A walled city, stunning scenery and islands to explore on a Dubrovnik family holiday
With a flight time of just under three hours and a Mediterranean climate, it’s no wonder Dubrovnik is so popular for a family getaway. The city offers an elegant old town, beach areas and a sweep of islands just off the coastline.
Behind the medieval walls of Dubrovnik’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are renaissance churches, palaces and an ancient monastery. No visit to Dubrovnik is complete without exploring the impressive fortifications that surround the city. A walk along the two-kilometre walls will reward you with stunning panoramic views over Dubrovnik.
Best family friendly beaches
The pebbly and sandy Banje Beach, accessible via a flight of steps, is the closest beach to the old town and offers a scenic view of old Dubrovnik and the uninhabited island of Lokrum. Families with older children can enjoy a host of activities here including jet skiing, banana boats and paragliding. The sandy and pebbly Bellevue Beach is popular with families in the morning, although the surrounding cliffs offer some welcome shade from the hot afternoon sun.
Meanwhile, Blue Flag President Beach has sand and pebbles and is located on the Lapad peninsula with a scenic view of the Elaphite islands. Another pebbly number on the Lapad peninsula, Copacabana Beach has shallow sea and is perfect for families with young children. This bustling beach offers plenty of activities including kayaking, volleyball, tubing, water skiing and banana boat rides.
Best family-friendly activities in Dubrovnik
Stradun, Dubrovnik’s pedestrian promenade, is a lively spot with many shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as numerous historical sites. Or for an ideal escape from urban Dubrovnik, a 15-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik’s old harbour is Lush Lokrum, a beautiful, forested island with a large medieval Benedictine monastery and botanical gardens. Although the beaches are rocky, it’s also a popular swimming spot.
Numerous other clusters of islands lie off the coast of Croatia. Hvar offers an elegant Venetian town, with a palm tree-lined promenade clustered with luxury yachts. If your family fancy a break from the beach, go hiking in Hvar’s rugged landscape of lavender fields and hillside vineyards.
Brac, the largest island in central Dalmatia, is famous for its white stone, used to build the White House and its long, pebbly beach at Bol – one of Croatia’s most photographed beaches. It has sleepy stone villages and a dramatic Mediterranean landscape of steep cliffs and pine forests.
Other popular holidays in Croatia
If you enjoyed reading about Dubrovnik, have a look at other holiday opportunities in Croatia. Porec has a mix of pebbly and sandy beaches and stunning architecture, plus a waterpark with eight pools, 12 slides and a children’s playground. Also located on the coast, a family holiday in Pula is a mix of historic sights like the ancient amphitheatre and having fun at Blue Flag, sandy Ambrela beach and Alpha Strike Lazer Tag.
But if Dubrovnik is your preferred choice, read more about it in our travel guide and below are some of our best family-friendly hotels.
Tucked away in tropical gardens on the Lapad peninsula, this 4* hotel is just a couple of minutes' walk from a pebbly beach. It has an outdoor and indoor swimming pool and a spa with a kids' corner, perfect for parents who want to be pampered. Children will love the large playground and the homemade pastries and ice-cream served in the lobby bar. Dining options include a buffet and an a la carte restaurant plus a selection of bars and restaurants just a five-minute walk from the hotel. And if you fancy taking the family into Dubrovnik old town, three kilometres away, there's a local bus service which drops you there.
This peaceful, traditional-style house is located just a 10-minute walk from the centre of Zaton Mali hamlet. Its two bedrooms are perfect for a small family wanting a quiet holiday with the option of Self Catering and dining al fresco or eating in the nearby restaurant, only 150 metres away. As well as rocky coves and fishing jetties, Zaton Mali is home to pebbly beach, just a 10-minute walk away from the house or a 20-minute bus ride takes you to Dubrovnik. vic
The elegant 5* Ariston Hotel offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea from its location on the Lapad peninsula. Families can relax around the hotel pool or on the rocky, manmade beach, 50 metres away, or for the more active, there's a gym, table tennis and bike hire. If you prefer a bit of pampering, head to the sauna and spa. Meals are provided at the buffet restaurant and two a la carte restaurants or, if you prefer to venture out of the hotel, Dubrovnik old town is only a 10-minute drive away.