Where to visit in Croatia
With our knowledge and passion for Europe’s best kept secret, we here at Discover Croatia Holidays want to give you just a small taste of what Croatia has to offer.
We’ve put the information in two sections below, the regions and the seasons. While it was extremely hard for us to condense all the activities and places you could put down as a priority to see, we’ve tried our best to give you a small guide towards enjoying a trip to Croatia at any time of the year. So please, have a read below and if you have any questions, send us an email to [email protected]
REGIONS IN CROATIA
This ancient town of DUBROVNIK, surrounded by ramparts and fortresses, is a treasure trove of architectural and cultural masterpieces scrupulously preserved over centuries.
For panoramic views of the UNESCO world heritage listed city, take a walk around the ancient walls which have survived numerous sieges and earthquakes.
The wide marble paved squares, steep cobble stepped streets and houses have remained unchanged for centuries. Visit Diocletian’s Palace, walk the famous Walls of the Old City and enjoy Dubrovnik’s cafes and restaurants.
During the summer months of July and August Dubrovnik holds it’s Cultural Festival, which includes an outdoor concert in the Rector’s Palace. Dubrovnik is a large town, port and tourist centre on the southern Dalmatian coast.
When you’re next in Dubrovnik, don’t miss out on the gorgeous views from the cable car ride! https://www.dubrovnikcablecar.com/
SPLIT is the second biggest city in Croatia and is situated in Central Dalmatia. There are many historical and cultural buildings, numerous museums, the National Theatre, old churches and other archaeological sites in Split, making it an important cultural attraction.
However, in contrast to Split’s historical sites, the area is also known for its restaurants, cafes, and shopping promenades, many of which are located on the ‘Riva’ which overlooks the main port of Split. Despite all the things to do and see in the area, Split is a city that moves at a slow pace. A feeling persists of being on holiday every day – which is perfect for relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere this beautiful region has to offer.
TROGIR is a superbly balanced small city built of stone, a veritable treasure trove of art with a history rich far beyond its size. Its significance is recognised by the inclusion of its historical core in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Trogir is extremely well connected to Split and all middle Dalmatia islands, as it has a local boat line running (from May until the end of September) 5 times a day (back and forth). This boat line port departing Trogir arrives directly on Split’s famous boardwalk, the ‘Riva’, in the heart of the old city. This enables guests to avoid high season traffic jams, and endless searches for parking spots, for as little as 25 kunas per transfer (one way). Also, Trogir has an wide variety of offers for day excursions to Plitvice lakes, Krka NP, islands, Šibenik, Dubrovnik and more. Trogir is located in the midst of all tourist major attractions, and is becoming more popular every year.
The old city of Trogir is connected by bridge, to a large island called Ciovo, making it a peninsula. The island of Ciovo has numerous beaches and bays surrounded by beautiful untouched nature, restaurants, beach bars, cafe bars and bike and walking paths. The centre of the city offers local boat lines that frequently operate to 3 famous Ciovo beaches for as little as 15 kunas per transfer. Another good reason to stay in Trogir and leave your car in a parking lot whilst you visit the Split area!
ZAGREB, the Capital of Croatia, is called a ‘city of museums’, as there are more of them per square footthanany other city in the world. It is a city rich in cultural and historical monuments and the historical part ofthe town, the Upper Town and Kaptol are a unique urban core even in European terms – they are on the top of everyone’s sightseeing lists.
Zagreb hosts many domestic and international events including the World Festival of Animated Films, The International Festival of Avant-Garde Music, The Festival of the Zagreb Philharmonic and the famous flower exhibition Flora Art, among many others. Take in a walking tour and discover the wonder of Zagreb up close and personal. For those a bit more adventurous, try the Segway Tour!
ISTRA– Pula, Rovinj, Porec, Motovun
The region of ISTRA encompasses famous landmarks, significant architectural sites, world heritage listed towns and monuments along with breathtaking national parks.
PULA the largest town in Istria is known for its well preserved cultural sites of the Roman period specifically, the Roman Amphitheatre (Colosseum), which is still used today.
ROVINJ is a charming town that throws back to Venetian rule with narrow cobble stone streets. It is best known for the Cathedral of St Euphemia with the tallest church tower in Istra.
POREC is intensely rich in ancient monuments and buildings, not to be missed are the shimmering interior of Euphrasius’ Basilica.
Beautifully positioned atop a hill, MOTOVUN is Istria’s most famous and attractive medieval town, while here sample truffle products made from local produce.
KVARNER – Plitvice Lakes, Opatija, Krk, Cres & Losinj islands
The coastline of the KVARNER region is varied and features snow white beaches, barren rocky plains, quaint towns and picturesque fisherman’s villages. The region is further enriched by the beautiful islands of KRK, CRES, LOSINJ and RAB each featuring delightful architecture, monasteries and churches not to mention the beautiful beaches, hidden bays and crystal clear seas. OPATIJA is a traditional seaside resort. Established more than 160 years ago, the town is elegantly presented with Austrian Villas dominating the architectural landscape. Not far from the Kvarner region situated in a thick forest is Plitvice Lakes, comprising of 16 terraced lakes and 92 waterfalls, is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in the world.
PAG Island (Novalja)
NOVALJA on Pag Island is best known for its vicinity to the splendid Zrce Beach. Zrce has been labelled the Ibiza of the Adriatic. During the summer, a mass of bars serve icy cocktails on the beach while the DJ spins the beats of the summer into the early hours. Private apartments are available in Novalja on request. Pag is also famous for it’s cheese-making industry and has several outstanding wineries as well.
The town of ZADAR has developed through its dramatic history as the centre of the region. Here you will find so many beauties in such a small space, like almost nowhere else in the world. Within one hundred kilometres you can discover magnificent turquoise transparent seas, snow covered mountains, fertile plains and sordid karst, ancient towns and secluded coves. Along the cosy, narrow streets you can experience the sweet scent of Dalmatian cuisine, hear the murmur of the people from the numerous cafes, as well as the spontaneous sounds of the Dalmatian song. Zadar pulses with centuries old culture, the magnificence of nature and the mildest of climates.
SIBENIK’s streets and squares preserve some of the most valuable works of art in Dalmatia which include the city hall, a masterpiece of Croatian architecture. However, the Cathedral of St Jacob, built in the 15th century is the symbol of this city. Listed on the UNESCO world heritage list, the Cathedral was built over a 105 year period, of stone from the islands of Brac and Korcula. Sibenik is a great base for exploring this region of Dalmatia including the Kornati islands, Murter and Krka National Park.
HVAR, proclaimed “Queen of the Dalmatian Islands”, entices a sense of an era long gone with its vast fields of lavender, ancient olive groves, vineyards and towns, dominated by unique and beautiful buildings of the Venetian period. With its cafes and bars overflowing, marina filled with luxury yachts, crystal blue seas and secluded bays, the vibe of this island is sure to captivate. Sail in and experience a fusion of old Venetian charm and laidback Croatian style. The most luxurious of the Croatian Islands, Hvar is also the most accessible with catamarans running daily all year round.
KORCULA is one of the greenest islands of the Adriatic. The island is enriched with significant art and culture as well as secluded beaches and bays. Korcula town is considered the birth place of explorer and writer Marko Polo, his family home, only steps away from St. Mark’s Cathedral, is open to visitors. The Cathedral represents the heart of the old town, from which the narrow streets lined with medieval buildings lead to the town’s thick stone walls. Korcula is connected to Dubrovnik by ferry or bus and Split by catamaran or bus.
BRAC Island (Bol) – Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) Beach
BRAC is the third largest Croatian Island. The island is best known for Brac stone used to build the White House in Washington, the National Parliament building in Vienna, the Parliament Palace in Budapest as well as the towns of Split and Trogir. Another key feature of this island is the soft sandy beaches, rare along the Croatian peninsula. Zlatni Rat beach, also known as the Golden Horn (pictured) is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Interestingly its tip swings from one side to the other according to the wind and waves. Brac can be accessed by ferry from Split, Makarska and Hvar.
On the Island of VIS, explore the beauty of limpid waters and protected submarine world rich with sunken ships and magic marine images that has been hidden for years. Relax on secluded beaches of numerous peaceful bays, in transparent blue sea and under the hot sun of Vis. Spend your time in historic ambience of mediaeval cities of Vis and Komiža that echo the voices of acappella singers and treat your soul with visits to Archaeological Museum and Museum of Fisheries.
Best known for its ‘Blue Cave (Blue Grotto)’, you can experience a rich world of diving and see sunken boats, dive among red and yellow gorgoneia, get to know Blue and other caves and discover the secrets of ancient wrecks.
MLJET Island (National Park)
The untamed island of MLJET is one of Croatia’s top ecological sites and paradise for anyone looking to get away from it all. Half Mljet island is a pristine national park. There are few residents, no large towns and only one major road. The seaside villages of Pomena, Polace, Sobra and Saplunara attract the most visitors. They come for the hiking, biking, swimming, stunning scenery and peaceful atmosphere that reign everywhere. The lushly forested island is so seductive, it’s said that Odysseus came and stayed for seven years.
The highlight and most unusual feature of Mljet National Park is the two inland salt water lakes – Malo Jezero and Veliko Jezero – connected to the sea by a narrow canal. You can stroll along the lakes on paths shaded by pine trees, bicycle through the park, rent a kayak to paddle the lakes or simply swim the clear, blue water. In the middle of Veliko Jezero is the tiny islet of Sv Marija which contains a former Benedictine monastery dating from the 12th century. It’s now a restaurant, accessible by regularly scheduled small boats.
When to visit – SEASONS IN CROATIA
SUMMER (June, July, August)
When thinking of summer and being in Croatia, there is one particular location that springs to the minds of many: the Dalmatian coast.
The Dalmatian coast (known to Croatians as ‘Dalmacija’), has been said to be the newest French Riviera. Whether it be from Rovinj, down to Dubrovnik, this country has spectacular beaches to offer and many activities to do that will keep you entertained and impressed by the surrounding views.
No matter where you decide to go, many of the coastal towns are buzzing throughout the warmer months with various types of music festivals taking place that suit all ages, as well as the cafes opened until late where locals and tourists are found socialising.
However, there are a range of amazing things that are a must when visiting the Dalmatian coastline to truly experience the beautiful presence of the sun accompanied by the pristine views of the many islands and coastal towns.
In particularly, the Makarska Riviera, which is located right below the popular Biokovo Mountain, is a sight for sore eyes. This beautiful landscape as a background provides a spectacular view, mainly for those interested in parasailing.
There’s nothing quite like the overview of the Makarska Riviera whilst parasailing, feeling on top of the world, weightless, and truly amazed by the beauty surrounding you. So too, why not hire a kayak and go sea-kayaking around Dubrovnik, or go snorkelling in Hvar under the clearest water you’ll ever find where you will be able to witness the most beautiful under water world that exists.
However, for those travellers more so interested in activities that require less physical activity, why not go on one of the many cruises available to witness the Kornati islands. With 140 islands around this national park, you can be guaranteed to be in awe of the beauty that exists in this area. Many cruises also include lunch at a local restaurant on one of the islands, as well as an hour or so visit to a private beach to enjoy more of the sun.
AUTUMN (September, October, November)
During autumn, there are fewer tourists around Croatia, allowing the true essence of Croatia available to be shared. In particularly, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage listed places, illustrates this European country’s outstanding natural beauty. Its stunning greenery, waterfalls and lakes truly set it apart from any other national park.
While this particular place is gorgeous to be seen at any time of the year, autumn is particularly a special time as the most amazing colours of this national park are revealed. The Plitvice lakes reveal the extraordinary blue colours of the lakes in contrast with the autumn colours, the rich flora and fauna and the crisp fresh air, making the scenery absolutely breathtaking.
During this period, why not take a tour of the national park to view this for yourself and see how this is just one of the many places in Croatia that make it Europe’s best kept secret.
While many may think that swimming in the Adriatic Sea isn’t quite an option come September and October, you would be surprised to be wrong. In fact, during September and the beginning of October, many locals find it to be the perfect time to go for a swim. Away from the exhausting heat and overcrowded beaches, sun burns are not a worry and the air and water temperatures make it the ideal time for a relaxing swim.
On the other hand, why not take advantage of the perfect weather by hiking at some of Croatia’s most popular locations such as in Velebit and in Makarska. The Ucka mountain in Velebit is ideal for those looking for a hike with amazing views. With a spectacular outlook over the Kvarner bay, it has been said that this hiking route is the most memorable for many tourists where many have hiked up to the peak of the mountain and paragliding their way back down. Makarska’s Biokovo mountain, Dalmatia’s highest mountain, is also popular due to the spectacular views that can even allow many to see all of Dalmatia’s islands when clear skies are in sight. Therefore, it is a must to try to hike in Croatia to truly have your breath taken away by its utter beauty.
WINTER (December, January, February)
In order to experience the best of Croatia’s winter season, it’s obvious that one must ski! While there is usually snow for 3 months each year, one of the best locations in Croatia to ski is definitely Mount Sljeme. Located just outside Zagreb, this ski resort offers skiing at almost all levels, meaning it is suitable for all types of skiers.
However, not everyone is interested in skiing, sightseeing is still a popular choice for many tourists, where some places, like the Plitvice lakes previously mentioned, exhibit a winter wonderland for all to see. With the national park’s frozen falls the most magnificent winter view to be seen, it’s definitely a must-do when here for the colder months.
While it is cold, and many decide to stay indoors, Croatia’s nightlife does not cease during the colder months with its bigger cities such as Zagreb, Split and Zadar taking the reigns and the islands take a long siesta. Hemingway Lounge Bar and the Vanilla Club are just a few to mention and continue buzzing, meaning you won’t have to put those dancing shoes away just yet!
SPRING (March, April, May)
While the sun is slowly coming out to play again, Spring is a great time of the year to visit Croatia if you’re interested in warm, however not sweltering heat, with a slight crisp cold feeling in the air and bright colours flourishing amongst the country’s flora and fauna.
Croatia’s crowds are still at a minimum before the tourist rush in summer, therefore making spring one of the best times to visit Croatia to experience the authentic culture and history that lies behind this European country.
Spring festivals are also blossoming with Dubrovnik’s International Film Festival in late spring showcasing the world’s documentaries, short films and a variety of other types of films, allowing you to witness some of the finest entertainment available, while drinking a glass of wine.
Speaking of wine, why not visit Istria during the blossoming season and experience the Wine-Road Peninsula? Here, every village has its own small restaurants where they offer smoked ham (prsut) and some of the best European wines – you just can’t say no! With different wine roads available to discover, you can experience Croatia’s international award winning wines (and don’t forget the food) – giving you something to brag about to your friends back home.
So as you can see, regardless of what season you decide to visit Croatia, there is always something to do that will suit your needs and definitely satisfy them. Whether you’re into more of the historical elements of Croatia, its gastronomy, or whatever it is you’re most interested in discovering, we can guarantee that at Discover Croatia, we will be able to assist you in planning the best holiday.
Call us now on 1300 660 189 / +612-9212-1507 or email us at [email protected] to book your fabulous Croatian dream adventure.