Europe vacation to Croatia: itinerary for Families

Croatia is a must-see destination in Europe, and it one of the best countries to visit for families. With cities like Zagreb, Plitvice, Split and Dubrovinik, you can combine a perfect itinerary that will keep kids active and engaged while taking in the culture and history of the destination. 

With over 1,000 miles of coastline, 8 national parks, and more than 1,200 islands, it is one of the best tourist destinations in Europe. There are tons of kid-friendly cities and activities to enjoy which makes it a great choice for family trips. You won’t be disappointed.

Below are my personal recommendations after my family's 2-week trip through Croatia.

Sample Itinerary for Croatia

In this sample family-friendly itinerary for Croatia, you will find a mixture of nature, beach, local experiences, and hands-on activities that will engage all the members of your family. If you won’t be traveling with kids….no worries, you will find a ton of options as well like wine tasting and Game of Thrones tours to indulge in.

croatian city dubrovnik aerial view

This 7-night itinerary begins in Zagreb and ends in Dubrovnik allowing you to maximize your time in the country. Each city has many nonstop connections to major gateways throughout Europe, such as Frankfurt, making it easy to get to Croatia.

There are a wide variety of kid-friendly activities included in this sample itinerary from bike tours to ziplining, from hiking to cooking classes. Your family will find something everyone will love.

Below you will find more information about each of the cities in this itinerary, but for complete details of accommodation suggestions as well as other recommended activities in each location, scroll to the bottom for the link to the full itinerary from my collaboration with my business partners and experts in everything Croatia.

Family-Friendly Croatia Itinerary Includes:

  • 1 Night in Zagreb
  • Zagreb Highlights Small Group Biking Tour
  • 1 Night in Plitvice
  • Private Transfer to Split with Stops in Zadar and Trogir
  • 2 nights in Split
  • Split Private Walking Tour
  • Zipline in Cetina Canyon Group Tour
  • 3 Nights in Dubrovnik
  • Game of Thrones Private Tour
  • Konavle Farmhouse Private Cooking Class with Boat Ride

Family Fun in Zagreb

Zagreb is a city where different worlds have long come together. Situated at the intersection of ancient trade routes between the Adriatic and Central Europe, it is a cosmopolitan place with various cultural influences evident in the cuisine and architecture at home in any Austro-Hungarian city. You’ll love exploring the open-air markets, impressive buildings, peaceful parks, and many delicious restaurants. Just strolling through the unique combination of medieval towers, 19th century palaces, ancient churches, and market squares is a pleasure, but there’s much more to do here.

Zagreb is a kid-friendly place, and there are a lot of things to keep your young ones happy. From Maksimir Park with its playgrounds and a zoo to the city center with its hidden solar system, children’s streetcar, and train models, to indoor attractions such as the Museum of Illusions and Technical Museum, there's plenty of fun for the whole family.

A great option for older kids and adults is a Small Group Biking Tour as it allows you to discover Zagreb's major sights in an easy and entertaining way, in less than two and a half hours. You'll also discover Zagreb's secrets, and learn about all the fascinating moments of the city's unique history.

National Parks Not to Miss in Croatia

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia aerial view

The natural beauty of the Croatian national parks and their various flora and fauna will leave you mesmerized. Visit any or all of Croatia’s eight national parks. They are perfect for active families. In this itinerary, a stop in Plitvice has been included which is truly a must-see when you go to Croatia. It has 16 lakes on top of the mountain that are connected by waterfalls as high as 78 meters. That's the beauty of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. The park has numerous hiking trails and plenty of places to appreciate the scenery. The lakes and waterfalls themselves stretch across five miles. This is nature at its most untouched!

Get Lost in Split

Split Croatia view of city

The town of Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and the largest city in the Dalmatia region. The city was built around the Diocletian’s Palace (a fortress-like palace built for the retired Roman emperor Diocletian). It is where the locals sought refuge many centuries ago. It expands over a large area, well beyond the ancient city center. Modern Split is a city with 180,000 dwellers, and it is an economic hub of the Eastern Adriatic shoreline (an unofficial "capital" of Dalmatia).

Split's UNESCO listed Old Town is contained within these old walls and is a pedestrian-only maze that it is quite easy, but fun, to get lost in. Who knows what hidden cafés you might find in one of the narrow streets and alleyways? To get the best out of your time in Split, however, we recommend taking a tour with a local guide.

In Split there are tons of active tours and experiences to participate in that will please the kids. From biking around Marjan Hill for scenic forests to Ziplining in Cetina Canyon. Maybe you will choose to go Rafting on the Cetina River or have a private lunch with a professional chef. No matter what you choose, you will be delighted.

Family Friendly Options in Dubrovinik

View of Dubrovinik, Croatia ancient wall

Dubrovnik offers an unusual blend of modern culture and ancient traditions. Marble-like polished limestone streets, a labyrinth of alleyways, and breathtaking architecture compose the unique atmosphere of the Old Town. You’ll experience a true variety of sightseeing, leisure, and outdoor adventures here. Dubrovnik’s most stunning feature is the 82-foot tall city wall which extends more than a mile.

Game of Thrones fans will be in luck, as special tours to local set locations are offered here. The Croatian coast has given life to several scenes from the hit HBO series Game of Thrones since 2012. Recent data shows that 244,000 tourists have visited Dubrovnik, just one of the locations where the series films. Fans are always eager to walk the streets of Qarth when in Trogir or stroll across Kings Landing in Dubrovnik.

For a kid-friendly option here that will keep your young ones active opt to take a boat from Dubrovnik's Old Harbor and visit the island of Lokrum. The Botanical Gardens there are home to 500 different kinds of exotic plants, mostly trees, and shrubs, a perfect setting for enjoying beach activities and chilling in the shade. Kids will love the wild peacocks and bunnies freely roaming the island, including the gardens. The bunnies are mostly in the park near the center of the island, so we definitely recommend taking a walk there.

A wonderful family activity that will surely create incredible memories for everyone is a cooking class at the nearby family estate in the Konavle region. Konavle is known for its hospitality, and the family you’ll meet are exemplars, who will show you around their farm, and plan a menu with you, based on your interests, and the ingredients in season. You’ll pick ingredients and meet the farm’s animals (with the opportunity to milk some, too!) The menu generally includes an aperitif, homemade grappa, appetizers, entrees based on veal, pork, or mutton, seasonal fruits and salad, coffee, wine, and crepes with homemade marmalade. As the food you’ve prepared cooks, you’ll enjoy a wine tasting, and hear family stories going back 500 years. Naturally, one of the highlights of this cooking class is trying the delicious dishes you’ve made yourself, along with your local hosts.

This is just a small sampling of what a trip to Croatia can look like. I have designed this customized itinerary with my Croatian travel experts. It is jam-packed with ideas and suggestions that are family-friendly and perfect for spring break or summer vacation. Whether you prefer hotels or apartments, fast-paced or slow, it all can be customized to your liking.

To see the full details, with hotel suggestions, and additional activities available, click on the itinerary link below.

For a stress-free travel planning experience, contact Jennifer, your European Travel Specialist today to make this family-friendly Croatian dream destinations a reality.

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