While you will probably spend most of your time in Croatia enjoying the sights at the various ports of call, you shouldn’t overlook sailing itself as an awesome family bonding opportunity.
Whether you go bareboat or you hire a skipper or crew (we do recommend hiring at least a skipper while traveling with children) (read the full article), there are many sailing activities which children can participate in, including steering the boat and helping with the sails. Because these activities require communication and cooperation, they are a great way to strengthen family bonds. So make the most of the time you have between ports; for many families, it really is the journey and not just the destination that counts!
If you want to watch a child’s eyes light up, just mention the word “beach.” Some of the most spectacular beaches you will ever see gild the shores of Croatia with sparkling gold and pristine white.
At the beach, you can build a sandcastle with your kids; see if you can mimic the design of Croatia’s walled cities. After you’re done, play a game of beach volleyball, or just enjoy sunbathing and swimming. Rent a jet-ski or go sea kayaking.
There are so many outdoor adventures you can enjoy with your family while you are visiting Croatia. Tour a national park like Mljet or Plitvice, go whitewater rafting, or enjoy a zipline adventure over the Cetina River. Just remember to check how long the hikes are in the parks before you plan your itinerary. Plitvice’s colorful lakes and graceful waterfalls are otherworldly in their beauty, but the park does require a lot of walking, so it is better for older children.
In every city, town or village in Croatia, you will find many areas which are wide open and give children plenty of room to safely play and run around. There are parks and playgrounds which are perfect both for younger and older children alike. Note that the playground equipment often looks older than what you would find in America, but it is in good condition.
Another idea is to visit a water park like Aquapark Istralandia, which features the tallest water slide in Croatia, dropping 27 meters. The park is fairly new and very popular among both tourists and locals.
If you are looking for something totally unique, you can visit the park at the entrance to the port of Zadar. Here you will find the Monument to the Sun, also known as the “Greeting to the Sun,” or “Pozdrav suncu” in Croatian. This large, flat, circular monument is set in the ground, and features three hundred multi-layered plates of glass flush with the waterfront, underneath which photo-voltage solar modules are installed.
During the day, the Monument reflects the sky and is charged by the sun. At night, lights inside it turn on and produce a dazzling show. Children have a blast walking and dancing on the monument when the lights are on.
Right next to the Monument is the Sea Organ, a set of marble steps containing tubes. As the waves rush in over the steps, the organ produces harmonic sounds.
If you just want to relax and kick back for a couple of days, plan an extended stop at one of Croatia’s family-friendly resorts. Consider the Hotel Manora, the Sol Garden Istra, Amfora Island Hvar, or the La Meridian Lav to name a few. Croatia’s resorts offer luxurious accommodations complete with access to private beaches, swimming pools, WiFi, delicious dining and more. Some even rent out mountain bikes, motorboats, and other recreational vehicles.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. A trip to Croatia whisks you and your family away on a magical adventure to a fairytale destination. No matter what ages your children are, you will find numerous activities sure to please every member of your family. Enjoy bonding, relaxing and exploring together on your Croatia sailing charter holiday!