Do you plan to visit Istria with kids? If not, you may change you mind after reading this article. Heart-shaped Istrian Peninsula is one of the best destinations in Croatia for a family vacation. And my personal favorite! So I decided to share 5 reasons why everyone should visit Istria with kids.
Of course, I already praised Istria as a family-friendly place in my travel Croatia with kids guide. But there is so much more to say! Istria is perfect vacation spot for families with children. Read on to find out why!
5 Reasons To Visit Istria With Kids
With beautiful coastal scenery, picturesque towns and unspoiled nature, Istrian peninsula is the best area in Croatia for a family holiday. There are plenty of entertainment and sports facilities in Istria for kids, with tons of activities they can enjoy. And a lot to learn!
Amazing Pula Arena
The most impressive monument in Istria is amphitheater located in Pula. It’s called Pula Arena and is the only remaining Roman amphitheater to have four side towers. Moreover, Arena of Pula is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world!
Because of it’s gigantic size and the fact it was used for gladiator fights, Pula Arena is popular attraction to visit in Istria with kids.
Also, there is a less-known legend my boys find interesting. Supposedly, the fairies are responsible for the construction of Pula Arena. They built Divic-city by carrying stones from the Istrian mountain Ucka.
The word “divic” comes from the Old Slavic language and means miracle. This tells us how much the ancient Slavs were fascinated by the beauty of this Roman building.
Legend has it that the fairies only worked at night when nobody can see them. So they had no chance to build a roof over their “miracle city”. Of course, that turned out to be awesome. Because nowadays, numerous musicians and artists perform in Arena under the clear sky.
Isn’t that a super-cool story to tell your kids!?
Crystal Clear Sea & Beautiful Beaches
Istria not only has amazing history, but is also surrounded by more than 440 kilometers of coastline. There are more than 40 beaches awarded with the prestigious Blue Flag – a special international symbol of excellence.
No matter which part of the Istrian coast you choose to visit, the sea is crystal clear and your kids can go swimming without hesitation. But don’t forget to buy them water shoes to prevent injuries, as many of the beaches are pebbly and rocky.
That is to say, some beaches in Istria are more kid-friendly than the others. For example, they offer easy entrance to the sea, water sports, shade under the pine and a bar or restaurant nearby, where kids can have an ice cream.
The most popular beaches in Istria for families with children are:
- The Sol Polynesia Beach – located in the village Katoro, about 2 km from Umag in the immediate vicinity of Sol Polynesia Apartments Resort. The beach contains pebble, stone and sandy parts. It’s ideal for families with kids because of easy access to the sea and a playground located right above the beach.
- Bijeca Beach – more than a kilometer long sandy beach located in Medulin. This beautiful beach, which is by the way, great for building sand-castles, is a great choice for families with small children. They can play and splash around in the shallow waters all they long!
Insider Tip: Best Beach In Istria For kids
Last year in July we were on a vacation in Istria with kids and we discovered this beautiful, less-known beach near Pula. It’s a real gem and I’m really excited to share this info with you!
The beach is called Hidrobaza and it’s located near Štinjan, Pula in Puntižela area, former military base for hydroplanes. It’s the newest beach in the Istria region and has a lot of facilities including new showers and changing cabins. Plus, there is a large (free!) parking about 100 meters from the beach.
The inflatable donut on the photo above was a huge hit on our summer vacation in Istria! Kids loved it! Inflatable ride-ons will surely provide additional fun at the beach for the whole family. Or at the pool!
Right at the beach is also a wonderful Beach Bar Baza. There you can drink your coffee or cocktail in the shadow of surrounding pine trees and watch your kids play in shallow waters. Besides the great coffee, they also offer a variety of affordable drinks and snacks for kids. And of course ice-cream!
I really liked that the beach was not crowded even in the high peek of the season. And the water was crystal clear and had the most amazing turquoise color ever. I swear, it felt like paradise!
My kids loved this beach, and needless to say more, we are planning to come back this year late in June! So stay tune and subscribe for more insider tips about Croatia.
National Park Brijuni Islands
Istria is indeed a ‘terra magica’; blessed with unspoiled nature and crystal clean sea. But there are also Brijuni, a group of 14 small islands famous for their scenic beauty.
Brijuni National Park is great place to visit in Istria with kids. It’s an exceptionally rich cultural and historical heritage, with gorgeous beaches and remains from ancient times.
The largest island, Veli Brijun lies 1 mile off the Istrian coast. We went there last year in Spring, with an organized tour from Fazana. I suggest you contact the National Park office and book the tickets a few days before you plan to take the trip. Then you can pick up and pay for the tickets on arrival at the office in Fazana. The sailing trip to Veli Brijun island takes about 15 minutes.
Once we got there, we took the mini-train to take us around. It was very nice and kids enjoyed the ride. But the next time we plan to rent a golf buggy or bikes to explore the island more freely.
The highlights of our trip to National park Brijuni, according to my kids, were:
- Finding Dinosaur footprints ( most famous Dinosaur remains are those found in the area of the National Park Brijuni )
- Visiting the Safari park with lots of animals ( they especially liked zebras and elephant Lanka )
- Memorabilia of former Yugoslavian leader Tito and his old Cadillac ( of course, boys loves cars! )
- Roman ruins ( I’m really happy they find this interesting! )
- Boat ride ( my kids love boat trips, but they prefer the short ride, like this one, lol! )
Things To Do In Istria With Kids
Beside taking a day trip to Brijuni Islands and hitting the beach, there’s a lot more fun things to do in Istria with kids. Above all, amusement parks and numerous activities for children makes Istria the best kid-friendly place in Croatia.
Here’s a list of things to do in Istria with kids:
- Aquapark Istralandia – huge water park located near the road leading from Novigrad to Nova Vas.
- Aquapark Porec – another gigantic water park situated about 2 km from the sea, near the summer resort Zelena Laguna Porec
- Dinopark Funtana – theme park near Porec city featuring life-sized dinosaurs, super-fun rides, snack bars & live entertainment shows
- Višnjan observatory – one of the top 10 most successful observatories in the world by the number of discovered asteroids
- Aquarium Pula – large aquarium situated in the former military fort Verudela. Aside the numerous species of Adriatic underworld, they also have a sea turtle rescue centre. My kids loved their visit!
- Explore Caves – there are many impressive caves in Istria. The most famous ones are: The Baredine cave near Porec, Mramornica Cave near Brtonigla and Kingdom of Feštini cave ( village Festini, close to Zminj ). You can also try adrenaline-filled adventure Zip-line Pazin Cave, although I wouldn’t recommended it for kids.
- Horseback riding – great way to spend a day in nature with your kids! Best places in Istria for horseback riding are: Ranch Istra Star in Medulin, Ranch Nemir i Sjena in Galižana and Ranch Barba Tone in Barban.
- Watch the Lighting Giants – every day after dark, the giant cranes of the Uljanik Shipyard in Pula, light up in thousands of colors and special effects. So let your kids stay up late and enjoy the lighting performance!
Unusual Things To do In Istria With Kids
- Butterfly Garden – a part of ecological Centre of Eia, situated in the untouched nature between Bale and Krmede. The park has various plants and flowers that attract more than 50 species of butterflies, some quite rare.
- Squirrel Park – located in Umag, not far from Hotel Melia Coral, this lovely park with its wooden benches is favorite spot for different species of squirrels. And kids, too!
- Escape Castle Svetvincenat – visit their web site for more information: Grimani Castle
One more reason to visit Istria with kids is the fact that the prices are reasonable and the quality you get for your money is excellent, especially if you book your trip in advance. It’s much more cheaper compared with Dalmatian Cost, not to mention Italy. And it’s certainly less crowded!
Another great way to save money is to check out all-inclusive resorts in Istria. Some hotels allow children up to certain age to stay for free when using existing beds. You will need to check each hotel’s child policy separately.
Every parent knows is great to have extra cash when traveling with kids. Although, if you like me, you’ll probably spend it on extra fun ( and often unplanned ) activities.
Tours In Istria With Kids
Consider to take a guided tour or a day trip during your holiday in Istria with kids. They’ll have a lot of fun and learn something new about Croatian history and culture. I’ve picked some tours bellow, but for more available options ( including price and reviews ), visit GetYourGuide website.
Where To Stay In Istria With Kids
If you wondering where to stay in Istria with kids, here are few options to check out:
Family Hotel Amarin, Rovinj
When it comes to kid-friendly hotels in Istria, Family Hotel Amarin is a great choice! Located only 50m from the sea, this top-rated hotel features 4 restaurants with special menus for children, outdoor swimming pools, babysitting service, playgrounds and wide variety of fun activities for kids of all ages.
The hotels also has Wellness and Spa zone, both for children and adults, and Kids Gym with unique equipment.
Valamar Tamaris Resort, Poreč
This resort has a long tradition as being the most popular place to stay in Istria with kids. It’s located within walking distance from 5 different beach types on the forested Lanterna Peninsula.
Valamar Tamaris Resort provides many activities for the little ones, including water sports facilities and horseback riding. Kids can also play in the designated outdoor Maro Play zone spread on more than 1900 sq meters. And bikes are provided free of charge!
For explore more options on where to stay in Istria with kids, click bellow.
Have I convinced you to visit Istria with kids? I hope you’ll at least think about it! Istria is a great place in Croatia for a family vacation.
In this article, we’ve covered top 5 reasons why everyone should visit Istria with kids as well as child-friendly activities and accommodation in Istria region.
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