Top 10 Destinations in Croatia
In the heart of Dalmatia, Split became a popular retirement destination in the 4th century for Roman emperors such as Diocletian. Today, it is renowned for its variety of archaeological, historical and cultural monuments among them the UNESCO-listed Diocletian Palace. A centre of culture, Split has a number of museums, the National Theatre and hosts a summer music festival. The city offers plenty of eateries, bars and cafes. To experience some local culture head to the Green Market called Pazar, where you can jump in and join the hubbub. The buying and selling frenzy involves a variety of goods from fresh fruits and veggies, to clothing and other odds and ends.
Whilst staying in Dubrovnik in 1929, the playwright George Bernard Shaw remarked: “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik”. The ancient walled medieval city of Dubrovnik is Croatia’s crowning jewel. Jutting out into the azure blue sea, is the old town of Stari Grad with marble-paved squares, tall houses convents, churches and palaces all cut from the same light-coloured stone. Built between the 13th and 16th centuries, the imposing city walls are still intact today, and a walk along them is highly recommended.
The greenest island in Croatia, Korcula is filled with woodlands, vineyards, fishing villages and is the reputed birthplace of the famous explorer Marco Polo. The walled old city of Korcula has streets arranged in a herringbone pattern allowing free circulation of air but protecting against strong winds. The city is notable for its Statute dating back to 1214, which prohibited slavery, making Korcula the first place in the world to outlaw the practice. In the evening try to find a Moreska sword dance, originally performed across the Mediterranean since the 12th century, it’s still very much alive and a proud Korculan tradition.
Discovered by the Ancient Greeks, Mljet was called "Melita" or “honey”, a product that the island is famous for, which over the centuries evolved to the current Slavic name. Over 70% of Mljet is carpeted with verdant forest, sprinkled with fields, vineyards and tranquil villages. The western half of the island is a stunning national park characterised by two deep bays, which are called lakes due to their very narrow passages to the open sea. On an island on one of the lakes is a 12th century Benedictine monastery. With five distinct forest tree varieties, abounding fauna, plus lush vegetation, it’s easy to see why Mljet is called the ‘Green Island’.
Sitting at the foot of pine-clad slopes, the medieval old town of Hvar on the island of the same name is crammed to the gunnels with historical sights, cafes, boutiques and bars. Located on the Dalmatian coast, the island of Hvar is separated from the island of Brac by the Hvar Channel. With a very mild Mediterranean climate and beautiful beaches, Hvar is blessed with around 2715 hours of sunshine per year and promotes itself as the ‘island of sunshine'. Hvar could also be called the ‘island of lavender or wine’ as it cultivates vast quantities of this aromatic botanical for oils and soaps and is one of Croatia’s most famous regional producers of wine.
Elegant Opatija is situated on the Gulf of Kvarner in a sheltered position at the foot of a mountain. Opatija is surrounded by beautiful woods of laurel, with the entire maritime coast to the north and a rocky and picturesque landscape to the south. The oceanfront promenade is lined with grand buildings in the Austro-Hungarian style, has well-maintained public gardens and an illuminated 12 kilometre coastal promenade known as the "Lungomare". There are well-kept beaches, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops all of which make Opatija a real northern drawcard.
Croatia’s vibrant capital, Zagreb, has everything you could possibly want in a city and more, from fascinating museums and stunning architecture to top notch gastronomy and a wealth of natural beauty. The main city centre, which revolves around Ban Jelacic Square, is easily walkable and full of restaurants, cafes and bars as well as a plethora of shops and boutiques. Some of the more notable sites worth visiting during your stay in Zagreb include the Museum of Broken Relationships and the Museum of Naive Art. For those who would rather stay outside, a stroll through the unbroken serenity of the Botanical Gardens should feature on your to do list. Zagreb is also home to a number of religious buildings, such as St. Mark’s Church and the magnificent Zagreb Cathedral, next to the foodie heaven that is Dolac Market.
There are few places on the planet as jaw-droppingly beautiful as the Plitvice Lakes. This pocket of pure, unadulterated natural splendour is guaranteed to take your breath away from the moment you first catch sight of one of the rippling cascades until you step foot out of the park. Make your way through the wilderness along curving boardwalks and dirt paths, the whole while taking in the crystal clear pools of water that flow and tumble gracefully along their respective courses. Be sure to check out the caves and viewpoints scattered throughout the park as well. Once you’ve walked as much as you can, it’s time to hop in a ferry or hire a row boat and take to the water for a new perspective of the lakes. If you’ve gone on holiday hoping to take home some spectacular photos, here is the place to do it.
Taking its name from the Krka River that flows through it, Krka National Park is one of Croatia’s national gems, offering undisturbed natural beauty and staggering mountainous landscapes. The park is open throughout the year and can easily be explored on foot, by road or by hopping in a boat and heading out on the water. One of the best things about this park, in comparison with some of Croatia’s other parks, is that there are certain areas in which visitors are permitted to swim. There is no pleasure greater than cooling off from hiking through the park on a hot day by plunging into the cool, clear water of the Krka River. For those who would rather keep their feet on terra firma, the park has numerous features worth seeing such as the Skrandinski Buk waterfalls and the tiny island of Visovac and its monastery.
The charming city Zadar has managed to achieve the perfect equilibrium between modernity and antiquity with its stunning, classical architecture and boutique-lined cobbled streets. Its picturesque Old Town is delightful to stroll through on a warm, balmy evening, ice cream in hand as you listen to the various street performers filling the airwaves with their talent. Once the sun starts to dip, make your way over to the promenade that runs along the seafront. Here you will find the world famous sea organ, which makes a haunting melody as water is pushed in and out of its valves. This music forms the backing track to the sunset as it stains the sky pink and orange, creating one of the most magical spectacles you will ever have the pleasure of seeing. Although Zadar is often overshadowed by cities like Split and Dubrovnik, it has a lot to offer those who visit.
Browse through our recommended places to visit in Croatia