What To Expect When Traveling To Croatia With Kids & Babies

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What To Expect When Traveling To Croatia With Kids & Babies

So you’re planning on traveling to Croatia for a family holiday, and you want to know if Croatia a family-friendly place to visit? You’ve no doubt googled and come up short with the answers – am I right?

That’s what happened to Chamisa; she wrote about her experience when traveling to Croatia for ten days with her three boys, and it got me thinking about the lack of information she found. Holidays with kids can be so much fun, so I was surprised at the lack of real knowledge.

As a mother of two kids living in and non-stop traveling around Croatia, I can tell you now that Croatia is a great place to come with kids. Though there are lots of questions that I get asked. Let me answer a few for you:

What Does A Kid-Friendly Or A Family-Friendly Holiday Mean

Begonja Family. Mate, Sj, Roko, Vladimir - Family Photo Shot6

As you’re planning a Croatian family holiday, I’ll take you through what you need to know.

Is Croatia Family Friendly?

Yes, overwhelming. Of course, you do need to pick and choose your accommodation options, and avoid the upscale restaurants as you would in any country to avoid ‘those looks.’

Does Croatia Have Child-Sized Toilets, Sinks And Changing Tables For Babies?

Roko & Vladimir - Family Photo Shot1

No. My years of traveling Croatia with a baby and toddler were always proven a little tricky in this regard. There are so very few changing tables available. New shopping centers and restaurants (or renovated ones) will offer a place for you to hide away and change your baby. But those places are very few are far between, and none have child-sized sinks and toilets.

However, changing your child while they are in a stroller or pram in a park or in the corner of a bustling town square is acceptable, and no one will bat an evil eye toward you. Pack with you small plastic or paper bags to stuff the offending material into and simply pop it into a public trash can as soon as you spot one.

Do Rental Car Places In Croatia Offer Car Seats?

Family Photo Shot - Nin Croatia
We’ve been living in Croatia for six years.

Yes, we have rented several cars in Croatia and never had any issues securing a car seat with our advanced booking. If you need to hire car seats with your car rental, I would strongly advise booking as far in advance as possible, especially if you plan to visit between June and September.

Find great Croatia rental car deals here.

Do Croatian Hotels And Restaurants Welcome Children?

Family Hotel Amarin: Coloured Robes
Family Hotel Amarin Have Kid’s Sized Robes!

We’ve stayed in dozens of places, eaten, and enjoyed drinks in many bars, restaurants, and cafes, and we have never yet been let down. When dining out, our children, on many occasions, have been picked up by the staff and always treated well.

 

Little people make a big mess, and I always attempt to clean up and apologize. As I do, I am often told by staff that ‘kids are kids’ and to leave it and that they will clean it up. No eye-rolling, no face-pulling from the staff.

Find the best Croatia Family Resorts & Hotels For Family Holidays in Croatia here

Jenna at This is my happiness said, for her, it’s things like diaper changing tables, family bathrooms in big public areas like airports and high chairs at restaurants.

Do Restaurants In Croatia Have High Chairs?

Not often enough. All of the small cafes and family-run places we tend to enjoy never have any available. It does prove difficult as our son likes to try to run off, so we end up taking turns to try and get him to sit still while the other person enjoys a meal.

When we have come across a place with a highchair, it’s such a treat for us. We now never comment on how old, or rickety it maybe like we would if we still lived in Australia and instead relish having two hands to eat and drink with.

Places that always have highchairs available are at all-inclusive resorts. Those hotel chains cater wonderfully to children of all ages. If you want a chair 100%o of the time, purchase a travel highchair that easily folds up into your day-pack to always ensure you a highchair at your disposal.

Can You Find Family Bathrooms In Croatia?

Family Hotel Amarin: Playing Games WIth Letters

No. As I’ve mentioned baby changing tables are rare, and  I am yet to see a family bathroom in the dozens of places we’ve traveled to. That said, many other children are with their parents in public toilets, so you, of course, won’t be the only one.

By nature, most Croatian people are giving and kind, and on more than one occasion, I have been offered to skip the line & go ahead with my son. 

What Food In Croatia Is Good For Kids? Do They Have Children’s Menus?

I giggle at this when people ask me. Once you have been here and seen the food on offer, you’ll laugh too. Croatia has a wide variety of food available. You may find a children’s menu in some massive restaurants in big cities, but that is seldom the case.

Fresh ingredients make up the regular menu, which many places gladly serve you ‘family style’ so food can be shared among the whole table. You and your kids will enjoy pasta, risottos, stews, and pastries.

If you don’t see anything, do what we do and ask the chef to grill a chicken breast – no one has never once said no to my little boys.

If all else fails, feed your kids ice-cream, pizza, and the yummiest Croatian pastry known as burek, which can be found on every corner. 

Is Croatia Safe And Clean?

Rijeka Carnival_Family Event

The Homeland War ended in Croatia two decades ago, despite what some people still think.  And yes, Croatia is very safe. We often comment on just how safe and relaxed we feel here, more so than we ever felt when traveling in the United States or other parts of Europe.

Take the usual precautions for pick-pockets, keeping valuables safe in hotels, and you won’t have an issue.

If you plan to drive in Croatia, then you should be prepared for fast drivers, cars overtaking you in places that make your heart skip a beat, and parking in compact spots that may mean sucking in your belly to get out of the car. That aside, driving in Croatia is also safe and a great way to see many more sites than you could on a bus or train.

Can You Drink The Water In Croatia?

Yes. The tap water across Croatia is perfectly safe to drink with just a few small exceptions (you’ll see signs warning you). Still, if you are worried, bottled water is available everywhere at very reasonable prices.

What About Buying Diapers And Other Baby And Kid Essentials?

Coming to Croatia with a baby, Easy peasy. Baby essentials are found all over. Every small corner store sells wipes and diapers/nappies. All supermarkets sell baby food for all ages, and in larger stores like the DM chain, you’ll find organic baby food.

I always suggest people bring enough for two days, after that you’ll find what you are looking for.

Are There Many Parks Or Playgrounds In Croatia?

RaftTrek Baby Donkey Roko

Yes, yes, and yes! You never have to go very far to find one. Every town and small village has one – often more than one to keep your children happy.

I should say that much of the time, the equipment is older than you would find across the USA or Australia, but it’s always safe, and because Croatians love coffee so much, a cafe bar can be found close-by, a win for the entire family.

In addition to free parks, Croatia has dozens, and dozens of adventure parks dotted all over the country, offering something for older kids like paintball or climbing.

Plus, if you are looking to turn this trip into a family adventure holiday, consider time in the outdoors at Croatia’s only UNESCO Geopark or get tickets to the new Aquapark Istralandia, white water rafting, rock climbing, zip-lining, bike hire, or hop around the family-friendly islands

How Far Away Is A Good Hospital & Will I Be Able To Communicate With The Doctors And Nurses In Croatia?

Roko in Zadar Hospital - Living in Hospital

We feature places and activities on our travel blog that are not always in the center of town and, therefore, not always within easy reach of a hospital.

Big cities like Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, and Zagreb (among many others) have local hospitals with emergency care. But, you should know that there are places such as the Croatian Islands that do not. It may take a  few hours to reach a hospital, and so you should factor that into your travel itinerary planning.

English is spoken far and wide in Croatia, and all hospital staff & pharmacies will have an English speaking member of staff (if not all of them) just be sure to make sure that you have the adequate level of family health insurance cover or have lots of cash (no credit cards) with you to foot the bill.

My kids have been to the hospital several times. And, though the hospitals are old and in need of repairs, I have never once doubted the staff or the level of care that they received.

If not, it could ruin your Croatian vacation. IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, DIAL 112 FROM ANY PHONE TO REACH FIRE, AMBULANCE AND POLICE.

Pushchairs, Strollers, And Prams In Croatia – Should I Take One?

Hmmm, by all means, bring your pushchair to Croatia, I use mine almost daily. But, what you should know is that much of the countries best tourist sites are ancient and in nature. The Byzantinnians (is that a word?)  and Romans were known to leave many great sites across my new homeland, none of which include lifts or ramps or any other comforts you’d like when pushing a baby or toddler. 

The maze of cobblestone streets in places like Zadar are what draw in crowds and add to the charm of Croatia; they just make it tough on your back and arms to push your stroller. Maybe you could consider using a baby carrier? I do love mine.

What Language Do Kids In Croatia Speak?

Lots.

Here in Croatia children must learn English from seven years old in school. Although children much younger can speak basic English thanks to TV, iPad games and relatives abroad. While at the playground, remind your children that the kids around them may not understand them – but to ask if they speak English, and the chances are they will.

Fun fact: Croatian kids also learn other languages at school, such as German and Italian. 

Is Croatia A Good Place To Take Kids?

For me, yes. A vacation with kids in Croatia is a great idea. Croatia is undoubtedly child-friendly. 

Change tables I can go without. I care nothing for small hand basins or family bathrooms. For me, I love that the chef is always happy to serve up some grilled chicken and chips for my toddler and that my kids run around the beach making noise without people glaring at them to pipe down.

If you need a smooth sidewalk to push your pram along and long for a quiet mother’s corner to nurse in, you may want to skip coming to Croatia until your children are older.

Do you think traveling to Croatia with kids is right for your family? What are the must-have things for your next family vacation?

Where To Stay In Croatia With Kids?

There are loads of places to stay with kids. After six years, we have found some of the best. I suggest that you try one of these tried-and-tested kid-friendly hotels and resorts.

More Tips On Travel To Croatia With Kids

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Comments (27)

  1. We spent 4 months discovering Croatia last year and just got back from a week in Zagreb which is so so underrated as a family friendly destination. Thanks for getting all these resources together in one place. Invaluable.

  2. A very resourceful post covering all the aspects relating to family holiday in Croatia….loved every points…I will love to share it right away…..Thanks

  3. Thanks for great tips!! I have five siblings and going on vacation in Croatia when we were little was AN adventure! Now that I watch all that you do for your son (which is amazing!) I also get to admire my mom a lot more!

  4. This is brilliant! We have added Croatia to our destination list when in Europe next year & will have 2 kids under 4. Any recommendations for kid friendly cruises or tours? 😉

  5. My kids loved Croatia and it was their favourite country on our recent European holiday. They cant speak Croatian so I acted as the interpreter when they met Croatian children at parks and playgrounds. My kids are fussy eaters but we always found something for them, whether it was pizza, calamari or “pomme frites”. I agree re: toddler seats for rental cars. I booked our car (and toddler seat) months in advance but they failed to provide one so Id recommend double checking with the rental company before arrival.

  6. They may not have the high chairs & kids menus but our experience was that they were so happy to see our kids! We were often made to feel like family. Kids would occasionally get a treat “on the house”…ice cream, pudding, a sea shell, the chance to feed the fish in the aquarium. Everyone is so welcoming!

  7. Hi SJ!

    Hi,

    I really want to visit Croatia with my kids this year, and your blog just made me more brave. Our idea is to spent 24 days between Slovenia and Croatia. And we don´t know when is the best time to go. Our options are:

    – Going in June: My older girl would be 28 months and the youngest 7 months
    – Going in september:My older girl would be 31 months and the youngest 10 months

    What do you think it is best?

    Best Rergards,
    Vinicius

    1. Hi there! Those two months are both great, and much the same in terms of the number of tourists. I would say that in September the sea water is warmer, and you are far more likely to get to swim. In June the water can still be too cool for the little ones, especially up north closer to Slovenia. Here are some ideas to get you started with planning your family fun. http://s27412.p99.sites.pressdns.com/things-to-do-in-croatia-fun-things-for-kids/ If you have any other questions, just ask and I’d be happy to help out.

      1. Thanks SJ for the help!

        I think I will go on september, my youngest will be older and this might be better for the trip.

        If you don´t mind, can you help me with the itinerary? I thought starting in Ljubljana, then bled, then we will be going to Plivitice. I think the drive from bled to Plivitice is too long, so maybe I will spend a couple of nights in Opatija. Do you think this is a good choice? Maybe there is another place to stop?

        Also I am having difficulties for finding accomodation in Hvar and Dubrovinik. Because we will with a hired car. Do you know a good place to stay around 150 euros a night?

        Best Regards,
        Vinicius

  8. Great post!! For me one of the main things is also being welcomed in a restaurant. Our little one started eating (baby-led weaning) four months ago and everything is a mess after each meal, so being in a place where this isn’t a problem is important 🙂

  9. Another fantastic and really helpful blog post SJ. Been a busy summer so just getting some time to catch up some blog posts now! Keep the useful information coming 🙂

  10. Great post, glad I came upon your blog. My father travels to Croatia every summer and I had contemplated taking the kids. Although I wasn’t sure if they would enjoy – now I know they will, thank you! Cheers Monique

  11. Great post! I agree that it is family friendly considering we’ve been taking our son there almost yearly since he was born to visit grandparents and will now take our newborn baby. Although we have the luxuries of staying with relatives, there is still plenty for children to do. At first my son missed sandy beaches, but once he realized how calm and swimmable the water is he liked it better than american costal beaches with strong waves. He also enjoyed a petting farm near dubrovnik, ice skating at a near by hotel during the winter time and just being out and about in new places! I do wish there were more kid friendly museums and drivers are crazy! Every time we rode in the car i was worried for my family’s safety! Also, we had a bad experience when my son got sick with the stomach flu. We were told to go to a specific emergency center for tourist located at the airport, but when we got there they sent us to a pediatrician’s office 25 minutes away. Once we got there and waited to be seen, the pediatrician wanted to send him back to the airport to be seen! My mother-in-law begged the doctor to let us stay. The doctor obliged but not so nicely. So make sure you know exactly where to take your sick child and also have all meds your child might need. We live in USA and many meds I would’ve liked to have, croatian pharmacies did not carry.

  12. From how you’ve described Croatia, it does indeed sound family friendly to me. I’m glad that they have a welcoming attitude towards kids even if they do not have the abundance of amenities that families from America and Australia have come to expect. Your blog has made Croatia seems like such beautiful place from the historical sites in the big cities to the gorgeous nature experiences. I’d really love to visit there with the kids some day. Thank you so much for linking to me.

  13. It’s definitely about the attitude. The child-friendly conveniences are most necessary when nobody’s willing to help you out. If the community is tolerant and welcoming of all ages you can easily fudge along.

    That said, I do like it when you can drink straight from the tap (kids are not good at hygiene). Not a deal-breaker, but I worry less.

    Also! I don’t want to sound like a boostapak fangirl, but that’s our go-to for makeshift high chairs. (It’s also our car seat once they’re old enough for a booster – but we should have bought it earlier for our eldest to use in restaurants etc.)

  14. I took my 2 boys to Croatia last year on a long road trip that also included Montenegro and Bosnia. They were 8 and 13 at the time and I can wholeheartedly say that these 3 countries were completely child/family friendly. I find southern Europe in general to be much more tolerant/welcoming to kids than many parts of the world and I’m basing this on a fair amount of travel: my now 14 year old has been to 26 countries and now 9 year old, 21.

  15. Such a helpful post SJ!

    I have a little daughter myself (shes only 1 and a half). So I’ll keep this in mind if we ever do decide to do the Croatian tours in the future (which I think we will be!)

    Always a pleasure. Take care,

    Ken

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