We’ve been living in Croatia and traveling for almost two years now, thanks to the Olmsted Scholarship! Time goes so fast. Every time we leave Croatia we miss it and can’t wait to get back. The bulk of our favorite places we’ve traveled as a family have been in this small, beautiful country. We get asked often which are the best spots to go with children, so here are just a few (of the many!) that we would recommend.
We have some awesome travel plans coming up so I’ll update this list for you then!
I’m still speechless.
We rented this apartment and only have wonderful things to say about it. We couldn’t have asked for a better view or location. We slept with all the windows open (it was already hot in early June) and woke up early to the low, deep bells from the cathedral and franciscan church and enjoyed being outside the walls in a quiet residential area, but still just a few minutes walk away (and about ten thousand staircases – they’re everywhere!). We spent more time enjoying the view of Dubrovnik and less time inside of it to avoid the crowds. Explore it in the mornings and evenings after the cruise ships have departed– that’s when we walked the walls, taking in the magnificent views almost to ourselves. We also spent a morning at Sveti Jakov beach, about a ten minute walk along olive trees and flowering oleanders and bougainvillea overlooking stone homes and the Adriatic.
Our favorite region in the country! There are pretty beaches along the coast but the real gem of this region is inland… Here you will find small medieval hilltop towns, amazing wine, quiet cobblestone streets and more truffles and truffle dishes than you can imagine. It still feels like one of Europe’s greatest secrets. Our family’s favorite spots are Motovun, Groznjan, and the small (some abandoned) villages around them, Fakin Winery and truffle hunting with Prodan Tartufi.
Pag Island, Croatia (in the Spring!)
Pag in the spring is other-worldly. There were more sheep than people (far more sheep!) and everything was quiet and calm. This is the island where Croatia’s most famous cheese hails from. The sheep free graze on wild herbs sea-sprayed with salt from the bura wind, creating the most wonderful flavors and aromas. You can taste cheeses and olive oils at Gligora. We stayed at Hotel Boškinac, fell in love with their wine (though beware, it’s now become too expensive compared to others just as amazing) and spent hours walking the ancient olive groves in Lun, our only company being flocks of sheep.
Valbruna is just a couple hours drive from Zagreb, on the Italian side of the Julian Alps. We were there in September when the weather started to cool off. It was so beautiful it’s hard to put into words. We stayed in the Alpi Giulie Chalets, and for under $100 we had a little two story wooden chalet that was spotless, had a small kitchen, and stand alone tub upstairs overlooking the glorious view. The owners could not have been kinder or more hospitable. If you’re thinking of going to the very popular and crowded Bled, Slovenia, I would go here instead!
Plitvice Lakes National Park (in early Summer during off-hours!)
A true natural wonderland that will take your breath away… The first time we went, we made the rookie mistake of arriving at 10am, trying to share the narrow peaceful paths winding past waterfalls… shoulder to shoulder with about a trillion other people. The last time we were there with some of our best friends was in mid-June on Father’s Day. We arrived in the late afternoon, not too long before the entrance closed. It was a completely different experience — we only saw one other couple on the trail. So, no matter what time of year you go, plan to start the walk when the park first opens or just before it closes to really enjoy the majesty of this place!