From the moment I walked through the drawbridge into the Old Town, I felt as though I had been transported through time. The history of the city gives it this incredible atmosphere. It is laid back but also stoic and graceful. There are so many nooks and crannies to discover.
And even though your kids probably haven’t seen Game of Thrones, which had numerous scenes shot in the city, it is a place where you don’t really have to have a great imagination to believe dragons may fly over the city walls at any moment. With incredible beaches for relaxing, national parks for any level of hiking, history to learn, and food to enjoy, Dubrovnik has it all.
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
Set in a grand 1890s building and a 20th-century villa, this stately hotel is 3 minutes’ walk from both the medieval Franciscan Monastery and the 16th-century Pile Gate beside the Old Town. For families, being able to walk to Old Town and many other noteworthy attractions puts this at the top of my list.
Not only does it have an incredible location,this hotel includes relaxed rooms featuring flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and iPod docks, minibars, and tea and coffeemakers. Upgraded rooms offer balconies, sea views and separate sitting areas, as well as access to an executive lounge with free snacks.
Amenities include an elegant restaurant, a lobby bar and a terrace bar, and a spa.
Sun Gardens Dubrovnik
If you are looking for a beach retreat I love Sun Gardens for its natural pebble beach just steps away from the resort. Many other hotels in the area have a cliff or very rocky sea entrance which would worry me with kids. Sun Gardens has a stretch of beach with shallow, clear water perfect for families.
Conveniently located close to the medieval town of Dubrovnik, yet tucked away from the crowds, the resort offers a great choice for every type of traveler
The vibrant, elegant design seamlessly blends with its charming Mediterranean surroundings. A vast choice of amenities and services, as well as the sublime tranquility of the lush nature and one of the cleanest seas of Europe await you.
Walk the City Walls in Old Dubrovnik
The medieval fortifications around Dubrovnik are a must-see, with incredible views of the Old Town and the startlingly blue Adriatic at every turn. But the walk is some two kilometres, so do it first thing in the morning before the heat and crowds descend, and bring lots of water. It is not very stroller friendly so make sure you have a carrier for little ones.
Explore the Island Lokrum
The island of Lokrum is the perfect place to visit during your stay in Dubrovnik. It is about a ten minute ferry ride from the Dubrovnik harbor. Kids will enjoy the roaming peacocks and bunnies. There are also monastery ruins, an old fort, and a playground. With botanical gardens, swimming areas, and walking trails, there is something for each member of the family.
Adventurous families will want to take advantage of local kayak rentals and tours. We love the family-friendly Adventure Dubrovnik tour. It starts from Pile Beach, which is situated in a small park across the bay from Fort Lovrijenac. After circling the City Walls and Lokrum Island, the tour docks at a hidden cove for an extended beach break, complete with refreshments and snorkelling opportunities.
Cable Car to Mt. Srđ
The Summit of Mount Srd offers incredible views of Dubrovnik old city, surrounding islands and the Adriatic Sea. Plus the cable car is much easier on small legs than hiking the summit. At the top you will find restaurants, historic monuments and a war museum. And of course those breathtaking views from every angle!
Wondering why you would go all the way to Dubrovnik just to visit an aquarium? This is not your basic aquarium, it is located in the medieval St. John’s fortress next to Dubrovnik’s harbour. Fresh seawater runs continuously into the 31 tanks. As such, it will mesmerize your kids from the entrance, as there are plenty of exhibits of flora and fauna, along with several underwater mysteries.
Cadmos Village Adventure Park
Positioned in Konavle at a short driving distance from Dubrovnik, this adventure park will keep both you and your kids entertained for a day. Cadmos Village adventure park features three levels and 4 zip-lines, a giant swing and other outdoor activities suitable for families and children, as well as for adventure-seeking adults.
Island Lopud by Ferry
Another great local island to visit is Lopud. It is a favorite of local families because of its SANDY BEACHES!!! The sea is crystal clear and water is shallow so it is much more enjoyable with little ones. Local shops are filled with fun stuff for the beach, there are high quality ice creams offered everywhere, and you can rent pedal boats or bikes or take advantage of the tennis, and badminton courts.
Banje Beach, the most well-known beach near the Dubrovnik Old Town, was only five minute’s walk from Ploče Gate. It can get crowded but it is a wonderful spot for enjoying the clear waters, and gravel beach with views of the old city walls and Lokum Island. Banje Beach Restaurant offers for-hire sun chairs, but you can sit anywhere on the beach in front of the sun chairs for free.
A great day trip is to the enchanting Medieval town of Ston. Around 30 miles (50 km) away, you’ll reach the city, famous for its more than 3-mile-long (5 km) fortified defensive wall: the longest in Europe and the second longest in the world. In fact, its length has earned it the nickname “the Great Wall of Europe”! Construction of the walls began in 1358 and they protected not only the city, but also the valuable salt evaporation ponds that provided a third of the income of the Dubrovnik Republic. Ston is known for its oysters and incredible restaurants as well.
Mljet National Park
Mljet is the southernmost island and greenest of all the islands in the Adriatic Sea. It is covered by a National Park, also well known for its beautiful lakes. It is conveniently connected by daily ferry boat lines with Dubrovnik. Once there you can see the main attraction on the island which is the Benedictine Monastery at St Mary’s Islet or visit Polače village that features unusual ruins of the ancient Roman palace from 5th century AD. What I think you will most enjoy is Mljet national park which was established in 1960 and covers the northwestern part of the island well known for its lush vegetation, large pine forest and two amazingly scenic saltwater lakes Large and Small Lake. The lakes are encircled by tarmac paths, ideal for walking or cycling where you can choose numerous spots to stop and bathe in warm and clear waters, perfect for bathing. Water in these lakes is much warmer than anywhere else along the island’s coast.
Old Town of Dubrovnik is not very stroller friendly. If you are only planning on staying on the main walkways then a stroller will be fine. However, if you plan on walking the city walls, exploring the town beyond the shops and lower streets, then you should definitely make sure to bring a baby/toddler carrier along with you.
Like most of Croatia, the beaches around Dubrovnik are rocky and/or small pebble beaches. There are not many sand beaches in Croatia. Plan ahead and pack water shoes for yourself and your children.
If you decide to take the cable car, hike or drive up to Mt. Srd Konoba Dubrava is a great dining option. It is a family friendly spot with a playground complete with swings outside. It is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Croatian cuisine without the hustle and bustle of the city and tourists in the Old Town.
Choose travel times that are easier on the kids. If you’re flying directly in to Dubrovnik with children and have a long flight, make sure to schedule some recovery time.
Note that young children legally must use car seats in Croatia. However, adding them on to your car rental is really expensive. For that reason, you may even want to consider bringing yours from home.
The best time to do anything in Dubrovnik with kids was as early as possible, before the masses of tourists took over. By lunch head back in our hotel room, enjoy some downtime and let them play for the afternoon and head back out in the evening.
If you plan to walk the Dubrovnik walls, visit any museums and/or take any local buses, it’s worth getting a Dubrovnik Card (children 7 and under are free for all these things, so you don’t need one for them.
If walking the City Walls, start at the Ploče Gate entrance with kids. It is not as popular as the Pile Gate entrance so if you arrive right when it opens, you will have the walls almost entirely to yourself. You also get the hardest most uphill part of the walk out of the way first when your kids have the most energy AND the sunlight is better for taking photos before you get all sweaty.
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