Top 10 Kid-Friendly Activities on the Adriatic Coast
There’s no better time to plan that spring or summer holiday with the whole family than the fall and winter, so as we inch into the holiday season, why not use this time to do the research any family vacation needs? We all know traveling with the kids is no easy feat, so it’s up to you, the parents, to plan an adventure that the kids are sure to remember for the rest of their lives if you do decide to take them.
As you start to draw up your plans, here are our top 10 favorite fun family-friendly activities for you to keep in mind, which can all be easily facilitated by our expert trip planners at Adriatic Luxury Journeys.
- Raft Down the Cetina River.
What it is: A chance to see the Cetina Canyon while cruising through the fast moving water.
Best For: Kids ages 9 and older who want daring summer break stories, but aren’t quite ready to leap from the cliffs off the coast of Split into the sea.
The Basics: Rafting is part of a 3- to 4-hour tour, so plan to spend the afternoon near the Cetina Canyon. Families can split their time between zip lining and zip lining or canyoneering if kids are interested in different activities.
- Swim Like a Local in the Village of Racisce.
What it is: No authentic vacation is complete without a taste of local adventure, and no Croatia vacation is complete without discovering a locals’ beach. Just outside Korcula is the peaceful fishing village of Racisce, which has out-of-the-way swimming spots suitable for kids to cool off, says Maria Kuchan, a Croatia native and founder of boutique tour operator Adriatic Luxury Journeys, whose on-the-ground English-speaking guides can lead travelers to these “off the beaten path” experiences.
Best For: Families who want to try something local.
The Basics: It’s best to have a Croatian guide and driver who can show you where to go and which spots are best suited to your family.
- Hear the Sea Organ at Zadar.
What it is: A public art installation that turns the sea into a musical instrument using a network of organ pipes concealed beneath marble steps. When the pipes interact with the wind and the waves, the organ ‘plays’ a series of random, but harmonious sounds.
Best For: Curious kids who need a ‘wow’ factor to tear them away from their iPads.
The Basics: The sea organ is a public space so it can get crowded in the evening, says Kuchan. The sunsets are stunning and the water is so clear, your kids may even want to jump in!
- Join the International Children’s Festival in Sibenik.
What it is: A traditional local festival held by the residents of Sibenik, a small town in central Dalmatia that celebrates creativity and imagination through art projects, crafts and live theater. The International Children’s Festival is a way for kids to make new friends, exercise their imaginations and perhaps even learn a little Croatian.
Best For: Social butterflies comfortable in groups with kids they might not have met yet.
The Basics: The festival is held every year at the end of June and into early July. The 2015 festival will run from June 21 to July 5.
- Ride the Little Red Semi-Submarine in Korcula.
What it is: Part-submarine, part-boat, the Little Red Semi-Submarine in Korcula offers a glimpse of the world under the sea from a 12-seat compartment submerged 5 feet beneath the surface with an above-board sea deck that also allows for coastal viewing.
Best for: Kids too young for snorkeling but who want something more exciting than an aquarium.
The Basics: The Little Red Semi-Submarine is available in the summer or 45-minutes trips between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily and 30-minute night trips between 9 p.m. and 10:40 p.m.
- Speedboat to Blue Cave.
What it is: A natural water-logged sea cave off the coast of Split that fills with silvery blue light as the sun rises. The ‘show cave’ is actually one of two natural wonders off Split’s coast.
Best For: Kids who loved Harry Potter and other magical stories.
The Basics: The best time to see Blue Cave is between 11 a.m. and noon. Plan on an early start to add the slightly larger Green Cave, so named for its more emerald light, and the Pakleni Islands to your trip.
- Watch the anniversary of Sinjska Alka.
What it is: A celebration in Sinj, Croatia of their victory over the Ottomon Turks in 1715. The family-friendly event, which takes place annually during early August, features various horsemen as they attempt to aim their lances at a hanging metal ring at full gallop.
Best For: Kids who love action movies and parents who love history.
The Basics: This event is only available during for 1 day in August.
- Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park.
What it is: Croatia’s largest national park is a collection of interconnected lakes and waterfalls with a well-maintained walking path throughout.
Best For: Kids who love nature (or kids who are simply nature deprived).
The Basics: Buses run from Zagreb, Zadar and Split, but schedules can be inconsistent. The easiest way to reach Plitvice is by private transfer, often included as part of an organized vacation with Plitvice on the itinerary. Allow a full afternoon to wander through the park so see the abundant wildlife and Veliki Splat, a 100-foot-tall waterfall.
- See the heart of Slovenia’s Postojna Cave.
What it is: Postojna Cave is Europe’s most visited show cave, with 3.3 miles of paths – the longest publicly accessible depth of any cave system in the world. Part of the guided walking tour is an electric train ride, and tours often end at the medieval Predjama castle, which looks as if it’s built into the cave.
Best For: Older kids who were allowed to watch (and loved) Lord of the Rings
The Basics: Tours run daily year-round. The tour is most suitable for kids who can walk for an hour or so without getting tired. (If the kids were fine at Plitvice, they’ll be fine at Postojna.) The average temperature of the caves is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so a jacket is advisable.
- Learn to play Picigin.
What it is: A traditional Croatian beach game played in kid-friendly shallow waters. Die-hard Picigin players will even play on New Year’s Eve, but beginners should start in the warmer summer months because falling into the water is often part of the game.
Best For: Athletic kids who need to burn off some energy and don’t mind a little competition.
The Basics: The best place to join a game is Bačvice Beach near Split. Since Picigin is a noncompetitive sport where the goal is simply to have fun, all it takes is a little pluck to invite oneself into a game. So go ahead and call ‘next.’