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Posted on September 05 2018

Once Europe’s best-kept secret, Croatia has become a favourite holiday destination thanks to its sapphire-blue sea, sandy beaches, charming walled towns and relaxed way of life. With plenty of events and outdoor activities to enjoy, and flights from London to Zagreb taking under two-and-a-half hours, it is also a popular place for families who want to enjoy some quality time together. Here, Peter Jenkins, holiday travel expert and founder of Sun-hat Villas & Resorts, tells us about some of the country’s must-visit places.

Hunt for knights in Dubrovnik

The pedestrian-only centre of Dubrovnik is the perfect place for families to spend a day exploring together, taking in the historic sites, strolling around the harbour and dipping your toes in the sea. There are also plenty of laid-back pavement cafés if you’re in need of some light refreshments along the way.

No visit to the city would be complete without a trip to the impressive St John’s Fortress, which stands proudly on the edge of the Adriatic Sea and is now home to an aquarium and maritime museum. Afterwards, walk the city walls as your children pretend to be medieval knights or pirates searching for treasure.

As an aside for parents, Dubrovnik has been the backdrop to the HBO television series Game of Thrones, so you may spot some familiar scenes like King’s Landing and the Red Keep’s Garden.

Splash about in the Umag waters Grab the goggles and swimming gear and head to Umag’s beaches. With their shallow waters, these beaches are perfect for families with younger children, giving them plenty of space to run and splash around. If the temperature is a little too warm, or you need a place to rest, there are usually areas of shade from the nearby woodlands.

Take a walk over to Umag’s city centre where you find a wide array of boutiques, souvenir shops and ice-cream parlours to keep the whole family happy. Umag never fails to wow visitors with its Roman history, Blue Flag award-winning marina, and charmingly cobbled old town, and if that’s not enough, you can even hop on board a hovercraft and take a trip over to Venice.

Uncover the historic hilltop town of Labin

If you want to take a day to unwind and teach your children more about the local culture, look no further than Labin. Treat the family to a tour, where you’ll find open-air cinemas playing cartoons and family movies, to the beautiful garden oasis in the old town, stopping off to enjoy the live performances on numerous street corners. When the children get tired of walking, book a horse ride and explore the wonderful Croatian countryside. The city offers a regular schedule of festivals, like the Rabac Open Air festival, to keep you entertained with music, plenty of stalls and performances from pirates and fire-eaters.

Step back in time at Svetvincenat

Set in the heart of Istria, Sventvincenat is the perfect city for a summer holiday full of family fun. While there, be sure to venture over to the Grimani Castle and experience the annual medieval festival where heroic knights test out their jousting skills in courtyard battles, and you can compete in a catapult firing competition (you won’t be fired!)

Once the performance is over, take a stroll through the streets and browse the local shops – and, if you’re lucky, you may stumble upon traditional dance performance. So grab a seat in a nearby café, rest your feet and start watching the moves so you can recreate them with the children later on.

A cultural treasure hunt in Pula

For children who love mythology and fantasy, there is no better place to take them than Pula. At every turn, they will find ancient ruins to uncover and explore, from the awe-inspiring Amphitheatre to the Forum and Triumphal Arch that rest between the city streets.

After running around, pretending to be a crack team of archeologists, treat the kids to a light lunch of Istrian cheese or pasta, and for you, wine! Then, to end the day, explore the underwater world that surrounds the town at the Aquarium Pula, set inside the historic Fortress Pula. Make your way through the hallways of tanks, gazing at the wonderful aquatic life from the Adriatic, then make your way through the tunnels for a truly immersive experience.

A family adventure in Poreč

Finally, Poreč is the perfect thrill-seeker’s adventure, set against a historic backdrop. Aquaparks, go-karting tracks and a rock climbing centre will keep the whole family active throughout the day, but you’ll also find beautiful churches filled with Byzantine art, gothic structures and turquoise shorelines for more relaxed days. Take advantage of the beautiful weather, hire a bike and tour the cycle paths that run between the seashores and across the rural hinterlands of the area. Pass by rustic villages, preserved forts and castle ruins – an exciting history trip with a beautiful view of the Croatian landscape. To plan your stay, take a look at Sun-hat’s Croatian villas.

For more information, visit https://www.sun-hat-villas.com/


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