Croatia is a small Central European and Mediterranean country with more than 1000 islands so it is one of the best places for families to visit! These twelve islands offer plenty of opportunities for relaxing, exploring, and wandering along with interesting kids’ activities so your little ones don’t get bored! Here are some of the best Croatian islands for families, so start planning your trip!
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The Best Islands in Croatia for Families
This beautiful island is connected to the mainland with a bridge making it quite easy to reach. The stunning beaches of Krk are great for families with kids. Stara Baška, Soline Bay, and Oprna Bay are some of the most popular spots for enjoying the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea.
Krk happens to be the most populated island in Croatia, offering plenty of activities for families. Kids will love Aquarium Terrarium Krk, Biserujka (a cave you can explore), Baška water park, and the Big Marlin semi submarine that allows families to experience the sea life from a unique point of view.
Because of its timeless beauty, Rab was called Felix Arba or Happy Rab by the ancient Romans. This happy island has a combination of sandy, pebble, and rocky beaches that kids will love (sandy Rajska beach near Lopar is the most popular with families).
The town of Rab has partially preserved fortress walls, old houses, palaces, bell towers, and more. It is charming to simply walk through and check out the local restaurants and shops. Of course, some of the best things to do on Rab Island with kids are taking a hike in Komrcar Park and exploring the Dundo forest and its evergreen oaks that are over a thousand years old!
Cres is located near the island of Krk and it is the largest island in Croatia. The island can be reached by ferry from Rijeka, Krk, and the Istrian peninsula. The main town on the island is Cres, but other popular places to visit include Beli and Valun.
Cres is the ideal vacation spot for families who love hiking. You can visit Lake Vrana, the largest lake in Croatia, ancient forts and settlements, and villages, or simply enjoy small, picturesque beaches where your kids can play, swim, fish, or try waterskiing. Some of the best beaches in Cres for families are Slatina and Susak.
Lošinj is one of the most beautiful Adriatic islands. It is easily accessible by ferry. If you are visiting Cres, the two islands are connected with a drawbridge – Osor. Be sure to check the schedule to see when it is open for crossing.
The island is a popular destination with families because it has a wealth of beaches, outdoor activities, and waterparks. Most of the island’s beaches have easy access to the sea. Veli Zal is a good option for families since it is a protected beach without waves or high winds. Families that love to hike will love Lošinj as it has over 250 kilometers of walking trails. Aquapark Čikat, which is the first aquapark on the island is perfect for some family fun.
Zlarin is a tiny island just off the Dalmatian coast close to the city of Sibenik. There are lots of activities for all ages from swimming at the many beaches on the island to kayaking, bicycle hire, and even a climbing wall on the north side of the island.
The island has a lot of dining options from Jez’s Fast Food to Restaurant Ivana and the excellent Konoba Prslika set within a beautiful courtyard. There are multiple daily boats from the mainland taking just 30 minutes and costing €3.00 each way.
Dugi Otok or Long Island in English, is surely one of the most beautiful Croatian islands. It has amazing bays and beautiful white sandy beaches. Kids will love spending hours swimming and playing in the crystal clear waters.
Don’t miss a visit to Telašćica Nature Park where you can walk through the pine forests and olive groves while keeping an eye out for some of the 400+ animal species that live here. Or head to Kornati National Park, a collection of 89 islands and reefs that can be visited by boat or guided tour. Each town on the island has its own summer festival, so you’re sure to find something unique for your family and learn about the island’s rich history.
During the summer, Brač is one of the most popular islands for tourists. Thankfully the island has many events and workshops created just for kids, as well as film festivals perfect for a family movie night. The island has beautiful (and magical) Nature Park Sutivan which is home to many animals, and also has playgrounds. Of course, Brač has many great beaches suitable for kids of all ages and perfect for swimming, splashing, and snorkeling.
Fun things on Brač for families include hiking up Vidova Gora, hanging out at Zlatni Rat beach, and visiting the Olive Oil Museum. Brač has over a million olive trees, making it the worlds’s largest olive grove. If you’re looking for a Croatian souvenir, be sure to grab your olive oil here.
In spite of its reputation as a party island, Hvar island is a great Croatian island for families. Hiking to Milna Beach is a wonderful activity, and during the walk, you will see many beautiful and isolated beaches – quite perfect for stopping, relaxing, and swimming. Hvar Fortress and Hvar Town are ideal spots for letting the kids run around and explore.
The island has many small towns and villages for families who want to get away from the crowds. Head to Stari Grad with its beautiful beaches, historical town squares, and lavender fields to find some peace and quiet.
Vis is a tiny island which located 45 kilometers from the mainland. It is easy to reach via the ferry services from Split. The island is often referred to as heaven on earth due to its beautiful untouched nature, serenity, and peaceful vibe.
There are many isolated beaches suitable for kids, family-friendly activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, an adrenaline quad safari for an adventurous afternoon, caves for exploring, sailing, and more. If your kids are history buffs, don’t miss the abandoned missile bunkers and forts left over from World War II. Kids will love exploring the underground tunnels and abandoned buildings. There’s also Tito’s Cave where it is believed the Yugoslavian ruler Tito hid out during the war. With so many things to do, Vis is a great place for families.
If you are visiting Dubrovnik, don’t miss a chance to take a day trip to Korčula. The island is the birthplace of Marco Polo and is known for its dense forests and charming Korčula Town with its narrow, cobblestone streets. Korčula’s old town is often referred to as Little Dubrovnik.
During the summer your kids will love watching moreška – a traditional sword dance with regular performances around the island. Korčula also offers hidden coves, amazing beaches, and summer activities. And be sure to head to the top of Glavica hill for stunning views.
Be sure to visit the town of Vela Luka where you can find the longest mosaic covered walking path in the world. Do you know what is even cooler? Your entire family can create a stone mosaic which will be later added to the end of the walk!
This beautiful island is made for nature lovers. Unlike most places on the Croatian coast, there is no mass tourism on Mljet which makes it perfect for families. There are many beaches and coves for nice and relaxing afternoons of swimming, snorkeling, and splashing. Those seeking adventure can visit Odysseus’ cave which is said to be the place where Odysseus spent seven years after he was caught in a major storm (called Ogygia in The Odyssey).
Mljet National Park includes islands and a coral reef as well as archaeological sites. Families can spend a day snorkeling, hiking, or go sea kayaking and explore the area’s caves. There are also two salted lakes on the island’s interior that are great spots for swimming and picnicking. If your family prefers quiet spots and small villages, Mljet island might be the place for you!
There are three Elafiti islands not far from Dubrovnik, and Koločep is one of them. Only three hundred people live on this small island and it is a nice break from the crowds. The island is car free so be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes.
When looking for things to do with kids in Koločep, plan on spending time on the water. The island has crystal clear water, sandy bays, and many coves (both hidden and isolated), as well as a beautiful Blue Cave and interesting historical monuments. Kids will love exploring the pine forests. This is an easy day trip from Dubrovnik and there are plenty of tours between Dubrovnik and the Elafiti islands.
Šipan is also one of the Elafiti islands and it is the largest of the three. The island has a 16th-century castle, so kids can learn about ancient history and pretend they’re royalty. Šipan is peaceful and thanks to that, you’ll have no problem with relaxing, exploring, and wandering. The beaches are family-friendly and there are many kid-friendly activities so your kids can have a bit of adventure too. Oh, and definitely explore the island with kayaks!
These are some of the best Croatian islands to explore with kids and hope you will agree!
What To Consider Before Visiting Croatia with kids
Before you decide to visit the Croatian islands, there are some things you need to consider and plan.
Croatian islands are quite popular during the summer. Be sure to reserve your accommodation in advance. The best way to reserve a room is through a booking site like Travelocity or with a local travel agent. Of course, you can reserve a room in a hotel or a private accommodation which can be an apartment or an entire holiday house. Just make sure to make those reservations on time!
Research the ferry schedules. In case you are traveling without a car, you can take both the ferry and catamaran (suitable only for people). Make sure to check where the ferry port is located. Is it the city, or do you need a ride to your accommodation? If you need a ride, is there a local taxi service or maybe your hosts can pick you up? Be sure to research all of these details before hitting the road.
If you are taking a ferry to the islands, be sure to arrive at least one hour before the departure. Due to the popularity and crowds of some islands, coming earlier is the best guarantee your spot on the boat.
There are many beautiful islands and beaches in Croatia, but try to be strategic when planning your vacation. Consider staying in a town or village that has a shaded beach or sun chairs and umbrellas available for rent. Some beaches are quite crowded and due to that, you need to come really early in the morning to find your spot. Croatian sunshine is intense and you don’t want to be out in it all day.
In Croatia, the monetary currency is kuna. Some places only accept the currency, especially those places that are cash-only. Always try to carry cash and coins. Of course, most restaurants accept credit cards.
All tourists need to be registered at a local tourist office. Sometimes your accommodation host does that for you (depending on your agreement) and sometimes you need to do that yourself. Make sure to have your passport and ID card for registration.
These are some of the best family-friendly islands in Croatia and these are just a couple of main points you need to consider, research, and plan before visiting. Of course, if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
Croatia is surely one of the most popular and beautiful summer destinations – and I’m quite sure your family will simply enjoy it! Oh, and in case you need more information about what awaits you there regarding the gastronomy scene, here is a guide to Croatian traditional dishes!
About the author: Ana writes for restaurants and wineries at KitchenToast. She loves to photograph and travel, especially to Korčula, which is her second home and a constant source of inspiration for new articles, recipes, and flavors.