We’ve recently returned from a lovely week in Croatia…and I’ve been thinking about what made it child friendly, purely as a number of people had told me before I went that it wasn’t. If concrete under swings (not the soft playground floor we usually have in the UK) means it’s not child friendly, then this isn’t the place for you. I also only noticed a few baby change areas in bathrooms, but apart from that, I’d say Croatia is a very welcoming and child friendly country not to be missed.
We (including Granny & Grandad) stayed in the beautiful harbour town of Cavtat (just 15 minutes outside of Dubrovnik). After a 2.5 hour easy flight (thanks Peppa Pig magazine), it was just 5 minutes from the airport…brilliant. We stayed in an apartment, so we had our own space and own kitchen. However, we only ate at the apartment a few times as we enjoyed eating out so much…partly as the food was so good and partly as eating out on holiday is just so much part of having a wonderful time (oh and people watching).
So why do I think Croatia is child friendly?:
- Playgrounds – I don’t ever recall seeing any playgrounds in Greece when I was visiting as a child (but that was probably as were usually staying off the beaten track), so seeing playgrounds in Croatia was great news. There weren’t as plentiful as in Italy, but we had enough to keep a three year old very entertained. We even saw one just outside the old walls by the Pile Gate in Dubrovnik. Just be aware…none of these had ‘safety ground’ beneath so bring plasters if you are worried!
- Restaurants – The food was typical gorgeous Mediterranean fair…lots of fish, salads, and the Italian influence which for kids always seems a winner…pasta and pizza. We were offered high chairs in most places, but declined. If the seat seemed too large, Little G was offered extra cushions to sit on. Some places even had child’s menus.
- Ice-cream – There were plenty of ice-cream parlours…by the end of the week our local knew us and knew what Little G would order ‘The usual, princess?’ they said. We would then promenade and people watch with our ice-creams, a lovely way to end the evening.
- Soft play – I’m kidding…there was none of that (thank goodness). We were surrounded by beautiful nature which was far better than any play area. We saw lizards, giant crickets, butterflies, fish, crabs (we caught crabs which was a great way to spend the time…and put them back gently) and there were flowers everywhere…which Little G insisted on picking for me…cue heart melting mummy moments…plus plenty of sunsets…which sparked a photography interest in Little G (think we know what we’ll be getting her for Christmas!).
Kids and Dubrovnik?
Also to note, we did consider taking Little G into Dubrovnik, but Granny insisted we had some time out and that they look after her. I thought this was a ploy for them to have some time together, but it was a very good move.
Dubrovnik is a pretty spectacular city, built hugging the coast, with the walls surrounding the old town…but it was hot…with lots of steps if you ventured out of the tourist central strips up to the walls. We also ‘did’ the walls…a wonderful walk but sometimes heart stopping (as I’m not keen on heights and I was also a little hungover and seasick from our boat ride!). I think I might have passed out if trying to keep an eye on Little G running around these. In fact, such was the success of our grown up day out, we did another a few days later and came back to visit the Museum of Modern Art and the heart breaking War Photography Gallery (War Photo Limited)…a real ‘must do’ in Dubrovnik. Certainly the later was not something I would take a small child into. It also meant we could have a very large glass of wine and charcuterie platter at the recommended D’vino wine bar after the gallery…it was very much needed.