- Take in the sensory delights of Zagreb's Dolac Market
- Walk the ancient Roman ruins of Pula Arena
- Hunt for wild truffles with a professional truffle hunter
- Swim, snorkel, and sunbathe on the Elafiti Islands
|Day 1||Arrive in Zagreb||Zagreb|
|Day 2||Guided Walking Tour of Zagreb||Zagreb|
|Day 3||Transfer to Rovinj, Visit Grožnjan & Motovun||Rovinj|
|Day 4||Free Day in Rovinj||Rovinj|
|Day 5||Guided Tour of Pula||Rovinj|
|Day 6||Sailing Adventure on the Rovinj Archipelago||Rovinj|
|Day 7||Transfer to Plitvice Lakes||Plitvice Lakes|
|Day 8||Plitvice Lakes National Park||Plitvice Lakes|
|Day 9||Transfer to Split, Truffle Hunting Excursion||Split|
|Day 10||Boat Trip to Brač Island & Zlatni Rat Beach||Split|
|Day 11||Free Day in Split||Split|
|Day 12||Transfer to Dubrovnik, Tour Dubrovnik's Old Town||Dubrovnik|
|Day 13||Explore the Elafiti Islands||Dubrovnik|
|Day 14||Depart Dubrovnik|
Day 1: Arrive in Zagreb
Welcome to Zagreb! Your private driver will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your hotel, at which time you're free to explore on your own. This beautiful European city is the perfect combination of old and new, with cobbled streets and historic architecture coupled with modern shopping, malls, and restaurants.
Start at Maksimir Park, the oldest public park in Zagreb and a popular family spot. Founded in 1787, the park features lots of green space, playgrounds, lakes, and a zoo. The park's lakes are also home to upwards of 300 turtles, thanks partly to people releasing family pets to their freedom! Spend some time letting the kids enjoy all the park has to offer, including a visit to the zoo, where they can see animals such as lions, zebras, and sea lions, among others.
Later, visit some of the city's many museums. Head to the War Photography Museum, which hosts a collection of photos from the Balkans war, and the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, dedicated to the scientific and technical appliances used in Croatian history. Kids will love the Museum of Illusions, where you'll find interactive exhibits and crazy optical illusions, and teens might enjoy the very popular Museum of Broken Relationships, an exhibit that displays collections of personal items that tell the story of relationships that didn't work out.
Day 2: Guided Walking Tour of Zagreb
Take a guided tour of Zagreb, starting with Dolac Market, located just behind the main square of Trg Bana Jelačića. This is a large, open-air market where you'll find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and cheeses for sale, as well as local crafts and souvenirs—be on the lookout for one-of-a-kind wooden toys for the kids. From here, you'll walk through the city's Old Town, where you'll find examples of Gothic and neo-Renaissance architecture as your guide explains the history behind individual buildings.
See the unique funicular that connects the lower and the upper town (a fun ride for the kids!), and make your way through St. Mark's Square, where you'll see the famous St. Markʼs Church with its colorfully tiled roof, then visit the historic Stone Gate, a chapel that is also a passageway. The gates once served in a defensive role, but the passageway is now a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The tour ends with a stroll along the magical pedestrian-only street, Tkalčićeva, to really soak up the vibe & true coffee culture of this lively city. If you happen to be in Tkalciceva on the weekend, you might also see the Cravat regiment's changing of the guard, which the whole family will find entertaining.
Day 3: Transfer to Rovinj, Visit Grožnjan & Motovun
Take a private transfer to the city of Rovinj today, incorporating a guided tour of some of the towns of the Istria Peninsula. Istria is the most developed region in Croatia and has plenty of tourism. Although the seaside towns on the west coast tend to be the most popular, the inland villages are just as interesting and shouldn't be missed. With its hilly scenery and olive groves, inland Istria is sometimes called "Little Tuscany." The area has also held the "Best Olive Region in the World" title more than once, rivaling its Italian neighbors.
Start with a visit to the charming village of Grožnjan, a small, quaint place known for its art and incredible views of the surrounding valleys. The town, which became almost deserted many years ago due to a lack of jobs in the area, became a haven for artists in the 1960s and remains a thriving colony of creatives today. Stroll through the galleries and shops, and let the kids explore the winding cobblestone streets and alleyways. If you happen to be there in late summer, you might even get a chance to experience their annual jazz festival, which brings musicians and fans from all over the world.
From here, you'll head to the medieval hilltop town of Motovun. The city's 13th-century origins are evident by the three layers of city walls, which were once used to protect the village, but now offer some of the best views of the countryside. There is an entrance fee to access the walls, but family packages are available, and the kids might really enjoy seeing the city from a birds-eye view. Later, your guide will take you back to Rovinj, where you can enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and relax at your hotel.
Day 4: Free Day in Rovinj
Located on the western coast of Istria, Rovinj has been deemed one of the most romantic places in the Mediterranean, and after walking through the city, you'll see why. Step back in time as you stroll the cozy cobblestone streets of the Old Town, making your way to the hilltop cathedral of St. Euphemia, a Baroque church built in the 1700s that overlooks the city. You can also spend some time at Mulini Beach, a large public beach not far from the city center with gentle, shallow waters that are perfect for little ones who don't swim yet, as well as amenities like changing rooms and restaurants.
If you're interested in a more in-depth immersion into the city, you can also take a guided tour of Rovinj's Old Town. Your local guide will show you all of the top sights, providing information and education on the history of the city and its major landmarks. End your day with a walk along Rovinj's seaside promenade for amazing sunset views.
Day 5: Guided Tour of Pula
Visit nearby Pula via a guided tour that takes you through this fantastic city, home to a famous ancient Roman amphitheater. You'll be picked up from your hotel in the morning, making the 40-minute drive and embarking on your exploration of the region with an experienced and knowledgeable guide. Originally settled in prehistoric times, Pula has been occupied by Romans, Ostrogoths, and Venetians, among others.
Your first stop will be the Pula Arena, a well-preserved Roman amphitheater built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. The amphitheater is unique in that it is the only one with its four side towers still standing. Kids interested in gladiator days will enjoy hearing about the combats that took place here, and it's a great spot for photo ops! Afterward, head to Hercules Temple and the nearby forum, where you can stop in for coffee or a snack if you'd like, and see the Temple of Augustus, a stunning pillared building dedicated to the emperor of the same name.
The tour also includes an optional walk through Pula's underground tunnels, the Zerostrasse. An extensive system built during World War I, the tunnels include multiple passageways, trenches, and galleries, flowing beneath much of the city. There are also exhibits here by the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria, offering an unusual and fun way to learn more about the history of the region.
Day 6: Sailing Adventure in the Rovinj Archipelago
Head down to the Rovinj marina for a private sailboat excursion to the islands of the Rovinj archipelago, which consists of more than 20 large and small islands and islets. The two largest islands, St. Andrew and St. Catherine are popular tourist spots with hotels, restaurants, and cafés. Stop at one (or both!) for a meal and to let the kids stretch their legs a bit. Then, your skipper will take you to some of the best-hidden coves and beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling, allowing you and the kids to enjoy the water for as long as you like before you head back to Rovinj for the evening.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Transfer to Plitvice Lakes
It's off to the Plitvice Lakes region, with your private driver collecting you in the morning for the 3.5-hour drive. Once you've settled at your accommodations and regrouped after the long drive, the rest of the day is yours. One not to be missed destination in this region is the village of Rastoke, located within the town of Slunj, where the Slunjčica and Korana Rivers converge. It features beautiful waterfalls and water mills, with wooden homes that sit directly on the water.
You can enter the "pay to visit" section and let the kids wander among the old water-powered mills, many of which date back to the 17th century, see the working water pumps, and wade in the nearby waters. Legend has it that elves and fairies are known to frequent the waterfalls, and there is a lovely fairy garden near the falls. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before relaxing at your hotel.
Day 8: Plitvice Lakes National Park
Spend today at Plitvice Lakes National Park, a must-visit highlight for any traveler to Croatia. This UNESCO-protected area encompasses 74,000 acres (30,000 ha), with a chain of 16 terraced lakes and more than 90 cascading waterfalls, all of which flow into a limestone canyon. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests, with wooden walkways that make access easy for the smaller ones in your party. Purchase your tickets at the park entrance, then you're free to explore.
Choose from eight hiking trails for your self-guided tour, ranging from three to eight hours. Along the way, you will likely see fish, birds, and other wildlife. You can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy (and maybe a bottle of wine for the adults), and after spending a day in the forests and fresh air, the kids are definitely going to sleep well tonight!
Day 9: Transfer to Split, Truffle Hunting Excursion
Transfer to the ancient coastal city of Split today, a drive of about 2.5 hours from Plitvice Lakes. After you've checked in at your hotel, you can head out for some wild truffle hunting. The sleepy hills of the Istria region are blanketed with damp and dark woods, the perfect environment—and prime hunting ground—for the elusive truffle. This subterranean fungus has a delicate nutty, mushroomy taste, which makes it a highly-prized delicacy among foodies. Truffles can only be found with the help of trained dogs or domestic pigs, which makes hunting for them even more exciting!This guided three-hour tour takes you to the house of a professional wild truffle hunter with years of experience seeking out truffles in the Mediterranean forests of the area. The kids will get to meet the dogs specially trained to hunt this delicacy, tromping through the forest with them as they search out their fungal prey. After the hunt, you'll return to the house for a lesson in preparing a meal with truffles as the star ingredient while enjoying local wine, cheeses, and truffle-flavored honey with your hosts.
Day 10: Boat Trip to Brač Island & Zlatni Rat Beach
Head down to the Split waterfront, where you'll hop on a private boat and spend a relaxing day at sea exploring the islands just off the mainland. Make your first stop at Zlatni Rat, located on the island of Brač. This stunning stretch of pebbled beach forms an unusual "V" shape and is a popular destination for windsurfers. 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.
Day 11: Free Day in Split
Enjoy a free day in Split today, exploring all that Croatia's second-largest city offers. You'll find a wealth of history and culture here as you take in the winding cobblestone streets, amazing architecture, and endless views of the Adriatic Sea. Like much of Croatia, Split is also a very family-friendly city, so you'll find plenty to do with the kids.
If you're looking for more beach time, make your way to Žnjan Beach. Located about 3 miles (5 km) from the city center, this pebble beach is one of Split's largest, with amenities centered around families. Relax on the beach while the kids check out the trampolines and bouncy castles, or take a family paddleboat ride. There are restaurants and cafés nearby, so you can hang out all afternoon if you'd like, then enjoy dinner and sunset on the water.
Day 12: Transfer to Dubrovnik, Tour Dubrovnik's Old Town
Your next destination is the city of Dubrovnik, located about 3.5 hours from Split. Your private driver will collect you in the morning, and once you've arrived and checked in at your hotel, you can see some of the city via a guided walking tour of the Old Town district.
Your guide will take you through narrow, winding streets while explaining the history and culture of various landmarks. Walk along Stradun, the main street that was formally a canal, and see historic Onofrio's Fountain. Visit the quarantine buildings, where the city made those from faraway lands stay until they were cleared of any potential illnesses, and the clock tower, a 100-foot (30 m) landmark that dates back to the 15th century.
This afternoon, 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. Relax at your hotel tonight before you continue your adventures tomorrow.
Day 13: Explore the Elafiti Islands
Located just off the coast of Dubrovnik, the Elafiti Islands, or Elaphites, is an archipelago of 13 islands. The three main islands (and the only ones inhabited) are Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan, which boast great swimming beaches, snorkeling, and a very relaxed vibe. This morning, you'll embark on a private, half-day boating trip to the islands.
Start with a stop 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 pre-Romanesque St. Anthony and St. Nicholas churches.
From here, head over to Lopud, where you can enjoy Šunj Beach, a gorgeous sandy beach that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The beach is also a great family spot, as the waters are shallow and calm—perfect for smaller children. Just above the beach, you can make the easy hike to the 15th-century church of Our Lady of Sunj, which has an unusual wooden Renaissance-Baroque altar and sculptures. End the day on Šipan, the largest island in the archipelago, where you'll find more beaches, restaurants, a Benedictine monastery worth visiting, and bike rentals to tour around the island if you'd like.
Day 14: Depart Dubrovnik
It's time to say goodbye to Croatia today. Your private driver will collect you from your hotel in Dubrovnik and drive you to the airport for your flight home. Safe Travels!
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