With a stunning coastline including over 1000 islands, of all sizes and character from limestone outcrops to forested beauties, the Dalmatian coast of Croatia offers somewhere for every type of family holiday. Take your teens on a Game of Thrones tour around exquisite medieval Dubrovnik, go back to nature on an unspoiled car-free island, enjoy a boat trip, get stuck in to watersports. These six beguiling hideaways range from Bohemian retreats to stylish villas, all with views of the sapphire-blue Adriatic Sea.
The verdant and beachy island of Korcula is located roughly half-way between Dubrovnik and Split. This brand new (and well-priced) hotel, 10 minutes from the medieval capital, overlooks a sheltered bay, with fresh modern rooms set into the hillside. Below is a waterside bistro serving gourmet Asian-Med cuisine, and a small private beach. Outdoorsy families will relish paddle boarding, windsurfing and snorkelling, there are boat trips aplenty, and bicycles can be hired to explore the island. The three family suites have kitchenettes and can sleep a family of 5.
Although Hvar is considered one of the most glitzy Dalmatian islands, these 3 restored stone buildings are in its lush isolated interior, immersed in nature, on a south-facing slope with super sea views. Ideal for one or two families (it can sleep up to 10), and with an infinity pool, tennis court, volleyball pitch and sauna, this is the near-perfect rural bolthole. With no neighbours and 3 hectares of gardens kids can whoop away to their heart’s content. There’s a large open-plan well-equipped kitchen plus barbecue, pizza oven and organic vegetable patch for gourmet feasting. And you’re a short drive from beaches, watersports, hiking and neolithic caves.
Ten minutes on from Hvar by boat, and surrounded by gin-clear waters, this tiny freeform car-free island has matchless coves and near-deserted beaches. No better place for the founding of a Bohemian haven 100 years ago: the Meneghello family have created a colourful eco-retreat of rustic villas and stone bungalows filled with contemporary art set in lush exotic gardens. There are bungalows for all family sizes, villas have kitchenettes for simple meals and the two on-site restaurants serve kid-friendly fare. Teens will love the plethora of watersports including kayaking and diving on hand, there are two playgrounds nearby and the beach is just steps away.
At first glance you’d think the peninsula another of the Dalmatian islands, but its long lean body is connected to the mainland by a slender thread. On its southern side, near the tip, facing Korcula island, is the sleepy village of Viganj. Here a 16th-century stone dwelling has been restored with 21st-century creature comforts including a big open-plan living/dining area, modern kitchen and large sea view terrace complete with barbecue. Steps lead down to a delightful pool and terrace, carry on down to reach the sea. The five bedrooms include two ensuite doubles for parents and a bunk room for kids, perfect for an extended family holiday.
On the main square, right in the centre of the UNESCO-listed walled Old Town is this former nobleman’s palace; you couldn’t be better placed for exploring its mazy alleyways and heritage buildings. The service is courteous and helpful, the rooms are gracious and those on the upper levels have sea views. There’s a choice of a ground floor Parisian-style cafe or seafood-based restaurant on the first floor, and plenty of other eateries on your doorstep. Walk the Old Walls, book a Game of Thrones tour, charter the hotel’s sailing boat for a day, relax at the hotel’s private beach 5 minutes away.
This large vibrantly decorated villa is on the outskirts of Hvar Town, giving you the best of both worlds: easy access to the restaurants and bustle of this beautiful heritage town, and a tranquil sanctuary by the sea for you and your family. The villa is divided into two apartments, each sleeping 6 in two doubles and a twin, or it can be taken as a whole for a multi-generational get-together. Food shops are a short stroll away, there’s a shared outdoor kitchen and barbecue above the shimmering pool (with shallow end and pool toys for small ones) and lush gardens. The beach is below.