Since having kids, we’ve mostly hit up the all inclusive, family-style resorts for our 2 weeks in the sun. Anywhere that has a kids club, pool, serves pizza and chips, has a disco, and I repeat, has a kids club! These are usually pretty good, and while it’s not particularly cultural, or adventurous, they make the boys happy, and we all come home with a little tan. Job done.
So silly, silly me for forgetting all of the wise words above. For years – actually I think it was pre-miller, I’ve been harping on about island-hopping in Croatia. But things always seemed to come up and we never got round to it. Partly I think because it felt a bit daunting – until recently I hadn’t known anyone who had visited Croatia before, and when I lazily looked into it, I’d gotten overwhelmed by the logistics of it – there’s something like over 2,000 islands in Croatia, loads looked decent, but I never figured out an itinerary, so we just went somewhere easier.
Well, there’s nothing like giving birth to make you feel brave! A couple of weeks after Fletch was born easyjet released their summer flights and I spotted some from Luton to Split, then returning from Dubrovnik for under £100pp during the school summer holidays. As babies under 2 fly for free, I thought this was a good deal and booked them, feeling all pleased with myself. I then found a lovely apartment (awesome stone house) in Split for 3 nights on booking.com and we ( by ‘we’, I mean me!) decided that the island of Korcula would be a nice place to explore, so also found another apartment for 4 nights there on the same site. As a treat, we booked into a nice hotel in Dubrovnik for the final week.
I would definitely recommend Croatia, and am glad that we went, but it wasn’t relaxing! If you’re thinking of visiting (and you should!) here’s some things to bear in mind:
- Those pretty streets you’ve seen on Insta – look again at those cobbles and stairs. Not fun with a buggy.
- The food is amazing – lots of fresh fish and lots of local wine (this came in handy for us!) being so close to Italy there’s also really good pasta, risotto and pizza. Nowhere we found had kids menu’s, which was fine for Miller who has always been a good eater, one night he even had scallops (which weren’t cheap and I wanted to say no, but then thought what a horrible mum i’d be, so he had the scallops, didn’t really like them, so I ended up with them while he tucked into my seafood linguine) I’m not bitter, honest!
- Fletcher was on the other end of the adventurous tastebud scale, and would only eat pain au chocolat, or at a push a plain croissant, along with Croatian crisps for the 2 weeks.
- I don’t know if it was the exchange rate – thanks Brexit – but it wasn’t that cheap to eat out. Korcula was the best value place we went to, but in Dubrovnik you’d be looking at over £20 for a bottle of local wine, at least £10 for a main course and around £5 for a beer.
- Having stayed in both apartments and a hotel on this trip there were pros and cons to both. It felt more authentic staying in the apartments, with then owners giving us tips for things to see and do, plus it was handy having a kitchen especially with fletcher – preparing those croissants requires some space doncha’ know!
- It was nice coming back to a cleaned and cool hotel room each day, and the view from our balcony was amazing. Having access to a pool was a winner for us with the boys too, as most of the beaches are pebbly. I also love BBC News 24 or CNN and they have these in most hotels, and weirdly, that makes me feel like i’m on holiday!
- Take snorkels and sea shoes as you’ll get a lot of use out of them – there’s tons of beaches and areas for you to take a dip.
- Research the day trips – Krka Waterfalls on Insta looks like a secluded paradise. In reality it was like Glasto with a waterfall, and despite spending 3 hours getting to and from it, and over £100, we stayed for 10mins, took a pic and then left as I was just panicking one of the boys would slip / drown / drink some of the pissy water.
I’m not going to lie, the combination of travelling multiple times with kids in the 2 weeks did take its toll on Paul and I, especially as Fletcher was poorly with a viral infection, and teething. At one point, in a sleep deprived fog, Paul was googling flights to pay for my mum or my best friend to come out and meet us to help, but I couldn’t have asked them to endure Fletcher’s wrath too! I think if he had been on top form it would have been ok, as Miller did take it all in his stride.
So while I’m not saying Croatia with kids wasn’t fun, it certainly might have been…less fun. But then if we’d have gone without them I’d have missed them the whole time, and also, despite everything, we do love our kids! The way Miller said ‘Hvala’ (Thank you in Croatian) to everyone confidently all trip filled me with pride each and every time. The way he jumped off a high wall into the sea showed me he has inherited my daredevil gene and also that he’s growing up now. Swimming and playing on the inflatables with Fletcher, his feistiness and seeing his smiles and how he loved being out and about (and his naps in the buggy were happy times, not gonna lie!) so yeah, I may have read less books, not got a great tan, or been able to have long and leisurely lunches with a cold beer in the sun, having my squad with me makes me me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Apart from our wedding anniversary in May, if you’re reading this mum, the boys are all yours for 2 nights then – adults only hotel here we come!)
One of the beaches in Korcula.
Sunset from our balcony in Dubrovnik
A glimpse of the sea in Dubrovnik old town