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Croatia, surrounding area and Istanbul, Turkey with baby

My wife and I are trying to plan a 3 week trip to potentially include Croatia (incl Plitvice National Park), +/- Montenegro, +/- Slovenia and then fly down to Istanbul, Turkey. We will have a 4 month old baby at the time and are wondering if anyone has done a similar trip with a young child or if you are familiar with these locations if you think it would be doable/safe to travel in these areas with this age of child? We are in just the beginning stages of thinking about this trip and are open to any advice you may have. Thanks!

Posted by
4686 posts

I think that 4 countries is ambitious with a baby. As a mom of two well-traveled kids, I would suggest that you slow things down. Remember that the baby can't take every nap in a stroller, for example.

We did Plitvice Lakes earlier this year with our kids. To do it properly, you need to go down to the lakes and walk the plank trails. This is impossible with a stroller and might make you nervous with the baby in a carrier (easy to slip and fall, pushy crowds). It was beautiful, but I was holding on to my 3 year old for dear life and it was stressful. Rushing water at your heels plunging a hundred feet down with no railing. To do the park in the shuttle bus would be doing it a great disservice. Maybe you want to consider Krka National Park instead? Speaking of other options in Croatia and Slovenia - I can't not recommend enough the Falkensteiner family resorts in Croatia. You might just enjoy hanging out on the beach for a while - but remember it will be pebbles, not sand. Overall, Croatia is kid friendly.

As for Istanbul, I was also there with my kids when they were really small. It was difficult to get around with a stroller due to hills, steps and bad sidewalks. Kid friendly, though.

Safety - in what way? What are you worried about?

Posted by
16883 posts

I assume that you would drive in the contiguous countries, to be able to pack more baby gear and to set your own schedule. (A jug of water seems like a handy thing to carry, in addition to wet wipes.) That freedom would change when/if you fly to Istanbul. There is plenty to see in Slovenia and Croatia in three weeks. Note that if you pick up a car in one country, there can be pretty high fees to drop in a different country.

See also some tips and resources listed at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning/kids-in-europe. A mom here suggests that you might prefer an apartment rental over a hotel room when dealing with a jet-lagged baby who doesn't sleep all night.

Posted by
139 posts

You sound like you are a lot more adventurous than me but I would not do Turkey with a baby. I did it with teens and that was difficult enough. Turkey was interesting but I wouldn't work that hard to get there. When you travel with small children you should make sure the place you are going is interesting and an enjoyable place to be. Turkey is interesting but I didn't find it enjoyable. And though most people will tell you it is perfectly safe and you can get hurt anywhere, it is worth noting that with the upcoming elections and recent political feuds there could be some unrest. Not sure where you are from but you should also take a look at the CDC or your country's equivalent website for local health concerns, especially with a 4 month old. Good luck with your planning.

Posted by
4686 posts

I did Istanbul with a 6 and 1 year old an we had a blast. I loved the city and so did my kids. Allie, you used the word "interesting" 3 times in your post, which I find interesting. Tell us what you really mean. Honestly, a 4 month old won't even know where they are, so I hardly think that the parents need to ensure that the child will be entertained.

Greg, please don't be put off by the comments above. Istanbul is enchanting, exotic and very child-friendly.

Posted by
139 posts

Interesting means that there were some worthwhile sights but I didn't like being in Turkey.

Posted by
2 posts

Honestly I think you are trying to cover too much territory. Slow down and enjoy the holiday. My husband and I travel with no kids. As fare as safe, there is no issue with Slovenia, Croatia or Montenegro. Basic common sense is required, but we were pleasantly surprised at how helpful locals were all over. We can not speak of Turkey, we have not been there yet.

Croatia is a wonderful country, we spend 3 weeks there last fall, it in itself is a large country to cover. Plitvice is a beautiful park but in a remote area, and a fairly long drive from anywhere you may be flying in. Not sure if you were planning to arrive from Zagreb (Croatia) or driving in from Slovenia.

Slovenia is a beautiful country, with lots to see and do. From Piran (Slovenia) you could easily drive over into Croatia Istria region which is a jem: look into places like Motovun, Rovinj, Porec and Pula. From there we drove into Plitvice and onto Trogir, Kortula Island and Split. We would do it again in a heart beat.

From Dubrovnik, we crossed for a couple of days into Montenegro, Kotor area, also very nice. But I would shorten the itinerary, and enjoy, as oppose to try to cover too much and come back exhausted. Been there, done that, learned the hard way.

Posted by
6 posts

I've travelled in Europe twice with babies - three weeks in Scotland/England/France with a six-week-old and three weeks in Ireland/France with a three-month-old, and other trips as they grew. I would travel absolutely anywhere with an infant. Babies are way easier than toddlers and especially children when they develop their own opinions (although I've travelled with three kids at all ages). I've found the locals go out of their way for you when you have a baby - you'll be treated extra well.
A breastfeed baby and a good front baby carrier is all you need. You'll find diapers as you travel. The vacation is really about where you want to go, so I wouldn't worry about accommodating the baby. The baby will nap in the carrier or a stroller while you enjoy lunch or a museum. I would ditch the stroller anywhere there are hills or rough pavement, which is all of Istanbul. You'll love Istanbul - so much to see and great food too.