Our first holiday with Sofie was to Ibiza when she was 9 months old. It was a very nice time, only flying was not such a success with her. That’s why we decided to go by car this time for a road trip of 4 weeks. In advance, we didn’t know how far we would get with a baby, but it ended up being a journey never to be forgotten 🙂
I always wanted to travel to Croatia and then preferably down the whole coastline to Dubrovnik towards the south. Croatia is located in the heart of Europe on the beautiful Adriatic coast bordering Italy, Slovenia and Hungary. On the coast of Croatia you will find more than 1,185 islands, most of them uninhabited. So enough to discover!
Car holiday with a baby
When Sofie was 11 months old we had never driven a long distance with her in the car. So it was a big gamble for us how a car holiday with her to Croatia would please. I did my research on the internet and our biggest challenge was if she would sleep during the long drive.
Through reisweig.nl I encountered the only carrycot that can be completely flat. It seemed very useful to me, because research has shown that babies should not be in the maxi cosi for too long. The carrycot is completely safe and meets all safety requirements for a car seat.
In addition, it is the most healthy way to make a long drive with your baby to your holiday destination. Through a 5 point seat belt your child is securely fastened and because the carrycot can be put completely flat your baby can sleep in the car nice and safe.
I was immediately enthusiastic and afterwards the carrycot turned out to be a real “lifesaver”, because Sofie could sleep well in the car and we eventually drove more than 4,000 km with her!
You can not only buy the carrycot from reiswieg.nl but also rent it. Super handy as trying it out first. We borrowed the Jane Matrix Light and I really think it was an invention and a must for a car holiday with a baby.
Croatia road trip itinerary and where to stay?
Our final stop in Croatia was the island of Brac off the coast of Split, about 1,600 km away. We decided not to travel with a baby for more than 6 hours a day and to divide the journey to Croatia into 3 days. Our first stop was in Southern Germany where we had booked a nice B&B (apartment Held, Mimberg) in Bavaria.
The largest wellness complex in Slovenia
The next day we drove on to Slovenia and just before the border with Croatia we had booked our second stop at wellness center Terme Olimia in Podcetrtek. This wellness complex is the largest in the whole of Slovenia! Terme Olimia has 2 different wellness centres and you will find a large number of indoor and outdoor pools.
In addition, they have 9 types of different saunas and various fitness facilities. For children it is really fantastic because as a visitor you also have free access to the 3000 sqm open air water park Aqualuna.
The water park has many exciting slides, some of which provide a adrenaline rush such as the Kamikaze, Large Tornado and the spectacular King Cobra slide.
For the little ones there is the Aqua Jungle, children’s pools and a swimming pool entirely in jungle theme with different animals from the jungle and waterfalls. Guaranteed fun and for everyone something to do.
We slept in Hotel Sotelia and booked a family suite because we found it handy with a small baby, but you can also book many other different types of accommodation from apartments, hotel rooms to even luxury (glamping) tents. Do you want to know what that looks like? Then take a look here at wellness hotel & apartments Terme Olimia.
We liked it so much here that we spontaneously booked an extra night. From hotel Sotelia you can walk in your bathrobe from your hotel room through underground tunnels to the tropical swimming pool. For Sofie this was the first time and she screamed it out of pleasure 🙂
With a special wristband you have access to the various rooms and also dinner was included. Every evening there was another extensive hot and cold buffet and the food was good and tasty. For us, a buffet is perfect because you never have a very long time with a baby. All waiters were super sweet to her and Sofie really enjoyed all the attention she got.
Unfortunately we were only 2 nights here and the next day we went further towards Croatia. If you are looking for a successful family holiday in beautiful Slovenia then I can definitely recommend Terme Olimia.
Where to stay in Croatia?
Our first stop was the island of Brač off the coast of Split. Brač is Croatia’s third largest island and is best known for its famous “Zlatni Rat” beach, a spit of land in the shape of a golden horn. We stayed for a week in a lovely apartment in Postira, which is really great when travelling with a baby.
If you click on the link here just above you will see where we stayed in Brac and what we did. From Brac you can make beautiful trips to the mainland or visit the beautiful waterfalls Krka (national park) near Split.
We found it ideal that we were travelling by car, because that made us flexible and we always had the car at hand when Sofie had to go home for a sleep. Especially when you are travelling through Croatia, a car holiday is just perfect because you see so many beautiful places that you wouldn’t normally see if you chose to fly.
The coastal areas of Croatia
Dalmatia has one of the most natural beaches of Croatia’s and is located just below Istria (the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea). Since we were travelling towards to the south of Croatia in the direction of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia is the perfect destination to celebrate your holidays in Croatia.
The Dalmatian coast, beautiful pebble beaches
The Dalmatian coast on the mainland of Croatia has much to offer for holidaymakers: clear blue water for swimming and snorkeling, beautiful sunsets, medieval architecture and beautiful beaches.
Makarska Riviera, a hidden secret
The Makarska Riviera is a beautiful spot on the Dalmatian coast, located between the cities of Split and Dubrovnik. It is home to one of the most beautiful beach spots of Croatia.
Makarska is located in a sheltered bay, surrounded by the rocky high mountain range Biokovo, the second highest in Croatia. From the top of Mount St George at 1762 meters, you can see with clear weather the whole region of Dalmatia and even the Italian coast.
In addition to fantastic hiking opportunities, the mountain range acts as a buffer against the harsher continental climate and also provides a rich Mediterranean vegetation on the coast and long sunny summers. During summertime, the central square of Makarska is filled with outdoor restaurants and cafes, while behind the church in the shade, the daily outdoor market sells fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Makarska is also the port of arrival if you come by ferry from the picturesque island of Brac. The trip from Sumartin to Makarska takes about 50 minutes, but be on time because on this boat can only a limited number of cars be parked.
The most important hotspots of the Makarska Riviera are the beaches, bordered by fragrant pine forests and a shimmering turquoise sea. The beach of Makarska is a long curved piece of pebble beach, behind which runs a shady promenade planted with palm trees.
There are pedalos and jet skis for rent, so it is a great place for families. But besides swimming in the deep turquoise Adriatic Sea, the area also offers lots of hiking and mountain biking fun.
The rugged coastline of the Makarska Riviera is delimited by well-marked sandy paths. To the south of Makarska is a 2.5 km long footpath in the middle of the pine forests, which at some points runs along the edge of the cliffs above the sea and offers incredible panoramas.
The path leads first to the unspoilt beach of Nugal, which is characterized by cool and refreshing seawater from underground freshwater springs, which rise here.
Tucepi, the ideal family destination
After Nugal comes Tucepi, a cozy small town on a beautiful boulevard under the pine trees. The main attraction of this small but beautiful city is the 3 kilometre long pebble beach, one of the longest beaches in all Croatia.
Directly above the beach is a promenade where pine trees provide shade on the hot summer days. The boulevard with all kinds of small shops and restaurants runs all the way to the neighboring town of Podgora. In Podgora you will find a cozy harbor and you have a beautiful view of the picturesque coast and crystal clear sea.
TUI Blue Jadran Hotel in Tucepi
Are you looking for a 4 star hotel on the Croatian coast with the service of a 5 star hotel? Then you’re at the right address at TUI Blue Jadran. The design hotel has been completely renovated and has only been open for a year. The hotel has bright and modern rooms and a beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea. You even have rooms with direct access from your balcony to the private pool, how cool is that!
Almost every room has a separate front room before you enter the room with a desk and closet space. Ideal if you’re staying here with a little one, because you can place the baby behind the wall in the baby bed without waking them up from too much sound or light. This was one of the main reasons for me to choose this hotel. In the end we liked our stay so much that we have extended our stay on the spot.
Child friendly hotel TUI Blue Jadran
If you book a stay at TUI Blue Jadran, it is based on half board, which means that in addition to your hotel stay, you also get diner food. Every evening there was a hot and cold buffet with real life cooking. We found the food extremely tasty and the choice huge. From tasty finger food appetizers, to fresh fish from the plate and for dessert choice in abundance.
If you are on holiday with small children, then I think a buffet is ideal when you have a small baby, because you don’t have to wait long for your food to arrive. The hotel has a beautiful outdoor terrace with sea view on the island of Hvar. Almost every evening you will be treated with a deep pink sunset (see 4th picture above).
Tučepi has a beautiful coastline, beautiful beaches and a pleasant atmosphere in the small town directly on the water. It is a perfect place for a quiet and relaxing family holiday in Croatia. Curious about TUI Blue Jadran? View here below the short video and book directly at their hotel.
From Tučepi i it is only a 2.5 hour drive to Dubrovnik. This road also goes along the coast and provides beautiful views. Approximately halfway along the route you will cross the land border of Bosnia Herzegovina. This will only take half an hour to get back into Croatia.
From here it is only an hour’s drive to Dubrovnik where you can imagine yourself back in time. Read here my experience visiting Dubrovnik with a baby. From Dubrovnik we took the night ferry to Bari in the south of Italy. The adventure continues, coming soon…