to fly into Croatia?

Want to know which Croatia airport you should fly into? It really depends on where you plan to spend the majority of your time, but Dubrovnik is often the cheapest airport to fly into if you are flying from the United States. 

If you chose to follow my 10-day Croatia itinerary below, you’ll want to fly into Dubrovnik and out of Zagreb. Instead of looking for a round-trip flight, look for the multi-city option.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any direct flights to Croatia from the US, but you can find one-stop flights from the major cities (NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston). The second cheapest airport to travel to Croatia from the US is Zagreb or Split.

Zagreb airport which is one of the best airports to fly into for your trip to Croatia.
Zagreb Airport

Another option is to find cheaper tickets from the US to Europe and then take a discount airline to fly into Croatia or rent a car and drive between the countries surrounding Croatia.

FAQ

What is the best way to travel to Croatia? Unless you live in Europe, flying is often the best way to visit Croatia. It is also possible to drive into Croatia from nearby countries. Unlike nearby countries, Croatia does not use a vignette (sticker for your car). You’ll pay for roads using tolls.

Where to fly into Croatia for beaches? If beaches are the most important, then I recommend flying into Split or Dubrovnik for easy access.

Best ways to fly to Croatia from NYC? Unfortunately, NYC does not offer non-stop flights. There are multiple options to fly one-stop to Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Zadar and Pula (listed in order from the cheapest to most expensive).

Are there any Croatia airlines for cheaper tickets? Croatia does operate Croatia Airlines, but Ryanair, Eurowings, and TAP Air Portugal offer better deals depending on your location.

Anything I need to know about traveling to Croatia from the US? Croatia does not require a Visa or any entry paperwork. You do need a valid passport (that does not expire within 3 months) and at least one blank page inside your passport. You are permitted to stay up to 90 days within a 180-day period. You will need European converters to use your electronics. Check out our favorite brand.

Is there anything I need to know about flying out of Croatia? There are no special requirements for exiting Croatia. You do not have to pay any fees to exit.

Fly to Croatia from US on multiple airlines. Photo features a TUI flight into Pula, Croatia.
Pula, Croatia

When is the best time to visit Croatia?

Croatia is beautiful year-round and each season offers something a little bit different. The best time to go to Croatia is really based on your preferences and what type of experience you are looking for. I’ll give you the pros and cons of each season and then you can pick the best time of year to visit Croatia for your family.

Spring: Spring is a beautiful time of year to visit with blooming flowers, fewer tourists filling the streets and beaches. It is not quite warm enough to swim, but you’ll be able to walk around without jackets.

Ferries may not be running as frequently, but the National Parks will be full from the mountain snowmelt and hotel prices will be moderate. The average temperature in Dubrovnik: 54 °F (High: 60 °F Low: 48 °F ).

Spring is a great time to visit Croatia with all the flowers in bloom and comfortable temperatures with fewer crowds. Find out this and more in my Croatia Guide to Visiting.

Summer: An abundance of activities, warm water along the hundreds of beaches and thousands of islands. Warm weather seekers will delight with warm dry days and infrequent rain.

Ferries will be running with plenty of opportunities to explore, but hotels will have peak pricing and the city of Dubrovnik will be swarming with tourists from cruise ships. The average temperature in Dubrovnik: 77 °F (High: 84 °F Low: 70 °F ).

Summer in Croatia is perfect with warm sun, comfortable water temperatures and a full array of activities.

Fall: My favorite time to visit, Fall is beautiful in Croatia. The tourist swarms have left, but the weather is still warm enough to swim in the ocean and lakes in Krka National Park.

The fall foliage begins to turn in the North and you can enjoy the cities historic attractions in all their beauty. Hotel prices will be moderate and dinner reservations won’t be a concern. The average temperature in Dubrovnik: 64 °F (High: 70 °F Low: 57 °F ).

Fall can be the best time to travel to Croatia with the beautiful foliage and fewer crowds.
Scenic fall valley landscape in the mountains of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Winter: Croatia isn’t always considered a winter destination because it is known for its beaches. However, winter visitors will delight with frozen waterfalls in Plitvice, being able to walk about the famous Game of Thrones walls in Dubrovnik, walking through the historic streets in Split and enjoying a much slower pace of life.

Sunny skies are abundant and you won’t feel the extreme cold in this coastal country. If you are visiting around the holidays, don’t miss the Christmas markets in Zagreb, and Dubrovnik. The average temperature in Dubrovnik: 48°F (High: 54°F Low: 43°F ).

Christmas markets in Zagreb Croatia, best time to visit!
Zagreb Christmas ice park evening view, capital of Croatia.

Is Croatia Safe?

It is perfectly safe to enjoy vacationing in Croatia with kids. The Croatian War of Independence ended in 1995 and Croatia is back on the map as a top travel destination. As always, stay aware of your belongings, secure your travel documents and cash while taking transportation and walking in busy tourist areas, but Croatia is considered safe and there aren’t any travel advisories.

Is it safe to travel to Croatia? Yes!

Is it safe to swim in Croatia? Yes, the sea is safe and often crystal clear so you are able to see any hazards before entering. Pebble and rocky beaches are much more common that sandy beaches, so it is suggested that you bring some lightweight water shoes. Check out our favorite packable pair of water shoes here.

Worried about securing your belonging while traveling? Want to keep pickpockets from ruining your trip? Here are some helpful travel items that we personally travel with.

Is Croatia safe to travel with kids?

Yes! Croatia features pedestrian zones, plenty of playgrounds and open spaces. Seaside towns have a seafront promenade where children can run around safely away from the water’s edge.

There are many wonderful beaches and the sandy beaches are shallow, perfect for toddlers.

Beach in Lumbarda in Croatia
Nice beach and crystal clear sea in Lumarda on Korcula island in Croatia

Hotels throughout Europe and even Airbnb’s provide a pack and play or cot, just ask before you arrive. In addition, restaurants throughout Croatia are child-friendly and some offer highchairs or children’s menus. If highchairs can’t be provided, just ask to sit outside and use your stroller or check out these easy to pack highchairs.

Mother and son looking at Dubrovnik, Croatia, Europe
Mother and son looking at Dubrovnik, Croatia, Europe

Looking for diapers and wipes in Croatia? Head to the larger supermarkets such as Kaufland and Lidl for the largest options, but Pampers can be found at ever smaller supermarkets.

Baby formula is easy to find and comes in the powdered form. Common brands include Aptamil, Hipp, and Humana. Small jars of baby foods are also typical, along with pouches for easy on the go eating.

Shelf showing baby products in Croatia

Planning a trip to Croatia with Kids

So you’ve decided you want to plan a trip to Croatia with your family, but you aren’t sure where to start? That’s ok. I’ll give you an overview of the top Croatia attractions, what to see in Croatia and the best things to do in Croatia. I’ll weave in plenty of family vacation ideas with toddlers, kids or teens. So let’s get starting so you can plan your Croatia family vacation!

Although you can drive from the North of Zagreb down to Dubrovnik in about 6 hours, the top attractions are scattered around the country and it can be a bit tricky to decide what to see and how to put everything together. We will start in the North and work out way down to the southern coast.

Top Croatia Tourist Attractions:

This next section will cover the top tourist attractions for visitors. When you are planning a trip to Croatia with kids, it is nice to blend some of the top destinations in Croatia with some lesser-known places to escape the crowds. The best places to travel in Croatia are listed from North to South. This will give you an idea of the various highlights of the country. Browse through this section to see what interests you.

Northern Croatia

Trakošćan Castle – 13th Century castle

Maksimir Park– the oldest public park in Zagreb

Pula Arena– one of only six Roman arenas of this size located in Pula, Croatia. It is extremely well preserved and constructed in 27 BC – 68 AD.

Temple of Augustus– a Roman temple dedicated to the 1st Roman emperor, Augustus in Pula, Croatia.

Zadar Sea Organ– a musical instrument built into the large marble steps that use the sea waves and tubes located under the steps to make music.

Central Croatia

Zadar Cathedral– the largest church in all of the dalmatians. Built in the 12th century it features frescos and two central rose windows.

Zrmanja River– one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe and well known for its crystal-clear water tucked into a canyon with multiple waterfalls. Popular for kayaking and rafting.

Kamerlengo– a castle built in the mid-15th century as a fortress in Trogir, Croatia.

Klis Fortress– a medieval fortress popular for its use in filming Game of Thrones. It is located near Split, Croatia.

Diocletian’s Palace– one of the most imposing Roman structures, it is an ancient palace that was built for the Roman emperor Diocletian around the 4th century AD. Located in the center of Split, Croatia.

Marjan Forest Park– a hillside park with lookout points over Split, Croatia. It also features a botanical garden, trails, and playgrounds.

Southern Croatia Islands

Blaca Hermitage (Pustinja Blaca)– a 16th-century monastery that was built into a cave. The monastery features a museum with unique artifacts and historical information. It does require a 20-40 minutes hike to the entrance and is not recommended for families with small children. It is one of the most unique places to see in Croatia.

Brač– one of the most popular Croatian islands. It is known for its white-pebble beach known as Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape). You can visit easily by taking a ferry from Split, Croatia.

Zlatni Ra (Golden Cape/Horn)– one of the most popular beaches in all of Croatia.

Hvar– a popular Croatian Island is known best for its summer resorts. Hvar has 13th-century walls, a fortress and a main square with the famous Hvar Cathedral. The island also features the ability to reach Pakleni Islands with its hidden coves, and secluded beaches.

Vis– a sleepier Croatian island compared to its neighbor Hvar. It is well known for its blue cave and ancient city walls. It is often recommended as one of the best places to visit in Croatia.

Stiniva Cove– Quaint, off-the-beaten-path beach known for its crystal-clear waters and sheltered cove. It was featured as one most beautiful beaches in the world.

-Korčula Island-The 6th largest island, it is also the 2nd most populated with a large majority of those residents being Croats.

Mljet Island– the southernmost island that is also the greenest of all the islands in the Adriatic Sea. It is covered by a National Park, also well known for its beautiful lakes.

Elaphiti Islands– a beautiful area to escape from the crowds in Dubrovnik. Best explored by boat to see the highlight of the various islands.

Lopud– a small island best known for its sandy beaches.

Southern Croatia

-Trsteno Arboretum– the oldest arboretum in eastern Europe. It was built in the late 15th century by the noble Gozze family, who requested that ship captains bring seeds and plants back from their travels.

Fort Lovrijenac (St. Lawrence Fortress)– a fortress 37 meters above sea level located just outside the walls of Dubrovnik.

Minčeta Tower (Tvrđava Minčeta)– a 14th-century fortress located high above the city of Dubrovnik with panoramic city views.

Walls of Dubrovnik– the famous defensive stone walls that surround the city of Dubrovnik. It is one of the top things to see in Croatia.

Onofrio’s Fountain– a popular attraction in Dubrovnik. A circular fountain built in the 15th century that was a part of the water supply system for the city.

Dubrovnik Cathedral – built upon 7th-century structures, this 12th-century basilica features intricate altars and paintings.

Rector’s Palace– a palace built in the 15th century for the governor or Rector of Dubrovnik.

Top Croatia Beach Vacation Options:

If you are looking for a Croatian beach vacation, then the following beaches are recommended for their sandy shores (not common in Croatia), the ability to reach them and services. No trip to Croatia with kids is complete without a trip to the beach!

Beach Sakarun– A popular beach location located on the island of Dugi Otok. It is a sandy beach. Ferry from nearby Zadar. There are accommodations on the island. This is one of the top Croatia vacation spots.

Uvala Lapad Beach – Located near Dubrovnik, this beach is easy to reach via car and public transportation. It features sand, concrete platforms, and amenities such as changing cabins, lifeguards and sun loungers.

Prapratno Beach – a beautiful sandy beach with crystal blue waters on the  Peljesac Peninsula. Warm and shallow waters are ideal for families traveling through Croatia with kids.

Ninska Laguna Beach– not far from Zadar, you’ll find this sandy beach known for its wind sports.

What are the Best Cities in Croatia to Visit?

We’ve covered the top places to visit in Croatia, now we will cover which cities to visit. Each city offers a variety of attractions and sites. Some are easy to visit as a one day trip or while traveling from one destination to another.

Other cities require a few days. There are six cities that I recommend visiting as well as two islands where you can base yourself to explore the smaller islands. The cities and islands are listed from North to South.

Saint Domnius Split cathedral.
Split, Croatia

Zagreb – the capital and largest city in Croatia. It is located in the Northeast of Croatia and inland from the coast. Best explored by foot, Zagreb is a delight for visitors with its countless historic churches, museum of broken relationships, city squares and markets.

Fun for Kids: Ride the Zagreb Tram, go on a food tour through the market and ride the funicular.

Rovinj – located on the west coast, Rovinj is a fishing village on the Istria peninsula. The hilltop church of St. Euphemia towers over the surrounding cobbled streets. Stroll along the harbor and wander the cobbled streets to see why this Croatian village is loved by locals and tourists alike. Climb the bell tower in St. Euphemia church for amazing views and hit the beach.

Fun for Kids: Grab snacks in the market, play in the warm water along the shore or take a boat ride out to the nearby islands.

Pula– located along the sea, Pula is well known for its Roman ruins including a large arena that is in excellent condition. Visit the temple of Augustus, see the arch of Serguis and sample Croatian wine.

Fun for Kids: Pretend to sword flight like the gladiators in the Roman Arena. Then grab an ice cream to stroll along the pedestrian-only harbor front.

Zadar– a seaside city along the Adriatic coast, Zadar is perfect for visitors who are looking for a beautiful Croatian city without the crowds. Listen to the seaside organ where waves push into 35 underwater pipes to create the sounds you’ll hear on your visit. Then be sure to return to the Riva to see the Greeting to the Sun display with lights that dance over multiple panels as soon as the sun sets. Add in beautiful churches, streets made for wandering and amazing Croatian food, Zadar is the perfect destination!

Fun for Kids: The sea organ and sun salutation light display are both fun for kids, they will also enjoy climbing the bell tower of the Zadar Cathedral. Beaches are also aplenty, so let the kids splash around and let loose after a day of sightseeing. The city also features a family-friendly tourist train, which is a delight for kids and will give you a bit of a preview of the city.

Split– A highlight is Diocletian’s palace which was built in 305 AD and sits in the center of Old Town Split. Climb the bell tower at the St. Domnius Cathedral for amazing views of this ancient city. Be sure to wander the old cobbled streets while trying various pastries and treats as you shop and enjoy the pedestrian Riva promenade. There are also countless wineries to duck into for a taste of the fabulous Croatian local wines.

Fun for Kids: Head up into the hills to explore Kils Fortress, kids will have fun exploring the ruins and you can’t beat the fantastic views. Take a boat tour to the nearby islands to let the kids play at the beach or wander car-free islands.

Brac Island– One of the most well-known islands off the coast of Croatia. It is easily reached from Split and features the famous white-pebble beach Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape/Horn). It is the perfect spot for windsurfing and offers multiple accommodation styles to suit any taste. Hike or drive up to the highest point on Brac, Vidova Gora, wander the beautiful fishing village of Sumartin or relax on the gorgeous beach of the Golden Horn.

Fun for Kids: Head to Zlatni Rat and rent a paddleboat complete with slide to splash around in the beautiful warm waters. There are also shady forests nearby to escape the fun, cafes and playgrounds. Be sure to pack some water shoes for little ones, the pebbles aren’t very fun to walk around in.

Korcula Island– Easily reachable by ferry from either Split or Dubrovnik, Korcula Island is not to be missed with its historic old town, hidden coves and picturesque views from the entire island. If you enjoy water activities, Korcula is a hub of activity with windsurfing, wakeboarding, sailing, jet-skiing, and swimming. Don’t miss visiting the birthplace of the famous traveler Marco Polo as well as visiting the local wineries. There are plenty of tour operators ready to help you explore the island.

Fun for Kids: Go on a donkey safari with the kids to explore the island, enjoy some swimming and snorkeling before enjoying a delicious lunch! Take the kids sailing off the coast or snorkeling to discover all the fish beneath the sea.

Aerial helicopter shoot of Korcula old town. Dubrovnik archipelago – Elaphites islands

Dubrovnik– the best known of all the cities in Croatia and made famous by the TV series “Game of Thrones”. This walled city is a must-see for visitors exploring the country of Croatia. Walk the walls, climb the towers for amazing views, stroll into countless churches and soak up the ambiance of the city. Try to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds or stay overnight to truly discover this historic site. Game of Thrones fans should take one of the many tours offered.

Fun for Kids: Ride the cable car up to the hills above Dubrovnik for incredible views. Plan an epic game of hide and seek in Lovrijenac Fortress. Take a ferry over to Lokrum Island to let the kids follow around the peacocks and rabbits that roam freely before wandering the gardens and playing at the beach.

Croatia National Parks

Croatia has eight National Parks and they are are a highlight to any Croatia trip itinerary. When you are deciding where to go in Croatia, visiting some of the National Parks should be included on your list. I’ll highlight seven of our favorites.

Even if you plan on using public transportation, you can easily arrange with many of the Croatia tour companies to reach many of the sights. Krka National Park and Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia) are two of the most popular, but I’ll highlight some of the lesser-known Croatia national park locations with incredible waterfalls and mountain ranges.

-Risnjak National Park– a beautiful mountainous and forested region

Brijuni National Park– a set of islands that is only reachable by boat with historic sites.

Northern Velebit National Park– in the northern section of Croatia with the largest mountain range in the country.  

Plitviče Lakes National Park (Plitvice Lakes National Park)– One of the most popular national parks in Croatia is Plitvice park with 16 terraces lakes, waterfalls and wooden walkways that cover the majority of the park. Plitvice National Park is a must-see!

Paklenica National Park– a park with variety with its canyons, rock formations, and caves with stalagmites and stalactites. It is also home to a plethora of wildlife.

Kornati Islands National Park– located near Zadar it is a beautiful area that includes over 100 islands and islets with a flora of vegetation and wildlife.  

Krka National Park (Croatia)– Another one of the most popular national parks in Croatia with 7 cascading waterfalls. Known for the ability to swim below the Krka waterfalls in the crystal clear blue waters.

10 days in Croatia (Travel Itinerary)

Ready to dive into the logistics? I’ll help you plan the perfect 10 days exploring Croatia. You can do this trip South to North or in reverse, the recommendations still stand. This 10-day itinerary will cover the best places to go in Croatia with tips on what to do in Croatia, how to spend your time and some of our favorite National parks, including Plitvice National Park.

If you are looking for the best Croatia Itinerary for spending 10 days exploring, then look no further. Feel free to adjust the trip based on the amount of time you can allow, the more time the better. Croatia will steal your heart, I promise.

The following itinerary is the best way to see Croatia from the South to the North and includes many of the suggestions from above.

Before you start booking your trip, don’t leave home without travel insurance. We’ve used and highly recommend Travelex Travel Insurance. They are a well-known company, provided excellent packages, including additional add on’s to customize your trip. In addition, children under the age of 18 are free and included in the parent’s travel insurance purchase. 

Day 1: Dubrovnik

View overlooking the walled city of Dubrovnik with grey stone buildings and red roofs. The harbor of boats sits just outside the walls.

Fly into Dubrovnik, which is the southernmost city in Croatia. One of the cheapest airports to fly into from the US, it makes the perfect starting point for your Croatia vacation itinerary. It is highly rated as one of the best vacation spots in Croatia with its variety of historical sights and ability to day trip to the islands.

Some of the best Croatia sightseeing is in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is a fortified town with the Dubrovnik Walls towering over the old town with the surrounding modern city bursting from its edges. It is quite popular as a destination due to the filming of the Game of Thrones. Check out these Game of Thrones Tours.

Dubrovnik walls complete with a tall fort.
Fort Minceta, on the walls of the old city, in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Start off your first full day exploring the preserved medieval city walls. It is inexpensive (200 KN) to climb and check out the views. I highly suggest a carrier for little ones (the walls are not stroller friendly). Mornings are also best to avoid the crowds from cruise ships and day-trippers (arrive before 9 am).

Enter the walls at the Ul. Svetog Dominika entrance gate. You’ll get the majority of the stairs out of the way in the beginning. The views of the city never disappoint, so be sure to pack a camera to capture all the shots! Plan to spend at least two hours.

The sun is strong and there is very little shade. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Enjoy a delicious lunch in the many local restaurants. I highly recommend Gradska Kavana Arsenal Restaurant or Dubravka 1836 Restaurant & Cafe with views overlooking the sea.

Want more views? Kids will enjoy taking the cable car to the top of Mount Srd. The cost is 170 KN per adult (round-trip).

Dubrovnik City view from Mount Srd

Looking for a playground? Here is a great option for kids just outside the walls of Dubrovnik. There is another playground tucked below the Pile Gate (Minceta Fortress).

Explore the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik with the following highlights.

Dominican Monastery – Religious complex founded in 1225, featuring a Gothic-style church & a museum with art & artifacts.

Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik – a palace built in the 15th century for the governor or Rector of Dubrovnik.

St Blaise’s Church – The Church of St. Blaise is a Baroque church in Dubrovnik and one of the city’s major sights.

Dubrovnik Cathedral – The Assumption Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It is the seat of the Diocese of Dubrovnik.

Large Onofrio’s Fountain – Circular springwater fountain built in 1438 & decorated with ornate, carved-stone masks.

Walk the Placa– Also known as Stradun, this main street is pedestrian-friendly and full of attractions, restaurants, people watching and ice cream shops.

In the evening, head to the harbor to watch the sunset glisten over the crystal blue waters surrounding Dubrovnik with dinner at Barba or Taj Mahal Old Town.

Best Places to Stay in Dubrovnik: Sun Gardens Dubrovnik • Hotel Adria • Hotel Neptun Dubrovnik

Day 2: Dubrovnik

For your second day in Dubrovnik, it’s all about exploring outside the walls and venturing.

Head to the beautiful Bellevue Beach. The beach is located about a 20 minutes walk from Old Town Dubrovnik. The beach is pebbles and surrounded by large cliffs.

Bellevue Beach near Dubrovnik

How to get to Bellevue Beach? Walk down to the Hotel Rixos Libertas and look for the steps that lead down to the beach.

Are there any services on the beach? Yes, there is a cafe/restaurant nearby for drinks and snacks.

The beach has pebbles and plenty of shade with the towering cliffs. After spending the morning at the beach, head to the city outside the walls and discover the modern parts of Dubrovnik.

Then decide how you want to spend the rest of your day. Here are some suggestions for our favorites.

Lovrijenac Fortress– Fort Lovrijenac is an impressive fortress and theater outside the walls of Dubrovnik. You’ll enjoy views of the surrounding sea and historic walls.

Lokrum Island– Catch the ferry to explore this forested island with paths to explore. Kids will enjoy the roaming peacocks and bunnies. There are also monstery ruins, an old fort, and a playground.

Dubrovnik Fort Lovrijenac
Dubrovnik Fort Lovrijenac

Looking for more day-trip ideas from Dubrovnik? Check out the link.

Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina: This is a full day and recommended for older kids, but it packs a punch with beautiful sights! Grab your passport to cross the border into nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina to explore the historic city of Mostar. Then drive along the coast to see the beauty of Kravice Waterfalls. Check out the tour here.

Elaphite Islands: Spend a day out on the water island-hopping around 13 islands located northwest of Dubrovnik is a must. You’ll get to enjoy beautiful beaches, orange, and lemon groves as well as medieval ruins. Explore the islands of Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud. Check out the tour here.

Mljet National Park: Mljet island has been protected since 1960 and features a beautiful dense forest. Take the G & V line transport to the island.

Best Places to Stay in Dubrovnik: Sun Gardens Dubrovnik • Hotel Adria • Hotel Neptun Dubrovnik

Day 3: Korčula

After two wonderful days exploring Dubrovnik, it’s time to head out to explore the islands. One of our favorite islands is Korcula. The island is absolutely stunning and easy to explore by bike. Discover the island’s natural beauty with vineyards, beaches, and crystal clear waters to explore.

It will take around 3 hours to reach Korcula, so plan to leave just after breakfast. It is one of our favorite places to go in Croatia.

Options for getting to Korcula from Dubrovnik:

-Rental Car: Drive up the coast (2 hours) to the town of Orebic. From there, you can arrange a car ferry to the island of Korcula.

-Ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula: April to October only, only 3 ferries per day even in the high season, so check the timetable before you plan to ferry across.

-A bus ride from Dubrovnik to Korcula: operating year-round for visitors.

Once you arrive, rent a bike (between 7-15 euros per day) and explore. One of the easiest and family-friendly routes is along part of the main road between Sveti Antun and Lumbarda. It is about a 5km ride and includes a couple of hills.

Once you reach Lumbarda, you can visit the beach or stop at one of the local wineries (Lovrić Winery or Popić Winery). Lumbarda is well known for its sandy beaches, unlike most of Croatia with its pebble beaches.

If bike riding isn’t your thing, check out a private buggy tour with wineries, snorkleing and adventure with Korcula Adventures.

Save the remaining part of your day to explore the car-free Old Town Korčula. Savor the local cuisine with a nice bottle of wine or peak into the various shops lining the streets. Visit the house where Marco Polo grew up or climb the Land Gate or Bell Tower at the Cathedral to check out the views from above.

Sunsets on Korcula are incredible, so be sure to catch the sunset before or after dinner. For a laid back dinner, head to Maslina where you can taste various local dishes. Be sure to try pasticada and zrnovoski makaruni. If you want something a bit higher-end, book a table by the sea at Filippi located within the Old Town.

If you don’t have little ones ready for bed, check out the Moreska sword dance that takes place from June till September. It has been performed on Korcula since the 17th century. The show takes place each Monday & Thursday at 9 PM (only Thursday’s in June and September).

Korcula Sword Dance

Best Places to Stay in Korcula: Maria’s Place • Guest House Korunić • Hotel Korcula


Day 4: Hvar

It’s time to say goodbye and explore another island along the coast of Croatia, on the morning of your fourth day, it is off to Hvar. Hvar can be known as a party island, but there are also beautiful areas to enjoy a slower pace of life.

Stari Grad waterfront view un Hvar
Stari Grad waterfront view, the island of Hvar, Croatia

How to get to Hvar from Korcula:

-Catch the 1- 1.5 hour ferry from Korcula to Hvar. Service ranges from once a day to seven times per day via two companies ( Kapetan Luka and Jadrolinija ).

Once you arrive in Hvar, you’ll be greeted with a beautiful white promenade. To the left is the city and to the right is the harbor. The whole town is made from this white stone and it is brightly shining in the sun. This European island is one of the sunniest spots in all of Europe.

Hvar white promenade as you enter the town.

Hvar is a large island, so you should consider renting a car for the day. If you were to drive around the entire island, it would take about 3 hours. This is especially true if you want to linger in the vineyards and secluded coves.

If you don’t want to rent a car, then wander through the city and discover St. Stephen’s Square, visit the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Hvar public theater. Kids will enjoy exploring the Španjola Fortress, the views are spectacular.

Tables of cafe on the embankment of the city of Hvar.

End the day with a delightful dinner at Dalmatino or Fig Hvar, both highly rated.


Have more time or came a day earlier?

If you’d like to extend your say in Hvar, I highly recommend adding one or two of the following activities to your Croatia vacation itinerary.

Stari Grad: Hop in the car and make the quick 25-minute drive to the oldest town in Croatia. Stroll the charming cobblestone streets and explore the highly rated Tvrdalj Castle. Kids will enjoy the fish pond located inside.

Sveti Nikola: Drive up to the highest peak of Hvar island, Sveti Nikola. Kids will enjoy passing a fireman’s station if you are lucky the fire marshal might have his dog named Puma with him.

Blue Cave: Book a boat tour to check out the Blue Cave on Biševo. It is one of the most highly rated activities on the island and can also be done from Split.

Relax at the Beach: Take a day off to relax on the beach. Some of our favorites are Dubovica, Lučišće, Milna, Zaraće, Jagodna, and Grebiše or stay at the Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort.

Best Places to Stay in Hvar: Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel • Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort • Apartments Stipisic


Day 5: Split

It’s time to settle down for a couple of nights in the town of Split, Croatia, one of the best places to visit. It is quite different from the previous spots with its Italian feel and high-class museums.

Split, Croatia

How to get from Hvar to Split:

-Catch one of the year-round ferries that run from Hvar to Split each day. The ferry takes two hours and you should make a reservation if you plan to bring a vehicle, especially during the summer travel season.

Split is one of the most recommended cities to visit in Croatia with it’s famous Diocletian Palace, Cathedral of Saint Domnium and bell tower that you can climb for views of the city. With plenty of free and paid walking tours to explore, it’s a wonderful city to explore.

Be sure to linger as you walk around Diocletian’s Palace, it is the highlight of Split and consists of a central square, Diocletian’s quarters, a cathedral and bell tower among other buildings. If you book a tour, expect to spend at least a few hours.

With the remaining part of the day, you can either explore the water by booking a sea kayaking tour, the sunset tour is a highlight or if you want to get away from the crowds and let the kids take a break to run around, head up to Marjan Hill with its dense forests, playgrounds and stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.

Bring a picnic to linger or head back down to the city for a Mediterranean meal.

Best Places to Stay in Split: Radisson Blu Resort • Hotel Villa Diana • Hotel Luxe


Day 6: Split

Split is wonderful as a base for exploring the area surrounding the town. Here are a few options for how to spend the day.

Go Canyoning: If you have older kids or are on an adults-only trip, there are some spectacular canyons to explore in the area. You can choose between basic canyoning and extreme canyoning with Iris Adventures.

Klis Fortress (Tvrđava Klis): If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then don’t miss a visit to Klis Fortress. It isn’t as well visited, so you’ll benefit from lighter crowds. This thousand-year-old castle has been the seat of many past rulers of Croatia and was crucial to the European resistance to the Ottoman Empire.

Bacvice Beach: Split, Croatia beaches aren’t the best the country has to offer, but doable if you want to relax a bit. Bacvice Beach is a small, but sandy beach located within walking distance of downtown Split with services, a playground and low surf to enjoy.

Boat Tour: If you haven’t had enough fun out of the water, book an all-day boat tour to explore the islands, the Golden Horn or Brac Island.

Trogir: If you have a rental car, it would be easy to visit this charming town just North of Split with a seaside promenade, walled old town and market. Don’t miss the St. Lawrence Cathedral and the Gates of Trogir. Trogir pairs well with Kliss Fortress.

At this point, I suggest you hire a car rental. Perhaps you’ve had once since you left Dubrovnik, but if not, public transportation will be complicated and waste time from this point forward. Rent your car, park it for the night and enjoy your last night in Split, Croatia.

Children under the age of 5 are required to be in a car seat in the backseat. Children aged 5-12 are required to have a booster seat. Check out our list of lightweight car seats perfect for travel.

Colorful split waterfront evening view
Colorful split waterfront evening view, Dalmatia, Croatia

Best Places to Stay in Split: Radisson Blu Resort • Hotel Villa Diana • Hotel Luxe

Day 7: Krka National Park/ Zadar

Enjoy breakfast along the promenade before loading up the rental car and heading out early in the morning to visit Krka National Park. The park is full of lush green rivers, trails over flowering fields and stunning waterfalls.

Be sure to bring a swimsuit because this is one of the few National Parks where you can swim. Krka National Park is also quite popular because it is much easier to reach than the famous Plitvice Lakes to the Northeast and you can swim in one of Croatia’s waterfalls.

Krka National Park is open starting at 9 AM from late October till March; open starting at 8 AM from April till early October.

After your 1/2 day visit to Kraka National Park, head North again and arive in Zadar.

Zadar is similar to previous destinations with a beautiful walled town with white stone. The center of town surrounds a square with the towering church of St. Donatus and Roman ruins.

Two of the most popular attractions are the Sea Organ and the Monument to the Sun. The organ makes music when air is pushed through its tubes with the ebb and flow of the sea. After the sun goes down, the Monument to the Sun welcomes guests with a sea of lights.

End the night with another wonderful Croatian dinner before calling it a night.

Best Places to Stay in Zadar: Apartments & Rooms Andrea • Boutique Hostel Forum • Bastion Heritage Hotel


Day 8: Zadar

During your second day in Zadar, you can choose among a few of our favorite sites.

Beach Day: Zadar offers many beaches to enjoy a relaxing day. Our favorites include Kolovare, Borik, and Vitrenjack.

Nin: Drive North to the town of Nin. Nin is a 9th-century town located in a shallow lagoon. It is well known for its large sandy beach (3 kilometers long) known as Queen’s Beach, as well as it’s salt fields.

Dugi Otok: A beautiful island with a large nature park and the sandy beach of Sakarun Beach. Its the perfect island for hiking, cycling, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving! Book a guided tour or ferry.

Best Places to Stay in Zadar: Apartments & Rooms Andrea • Boutique Hostel Forum • Bastion Heritage Hotel


Day 9: Plitvice National Park

Enjoy a nice breakfast before hitting the road to the well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site Plitvice National Park. Croatia. The drive will take 1.5 hours and I recommend leaving as early as you can to arrive in the park before the tour buses show up.

I recommend spending an entire day enjoying the park at your leisure, but some visitors are able to get their fill in 1/2 a day. Plitvice is one of the best places in Croatia, explore the upper lakes first, break for lunch and then explore the lower lakes after the crowds have dispersed.

Be sure to pack some light jackets, even in the summer because the weather near Plitvice Lakes is quite different from the coast. As you head into the hills from the coastal area, you’ll begin to see the landscape change from arid to the forest.

Plitvice National Park in Slovenia

Swimming is not allowed inside the park, but be sure to bring your camera to enjoy all the fabulous photo opportunities and snacks since services are limited. If you are traveling with small children, a child carrier is required, no strollers allowed.

If you want detailed information about the park, read my post all about our various hikes in Plitvice.

If time allows, I suggest spending the night near Plitvice National Park before heading to Zagreb the following morning. However, if you only want to spend a few hours in the park, you can move on to Zagreb.

If you prefer you can also visit the Plitvice Lakes on a day tour from Zadar or even from Split.

Best Places to Stay near Plitvice National Park: House TinaEthno HousesHouse Biba & Leona


Day 10: Zagreb

After breakfast, you’ll be heading to the capital of Croatia: Zagreb. The drive will take around two hours.

Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and has a wonderful food scene! The city will charm you with cobblestone streets, medieval architecture and fun museums.

Zagreb cathedral panoramic aerial view
Zagreb cathedral panoramic aerial view, capital of Croatia

Spend the afternoon strolling the streets of the upper town, visiting Zagreb Cathedral and St. Mark’s Church. Don’t miss visiting the farmer’s market. Be sure to pick up some homemade goods to take home. Alternatively, you can book a hop on hop off bus tour of the city to see the highlights.

One of the unique sights in Zagreb is the Museum of Broken Relationships. It’s a fun visit for an hour. Or perhaps you’d prefer the Museum of Torture (Tortureum).

Best Places to Stay in Zagreb: Best Western Premier Hotel Astoria • Palace Hotel Zagreb • Hotel Dubrovnik


Day 11: Flying Home

Plan your flight home in the morning or continue on to Slovenia to extend your travels. You can easily spend a week exploring near Lake Bled, Slovenia. Check out my top attractions in Slovenia.

All-Inclusive Options

Prefer to skip some of the cities and relax a bit at an all-inclusive resort? Croatia has multiple options ranging from kinder hotels (family-friendly all-inclusive) to lavish resorts. Here are some of our favorites.

Family Hotel Amarin: Located near Rovinj in the north of Croatia, this all-inclusive has everything parents could ever want. From their huge net climbing zone in the front lobby, buffets with world-class food options, two pool options (indoor and outdoor), full kids clubs separated by age and a nice outdoor area with a beach. We spent three nights at this Kinder Hotel in Croatia and couldn’t have better things to say about it. Read more about the hotel here.

Valamar Tamaris Resort: Located on the Lanterna peninsula, 10 km north of Porec, it is one of the first all-inclusive’s to open in Croatia. Featuring multiple beaches, kids clubs, two restaurants, and pools. It is one of the older properties, so something to consider.

TUI Family life Bellevue: Located an hour from Pula on the Northern coast of Croatia, this is one of the newest hotels. It features spacious rooms, four swimming pools (including saltwater), and three meals per day with light alcohol included.

Packing List for a trip to Croatia

Getting ready to pack for your trip to Croatia? Don’t miss this holiday packing list with all the top recommendations and brands. We’ve traveled extensively around Europe and will make sure you are well prepared with this Croatia packing list.

Woman Taking Photo of Arena with Smartphone
Beautiful Young Woman Taking Photo of Ancient Roman Arena in Pula with Her Smartphone. Travel and Vacation in Croatia.

Croatia doesn’t necessarily have a “dress code”, but you’ll want light fabrics, especially during the summer. Croatia can be quite warm and you’ll want breathable clothing to help stay cool. Croatia summer fashion is full of light flowy dresses and skirts. Pair it with a nice belt, handbag, and comfortable flats.

Fashionable young woman on the beach Packing List

Since you’ll be spending most of your time on the coast, pack plenty of swimsuits and cover-ups.

Clothing List:

  • 4-5 shirts
  • 1 Dress/Blouse*
  • 1-2 Cardigan/Sweater/Light Jacket
  • 1-2 Pairs of Dark Jeans/Pants
  • 1-2 Pair of Capris/Trousers/Shorts
  • 1-2 Skirts*
  • 2 Swim Suits and cover-up
  • 5 Pairs of Underwear
  • 1-2 Bras*
  • 1 Set of Leggings and top*
  • 3 Pairs of Shoes (Tennis, Sandal, Flip Flop)
  • 5 Pairs of Socks
  • Sunhat

*Women’s Items

Accessories List:

Must Haves:

For the Kids:

Babies and Toddlers:

Preschoolers and Elementary Age:

Read and Watch: Get inspired!

Get ready for your trip by watching a few movies, set in Croatia. Alternately, curl up with a good book that takes place in Croatia. Lastly, read a few more suggestions from our favorite guide books and Croatia trip planners.

Favorite Movies and TV Shows filmed in Croatia:

  • Fiddler on the Roof (1971): This award-winning film features the story of a Jewish milkman living in Russia. Although the film is said to take place in Russia, the actual filming location is in Lekenik, a small village near Zagreb, Croatia. You can still see the original structures within the town.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017): The eighth-episode of Star Wars is filmed partially in Dubrovnik, Croatia. See if you can recognize some of the popular attractions in the film.
  • Game of Thrones: This popular TV series on HBO features sights from all over Croatia including Dubrovnik, Fort Lovrijenac, Kliss Fortress, Diocletian’s Palace, and Papalićeva Street (Split).
  • Mamma Mia 2: Here we go again: Unlike the first movie, which was filmed in Greece. The sequel was filmed on the island of Vis.

Favorite Fictional Books to inspire your travels to Croatia. I included a mix of adult novels and children’s books.

Looking for more guides to help you plan your trip to Croatia? Rick Steves Croatia Guide is always a favorite but doesn’t always feature family-friendly options if you are traveling with kids. For the kids, grab this fun Croatia Travel Journal to document their trip.

Conclusion

As you can see, Croatia is truly a family-friendly destination and a great bargain depending on how you like to travel. Children will love the beautiful coastal beaches, Roman ruins and historic sights. The weather is beautiful and there is plenty of opportunities to enjoy being outdoors.

Split in Dalmatia
Split in Dalmatia

I hope this guide to traveling in Croatia with kids was helpful. If I haven’t answered your question, please feel free to ask any questions by contacting me, leaving a comment or finding me on Facebook or Instagram. I created this travel blog to help other families to explore the world with their kids and I hope I’ve inspired you. Want to read more? Head over to my destinations page and explore my interactive map, it’s pretty fun. Until next time!

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2 thoughts on “Travel Guide to Croatia with Kids: Sample 10-day Croatia Itinerary”

  1. Czarina Manalo

    Hi! Any tips on renting a car in Croatia? I want to follow your itinerary to the letter but I dont know when to rent a car and when to return it especially if the family is in a different location already. how did you do it?

    1. We didn’t rent a car until we were ready to leave Split. So we took public transportation/taxis and such from Dubrovnik until Split. I hope that is helpful.

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