SHORT & to THE POINT | by Heather McCrimmon A Croatian Holiday the Married- withChildren Way No Gregory Peck or Audrey Hepburn here more is the pity, but just how easy (or difficult) is it for a family to arrange a proper holiday in a region known for a high influx of sun-seeking tourists? What if you’re not from here, but are instead one of the growing ranks of the expat? Heather McCrimmon from the International Women’s Club of Zagreb is at hand to offer her experiences. Having lived the rotational life- style of an expat for some years now, one question I find I am often asked is why I love it. The answer is simple - the people and the travel! But so many tourist offices focus on the more glamorous locations, which are not always suitable for young families, who must often acclimatise to a new and strange country. Here, in Croatia, my family was lucky to find the International Women’s Club of Zagreb (www.iwcz.hr), which was able to help in more ways than one, including some ideas on where to holiday if you happen to have a car full of cranky children! Here are my top three recommendations. The Island of Lošinj Known as the Island of Vitality, Lošinj is a much sought after familyfriendly tourist destination. Lošinj’s tourist beginning is linked to health tourism; the benefits of the climate and vegetation of this island were first discovered by the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. Along with proclaiming Lošinj a therapeutic resort, they built numerous villas and summer residences, which have been restored and today enrich the bright landscape. There are numerous new hotels, which are continually being upgraded with new facilities offering Wellness Centre programmes, swimming pools with heated sea water, tennis courts, and playgrounds. Active holiday seekers can enjoy the 220 km long laid-out pathways, which stretch over no less than five islands of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago. In addition, the island is a haven for snorkelling, diving, sailing, surfing, dolphin watching, water skiing and recreational fishing. Lošinj also provides the clearest crystal waters in the Adriatic, along with beautiful beaches protected from the sun by pine trees. Čikat Bay, on Mali Lošinj, contains three small coves, one with a beautiful stretch of sand ideal for children. There are tourist boats and regular ferries connecting these islands, whilst Lošinj itself is linked to the mainland by modern car ferry, hydrofoil and small plane. English is widely understood and spoken around the island. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try a few words of the local lingo, but you take everything you can get when your children are screaming for ice cream. This is the place for the nature lover in us all! Hiking, boat rides, wooden boardwalks over rushing water (with no hand rails!)... Plitvice Lakes National Park This is the place for the nature lover in us all! Hiking, boat rides, wooden boardwalks over rushing water (with no hand rails!), and a plethora of waterfalls makes this Croatian destination a must. The flora is remarkable, the air is clean, and the cascading water breathtaking. While there is plenty of scenery for the grownups to appreciate, the meandering forest paths and sporadic caves mean that the children won’t be short of things to excite them. The park itself is located in central Croatia, in the eastern part of the mountainous region of Lika-Senj County, and is the oldest national park (1949) in Southeast Europe, the largest in Croatia, and was added to the unesco World Heritage register in 1979. Plitvice contains a series of 16 connected beautiful lakes, many caves and 2 countless waterfalls over 296.85 km . The best thing about Plitvice is that it’s suitable as a holiday destination regardless of the time of year; snow, sun, it matters little when this sort of beauty is there to be enjoyed. Andautonia This Archaeological Park is a 15 minute drive from Zagreb’s city centre. Today’s village of Scitarjevo is the site of the former roman town of st th Andautonia, which existed between the 1 and the 4 century, and this is an ideal location for a short trip which can be undertaken at relatively short notice and which is unlikely to do anything other than get the rugrats imagining they’re Roman Centurions defending the town walls from the invading Visigoths. Visitors can now see part of the roman town of Andautonia - a roman street, the town bathhouse and two buildings and can learn about the Roman necropolis that was situated there in the 1st century, the remains of which were discovered underneath the buildings. There are several workshops which take place by group appointment, for example Little Archaeologists - digging up ceramics in the sandpit area, pottery, Roman ball games, art workshops with modelmaking and drawing, Roman games with dice and chips. There is something for everyone, and it all contributes to making any day spent in Andautonia unforgettable!.
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