Croatia has been on my travel bucket list for the last 10 years or so. Last year I came across this fabulous eco resort called Pine Beach in an area called Pakostane and was hooked!! You can book it through www.loveholidays.com or direct with www.pinebeach.hr/en/, I initially priced with Loveholidays but booked direct as soon as the prices for 2018 were released to try and get the best deal. I have to admit I was a bit obsessed with their website as it was so easy to navigate and had the option to use Google Cardboard and view it using VR goggles – totally amazing. Make sure you do have a good look at the site – though even with the virtual tour (watched over and over) when we arrived I was still blown away!
Nearest airport is Zadar, though we flew into Split with www.easyjet.com.
We booked a hire car with www.economybookings.com , reasonable at £165 for 12 days, (though we were charged an additional 60 euro for late pick up and drop off, as well as taking the car on the ferry to Hvar). They were very good and had a driver pick us up at the airport to take us to their pick up area about 5 minutes drive away, we were also dropped back after returning our car. Car was spacious and immaculate.
The drive to Pine Beach took around 1 hour 20 mins and we arrived at around 11 pm. The security hut confirmed our booking , gave us our keys and arranged for an electric car/buggy to take out luggage to our hut. Luckily our hut was not far from the entrance, only a short walk to the bar, beach beside one of the toilet blocks and main restaurant – an excellent location overall.
So the accommodation? I was so excited to see the straw huts and they didn’t disappoint! There are a range of sizes of huts and we had booked one to sleep 5 as below, though there were only 4 of us. There was plenty of space, 3 good storage units and the beds were comfortable with mosquito nets to cover them at night. I had read some reviews complaining about the mattresses, though we all slept soundly every night and I found the huts to be just fab. There are detailed photos on the website but here are a couple of my own.
These pair has to be woken every morning!
We soon got into our routine – breakfast and then went to either the beach or to the rocky area to the left of the beach. There were plenty of sunbeds in every location right around and beyond the mouth of the bay. It was lovely to have the choice of the beach or the less sandy option on the rocks. The beach area is perfect for young children as the water is super shallow, it only goes to the knees even for adults, until you get out quite a bit, even then it only goes to upper body for adults. You are also close to the mini club, play park, trampolines, football pitch, volleyball courts and the beach bar.
The beach …. or a really bad photo of it lol
There were several more slides and activities within the park.
Soft play area, this wasn’t set up when I passed, but there were kids at the other side of this area drawing so a great area in the shade.
There are also 2 volley ball courts so plenty to keep teenagers entertained too! Not far from this area there are 7 tennis courts and a basketball court, all surfaces were in great condition, I was very impressed with all the facilities.
As my boys were keen to snorkel and jump in from the jetty’s, the rocks area suited us a little better, in most places there were shallow areas of water. The other bonus for us was that we could sit between the water sports area, the bar and other activities including table tennis, mini golf, table football, bocce and giant chess. This kept everyone busy and plenty of opportunity to get out of the sun when it got too hot. It was really chilled sitting here into the early evening, stunning sunsets.
View from the rocks to the beach.
Stunning views from the rocks.
The rocks area – crystal clear water which is shallow and perfect to cool down in, as well as snorkel.
So onto the activities….
Another big attraction for my family was the opportunity to sail in small boats, kayak and paddle board. Sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding and the inflatable water park are part of the ‘All Inclusive Lite’ package. Lessons in sailing or windsurfing can be arranged at an extra cost of around 200 HRH around £25 per hour.
If it’s too windy the boats won’t got out. You do need some experience to sail these and I would strongly recommend that you know what you are doing before taking these out, as they can go very fast in strong winds and tip to the side (which they are designed to do), though if you’re not careful they can capsize! There is a speed boat which very quickly goes out to assist anyone in difficulty.
For all water sports including the inflatable water park life jackets are provided. My tip would be to make sure they are fitted correctly, otherwise they won’t do their job if needed.
Same goes for Paddle boarding – depends on the wind, we did get out several times so it’s not a big issue. As the water is crystal clear, once you get your balance you can see to the bottom of the bay. You might have to queue for a paddle board but not for too long. We didn’t venture out windsurfing but many did and they looked like great fun.
Kayaking featured a lot for us and there are a number of options – single, double triple, quadruple kayaks. This is great so that those with younger children can get out with adults. Another great way to experience the Adriatic Sea in a relatively safe way.
No holiday is complete without an inflatable water park, so of course Pine Beach has one too. It may not be the biggest, but it’s still great fun!
All these activities are unlimited and you don’t need to book. Really amazing value when all of this is included in ‘All Inclusive Lite’ so I would encourage you to make the most of it all. Stunning location to do any of these activities.
So it that it? Definitely not! There are a couple of activities that do require booking, worth doing this early to get your pick of days and times. Firstly the Adventure Park …
Low ropes area for those under 200 cm.
Fantastic climbing wall.
High ropes for those over 200 cm
Children do need an adult with them, though the adult doesn’t have to do the course.
You can book archery at the archery spot just off the beach.
So what is the rest of the park like?
The park was beautiful everywhere you looked! The grounds were so well kept and signposted, we did see a gardener attending to plants as we walked to the activities.
Also loving the signs, which were not only cute, but kept you from getting lost. Though the whole park was easy to find your way around.
The restaurant was also an asset to the park, it was open air and have a relaxed feel to it. Plenty of choice for all tastes, though desserts were a little limited if you are used to a Spanish style all inclusive buffet, most nights it was ice cream …. though there was a great choice and they came in cones so everyone loved them!
For those panicking about the lack of electricity in the huts – don’t! Outside the restaurant and beside the bar there are solar powered benches with USB charging ports. There are also plugs in the main bar for charging devices and reception will also charge your phone if you leave it with them with plug etc.
Around the park there are numerous toilet/shower blocks which were all cleaned regularly. The hot water was solar powered and was constantly available – no queuing for showers either, not like my memories of caravan holidays as a child! There was a power socket in the toilets beside our hut, as well as a built in hair dryer so you don’t need to pack one.
Other services included a laundry which was an additional cost and a shop with a range of confectionery, toiletries, gifts etc.
At reception there was lots of information about renting jetskis, banana boats and a wide variety of excursions…. Kornati Islands and Krka National Park. Bike rental was another option and my partner rented one on 2 mornings we were there. He cycled to Pakostane one morning and then to Biograd another morning. The cost for the day was around £10, expensive for one journey so I would advise planning ahead and maybe taking a trip around Vrana Lake. This is the largest lake in Croatia and another national park so there is an entrance fee.
There was a full programme of activities beyond the water for kids and adults ….. football tournaments, yoga, aerobics, juggling school, dancing and many more. At night there was a mini disco, though for adults the entertainment was limited. The bar is beside the mini golf, bocce, table tennis and giant chess so ideal for family fun or to keep an eye on your children if they play on their own.
The surrounding area has lots to offer …. Pakostane is a small town with a marina and some stalls along the waterfront. We did venture into Biograd one evening which was lovely. Again there was a marina with quite a variety of boats, lots of bars, restaurants, shops, some amusements and good quality market stalls.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Pine Beach it really is a special place and I’m sure I haven’t done it justice! I will blog more about our excursions and where we travelled onto after our week in Pine Beach .. (Hvar and Split………..amazing!). Would I recommend it? …… YES!!
- Pack for camping without food and bedding ……torches/lamps (we got ones in Go Outdoor that double as both).
- Bring some mosquito/bug repellent. We all got minor bites despite mosquito bands.
- Get your bearings the first day and plan what activities you would like to do and book those that you need to.
- Remember All Inclusive Lite includes 3 meals and drinks during these, as well as snacks at 4.30pm. Outside of this all drinks, ice cream and food must be purchased.
- Ensure life jackets are properly fitted
- HAVE FUN and do as much as you can!!
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