It might not have your typical sandy beaches, but that doesn’t stop Istria from being one of the best destinations in Croatia for families. If you want to keep the kids entertained there’s no shortage of fun things to do – take a look at our Oliver’s Travels Top Six.
Take to the trees in Glavani Park
Your little monkeys are sure to enjoy a trip to Glavani Park and its three treetop obstacle courses. Everyone’s strapped in and a crash helmet is compulsory, so despite all the racing adrenaline, there’s no chance of injury. The courses cater to different ages and confidence levels, so there’s something for young children as well as teens.
Go pony trekking
Northern Istria is famous for its beautiful countryside, and you’ll see much more of it on horseback. Valley of Horses riding school offers very reasonable prices, with ten minute pony rides for children priced at just 5€. There are several different rides to choose from – one charming route takes you past Hum, the smallest town in the world.
Travel back in time
Future palaeontologists will love a trip to Dinopark, a theme park centred around (you guessed it) dinosaurs. As well as an impressive collection of animatronic dinos, there’s also a circus with acrobats and funfair rides. The park is just a short drive from our Vila Andora, so if your kids are particularly fascinated by prehistoric reptiles, you can easily spend the whole day there before driving back in the evening.
Go swimming in the sea
They may not be sandy, but Istria’s beaches are still world renowned. The crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, as long as you’ve brought along some jellies or sailing shoes to protect everyone’s feet. Lone Bay near Rovinj has gorgeous views, pedalos and rowboats, and a great selection of restaurants serving freshly-caught seafood.
Visit an aquarium (or three)
As you might expect from a coastal region, Istria also does aquariums quite well. You’ll find them in Umag, Rovinj, Poreg and Pula, all showcasing fish and plant life from the Adriatic Sea, but we’d recommend Aquarium Pula if you’re choosing just one. It sits inside an old Austro-Hungarian fortress, so there’s plenty of history as well as marine life. You can even choose to adopt a turtle, with the money going towards the aquarium’s conservation efforts.
Višnjan Observatory sits directly beneath the clearest sky in Istria, and the telescope here has been responsible for the discovery of more than 1400 planets. The observatory recently launched Astro Nights, which take place on Thursday evenings and combine engaging lectures with a chance to gaze up at the sky – well worth keeping the kids up late for.