Croatia is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and it is famous for a reason. Stunning views, old towns packed with monuments or beautiful nature – Croatia has it all! There are so many best places to visit in Croatia, both for sightseeing and relaxing, so you will easily find Croatia holiday destinations that suit your needs.
I was lucky to visit Croatia many times by now but there are still so many Croatian places on my bucket list. This is why I asked a few fellow travel bloggers for their favorite Croatia must see and together we created this guide to best places to go to in Croatia.
This list of best places in Croatia is divided into four categories: Dalmatia (from Zadar south, towards the border with Montenegro), Istria (the peninsula in the north-west part of the country, near the border with Slovenia), islands and mainland Croatia. At the end of the post you will also find a map with all the best places to visit in Croatia you can find in this article.
Table of contents
- 1 Best places to visit in Croatia
- 1.1 Places to visit in Dalmatia
- 1.2 Places to visit in Istria
- 1.3 Places to visit on Croatian islands
- 1.4 Places to visit in mainland Croatia
- 2 Map of the best places to visit in Croatia
- 3 Final thoughts on visiting Croatia
- 4 Travel Resources
Best places to visit in Croatia
So, without any further ado, here is the best of Croatia.
Places to visit in Dalmatia
Dubrovnik is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) and most beautiful places in Croatia and it attracts thousands of visitors for a reason. The Old Town in Dubrovnik is simply amazing, with narrow winding lanes and rows of red rooftops – getting long in the maze of streets is a pure pleasure, and the further you go from the main street – Stradun – the fewer people you will meet.
Don’t miss walking on the City Walls – it is a bit pricey, especially in high season, but definitely worth it. The whole circuit is almost 2 kilometers long and you can admire beautiful views of the Old Town and beyond. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
Another great place offering stunning views and great Dubrovnik pictures opportunities is Fort Lovrijenac, just outside the Old Town – if you visit the walls you get the free entrance to the fort. Fans of “The game of thrones” will recognize this place, as well as few others, from the famous tv series.
When you visit Dubrovnik don’t limit yourself only to the Old Town – be sure to take the cable car or hike to Mount Srd, relax at one of the beaches, or go for some of the many day trips from Dubrovnik.
In the high season, the Old Town can be really crowded so plan a visit here early in the morning or in the afternoon when the cruise ships are gone, it will be a much more pleasant experience.
Read more about Dubrovnik:
- 23 Amazing Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
- 50 pictures that will inspire you to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia
- 23 Great Day Trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Croatia: Dubrovnik in one day
Find the best Dubrovnik accommodation here.
See the best Dubrovnik tours here.
Split is yet another of Croatia best cities and a getaway to its famous islands.
The city is known for its amazing Diocletian Palace – the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to the end of the 3rd century when the Roman Emperor Diocletian has decided to build the palace in the area that more or less covers the Old Town of Split now. You can find the remnants of the palace all over the place – there are gates, arches, and so many details indicating what a spectacular place this used to be.
When wandering around the charming streets in the Old Town you will eventually find the Cathedral of Saint Domnius – the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that still uses its original structure.
For the best view of Split head to the Marjan Hill near the Old Town – going up is rather easy and the panorama from there is worth the walk. You can sit down in a cafe there and enjoy the beautiful vista over a cup of coffee.
The best place in Split to observe the world around and feel the vibe of the place is Riva – the seaside promenade packed with people and lined with numerous cafes. Split can be also used as a base for some great day trips around.
Read more about Split:
Find the best Split accommodation here.
See the best Split tours here.
Zadar, located in the central part of the Croatian coast, is a popular starting point of a Croatian trip since the local airport is a popular hub of low-cost airlines. But it’s worth stopping in the city to see all the Zadar attractions. And there are plenty of them!
In the Old Town, you will find the 9th-century Church Of St. Donatus with the cathedral bel tower standing next to it – be sure to climb it for the best views of the Old Town and beyond!
Don’t miss the so-called Sea Organ – a unique and interesting art project – the marble steps going into the Adriatic Sea might look pretty normal but the waves crashing into them create unique sounds, like the organs. Next to it, you will see the Monument to the Sun – the circle with some three hundred glass plates, beautifully illuminated in the evening.
Once you are done with the sightseeing in the Old Town you can sit in one of the many cafes, preferably at the charming People’s Square, and enjoy the atmosphere of the place.
Read more about Zadar:
Find the best accommodation in Zadar here.
See the best Zadar tours here.
Šibenik, located between Zadar and Split, is a perfect place to stop between these two popular cities, to relax from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the small-town vibe and its numerous attractions.
Šibenik was founded in the 11th century and is the oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic coast (other cities might be older but were founded by Romans or Greeks).
The most important monument is St. James Cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 15th and 16th century in the Gothic and Renaissance style. It’s a place you simply can’t miss in Šibenik but the town has more to offer.
Winding lanes, charming corners, small churches – you will find them all in Šibenik! The town can be also a good base to discover some beautiful natural sights nearby, such as Krka National Park or Kornati Islands.
Find the best accommodation in Šibenik here.
See the best Šibenik tours here.
Krka National Park
While Plitvice Lakes is the most popular national park in the country, there is one more protected area famous for the waterfalls – Krka National Park. While the pictures of emerald waterfalls, surrounded by lush forest, cascading to the small lake are beautiful in reality this place is so much better and is a must see in Croatia!
Besides the most famous Skradinski Buk waterfall and a lake where it used to be possible to swim (unfortunately it’s forbidden since 2021) you can also walk around through the forest next to swift streams and relax in the beautiful nature. A bit further, but still within the Krka National Park, you can visit Roški Slap (another waterfall) and Visovac island with the monastery from the 15th century – the best way to reach them is by boat.
Getting to Krka National Park might be a bit challenging if you don’t have a car. From nearby Šibenik, you can take the bus to Skradin and then the boat to Skradinski Buk waterfall but returning to Šibenik might be a bit of a challenge. The best option is to go for the organized tour.
Read more about Krka National Park:
Find the best Krka National Park tours here.
Kornati National Park
Recommended by Veronika from Travel Geekery
Kornati National Park can be found in the North of Dalmatia. It comprises both land and sea and is made up of 89 unique karst-limestone islands in the shape of crowns.
The experience of visiting Kornati entails a bumpy hour-long boat ride from the village of Murter and then sailing in between the individual islands and islets with a few stops on those accessible to the public.
Most boats stop at Mana Island. You can climb to its top easily and admire not just the magnificent views, but also ancient-looking rock structures coming from a movie set produced in the ’50s.
It’s highly recommended to make a stop also at Levrnaka Island, the fourth largest one. There’s an excellent seafood restaurant on the island, as well as a calm bay, where you can enjoy some time on the beach.
The best is to visit Kornati from Murter, which is just 30 minutes from Šibenik. You can either get your own entrance ticket at the local tourism office and approach the boatmen to give you a ride to Kornati, or you can join a tour, which already includes the national park pass. In any case, count at least 5 hours for the whole Kornati experience.
Find the best Kornati National Park tours here.
Primošten is not the most obvious stop when traveling between Split and Zadar during your Croatia sightseeing but when you see the town from the main road you will want to spend there a bit of your time right away.
The old part of Primošten is located on a small peninsula, however in the past, it was just the island. The first settlement was established here in the 16th century to protect the local inhabitants from the Ottoman invasion. The town connected with the mainland only at the end of the 19th century where the walls surrounding Primošten were destroyed (only the main gate was left).
Today you can wander around this sleepy yet very charming little place, visit its main attraction – St. George church (it’s been there since the town was founded but got the current look during the renovation in 1760) and enjoy some beautiful views over the Adriatic Sea (the best one is from the local cemetery).
Primošten is such a perfect place to stop for a while and simply relax.
Find the best accommodation in Primošten here.
Recommended by Raluca from Travel With A Spin
Nin is a lovely tiny town full of history, houses carefully decorated with flowers, places of worship, and cobblestone streets. It is located in a lagoon 20km from Zadar. The old town is set on an islet connected with the mainland by two stone bridges.
Nin was the first Croatian royal town and it’s said that seven kings were crowned here. But it was also the seat of the Croatian bishops.
After crossing Kalelarga, the main street of the historical town, you’ll be welcomed by the statue of the Bishop Gregory of Nin, one of the symbols of the town. He is the one that opposed the Pope and introduced the Slavic language in the church. Make a wish and touch his well-polished toe for it to come true!
Another symbol of Nin is the so-called “smallest cathedral in the world” that fills with light at each solstice and equinox.
Visitors of Nin can also check out the largest Roman temple on the Adriatic coast, a 2nd-century Roman mosaic, and a traditional salt factory. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste some Ninski Sokol, local dry-cured pork meat produced in the region since ancient times.
Next to Nin, there’s also one of the not so many sandy beaches in Croatia, Queen’s Beach. This was the favorite beach of the wife of King Tomislav, hence the name.
Find the best accommodation in Nin here.
Recommended by Lyndsay from The Purposely Lost
Located in the Dalmatia region, Trogir is one of the best places to visit in Croatia. The city was originally built by the ancient Greeks and had been inhabited by the Venetians for much of history.
The island is fairly small, so if you only have one day in Trogir, it’s a great amount of time. To make the most of your experience, there are so many historic buildings and symbols hiding in sight that taking a walking tour with a local guide will give you more insight into this incredible city.
In the center of the city you can see the Town Loggia, then climb the Town Clock Tower at the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, where you will enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view. The entrance to the Cathedral is it’s own masterpiece, designed by a local artist in the 13th century, Later, stroll along the promenade and experience a new perspective from the tower at Kamerlengo Castle, the city’s old fortress.
Find the best accommodation in Trogir here.
See the best Trogir tours here.
Recommended by Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Nested between Split and Dubrovnik, Omiš is often overlooked, even though it’s one of Croatia’s top destinations. Not only it is the country’s capital of adventure, but its location, where the Cetina river reaches the Adriatic, is stunning!
Omiš has plenty of amazing things to see and do. Surrounded by the canyons of the river and the cerulean and turquoise colors of the sea, it doesn’t stop offering magnificent views. The Old Town is a typical terracotta-roofed Dalmatian settlement, full of Venetian influence. It’s crowned by the fortress of Mirabella, a 13th-century tower used by pirates to watch over the Channel of Brač for passing merchants.
The thrill-seekers can fill their days with rafting, ziplining, hiking, via ferrata, snorkeling, canyoning, windsurfing, and rock climbing. And relax at one of the many beaches in and around Omiš.
There are many Croatia travel tips to take into account while planning your visit, but for Omiš don’t forget both water and hiking shoes to be fully prepared for your adventure.
Find the best accommodation in Omiš here.
Recommended by Josefine and Dominik from Red White Adventures
This little gem island town is located just a few hours north of Dubrovnik. It’s a great place to visit if you need a relaxing getaway with a quiet feel. There is this BEAUTIFUL promenade walk around Trpanj and the water near the village might be the clearest water in all of Croatia.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can try to climb the mountain next to the town. Besides hiking up Mt Srd in Dubrovnik, this would be our next favorite hike in Croatia. We climbed up the mountain to catch some amazing views of the houses overlooking the sea.
In Trpanj they also sell local wine. There is a wine store called Ubrig Wine & Olive Oil Shop where you can go and try different local wines before buying them. We found the shop owner and her daughter to be super friendly and it was really nice to support a small local shop. Buy a bottle of wine and enjoy it while watching the sunset. Trpanj truly has one of the most magical sunsets we saw in all of Croatia!
We found it super easy to get to Trpanj even though it seems quite far out of the way. We took a bus from Dubrovnik to Ploce which is a regular stop along the coast. From there we took the ferry to Trpanj which goes back and forth a few times a day. Enjoy the peaceful little town and the peacefulness Trpanj brings!
Find the best accommodation in Trpanj here.
The Bay of Abandoned Hotels in Kupari, located only a few kilometers south of Dubrovnik, is one of the craziest Croatia tourists attractions.
In the past, it used to be a popular holiday destination – the complex of seven hotels mostly from the 1960s (only one of them, Grand, was built in the 1920s) was designed for the officers of the Yugoslav People’s Army and their families as well as the national officials of Yugoslavia. When the 1990s war rolled over the Balkans, the complex was badly destroyed and eventually left to decay.
If you like exploring abandoned places, Kupari is a perfect place to visit. You can freely enter all the hotels, walk around the common spaces like restaurants, lobby, or swimming pool, enter rooms with hardly any equipment left, and even go to the rooftop of one of the hotels (Hotel Goričina II).
Even if you don’t want to go inside the hotels, this is a lovely place to visit and a good getaway from the busy streets of Dubrovnik. The rumors say the complex is going to be renovated but so far there are still no signs of any works there.
Read more about Kupari:
Cavtat might be the easiest of all the day trips from Dubrovnik. This charming little town is located only 20 km away from the famous city, near the airport, and the frequent local buses connect Dubrovnik with Cavtat throughout the day.
The town was founded already in the 6th century BC as the Greek colony Epidaurus. In the 7th century, the place was invaded by the Slavic tribes and most of the inhabitants escaped to the nearby Lave island which eventually developed as Dubrovnik.
Today Cavtat is a sleepy town where you can escape from busy Dubrovnik to enjoy the seaside vibe, relax over the meal in one of the harbor restaurants or visit some of the attractions the town has to offer (such as Renaissance Rectors Palace from the 16th century, Baroque St. Nicholas church from the 18th century or the impressive mausoleum of the Račić family built in 1920-1922).
But the best thing to do in Cavtat is to just wander along the sea and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding.
Find the best accommodation in Cavtat here.
Places to visit in Istria
Recommended by Audrey from That Backpacker
Pula is a small city located in Croatia’s heart-shaped peninsula known as Istria, and it’s a wonderful destination for history, sunshine, and good food!
One place not to be missed on your visit is Pula Arena. This is a massive Roman amphitheater that dates back to the 1st century and is incredibly well preserved. It is the only remaining Roman amphitheater with all four side towers and three stories still standing. If you happen to be there during the summer months, you can even attend “Spectacvla Antiqva”, an event that reenacts gladiator fights and games from Roman antiquity.
A few other places of interest include the Roman Forum which houses the Temple of Augustus, the Roman Mosaic, the Arch of Sergii, Pula Cathedral, Fortress Kastel, and the underground tunnels built during WW1 for sheltering people in case of air raids. Half the fun for anyone visiting Pula is walking around and stumbling upon little bits of history.
If you’re up for a day trip, you can join a boat cruise to Brijuni National Park, a group of 14 small islands that sit out on the Adriatic Sea.
And when it comes to good food, Jupiter Pizza is a local favorite. You can’t go wrong with their Istrian pizza or seafood pizza paired with a glass of red wine!
There are lots of different options for getting to Pula: the local airport offers flights from select European cities, you can rent a car for a fun Istrian road trip, and during the summer months you can make use of the ferry and catamaran service around the Croatian coastline and across to Venice.
Find the best accommodation in Pula here.
See the best Pula tours here.
Recommended by Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
Beautiful Rovinj, on the Istrian coast, should definitely be at the top of your list of places to visit in Croatia. Picturesque Rovinj is not only a fabulous destination in itself, but it also makes a good base to explore more of the Istrian peninsula.
There are many things to do in Rovinj, from wandering the cobblestone alleys of the Old Town to boat tours of the Rovinj archipelago. Rovinj also boasts a lively waterfront, with numerous cafes and restaurants, great for people watching as well as to take in the spectacular sunsets.
The Church of Saint Euphemia is likely the most-visited sight in Rovinj. Located on a hilltop, the church features a bell tower you can climb and gorgeous views from the grounds.
Rovinj is also a great place to enjoy the freshest seafood dishes, and truffle and olive oils are specialties here, much like Tuscany.
Driving is the easiest way to get to Rovinj, or you can arrive by bus from large cities like Rijeka, Zagreb, or Zadar.
Find the best accommodation in Rovinj here.
See the best Rovinj tours here.
Recommended by Džangir from Dr Jam Travels
Grožnjan is a small town in inland Istria on the hill surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, within half an hour from Buzet, Novigrad, or Umag. This medieval settlement has a long history, from a Roman time over Venetia and Austria to today’s modern Croatia.
The place is known as a town of artists. In the ’60s artists started squatting that time empty houses. Today just around 150 people live there with 20 galleries and many festivals.
The best time to visit is from May to September when they organize an annual painting festival, the Ex Tempore. Grožnjan also has an annual jazz festival “Jazz is Back-BP”, held for two or three weeks, in the second half of July.
When you have had enough of the coast you should take a short break to this hill. The most remarkable building inside the walls is a Church of St. Vid, Modest, and Krešencije with a 36-meter high bell tower. Here you can walk around cobbled and narrow streets, visit one of the galleries, enjoy some music or have a drink and fritule.
The best photo option is from Parenzana (ex railroad), there is a beautiful view of this town on a hill.
Find the best accommodation in Grožnjan here.
Recommended by Lori from Travlinmad
Located less than an hour drive from the seaside town of Rovinj, a one-hour drive through the beautiful Istria countryside is the charming hilltop village of Motovun. The small village features Celtic and Illyrian fortresses with a maze of narrow cobblestone streets winding between the two. In fact, the name of the village is also of Celtic origin, derived from Montona, meaning “a town in the hills”
The sun-drenched Istrian peninsula in northwestern Croatia can feel parched but its arid landscape produces a bounty of local foods. Olives, olive oil, and honey are but a few of the delectable foods you can taste or bring home as treasured Croatia souvenirs. But foodies should head to Motovun to taste the exquisite treat Istria is also famous for — white and black truffles.
Most visitors to Motovun are day-trippers buzzing through the many shops tasting local Istrian wines, olive oils, and truffle oils. Local restaurants feature truffles in many of their dishes, or you can do a truffle tasting in several shops in town. Visit in October and November for the White Truffle Fair.
Getting to Motovun is easy — whether on a local tour bus or reliable public transportation. Biking to Motovun is popular among cyclists despite the hills. But renting a car is perhaps the best way to arrive and have your day trip be flexible to avoid the crowds.
Find the best accommodation in Motovun here.
See the best Motovun tours here.
Places to visit on Croatian islands
Recommended by Sinead from Map Made Memories
Lumbarda is a charming village on the southeast coast of Korcula Island. It is an attractive, quiet, and unspoiled village with friendly people. You cannot do anything but relax and slow down in this beautiful place.
Lumbarda is five miles from Korcula Town which is the arrival/departure point for catamarans to Split and Dubrovnik or the ferry from Orebic. A public bus or short taxi ride will bring you to Lumbarda.
Unusually for Croatia, Lumbarda offers sandy beaches and the largest beach, Vela Przina, is easily reached by car, taxi, or walking. Alternatively, a much more scenic journey is to hire a bike from the village and cycle through Lumbarda’s vineyards to the beach. Several of these family-owned vineyards are open for tastings and the Grk grape grown here grows nowhere else in Croatia.
Snorkel in Lumbarda’s warm, clear waters, enjoy the pedestrianized seaside path around the headland, or try an adventurous water sport. Take a water taxi to Korcula old town or to the nearby National Park island of Mljet.
Don’t miss Lumbarda’s Friday evening ‘Fishermans Market’, held in the village square, when local people set up stalls selling freshly cooked fish, tempting desserts, and local Grk white wine.
Find the best accommodation in Lumbarda here.
Recommended by Jamie from Travel Addict
Korčula Town is located on Korčula, a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea located between the beautiful towns of Dubrovnik and Split. It’s a popular spot on itineraries for sailing holidays but can also be reached by ferry from Split or ferry from Dubrovnik. The ferries are more frequent during the summer months but are available off-season as well.
Korčula town is quite old and it’s cathedral even dates back to 1301. The history of Korčula is lengthy and they’ve experienced rule from a variety of cultures over the years – from the Venetian to the Austrians. All those various influences are present in the town and island and make it a unique place to visit in Croatia.
As a small town, Korčula has a wonderfully pleasant and lowkey vibe even during the height of summer. There are charming cafes with ocean side seating and even a cocktail bar on the roof of a fortress turret (Massimo Bar).
On the weekend there is a charming farmer’s market just outside the main entrance to the old town. And there are many merchants and shops in the old town that sell traditional Croatian jewelry and other items (Zlatarna aura in the old town is lovely).
Find the best accommodation in Korčula here.
See the best Korčula tours here.
Recommended by Nichola from Globalmouse Travels
Krk Island is a fantastic getaway in Croatia, an island retreat but with so much there it can keep you captivated for as long as you have.
It’s easy to get to Krk, there’s a spectacular bridge that crosses from the mainland making it easy to drive across. You can also fly into Krk if you’re visiting during the summer season.
This island is somewhere to come and enjoy the scenery. Stop at the beaches – Oprna, Vela plaža, and Sveti Marek are just some of those worth taking the time out to enjoy but explore and find your own favorite. Head into the main town of Krk Town which is absolutely beautiful and packed full of history. Walk through its picturesque cobbled streets and stop in one of the restaurants for food overlooking the sea.
Krk is perfect for a Croatia family holiday with some great accommodation scattered through the island and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.
Find the best accommodation on Krk island here.
Recommended by Anjali from Travel Melodies
Vis Island is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Croatia. The island was unreachable until 1989 as it served as a Yugoslav military naval base. It still is the remotest of all the islands in Croatia and is thus a special place.
From historical masterpieces to cultural gems to stunning nature to far off caves to charming villages to one-of-a-kind beaches – there’s never a dull moment on Vis island!
Start with Viska Luka, a beautiful harbor, and make your way towards one of the oldest and the most beautiful parts of Vis, Kut. It’s a delight to walk the 17th-century limestone courtyards and passageways with charming extended balconies.
Another gem of a place on Vis island is Komiža, a quaint historic fishing village. St. Nicholas Monastery, Our Lady of the Pirates church, and Komiza Fortress are the main attractions in Komiža.
Taking a boat tour from Komiza to Biševo to witness the unusual natural wonder in Croatia, the Blue Cave comes highly recommended.
You can’t leave Vis before you spend time on one or two of its unique beaches. Stiniva, Srebrna, and Stončica remain our favorites.
You have options to book a catamaran, a ferry (Jadrolinija), or a speedboat to get to Vis island from Split.
Find the best accommodation on Vis Island here.
Recommended by Ella from Many More Maps
The Blue Cave on the small island of Biševo is one of Croatia’s most popular tourist attractions, and it’s easy to see why. Although it was a well-kept secret between locals and fishermen, boats have only been able to enter the cave since 1884, when an entryway was carved into the stone.
What’s so special about the cave is that, during daylight hours, the rays of the sun that are able to get through an underwater opening to the cave illuminate it in an eerie blue glow. Entering the cave instantly transports visitors to another place, and the effect is almost otherworldly.
The best way to see the Blue Cave is on a tour from Split, Hvar, or any of the other nearby islands. All tours drop you off at Biševo and provide you with tickets for the Blue Cave which will be included in the price of your tour. You will then be transported to the Blue Cave by the island’s official tour provider. If you visit independently, you’ll still have to wait at Biševo to visit the Blue Cave with their official tour provider, so you don’t really save that much money.
Find the best Blue Cave tours here.
Recommended by Ellie from Ellie’s Travel Tips
Known for clear blue waters, rich historical heritage, and gorgeous scenery, Hvar Island should be the first stop on any vacation in Croatia. Hvar is home to picturesque towns and villages, pristine beaches, and beautiful lavender fields. The translucent waters found right off the coast should be reason enough to visit! Split, Dubrovnik, and Brac are home to the closest airports, where one would then need to tax a bus, taxi, or car to Hvar.
Malo Zarace is a little slice of heaven, as a cliffside beach found in one of Hvar’s secluded bays. This spot is a perfect beachy destination to avoid the crowds while still experiencing relaxation. Take in the incredible views of Hvar from Spanjola Fortress. The views, overlooking the red roofs and white walls of the old town below, are extraordinary. Later, walk the historic cobbled streets of Stari Grad—the epitome of a rustic Mediterranean town.
From the crystal-blue waters to the white-washed towns, Hvar Island is a perfect destination for any vacation in Croatia.
Find the best accommodation on Hvar Island here.
Recommended by Monique from Trip Anthropologist
Hvar island is a popular trip from Dubrovnik for travelers to Croatia. Not many tourists venture across the island to one of the very oldest towns in Europe, Stari Grad.
Stari Grad is only a 25-minute drive from Hvar Town and there are regular ferry services from major destinations in Croatia. There are seven ferries daily from Split and the trip takes an hour.
Located at the end of the long Grad Bay, the town is unusual because of the age of its stone buildings and cobbled streets, dating back to 384 BCE!
The long seaside promenade, the Riva, is lined with palm trees and is full of cafes, shops, and restaurants. The old stone squares (including Skor square) are surrounded by Baroque and medieval houses.
Medieval streets, especially Srinja kola, the Roman murals, Tvrdalj Palace, the Dominican Monastery, and the 9th century St. Stephen’s church are must-see sites in beautiful Stari Grad!
Find the best accommodation in Stari Grad here.
Recommended by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
The Elaphiti Islands are a cluster of 14 magnificent islands in the Adriatic Sea, located in the north of Dubrovnik. Only three out of these 14 islands
are inhibited – Sipan, Lopud, and Kolocep. These islands are well connected by ferry services and are one of the popular day trips from Dubrovnik.
Sipan (pronounced as She-pan) is the largest island in the archipelago, offering small yet stunning pebble beaches, hiking, and walking paths punctuated with palm trees. Lopud is the second largest of the Elaphiti archipelago and a car-free island. Lopud is also a popular choice of the island, more particularly for the sandy stretch of Sunj bay. Kolecep island is known for its century-old pine trees, gardens, and fine beaches.
While each of these islands deserves a day, it is possible to see these three islands on the same day through organized tours. However, if you prefer a slow-paced journey and laid back lifestyle, Elaphiti islands are a perfect choice to escape the crowds of Dubrovnik for a few days, or even a week!
Recommended by Cindy from Travel Bliss Now
Pučišća is often listed as one of the prettiest villages in Europe. It’s nestled in a deep cove on the island of Brač, one of Croatia’s least developed islands. It’s perfect for visitors who want to relax.
The village is known for its stone masonry and visitors can see these traditions at a local school. The white limestone from the island was used in Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the White House in Washington. The sparkling white stone houses lining the streets of Pučišća make it one of the most charming towns in Croatia.
Visitors will enjoy exploring the coves and pebbled beaches nearby. Across the island near Bol is one of the best beaches on the Adriatic, Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn). Sports enthusiasts can go cycling, scuba diving, or windsurfing.
Restaurants in town serve traditional food, especially locally raised lamb. The best place to stay in Pučišća is the Puteus Palace Heritage Hotel, a luxury hotel in the 15th-century palace.
It’s easy to get to Pučišća. Take a one-hour ferry from Split to Supetar on the north coast of Brač and grab a taxi for a peaceful getaway in this coastal town.
Find the best accommodation in Pučišća here.
Places to visit in mainland Croatia
Zagreb, the largest city and the capital of Croatia, is often overlooked by tourists who prefer to visit seaside destinations in the country. But Zagreb deserves more attention too and it is actually one of Croatia best places to visit!
This is such an interesting and beautiful city. You will find there beautiful architecture from the turn of the 19th and 20th century, centuries-old historical buildings, one of the most impressive cemeteries in Europe, and many great museums, including the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships.
If you are after some alternative attractions, including street art – Zagreb has them too! The list of things to do in Zagreb is really long and you will find something interesting for yourself for sure!
If you want to relax there are many great cafes where you can stop for a coffee and watch the world go by. In the evening you can attend a play in the national theater – the tickets are affordable and the interior of the theater is simply stunning!
Zagreb can be also a great base for some day trips in the central part of Croatia, you might even go for a quick detour to Slovenia.
Read more about Zagreb:
- 25 Wonderful Things to Do in Zagreb, Croatia
- 8 Zagreb museums you can’t miss
- Photo walk through street art Zagreb
- Alternative Zagreb guide
- Visit Zagreb, Croatia – the hidden gem of Europe
Find the best accommodation in Zagreb here.
See the best Zagreb tours here.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most popular and beautiful places in Croatia and it is famous for a reason.
The beautiful karst region in the central part of the country brings over a million visitors each year enticed by the view of stunning waterfalls and walk around the numerous lakes. There are a few different routes to explore the park, from short paths to hikes that take up to 8 hours of sightseeing. Most of the places are easily accessible and don’t require to be fit, however good shoes are recommended since some of the paths might be slippery.
Plitvice Lakes National Park definitely lives up to its hype and no matter which path you will choose and how long you will spend at the site, you will be amazed as the views can take your breath away. The national park is open all year long and you can visit it every season since it’s always beautiful however it can get rather crowded and expensive in the holiday season.
Read more about Plitvice Lakes:
Find the accommodation near Plitvice Lakes here.
See the best Plitvice Lakes tours here.
Samobor is a small and charming town, located only 20 km away from Zagreb and well connected with the capital by the frequent buses. This is actually the easiest of all the day trips from Zagreb.
It was founded in the mid-13th century as a free royal town and has been a popular tourist destination already since the beginning of the 19th century, attracting hunters and hikers. Today it is a sleepy town with Baroque architecture, a popular destination for a day trip from Zagreb.
The center of the town is at King Tomislav Square – the vibrant main square lined with beautiful architecture and numerous cafes where you can sit down over a cup of coffee and a famous local cream cake – kremšnita.
Samobor is surrounded by beautiful nature and you can go hiking in the area. The most popular hike is to the ruins of Samobor castle, around half an hour from the center. A few kilometers north of the town, towards the border with Slovenia, you can visit Grgos Cave – one of the most beautiful caves in Croatia.
Many tourists who visit Croatia might know the name Karlovac since that’s where the popular local beer – Karlovačko – is made. But the city itself is an interesting place to visit too. It is located 50 km away from Zagreb, with good train and bus connections, and can be a nice option for a day trip from the capital.
The city was founded at the end of the 16th century as a fortress to protect the area from the Ottoman Empire. The said fortress, built on the shape of a star, is one of the city’s main attractions. Inside it, you can find the central part of the town with the buildings from the times of the Habsburg Empire. Even though some of the places need renovations (Karlovac was badly destroyed during the Yugoslav War) this is such a pleasant area to visit, although a bit sleepy.
The city has also plenty of green, leisure areas in parks or along the river Kupa. Not far from the center you can also visit Renaissance Dubovac Castle from the 15th century, overlooking the city.
Osijek, with a population of around 85 thousand inhabitants, is the fourth-largest city in Croatia. Located in the eastern part of the country near the border with Serbia, this is not the most popular of destinations in Croatia yet it is still worth visiting.
The center of the town is really pleasant, with some beautiful art-nouveau houses from the times of the Habsburg Empire, still bearing the scars from the 1990s Yugoslav War. You will find the prettiest houses along Europska avenija.
The most impressive building of Osijek is the Church of St Peter and St Paul – a neo-Gothic masterpiece from the end of the 19th century, one of the most beautiful churches you can find in Croatia and the highest building in the country (outside of Zagreb).
The old town – Tvrđa – is located at the edge of the center, in the place where the former Habsburg fortress used to be (hence the name of the place, Tvrđa = Fortress). Don’t miss it during your trip to Osijek – it’s a bit decayed but therefore still authentic, with cobbled streets and Baroque architecture.
Find the best accommodation in Osijek here.
Vukovar is often overlooked by tourists visiting Croatia yet this is one of the most important places in the country, known also as the hero-city. It is located in the eastern part of the country, near Osijek and right on the border with Serbia, and is a perfect stop when traveling from Novi Sad to Zagreb (both cities can be reached by bus).
The city originally dates back to the 13th century and over the years it was the important harbor on the Danube river. The whole world learned about Vukovar in 1991 when the city was in the center of the dramatic Yugoslav War. The siege of Vukovar was cruel, it took 87 days and resulted in the destruction of 99% of the city and around eight thousand casualties (mostly civilians).
The symbol of the town, the destroyed water tower, was left intact after the war to remind about the heroic resistance of Vukovar. Another important place is the local hospital with the memorial space in the basement – it’s such a moving place, telling the story of the 1991 tragedy and showing how the institution used to work at that time.
These days Vukovar is a sleepy yet interesting place to visit. Besides the war-related places, you can wander around the small but pleasant center, visit the Baroque Eltz Manor from the 18th century that hosts the city museum (you can see the palace on the 20 kuna banknote) or the Franciscan monastery with St Philip and Jacob Church (the third-largest church in Croatia).
In the summertime, you can go for a cruise on the Danube or relax on the river island.
Read more about Vukovar here:
Find the best accommodation in Vukovar here.
Varaždin is probably the prettiest town in northern Croatia, located 80 km from Zagreb, near the border with Slovenia and Hungary. Founded in the 12th century, for a very short time (1756-1776) this was the capital of Croatia.
Today the town is known mostly for its beautiful Baroque old town and numerous attractions. To see them all you would need some 2-3 days in Varaždin but if you are running out of time it can be also visited as a day trip from Zagreb.
When in Varaždin don’t miss the 14th century Stari Grad fortress (you might know it from the 5 kuna banknote) as well as numerous palaces and churches, a fine example of the Baroque architecture. But the best thing to do in Varaždin is to just wander around the winding lanes in the center and enjoy the atmosphere of this charming town.
Find the best accommodation in Varaždin here.
Map of the best places to visit in Croatia
To give you a better idea of where all these great places are located, here is the map with all of them:
Final thoughts on visiting Croatia
As you can see the list of amazing destinations in Croatia is really long and that’s still not all Croatia has to offer. Every second place there deserve a visit so while you can use this overview of best places to visit in Croatia as the general guide, I’m sure you will find even more extraordinary spots there.
Croatia is truly amazing and I’m sure you will fall in love with it and enjoy it to the fullest!
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