Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Croatia Online - Croatia With Your Family

Our previous posting, on Krka waterfalls near Šibenik, mentioned that it made for a great family day out. We’re obviously in good company as Frommer’s recently published travel guide, Croatia With Your Family, includes Krka in its shortlists of best family experiences and best days out. Included in the piece on Krka is a little known fact reproduced below, © 2007 Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey:

“As you might expect, past Croatians were not slow to harness all this raw natural power. The river was long lined with water mills (some are still on display), and the Krka Hydro Dam, generating direct current, was opened in 1895, making Šibenik the first town in the world to be lit in this way. A similar project in New York State can claim the first hydrodam of this type (by two days), but delays in laying transmission lines meant that the city of Buffalo trailed behind Šibenik in actually harnessing the power. A massive turbine from those days lies among the ruins, and there’s a small modern hydroelectric scheme down by the river.”

Croatia With Your Family, written by Jos Symon, is a very welcome addition to Frommer’s With Your Family travel guides. The range is noted for providing the type of essential, first hand, practical information which will enable parents to keep children of all ages amused, happy and safe. Every listed destination, activity and accommodation has been tried and tested, and only the most family friendly are featured. Details include suitable age groups for various activities, essential packing lists and the low down on kids clubs and crèches. You can tell, right at the beginning, that the author got a good feel for the real Croatia, when he observes that, despite the fact that Croatia has not yet focused greatly on providing specific entertainment and facilities geared directly at children, in the positive attitude of its people, it couldn’t be more family friendly. Jos summarises “I’d personally trade a ton of institutional balloons and coloured pencils for an ounce of genuine child friendliness. And that’s what you get in Croatia.”

This book is all the more valuable for the fact that Croatia has yet to overtly target the childrens’ tourism market. We’re hard pushed to think of a single theme park, water or otherwise. A little more common are childrens’ playgrounds and wooden horses on springs, nailed to the floor on ferries. In Croatia, children play safely like our parents used to, without too much need for expensive gismos and theme parks – in the sea, on the beach, often in quiet back roads and normally under careful supervision. The family unit, often including a vast extended family, is strong, and children are adored and well cared for. They’re not, however, fussed over or restricted, like their western European peers, under mounting EU health and safety regulations, and genuine concerns for their security. You may be shocked to see the occasional five year old on a motor bike, in between his mum and dad, with no crash helmets anywhere in sight, and it’s not altogether legal, but everyone’s happy and the village traffic is not quite what you’d get in England. Above all, Croatia is a safe country, with very low crime rates, particularly outside the big cities.

So for those who are wondering whether Croatia is the right place for the next family holiday, and not sure where to go or what to do, Croatia With Your Family is for you. For more details, including where to buy it, go to Having last visited Croatia before the break up of the Yugoslav Republic, the author is a self confessed born-again Croatia enthusiast. Use his experiences, and those of his family, to plan and execute your holiday, and the whole family will probably fall in love with Croatia too.


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