- Swim and snorkel in the luminous island caves of Vis
- Kayak across the sea to the enchanting Pakleni Islands
- Hike along the crystal clear lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Walk the ancient fortress walls of the city of Dubrovnik
|Day 1||Arrive in Split, Transfer to Hvar||Hvar|
|Day 2||Free Day in Hvar: Explore Beaches & Local Villages||Hvar|
|Day 3||Green & Blue Caves of Vis Island||Hvar|
|Day 4||Pakleni Islands Kayak Tour||Hvar|
|Day 5||Lost Villages of Hvar, Croatian Peka Lunch||Hvar|
|Day 6||Boat Trip to Brač Island & Zlatni Rat Beach, Transfer to Trogir||Trogir|
|Day 7||Plitvice Lakes National Park||Trogir|
|Day 8||Free Day in Trogir, Cetina River Rafting Adventure||Trogir|
|Day 9||Day Trip to Krka National Park||Trogir|
|Day 10||Transfer to Dubrovnik, Tour Dubrovnik's Old Town||Dubrovnik|
|Day 11||Free Day in Dubrovnik, Visit Montenegro||Dubrovnik|
|Day 12||Boating Excursion to the Elafiti Islands||Dubrovnik|
|Day 13||Day Trip to Cavtat & Konavle Valley||Dubrovnik|
|Day 14||Depart Dubrovnik|
Day 1: Arrive in Split, Ferry to Hvar Island
Welcome to beautiful Croatia! Upon your arrival in Split, you'll transfer to the ferry terminal and catch a ferry to the island of Hvar. Located in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar boasts a beautiful natural setting, a mild climate, and a historic port town of the same name. Once you've checked in at your hotel in Hvar Town, you can head out to explore a bit.
The kids can stretch their legs with a stroll through St. Stephens, Hvar Town's main square, and truly the heart of the city—you're likely to see local families gathering to socialize, have dinner, and shop. One of the main sights of the square is the Cathedral of St. Stephen, which originally dates back to the sixth century but was updated in the 16th and 17th centuries. Inside the cathedral, you'll find a collection of rare paintings and artwork, and the attached bell tower is quite impressive. Later this evening, enjoy dinner at one of the square's many restaurants or a nearby café.
Day 2: Free Day in Hvar: Explore Beaches & Local Villages
Take the day to explore Hvar on your own. Head to one of the many local beaches, such as Bonj, which is just a 10-minute walk from Hvar Town and features calm, clear waters and several cafés and restaurants. You can also visit Dubovica, one of the most popular beaches on the island, where you'll find a large pebble beach, turquoise waters, and shady areas with pine trees. Teens in the group (and parents!) might also like to take a stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) lesson, where a private instructor will introduce you to the basics and take all of you on a SUP tour.
For insight into some of the island's history, walk up to the 16th-century Španjola Fortress. Perched at the top of a 328-foot (100 m) hill, the fort stood as a guardian of the island and nearby towns for centuries. And if you'd like to see more of Hvar's natural landscapes, take a family bike or scooter tour through the island's lavender farms, olive groves, and pine forests. You can also check out some of the surrounding areas with a guided tour of the island's local villages, which include the town of Jelsa and the village of Stari Grad, one of the oldest towns in Europe.
Tonight, enjoy dinner and drinks in Hvar's ancient piazza as you take in views of the Venetian loggia, an excellent example of Renaissance architecture, and the Hvar Public Theater, the oldest municipal theater in Europe. Parents can sample some of the island's local wines, while kids will love some famous Dalmatian orange soda!
Day 3: Green & Blue Caves of Vis Island
Take a guided boat tour today to see the amazing watery caves on the island of Vis. Depart Hvar in the morning with your guides, making your first stop at the Green Cave. The cave gets its name from a tiny hole in the ceiling, which was carved out during one of Croatia's wars and allows a small stream of light to penetrate the cave, creating its mesmerizing emerald-green hue. The kids can swim or snorkel into the cave, or your guide can transport you inside by boat.
From here, head to one of Croatia's most beautiful beaches, Stiniva. The beach is hidden by the rocky cliffs surrounding it, keeping the pebbles in the shade all day and creating a nice break from the heat. The trek down to the water is quite steep and follows a goat path, so make sure the whole family is cautious as you descend!
Your next stop will be the Blue Cave, which can only be entered with the company of a guide. The cave's interior is full of shimmery silver hues, illuminated by the sun slipping in through cracks in the cave, and the water itself appears to glow blue. Originally only accessible via an underwater entrance, a manmade entrance was created, large enough for small boats to pass through but not so large as to affect the lighting. Just prior to returning to Hvar, you'll make a visit to Palmižana Bay, located in the Pakleni Islands, where you can have lunch and refreshments.
Day 4: Pakleni Islands Kayak Tour
This morning, embark on a memorable adventure as you head back out to the Pakleni Islands via a kayak tour. After a briefing on safety and technique, you'll depart Hvar with your guides, traveling to the Ždrilca Channel, an area with calm seas that makes for easy kayaking that all ages can enjoy. There are several coves and inlets worth exploring here, and you'll also have time to take a break on one of the pebble beaches along the coastline to relax, swim, and snorkel. The tour takes approximately four hours, and you'll have the option to return back the way you came or circle around the island of Marinkovac.
Day 5: Lost Villages of Hvar, Croatian Peka Lunch
Head into the hills of Hvar and see some of its sleepiest, most hidden villages on this private guided tour of off-the-radar, historic sites. Parts of Hvar's interior are exquisitely beautiful, with carpeted spruce forests and lavender fields, and this day trip represents one of the best opportunities to discover the way islanders in the countryside really live.
The little ones can burn off some energy as you hike through the splendid hill country and follow an ancient trail which, in medieval times, used to be the main road connecting Hvar Town with Stari Grad on the north side of the island. Pass through secluded villages, taking in the island's traditional architecture and way of life, and see Malo Grablje, a charming if slightly eerie village that was abandoned during the 1960s—the empty, ghostly buildings will be sure to intrigue older kids.
As you walk, your guide will share colorful tales about the history of the island. You'll also stop for lunch at a nearby restaurant, where you'll enjoy a traditional Croatian meal cooked in typical local fashion using a peka: an iron bell covered in hot embers.
Day 6: Boat Trip to Brač Island & Zlatni Rat Beach, Transfer to Trogir
Head to the waterfront in Hvar, where you'll board a private boat for a full day on the water, spending time on the island of Brač and its Zlatni Rat Beach before transferring to the city of Trogir. Zlatni Rat, known for its unusual "V" shape, is a popular tourist destination and a hot spot for windsurfing. The kids will love the gentle waters and offshore bouncy play area, and there are equipment rentals, and fun excursions like banana boat rides available as well.
You can head inland for a bite to eat at a local restaurant, and your guide will take you to some of the quieter bays and coves for more swimming and snorkeling. You can also visit the charming town of Milna to try some olive oil (which Brač is known for). The day can be as leisurely or as active as you'd like since it's a private excursion, and your skipper will be happy to adjust the day to your wishes. In the early evening, you'll be dropped off in Trogir, where you can head to your hotel to relax for the evening.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Plitvice Lakes National Park
A private transfer awaits this morning to take you on the 3.5-hour drive southeast to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Upon arrival, stretch your legs after the journey with a self-guided walking tour. This UNESCO-protected area encompasses 74,000 acres (30,000 ha), with a chain of 16 terraced lakes and more than 90 cascading waterfalls.
You can choose from eight different walking trails, ranging from three to eight hours in duration, and there are multiple wooden walkways throughout the park, making access easy for smaller children. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy along the way as you hike through the peaceful forested areas, and the kids can keep an eye out for birds, fish, and other wildlife. Afterward, your driver will return you to your hotel in Trogir.
Day 8: Free Day in Trogir, Cetina River Rafting Adventure
Take some today to see more of Trogir. This picturesque coastal town is home to a number of fascinating historical sights, including the city's Old Town, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, the 13th-century Cathedral of St. Lawrence, and the Kamerlengo Fortress.
Start your self-tour in the Old Town, where you'll find Baroque architecture, winding streets, and plenty of shopping. Stop at St. Lawrence Cathedral and let the kids climb to the top of the bell tower for city views, then visit Kamerlengo Fortress. Built in the 15th century, it was once part of the city's defense system, with thick walls and a tall tower that overlooks the city and provides impressive views. The castle also has a large interior courtyard that little ones can play in. This afternoon, walk down to the promenade, a busy, family-friendly spot great for people-watching and lunch.
If you want more time on the water, head to the nearby city of Split for a rafting tour of the Cetina River. The river is safe for both beginners and experienced rafters, with a combination of second and third-grade rapids alongside peaceful green pools that are perfect for a swim break. Your guides will discuss safety measures prior to departure, and your family will be provided with all the necessary equipment for a fun, secure adventure.
Day 9: Day Trip to Krka National Park
Take a family nature excursion into Krka National Park today. Accessible from the city of Šibenik, just 29 miles (46 km) from Trogir, this green oasis features more than 39 square miles (100 sq km) of terrain, with multiple species of fish, birds, and wildlife such as otters, wolves, and wildcats. You can enjoy the park at your leisure, letting the kids explore the crashing waterfalls and shaded trails to their heart's content! You also have the option of hiring a private guide to take you on some of the park's best trails, ending with lunch at a local restaurant.
Day 10: Transfer to Dubrovnik, Tour Dubrovnik's Old Town
Your driver will transfer you to the city of Dubrovnik today, a drive of about three hours. Once you arrive and get checked in at your hotel, it's time to see more of this ancient fortress city. Dubrovnik, which dates back to the seventh century, was originally founded under the name Ragusa and eventually became a major trading port. Its imposing walls, built in the 11th and 13th centuries, stretch for 1.3 miles (2 km), with forts, walkways, and bastions.
Start your visit with a privately guided walking tour of the Old Town district, which takes you through the narrow, winding streets while learning about the history and culture of the city. Walk along Stradun, the main street that was formally a canal, and stop at historic Onofrio's Fountain. See the quarantine buildings, where the city made those coming from far away lands stay until they were cleared of any potential illnesses, and end your tour at the clock tower, a 100-foot (30 m) landmark that dates back to the 15th century.
Later, take a cable car ride up to Srđ, a 1,300-foot (412 m) mountain just outside the city walls. The cable cars have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer even the littlest travelers in your party the same great views as the adults. Older teens might also like to tour some of the sites where HBO's "Game of Thrones" series was filmed, such as Minčeta Tower and the gardens of Trsteno Arboretum. This evening, enjoy more delicious Croatian food at a local restaurant, and maybe grab some ice cream for the kids before strolling along the pier to take in the incredible sunset.
Day 11: Free Day in Dubrovnik, Visit Montenegro
Take in some of the sights of Dubrovnik today as you explore the city. Start with a walk along the city's fortress walls for incredible views of the surrounding countryside and sea. The walls, which run more than 6,300 feet (1,920 m) in length and sit at a height of just over 80 feet (25 m), can be accessed from three different starting points, and it takes about two to three hours to walk them. The walk must be conducted in a counter-clockwise direction, and the walls aren't very stroller-friendly, so parents should ensure the kids are okay with the long walk!
Visit Minčeta Fortress, located at Pile Gate, the highest vantage point of the city, where the kids can enjoy the small playground that is nestled beside the tower. And for more beach time, head to Lapad Bay Beach, located just under 2.5 miles (3.8 km) from the Old Town—a pleasant walk if the weather isn't too hot or an easy taxi ride. You'll find a nice stretch of pebbled sand with public facilities, changing rooms, and loungers for rent.
If you'd like to take advantage of an opportunity to check another country off your travel bucket list, you can also take a day trip over the border and into Montenegro. This Balkan nation borders Croatia and Bosnia and is known for its beautiful beaches and medieval villages spreading along its balmy Adriatic coastline. The tour includes the ancient town of Kotor and visits to its many Venetian palaces and Romanesque churches. The kids might like to hike up to the Fortress of St. John, which sits roughly 820 feet (250 m) above the city and offers panoramic views of the coast.
Day 12: Boating Excursion to the Elafiti Islands
Located just off the coast of Dubrovnik, the Elafiti Islands, or Elaphites, is an archipelago of thirteen islands. The three main islands (and the only ones inhabited) are Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan, and all boast great swimming beaches, snorkeling, and a very relaxed vibe. This morning, embark on a private, half-day boating trip to visit these islands.
Start on Koločep, the smallest of the main islands and closest to Dubrovnik. This is a "car-free" island, with multiple walking trails that take you through restful green forests and along quiet beaches. There are two villages on the island, both within walking distance of each other, and you can get a bite to eat here or check out some of the historic buildings, which include the pre-Romanesque St. Anthony and St. Nicholas churches.
Your next stop is Lopud, where you can relax on Šunj Beach, a nice family spot with waters that are shallow and calm—perfect for smaller children. Just above the beach, make the easy hike to the 15th-century church of Our Lady of Sunj, which has an unusual wooden Renaissance-Baroque altar. Your guide will also make a few stops along the way at some of the more off-the-radar swimming spots on the islands, giving the kids plenty of time to enjoy the water. End the day on Šipan, where you'll find more beaches, restaurants, and bike rentals to cruise around the island.
Day 13: Day Trip to Cavtat & Konavle Valley
Take a day tour from Dubrovnik down the coast to the little town of Cavtat and the nearby wine-producing region of the Konavle Valley. With a population of just over 2,000, Cavtat is a small town—much quieter and calmer than nearby Dubrovnik, which makes it quite easy to navigate with small children. And despite being smaller and more relaxed, Cavtat is still home to some fascinating attractions.
Start with an immersion into the village's history with a visit to its old town. See the Rector's Palace, a Renaissance mansion that displays the manuscript collection of 19th-century scientist Baltazar Bogišić. Nearby, St. Nicholas Church displays striking Baroque designs, and be sure to check out the house of Vlaho Bukovac, a famous Croatian painter. Once his childhood home, the house is filled with paintings and murals he created. From here, walk along the promenade to the Our Lady of the Snow Monastery, which has several paintings by Croatian artists.
After spending some time in Cavtat, you'll continue into the Konavle Valley. This fertile valley, blanketed in vineyards, olive groves, and fig and mulberry trees, is where much of Dalmatia's wine and fresh produce is harvested. The kids will have a chance to run and play in all this greenery, and you'll end your day with an authentic Croatian meal that showcases some of the region's culinary specialties. After dinner, your driver will transport you back to Dubrovnik to enjoy your last evening.
Day 14: Depart Dubrovnik
Sadly, your Croatia travels come to a close today. Your driver will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to the airport in Dubrovnik for your flight home. Safe travels!
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