If you believe everything you read, Croatia can do no wrong. That’s because, in terms of fun, sun and adventure, Croatia can do no wrong! This wonderful country has been truly blessed by a stunning natural landscape, fabulous weather, friendly people and a diverse range of attractions and activities – the perfect destination for a family holiday.
One of my favourite spots is the family-friendly resort of Podstrana, which is located just a few kilometres from Split. Not only is it an absolutely gorgeous little coastal town (think beautiful beaches, Renaissance architecture, picturesque churches, historic villas and ancient megalithic monuments), it is also a superb base from which to explore the surrounding areas on day trips.
Head Out to Omiš
Omiš is one of those places that’s simply impossible not to love – even if it has a somewhat dubious history as the former home of some of the Adriatic’s most fearsome pirates!
History Comes to Life
Children will love the weekly Pirate Night Tours in Omiš during the summer, and they can learn all about the city’s engaging pirate history. There’s plenty of other historical sites as well, including the fabulous thirteenth-century fortress (where you’ll get the best views in town), several Franciscan churches and the fifteenth-century Starigrad Fortress.
There’s a real outdoorsy culture here and the whole family can get involved on a rafting tour, which takes you down the River Cetina for a wet and wild adventure. You can also try diving and any of the other beach watersports available, like snorkelling and windsurfing.
Sun and Sand
Speaking of the beach, let’s talk about your choices! You can take your pick from the fabulously long Camp Galeb Beach, the quieter Brzet and Slavinj beaches, or the popular Velika Plaza Beach. The latter is my top pick for families, as it has plenty of activities, entertainment and refreshments on hand. Oh, and endless fun in the sun!
Set off for Split
What’s to do in Split? The question should really be, what’s not to do? The city is simply steeped in culture and history but, luckily for the kids, it offers a whole lot of fun activities as well.
You’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches along this stunning stretch of coastline. The most popular is probably the lovely Bačvice Beach, which is very well facilitated and perfect for energetic families. There are plenty of others, however, that are a little quieter and more out of the way, including the pebbly Znjan, Kastelet and, one of the locals’ favourites, Kašuni.
History, Food and More
While you may be tempted to never leave the beach once you’ve found your spot, there’s a wealth of history and culture to be explored in Spilt.
- Visit the local markets to get an authentic slice of culture. They’re heaving with local produce, flowers, cheese, wine and seafood. Kids will love the vibrant atmosphere and delicious goodies.
- There are numerous festivals held in Split throughout the year and there’s no better way to get to know the locals. From music to Diocletian history to gastronomic gems, there’s a festival to suit everyone’s interests.
Top Tip: If you want to treat the family to one of the best meals in Split, head to Maslina. This homely establishment serves up hearty gnocchi, pizzas and juicy steaks – all with an authentic touch. It’s a little hard to find (follow the signs along Marmontova), but well worth it.
Take a Trip to Trogir
My final recommendation for a day trip from Podstrana is the fabulous UNESCO-listed town of Trogir. The children will be entranced by the location – it’s on its very own island and connected to the mainland by two bridges – and exposed to a real-life history lesson that is going on all around them.
The labyrinthine town is home to the beautiful St Lawrence Cathedral, which is built in the Romanesque style. While parents will marvel at the feat of architecture, children will get just as much of a kick out of the intricately carved portal, which features people and exotic animals that tell the story of Christian history.
Fortresses, Palaces and Venetian History
Once their appetites have been whetted with the cathedral, bring the children to the fabulous Venetian fortress in the Old Town. Kamerlengo Castle has a storied past as a naval stronghold, but today its magnificently-preserved walls house a cinema and cultural centre. There are also two Venetian palaces in the Old Town, along with a wealth of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance buildings to explore.
Museums and Art
While you might be hard-pressed to convince the kids museums can be fun, somehow Trogir makes it easy. One of the most charming places in town is the old Benedictine convent of the Church of St Nicholas, along with the Chapel of St John, inside the Cathedral of St Lawrence.
Where to Stay
Beach Apartments Lavica: Set in an ideal position, with transport links on the doorstep, the spacious light-filled accommodation of the Beach Apartments Lavica offers a comfortable and relaxing home away from home for families. Fully equipped for self-catering and with the added luxury of air conditioning, the apartments are cool and inviting with plenty of room to move around. You’ll even have access to the pool and spa facilities of a nearby larger hotel.
Beach Hotel Bozikovina: Step out of bed and onto the beach at the fabulous Beach Hotel Bozikovina. Offering fabulous views and light and spacious rooms, you can spread out without getting under each other’s feet. The fabulous outdoor pool is a highlight and you can enjoy a delicious breakfast onsite before a morning dip. With air conditioning, satellite TV and all the mod cons, this lovely hotel makes for the perfect family base from which to explore.
How to Get There
Getting to Podstrana is simple, with very convenient access from Split Airport (SPU). The flight takes around two hours and 25 minutes from the UK, with Lufthansa offering direct flights from some airports.
If you want to start your holiday off well, I recommend making life easy by pre-booking an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. When you land there’ll be a friendly local driver waiting to meet you, and then it’s just a quick 30-minute drive to Podstrana, where you’ll be dropped off at the door of your accommodation. Couldn’t be easier.
- UK to Split Airport Flight Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
- Split Airport (SPU) to Podstrana: 27 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 30 minutes
About Shuttle Direct
If you’re looking to make your family holiday the stress-free experience you’ve dreamed of, Shuttle Direct can help. We’ve got a reputation as one of the best airport transfer companies in the business, providing cost-effective and convenient shared and private shuttles wherever you need to go in Europe and North Africa. Make a quick and easy booking online before you leave home and we’ll take care of the rest of the details. Fast, friendly and perfect for families – that’s Shuttle Direct.