Back in 2001 I had one of my first travel agency meeting with one of the national sales directors for Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. She mentioned that she had visited almost all of the 250 ports that her ships call upon. Of course my natural next question was..."So which port of call was your absolute favorite?" Her answer was immediate, enthusiastic and a bit surprising..."Dubrovnik, Croatia!"
With an experienced recommendation like that, Dubrovnik was immediately put high atop my own personal "to-do" list.
Thankfully interest in families visiting Croatia has been gaining more popularity recently thanks to a little TV show called "Game of Thrones". A stroll around the walled city of Dubrovnik will reveal many familiar film scenes fans of the show will recognize as "King's Landing".
Dubrovnik is actually located in southern Croatia along the Dalmatian Coast. The Adriatic seas provides some spectacular beaches to enjoy. Here your family will swim in crystal clear aquamarine waters. The coastline is spotted with 1000 islands, one more beautiful than the next. In addition the Biokovo mountain range is just a few miles from the sea providing the backdrop for spectacular scenery.
Besides glorious beaches, mountain trails and island hopping, adventurers will love exploring the 8 national parks. Plitvice National park with its waterfalls is one of 10 UNESCO World Heritage sights found in Croatia. It's no wonder Hollywood loves filming the history and beauty here. Foodies may be surprised by the farm to table freshness of the food here, not to mention the wines and coffee.
Croatia is very family friendly. Because it's so popular with European families, there are many easy flight connections to Croatian airports from most major European airport hubs.
So what are the best vacation options for American families?...it all depends on what is best for your children's ages and the particular wants, needs and wishes of your family....
Family Cruises to Croatia
Most of the major family friendly cruise lines offer cruises that visit ports in Croatia and other stops along the Dalmatian coast. Many leave from Venice, Italy and go on to visit Greek ports of call too. A family cruise means your family unpacks once and your cruise ship conveniently sails at night while you're asleep. It's a great option for families with younger kids or for larger families of all different ages traveling together.
Family All Inclusive Resorts in Croatia
American families are familiar with all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. Did you know that Croatia offers plenty of family friendly all inclusive resorts in their most popular tourist areas? This means all of your family's food, drinks, daily activities and even kids camps are included in the price of your hotel room. Just like in the Caribbean, resort options run the gamut from actual kid-themed hotel rooms to luxury accommodations. Of course local sightseeing to "must see" sights can be arranged as additional day trips.
Guided Family Tours of Croatia
For families with older children who enjoy a more active style vacation this is a great choice. You'll have a professional guide that will be with you every step of the way. Your guide enhances your experience by pointing out local history, cultural points of interest and facts you may not know. In addition, having a guide takes worry off the shoulder of parents so they can enjoy their own vacation. Generally these tours offer activities like hiking, biking and kayaking. Pricing usually includes the services of your guide, hotels certain meals, activities and sightseeing. Escorted tours likes this usually come minimum age requirement so again, guided tours are a good fit for families with school age children, tweens and teens.
Private Guided Tours and Ship Charters
This is a great choice for groups traveling together. Private land tours can be arranged and organized so that you can do and visit the exact places you want to go. You'll have a private tour guide just for your group. If budget is not an issue then no worries. Private tours generally become comparable in price to regular tours when there is a minimum of around 10 people traveling together (but every company is different). With a private guided tour there is no age limit for children. This is a wonderful experience for when Grandparents, Parents and Grandchildren want to create family memories together.
Croatia offers so many islands and gorgeous beaches to explore. Private, small ship charters can also be arranged for families and friends traveling together. This is a really fun option for families who love to explore and love the water. Pricing is determined by the size of the ship and the size of the group. It's recommended to make your plans far in advance, especially for popular family travel times and school holidays.
Private Villas Rentals
Another great option, especially for families and friends who like to vacation together. Not only are city apartment stays available, Croatia offers many small private island rentals. This is a wonderful options for traveling families looking for fun, sun and plenty of togetherness.
Remember, your travel agent can help you combine options to create the perfect vacation experience for your family. Perhaps it's a short cruise combined with an all inclusive resort stay? Maybe it's a guided tour followed by an apartment city stay for a few extra days? There are so many great vacation options to choose!
Over the years, Vacationkids has built our list of contacts in Croatia. Whether you're headed to Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split or a private island paradise, we look forward to helping your family discover one of the most beautiful and fascinating spots on the planet.