In 2016 and 2017 we spent the Summer roadtripping in Europe, especially The Balkan. The first year we camped most of the time, in 2017 a little less, mainly because of the weather. In the south it was too hot to pitch a tent, let alone sleep in it with 40+ degrees Celsius temperatures. We should have brought a portable solar panel with us, we had so much sun. It would have made some things a lot easier.
In 2016 it was our first time roadtripping with a tent. We did it again in 2017, you can say it’s something we love to do as a family. Why, well lot’s of time spent outdoors and in addition friends for Yuri, and a laid back vibe. One of the countries we did a lot of roadtripping in was Croatia. Which is a new favorite country of ours. In total we stayed at 6 campsites in Croatia, staying there from 1 to 4 nights and all over the country. In random order I will describe the campsites, the sites nearby, what we liked/didn’t like and the amenities each campsite has.
1. Camping Stobrec Split
Picture yourself sitting on a bench in the shade watching others play in the sea in the heat of the day. The day is slowly moving forward and all you do is reading, writing and taking pictures of your husband and son playing in the water. Simply heaven, a small paradise. At the end of the afternoon you find another bench, and make a simple dinner for the family. Then back to the tent which is one foot away from the beach.
Not possible? Well, this was our day on the campsite Stobrec Split, the first of our campsites in Croatia. We stayed here for 2 nights and except for the beginning and the end it was super, we relaxed at the beach and had a great time. As a result this is one of the perfect campsites to stay at.
We hadn’t booked any accomodations, we brought a paper guide with campsites and drove to the ones we liked on our route. Since we only had a small 3 person (officially 4 person) tent, most campsites still had a spot for us, while turning down big tents and campers.
This campsite was fully booked, but there were 2 places for people to pitch a tent that were trekking. We opted for a place with power near the beach. It was full on in the sun in the middle of the day and we were pitching our tent on rocky ground. Not a big succes. After an hour, some swearing and grumping, our tent was up with only a few pegs and stones. It just had to do and so were more youths thinking pitching their tents next to us.
Well not having all the pegs in the ground came to bite us and the others early in the morning of the second night. First it rained, not a big problem. Then came the wind and it almost blew our tent away, literally. Yuri and I had to stay in the tent, while Paul loaded everything in the car and broke down our tent. It was the fastest time of breaking down our tent. We learned to take storm pegs with us the next time.
But little did we know this on our arrival. We enjoyed blue skies and lots of sun the first afternoon and the second day. The first evening we had fireworks at midnight. I love a good firework show. The big campsite is on a bay and therefore surrounded with pebble beaches and water on 2 sides. Our tent was at the beach. Which was quiet. The other side was also accessible for people from outside the campsite, had a diving board and chairs for rent.
We had one other incident (also not the fault of the campsite) that wasn’t great for us. On the far side of the quiet beach, there’s a beach for dogs. They’re allowed to play without leash and swim there. A heaven for dogs. But one person with a young dog let his dog run free without paying attention. It was a bigger, enthusiastic dog. Jumping over other people lying on the beach and running around. Since I’m scared of dogs, I hid myself in our tent, which was hot. But other people, not afraid, where also not enjoying this behaviour. It was reported to the management and a dog whisperer came. He took the dog with him. After another half an hour the owner came to claim his dog. But he didn’t get his dog back. It was an hour since he let his dog loose and the rule was that dogs should be on a leach.
If you like a large, busy campsite with lots of kids and teens, this is certainly the place to be. Yuri made friends and loved it. There’s a playground, on the beach is a diving center, they rent out kayaks and waterbikes. Beachvolleybal, an animation program, massages and beachbars all there to entertain you. On the tip was a restaurant situated with a view on the bay. A supermarket conveniently located near the reception.
Big bonus also is that the campsite is located just 7 km from Old Town Split. If you like this area, it’s handy to know the cost of living in Split. So far the first of the campsites in Croatia we visited.
Camping Stobrec Split
Sv. Lovre 6
Open year round
2. Camping Beach Resort Solaris
A campsite you don’t need to leave to have a good vacation, that’s camping Beach resort Solaris. You can do something and dine somewhere else every day. In short this is one of the luxury campsites in Croatia.
Our days ended with strolling or sitting on the beach and seeing the sun set. We had 4 beautiful sunsets, during the 4 nights we stayed on the resort. We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sunsets. The first evening we were walking back from dinner over the boulevard and we stopped to stare at the beautiful colors of the sky. The other evenings we sat on chairs on the beach and enjoyed drinks from the beachbar. They have some pretty sunsets in Sibenik.
We enjoyed swimming in the sea, Yuri played on the bouncy castle in the water. You pay for half an hour of fun. But next to the campsite being near the sea, on the resort are also several swimming pools filled with sea water. We played in the one in the campsite area. The swimming pool had 3 different heights in which Yuri could stand up straight.
The staff off the beachbar near the pool was very kind. We sat there a few times over the days of our stay. On the first afternoon Yuri had a bit of bad luck. While on the bouncy castle, another kid fell down and kicked Yuri in his face. It was an accident, but Yuri had a bloody nose and a tooth through his lip. When walking back to our tent we sat at the beachbar for paper towels, and Yuri got a free ice cone. Isn’t that nice? It helped to ease his pain.
The first evening we went to a restaurant and had dinner there. Out of all the places to eat on the resort we choose the ethno village. The tables were all placed separate from eachother in a village style setting. They had rebuilt a traditional Dalmatian village. The waiters and waitresses all dressed up in traditional clothing. It made for a good ambiance and also not unimportant, the food was delicious.
On our last day here we visited the aquapark on the resort. It came with an additional fee. We loved our day there, it isn’t a really large waterpark, but large enough to enjoy a full day there.
The only downside was, it was crowded. All the seats with shade were claimed by the time we got out of the lazy River, and we wanted a shaded place with 38 degrees celsius and a clear blue sky, no such luck. Finally in the afternoon we had a shaded place for ourself. After a whole day playing in the water for Yuri and some reading for Paul and me, we went back to our tent.
In the waterpark you can get fastfood, menus with fries and icecream. You can also bring your own lunch. We loved this aquapark, the only downside is, it was really crowded and no places with shade at an early time and a bit pricy. Also no big rides, just a lazy River, hot pools with bubbles, a kiddy playground with slides and a big construction for kids with a large tub that tilts. The resort is close to the old town of Sibenik and to Krka NP. In Krka NP you can swim near the waterfalls in Summer. Which was a highlight for us.
The campsite is part of a large resort with several hotels, swimming pools, an aqua park, a marina, supermarkets, restaurants, cafés, loungebars, a pirate golfcourse, a pirate ship and sport- and welnessfacilities. There was more to do than we had time for in 4 nights. The resort is on one side completely on seaside, partly with rocks and pebblebeaches, and a boulevard for strolling. All the amenities made that this is one of the campsites in Croatia where we would love to come back.
Camping Beach Resort Solaris
Hoteli Solaris 86
Open 12.4-20.10 (2017)
3. Camp Arena Stoja
The third of our campsites in Croatia is near Pula. Swimming in the sea by twilight was fun. Yuri enjoyed it, on this campsite in Istria. We went into the sea from the rocks. Another fantastic thing was enjoying a beautiful sunset. The campsite is located on a peninsula, you can access the sea almost everywhere, but only a small part has a pebble beach and a sunbathing area, the rest is rocks.
We stayed only one night on this campsite, so we didn’t see the entire campsite. It’s close by the center of Pula with it’s colosseum and other Roman era sights. From the peninsula you can see Brioni NP, an island group. A large, busy campsite with youths and kids. Dogs and other animals are allowed on a leach. We saw someone with 3 cats on a leach (!). A first time for us. The campsite had restaurants, bars, live music, animation, soccer and basketball field and a mini golf course.
However camp Arena Stoja had also some downsides. Our view is that it was a chaotic campsite, with live music till late in the evening. Near the soccerfield was a ruin from a building not in use anymore. The mini golfcourse was also cracked up on several places.
Next to that they weren’t clear in handing out places for the campsite. One person at the reception handed out places on number to people coming in, the other person just said to people find a spot and come then claim your number here. Not a good system, we we’re almost done setting up our tent, when someone else came with our number. Since we didn’t intend to move our tent anymore, she choose the spot next to us. She however did not return the number anymore, she didn’t want to go back a 4th time to the reception. Since the previsiously 2 assigned spots also already had persons on them. When Paul went to claim our spot, he was told we couldn’t have that spot anymore and got another number. Kind of strange/creepy since they statched our passports on that other number.
Istria is popular in the Summer, and the campsites fill up fast. From all the campsites in Croatia, the ones in Istria you have to book in advance is our experience.
Camp Arena Stoja
4. Camping Kate
The fourth of our campsites in Croatia is close to Dubrovnik. From our spot we could see the sea between the trees. I always love it when I can see the sea. So a big plus for the spot we had. A long walk down, almost entirely stairs, and we were at the beach. We spent both days at the pebble beach in the end of the afternoon/evening. Yuri loved it. The way up was hard, but the beach was worth it. A small walk further from the beach was a marina, with nice looking restaurants. From the marina there were several boats going to Dubrovnik. The boat took about half an hour, with one other stop.
We stayed 2 nights at this small, terraced and elongated campsite. There weren’t any extra facilities, like a playground or something like that on the campsite. We didn’t miss them, we stayed here to visit Dubrovnik, and had enough entertainment with the beach being close by. It was cosy, but a chaotic campsite. We picked our own spot on the terraces, the dedicated spots were all taken/reserved. We had no power on the spot we picked, but we could get it from the sanitary building, with several cords. Other campers had trouble with this, but the owner solved it.
There were not enough parking spots. At the front of the campground were only 4 (!) parking spots. No parking places for the terraces. Because of this cars were parked on dedicated spots and double parked. The end of the campground was a loop, if someone double parked then other people can’t pass anymore.
The campsite was relatively close too Dubrovnik, a half hour boat ride. Or a drive, but you have to park somewhere, if you do this. And that’s not easy and you have to pay for the parking. Dubrovnik is one of the Best Cities in Europe to Visit!
5. Camp Zagreb
The first of the campsites in Croatia we visited driving in from Slovenia, and this one didn’t let down. Nice, new spots in a circle. In the middle stood the sanitairy building, also new. Our spot was half grass and half pebbles, they were actually for campers and caravans. Since there was a separate field for tents, but not with power hook ups. It was nice to have such good spots, close to the sanitairy building. The only downside was that there was no shade, so incredibly hot to pitch a tent. There were trees planted, but not yet tall enough for shade.
The campsite is situated near a lake in which you can swim. In between the campsite and the lake is a restaurant and on both sides of the restaurant are play areas. The playground has a pirate ship which is fun, but completely in the sun. The rest of the playground was a bit faded glory. The restaurant, a pizzeria, has a balcony and a terrace with a view on the lake. The only downside of the terrace were the musqietos, but we still enjoyed our evening at the restaurant, seeing it getting darker over the lake and lights turning on.
We arrived in the morning and the campsite was almost empty; by the time we got back from Zagreb, it was almost completely full. We stayed one night and I think more people did. This is one of the campsites in Croatia people use to overnight on their journey to the coast.
The campsite is located 12 km from the center of Zagreb. You can easily go there by taxi or train. There’s a shuttle bus between the nearest trainstation and the campground, but it wasn’t the day or the times we arrived. We opted to walk the distance. The train was cheap and good. The walk up there not so, since we first had to walk on a street with narrow pavement and scary dogs barking and jumping in the yards, and only low fences between us. Then came a very busy road with trucks and not all the way with pavement but only grass/muddy. On the way back Paul walked back, while Yuri and I waited untill he picked us up by car. He said the dogs were all quiet on his way back.
Open 2.1-7.1; 29.1-31.12
6. Camp Turist Grabovac
The 6th and last of the campsites in Croatia is the one close to the Plitvicka Lakes. A hilly campsite, with no real straight spots. We stood with our tent in a larger pit and had nice neighbours. We loved the vibe that was the result. On one side our neighbours were a young German couple, we shared their washing poles and they tapped in our powerbank. Their powercord wasn’t long enough to reach the powertap on top of the hill and for us the problem was no trees placed nearby to hang our washing line in between.
The campsite was pretty full, the spots with numbers and different gradiations were all reserved, luckily they had different fields to pitch a tent. We drove a few rounds before we decided to pitch in one of the two pits. It was a bit steep, several people had trouble coming out of the pit again with their car. Driving around on the campsite wasn’t smooth, since there were one way paths, which was not always clear, so there were wrong-way drivers. On the campground was a swimming pool, which our son always loves and can spend a few hours in. The swimming pool was surrounded by cabins. Next to a swimming there were a number of playgrounds on the grounds. Next to cabins, they also have tipi’s, sadly they we’re completely booked during our stay.
The other thing we loved about this campsite was the restaurant near the entrance. It had a breakfast- and lunchbuffet and a menu. Yuri loves buffets, so we tried out both buffets and had dinner there the first evening. The rest of the breakfast and dinner we got at the supermarket.
The campsite is close to Plitvicka Jezera, or in other words Plitvicka Lakes NP. We used the campsite as a base to visit the lakes in 2 days. Our original plan was to spend 3 nights here, but where the first 2 days were hot, the 2nd night ended with rain, lots of it. In between 2 downpours we managed to pack up the tent. Since there was no sign of improvement in weather that day, was the forecast. We found we were already soaked enough and would only visit the lakes shortly with this weather. So we drove to better weather in the afternoon.
Camp Turist Grabovac
These are the 6 campsites in Croatia we tried out. We liked all 6 of them, but if I have to pick a favorite it’s a tie between camping Stobrec Split and camping Beach resort Solaris. Both had lots of stuff to do and were at the beach.
If you’re looking for things to do with kids somewhere else than Croatia, than look at the blog about Utrecht.
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