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Endless Discovery

Nicknamed the jewel of Eastern Europe Croatia’s extraordinary beauty, pebbled beaches with clear waters, and thick forests are what holiday fantasies are made of.
By Tamara Toti

The historic architecture and streets tell of wars fought and battles won. This gem is ideal for an unforgettable family getaway.

First things first, make sure that everyone has a valid South African passport and then apply for a Schengen Visa. Luckily no vaccinations are required. Now onto the exciting stuff, when is the best time to visit? If you’re not tied down by school holidays, between May and October is perfect. You’ll be treated to balmy summer weather, have up to 12 hours of warm sunshine for sunbathing and swimming, and most tourist facilities will be running with virtually no crowds in sight. Pack those cozzies, sun hats and sunscreen.

Croatia is a buzz of activity, and a super family-friendly destination, there are plenty of playgrounds and free parks for toddlers, teens and adults have a whole host of adventure parks to choose from too. There is a newly opened aqua park that offers rock climbing, zip lining and biking activities, to name a few. Consider a Jeep safari through the countryside or a boat ride to spot dolphins. If visiting between June and July make some space in your
itinerary to visit the coastal city of Šibenik, they host an annual International Children’s Festival with craft shops, music and dance and so much more.

Croatia is peppered with family-friendly resorts, most allow kids under three to stay for free and those under nine get a considerable discount. Resorts offer Wi-Fi, TV and almost all have a kids and teen club to keep the kids entertained. Nowadays, most hotels have an apartment or hotel room option available to families. Top resorts include Zaton Holiday Resort in Nin, TUI Valamar Bellevue Resort in Rabac, Hotel Manora in Lošinj, Tamaris Aparthotel along the Makarska Riviera, Sol Garden Istra in Umag. Hotels will also be able to assist with getting around and recommend sightseeing tours.

Eating and sharing is a huge part of the Croatian culture, the dining scene is quite relaxed and many restaurants have child-friendly menus. It’s a common sight to see local families out with kids in tow at upmarket restaurants. Croatians love coffee so there’ll always be a café nearby for that ever-important caffeine fix.

There is so much to see and do that you won’t know where to start and end. We recommend that you visit some of these regions for action-packed activities and some much-needed downtime: Dubrovnik and Southern Dalmatia are famous for their beaches. The kids will love Northern Dalmatia, they’ll be fascinated by the Zadar’s nature-powered sun salutation and the town of Šibenik is here too – remember the children’s festival. Istria is an explorer’s paradise with caves and dinosaur parks to explore. Foodies do indulge in some truffles and seafood pasta while in the area. Then Zagreb – take a hike up the Sljeme mountain and have fun at the museums. Croatia is affordable, fun-filled and family-orientated – the memories you’ll create with your family here will be everlasting and remembered forever.

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