Would you like to discover Croatia? Don’t know where to start? Here are the 18 most beautiful places to visit in Croatia.
When you decide to spend a few days in Croatia, the most difficult thing is to choose from the many treasures it has to offer. The directors of the cult series Game of Thrones understood this well! Between beautiful coasts, heavenly islands, towns and villages steeped in a history rich in cultural blends, and natural parks of incredible beauty, you will realize that it is useless to go to the ends of the earth to find a small corner of paradise! Located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, facing Italy, the country is nourished by Mediterranean and Slavic influences.
We have selected for you some of the gems to discover when you want to visit Croatia. Ready for the trip?
Dubrovnik needs no introduction anymore and has recently become a major tourist hot spot. The “Pearl of the Adriatic” is one of the must-see places of Croatia. Dubrovnik’s old town, an architectural and historical treasure, invites travelers to get lost in its narrow streets.
From the old houses of the Placa, to the walk along the ramparts, the Rectors’ Palace or the Dominican and Franciscan convents, you will fall under the spell of this majestic and dazzlingly white city. Feel free to venture outdoors as well, to enjoy the beaches and the surrounding nature. You can’t visit Croatia without stopping in Dubrovnik!
2. The island of Mljet
A few kilometers north of Dubrovnik, come and discover the island of Mljet, a happy mixture of pretty coves, wild nature protected by its national park status, pretty villages and small ports. This island is still protected from mass tourism and you can admire the Dominican monastery nestled on the islet of Sainte Marie, located in the middle of a salt lake.
3. The island of Korčula
Like many of Croatia’s must-see sites, Korčula will satisfy both nature and culture lovers. In the old town of the same name, located on a peninsula in the north of the island, you can admire the old stone buildings, St. Mark’s Cathedral and Marco Polo’s house. Located only fifteen minutes by ferry from the Peljesac Peninsula, Korčula is also known for its vineyards and beautiful beaches. Don’t visit Croatia without enjoying a glass of white wine from Korčula or swimming in its clear waters!
4. The island of Hvar
More popular, but just as charming, the Croatian Saint-Tropez has nothing to envy to the other islands in Dalmatian waters. Hvar will seduce travelers looking for entertainment, as well as swimming and hiking enthusiasts, or lovers of history and architecture. Come and visit the old village which houses an elegant main square, the first theater in Europe, dating from the 17th century, and a fortress.
Let’s return to the coast to discover Makarska, located halfway between Dubrovnik and Split. Makarska is less well known to tourists visiting Croatia, but it is worth a visit. The setting is extraordinary. The Biokovo mountains overlook a superb bay with crystal clear waters and white pebble beaches. The contrast is striking!
6. The island of Brač
You will have understood it, visiting Croatia means discovering a thousand and one islands! Each has its own strengths and secrets. The island of Brač attracts for its dense vegetation, its rugged coastlines, its lovely little coves and its famous beach of Zlatni Rat. Located only fifty minutes by ferry from Split, the island of Brač is less frequented than Hvar, and is a prime spot for diving enthusiasts.
A jewel of central Dalmatia, Split plunges visitors into the heart of history while also bathing them in modernity. You will necessarily find what you are looking for: museums, art galleries, shopping, bars and restaurants, a walk along the sea, beaches, not to mention the sublime palace of Diocletian. Split is also the ideal starting point for day trips or tours to the islands of Hvar or Brač
Less touristic than Zadar or Split, Šibenik is the ideal place for those looking for animation and character. Stroll through the small streets of the old town and discover pretty squares, where you can relax at the end of the day on the terrace of a café. If you visit Croatia, do not leave Šibenik without admiring the superb 15th century Santiago Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. The Šibenik archipelago: the islands of Zlarin and Prvić
You want to visit Croatia but want to leave the tourist circuits? Not far from the mainland, come and escape the crowds by landing on the islands of Zlarin and Prvić. You will enjoy the tranquility on these islands where car traffic is prohibited. If you extend your excursion by one day by staying one or two nights with the locals, authenticity and rest are guaranteed!
10. Krka National Park
Visiting Croatia also means discovering many parks where nature is king. With its many waterfalls, natural pools with transparent waters, reptiles and birds, Krka National Park is a good example. Are you in need of culture? Don’t panic! Don’t panic! You can also go by boat to the small islet of Visovac and visit the Franciscan monastery, where monks still live.
11. The Kornati Archipelago
A visit to the Kornati archipelago is an essential part of a stay in Croatia for those who are looking for calm and wilderness. Accessible by boat from Zadar, this group of nearly one hundred and fifty islands, almost all of them uninhabited, can only seduce travelers in search of unique landscapes.
Like Dubrovnik, it would be a shame to visit Croatia without having discovered Zadar. Between small alleys and Roman ruins, between small churches and pretty squares, between bright white and orange tiles, you will inevitably be seduced! Zadar is also modernity. Did you know the sea played music? Haven’t you ever seen a natural light show before? Zadar is known for two jewels: the sea organ and the Salutation au soleil. If you want to escape far from the city, it’s easy! Zadar is the starting point for many hikes and sea excursions.
13. Plitvice Lakes
If there is one park that it would be a shame to miss, it is Plitvice. Located inland, halfway between Zadar and Zagreb, this complex of lakes and waterfalls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can enjoy a walk in a preserved environment, in the heart of a coniferous and deciduous forest, where you may have the chance to meet a wolf or a bear! The turquoise colour is not only the privilege of the Adriatic waters. You will be charmed by the blue tones that decorate the lakes of the park. Not to be missed under any circumstances!
14. The island of Krk
Easily accessible thanks to the bridge linking it to the mainland, Krk Island is located in the northern Adriatic. It will satisfy travellers looking for entertainment, as well as lovers of secret nature. Tourist beaches or remote coves, culinary specialities or nightlife, water sports or hiking, natural curiosities or historical remains, there is something for everyone!
15. The small villages of Istria
The cultural and gastronomic richness, the beauty of the coves and the charm of the hills explain why Istria is attracting more and more travellers. If you want to visit Croatia, without suffering from the tourist crowds, turn to two small remote villages, such as Motovun or Oprtalj. Perched on hills, between vineyards and forests, these two destinations allow you to discover another Croatia, far from the beaches and the bustle of the cities. Real jewellery!
16. Pula and Rovinj
Pula and Rovinj are the pearls of Istria. Located on the Adriatic coast, in the west of the peninsula, Pula is full of Roman remains, such as the amphitheatre, the temple of Augustus or the forum, which are particularly well preserved. For lovers of baroque architecture, Rovinj will seduce many. Visit the old town and the Cathedral of St. Euphemia. Then come and refresh yourself in the crystal clear waters!
17. Slavonia and the Kopacki Rit Natural Park
Do you want to get off the beaten track? Visiting Croatia also means discovering the mainland part of the country. Undoubtedly less touristy than the coast or the Dalmatian parks, Slavonia is worth a visit. A region of history and character, you can visit the city of Osijek and appreciate the beauty of its baroque architecture. For nature lovers, the Kopacki Rit Nature Park is home to a huge bird sanctuary.
How to visit Croatia without stopping in the capital? Less popular than its counterparts on the Adriatic coast, Zagreb is nevertheless a striking city. Take time to enjoy the charms of Zagreb by strolling through the small streets of the upper city, visiting the many museums, having a coffee in a flower square or letting yourself be carried away by the rhythm of the nightlife.
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