Kayaking the Adriatic Coast of Croatia with children
Enjoying a fabulous Mediterranean climate and a beautiful coastline all just 2 1/2 hours flying time from the UK, Croatia is an ideal summer holiday destination for families. Dubrovnik, in the south of Croatia has played an important role throughout the region's history. Once a strategically important port dominating trade between the Mediterranean and the Balkans, the city was prosperous. It came to fame for different reasons in the 1990's when it was under siege during the country's fight for independence. Twenty years later, it has once again achieved the prosperity and elegance of its glory days thanks to its popularity as a tourist destination. Many visitors arrive on cruise ships, visiting just for the day. However, with many airlines (including Easy Jet, British Airways, Monarch, Jet2 & FlyBe to name a few) offering competitive prices on direct flights from the UK, many families are choosing to visit the region for a longer stay.
Where to go
It goes without saying that a visit to Dubrovnik is a must on any itinerary to the region. The old part of the city is small and easily navigable on foot. A walk on the city walls is a must and children will love the views (and the ice cream stops along the way!) In the heart of the old town, are a couple of old monasteries that are interesting to visit as well as an interesting photographic exhibition of the siege of Dubrovnik. It is not too culture heavy, however, which will be music to children's ears. The old town lends itself particularly well to ambling along the streets and taking in the atmosphere. There are numerous restaurants serving up Mediterranean cuisine which you can enjoy whilst watching the world go by.
Away from Dubrovnik, there is some beautiful countryside, with the mountains to the East and the coast to the West. The Elaphiti Islands, an archipelago north west of Dubrovnik, are beautiful and ideal of exploring on foot or by kayak. Families particularly enjoy the car-free island of Lopud, which is also home to one of the few natural sandy beaches in the region. There is a small port with a handful of restaurants and a fort at the top of the island which is a lovely hike, especially close to sunset. Nearby Kolocep offers some fabulous walking trails and one of the best fish restaurants in the region. The final and furthest island, Sipan, is quieter than its neighbours and has a particularly interesting coastline, with a couple of caves that can be explored by kayak.
We have two holidays in Croatia that are suitable for families. Our Family Sea Kayaking Holiday is based on the island of Lopud for a full week, with daily kayaking and boat activities and plenty of time to relax and play on the beach. The coastline is stunning, perfect for exploring by kayak, but the seas are gentle and the guides very experienced, so it is a perfect place for beginners and children to learn. The accommodation is in basic apartments, owned by local families. All are in walking distance of the port.
This year, we have introduced a new family holiday, the Dubrovnik & Islands Explorer, which sees families staying in Dubrovnik, Sipan and Lopud. The itinerary is a blend of independent exploring and guided activities, including kayaking, cycling and a speedboat ride. As with our Kayaking holiday, accommodation in is locally-owned apartments, although upgraded accommodation is available.
When to go
The Dubrovnik region and Elaphite islands enjoy a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny summers and mild winters. Rainfall is low but cannot be ruled out any time of the year. To be able to enjoy the sea we recommend May to September. May, June and September benefit from perfect temperatures, lower crowds and lower prices, whilst July and August is hottest and busiest.