Welcome to the fourth part of Croatia for children in 2021 series! This one is dedicated to nature and national parks in Croatia and how suitable for kids are they. Visiting nature parks and nature is general is one of the safest ways to travel since Covid-19 happened, so let’s do it!
All of the national and nature parks are open and will remain open in summer 2021.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
The most popular national park in Croatia is called Plitvice Lakes. It is very close to the capital (140 km or 86 mi) and you can come with either car or one of the many buses that bring visitors from Zagreb every day. Now, Plitvice Lakes requires some walking around to see several beautiful waterfalls and 16 lakes following one after another.
If you travel with young children you can take the shorter routes instead of the long ones. A short route lasts around two hours, while the longest options could take a whole day, or up to 8-10 hours.
There are several hotels nearby as well as many private accommodation options. Be aware that swimming is not allowed at Plitvice Lakes.
Lonjsko Polje Nature Park
Lonjsko Polje (Lonja Field) is a nature park 115 km or 75 mi from the capital Zagreb. It is not as spectacular as Plitvice with its waterfalls and lakes, but has its own charm. Younger children would be happy to spend some time watching the many birds living here, or the horses, or the cows, or the pigs. There’s also an option to take one-hour river trip. My family loved our two-day stay in the region in the summer of 2020 – here are all the details.
The accommodation nearby includes a few hotels and mostly ethnoo village houses, all at reasonable prices since this is not one of the top hot Croatia destinations.
Parks in Istria
National Park Brijuni is unique for the dinosaur footprints discovered here. It is a group of 14 small islands, located very close to Pula. The park is also a holiday resort with several hotels available and regular ferry connections.
The children will be fascinated by the dinosaur stuff at Brijuni, but toddlers and kids may not appreciate it as much as older children and teenagers.
Parks in Dalmatia
Dalmatia is full of national parks, but not all of them are so suitable for traveling with kids.
Krka on river Krka
Krka National Park is the most children-friendly national park in Croatia. A beautiful nature site along the course of the Krka River with awesome waterfalls. There are restaurants, donkeys, picnic areas and the option to swim nearby the waterfalls.
The park offers free tickets for individuals under 18 in the month of April 2021 in an effort to support children to spend more time in nature rather than online.
You can take the free boat from Skradin, the closest village to the park, which will take you to the park in some 15/20 minutes.
Let’s go boating!
Kornati National Park is an archipelago of 89 islands that can be visited on a boat, yacht, or a group boat excursion. There aren’t any hotels or accommodation options. No ferry lines can bring you here either. This makes Kornati a suitable place only if you sail and that is your type of family vacation.
Still, going on a one-day boat excursion can be a lot of fun. Just keep in mind that you will spend most of the time on the vessel rather than exploring the island. Same goes for the trips to National Park Mljet which covers the entire north-west part of Mljet Island. To explore it, you’ll need to travel on water.
Paklenica and Velebit
Paklenica National Park in Velebit mountain is the most visited climbing and hiking site in Croatia. Therefore, come here only with older children or teenagers that are used to hiking and enjoy it : )
Need more ideas?
Here is how to stay safe in Croatia in 2021.