Located in the Balkans, Croatia has become one of Europa’s top tourist destinations once again given its War of Independence in the late 1990s. Croatia has beautiful beaches, jewel-like lakes, ancient ruins, as well as more than 1,000 beautiful islands, Croatia is one of Europe’s hottest tourist places. Add to that some Michelin-starred restaurants, undersea wineries, as well as Westeros-worthy vistas, and you have yourself an obvious bucket-list destination.
Here, 9 Can’t-miss spots on places to discover on your next travel to Croatia, from Dubrovnik’s old city to the popular Plitvice Lakes National Park and also many more.
Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” the old city of Dubrovnik is one of the prominent places to visit in the Mediterranean. Located at the southern tour of Croatia off the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik was developed in the 7th century on maritime trade. With orange rooftop houses sitting in contrast to the blue skies, Dubrovnik provides many sightseeing treasures. The historic district, the old ancient town, is stuffed with many historic features such as the old, defensive wall surfaces, cobblestone roads, amazing palaces and stunning churches. Just outside the Old Town are popular beaches like Banje and Lapad, while the nearby island of Lokrum provides even more beaches.
02. Plitvice Lakes National Forest
One of Croatia’s most famous places, the UNESCO-protected Plitvice Lakes National Park is a fairyland of cascading emerald lakes, bubbling waterfalls, and lush greenery. A number of wooden footbridges and also hiking trails meander throughout this unique paradise lived in by wolves, brown bears, and over 160 species of birds, offering visitors scenic panoramas as well as outstanding photo opportunities.
Zagreb has everything you could want in a capital city: pedestrian-friendly streets, museums, and galleries, outside coffee shops, as well as an ancient prepared facility that rivals Budapest and Vienna. Don’t miss the open-air Dolac Market, colorful St Mark’s Church, or the Museum of Broken Relationships (yes, it’s just as unusual as it sounds).
If you’re after scenic spots then Croatia’s second-largest city definitely has the wow factor. Diocletian’s Royal residence, an attractive UNESCO Globe Heritage Site as well as a previous filming spot for TV’S Game of Thrones, transports you straight back to Roman times; whilst the views from the top of Marjan Hill’s watching platform need to be seen to be believed. Its beaches are famous too, Bacvice (Sandy Split Beach) is known for its beach discos as well as festivals.
05. City of Rovinj
Romantic sea Rovinj is the most visited town in Istria, Croatia’s western-most region. Dating back to the time of the Romans, Rovinj’s small old town occupies a circular peninsula that juts out right into the Adriatic Sea and is composed of colorful buildings as well as former Venetian-style palaces.
Dominating the skyline is the 197-foot-high bell tower of St. Euphemia’s Church. A climb the narrow 200 steps of the tower are rewarded with spectacular views over the rooftops and narrow lanes of the old town, and also a few small neighboring islands dotting the shoreline. Descending from the church is the cobbled Grisia lined with galleries and stores peddling hand-made mementos, precious jewelry, and also artworks by local artists. The seaside promenade expands southwards past the fishing port – where fishermen can be seen repairing their nets, to a long row of waterside cafes as well as restaurants, while further along are the rocky beaches prominent with sun-seekers.
A small city strategically located at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, Pula’s recent history includes durations of Illyrian, Ostrogoth and Venetian rule. But it was the Romans – that conquered Istria in 177 BC as well as made Pula its administrative capital – who left the largest mark.
Today, Pula is popular for one thing: Its Roman arena. The Pula Amphitheatre is one of the world’s 6 largest preserved Roman stadiums. Built between 27 BC and also 68 AD under Emperor Vespasian, it’s as old as the Roman Colosseum and could pleasantly stay up to 20,000 spectators for gladiatorial events. The practically completely preserved rock amphitheater is still used today for music and theater events in the summer. A small museum of historic displays as well as displays about modern-day Istria lies inside the stadium.
Pula is also known for its culinary scene and also boasts a great collection of restaurants and also cages. An easy 45-minute bus journey from Rovinj, Pula is suitable for a day trip.
Home to a historic old town of Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan coffee shops as well as high-quality museums set on a small peninsula, Zadar is an intriguing city. It’s not as well jam-packed as well as its two unique attractions – the sound-and-light spectacle of the Sea Body Organ and also the Sun Salutation – need to be seen and also heard to be believed.
Zadar is a city monument, surrounded by historical ramparts, a treasury of the archaeological and monumental riches of ancient and medieval times, Renaissance and many contemporary architectural achievements such as the first Sea Organ in the world.
Holding the title of the ‘Queen of Dalmatia’ it’s commonly accepted that Hvar is the greenest and sunniest island of the many islands residing off Croatia’s coastline. The island’s landscapes are identified by vast fields of lavender, lush olive groves as well as rambling vineyards. Hvar town is the cultural center of the island and also with its countless sandy beaches surrounded by cosmopolitan cafes, bars and also restaurants, it has ended up being a needed stopping-off factor for yachting trend-setters.
09. Lastovo Island
For a taste of traditional Croatia, you’ll wanna head right for Lastovo Island. It is one of the very best places in Croatia to check out that instantly transfers you back in time. It almost seems like you’ve shown up 300 years ago… and also it’s stunning.
Also, the island is covered in green forests and a rugged coastline, so if you like hiking after that this is most definitely the area ahead. That being stated, make sure to spend a long time in Lastovo Old Town, also – it really is a stunning location.
The best time to visit though is between June and September when outdoor activities are most comfortable. Winters are tough on this desolate island and storms are possible in spring as well as fall.