Q: Dear Playground: We’re looking for a fun summer trip with our three kids, ages 6 to 14. We’ve traveled to Europe before, and we’re thinking maybe Dubrovnik, Croatia this summer. Do you have any insights? ~ Thanks, MSH
A: Hi MSH,
Dubrovnik, and Croatia as a whole, is a great destination for a family. It’s a beautiful walled Medieval city (in fact, it’s so picturesque, large parts of Game of Thrones are filmed here). To explore the city, you can actually walk on top of the walls, and then duck down tiny cobblestone streets to seek out the best gelato (a speciality of this city near Northern Italy).
I highly recommend either signing up for a boat excursion to the islands you can spot from the walls, including nearby Lokrum, or simply hopping on a ferry to spend the day exploring. The cobalt Adriatic Sea is reminiscent of the Mediterranean and crystal clear.
With a family of five, it may be worth it to charter a sailboat for the afternoon and explore the coastline, including Korcula, where Marco Polo is supposed to be from (I’ve heard other origin stories for the explorer, but don’t tell the folks here that!)
Another highlight of Dubrovnik is the glass enclosed Cable Car that brings you to the best views around.
Since Dubrovnik is a popular summer cruise destination, the city can get really crowded during the peak excursion hours of 9 to 3, so plan on walking around the city either early or late if you see a large cruise ship docked offshore.
I stayed at Hotel Bellevue, which I can highly recommend. It’s just outside the southern entrance to the walls, so you won’t have to deal with crowds. And it has its own private beach (score!), as well as a lovely restaurant overlooking the sea. There are two room suites which will give you plenty of room to spread out with your family. (Also, the breakfast buffet, included in the price, is AWESOME!)
You’ll definitely want to explore beyond the old city though, especially in summer when the Adriatic beaches are at their most beautiful. Consider heading down the coast to Split, which is know for its beautiful shoreline.
Hope this helps!
Bon voyage and happy travels!