Home to thousands of beautiful islands, ancient cities, historic towns, and some of the world’s most stunning natural sites, Croatia is a great destination to visit, especially during the summer season. The Croatian coast often gets all the hype, but the historic cities of Dubrovnik and Split have a unique beauty that’s hard to resist. If you’re wondering which places to visit, here are the best places to go in Croatia.
Dubbed the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, the charming city of Dubrovnik is the top tourist destination in Croatia. Located at the southern tip of the country, off the Adriatic Sea, it was established in the 7th Century and has become a significant route for maritime trade.
Nowadays, Dubrovnik attracts thousands of tourists worldwide with its unique charm, especially in the Old Town, a historic district with many historical treasures. The town has defensive walls built to protect it from invaders. Exploring its cobblestone streets, you’ll find stunning churches and magnificent palaces. While it’s a joy to explore during the day, the Old Town looks even more magical when illuminated at night, giving off a very romantic ambience.
Outside the Old Town, you’ll find pretty beaches such as Lapad and Banje, which are great for swimming and sunbathing, and a perfect place to relax after sightseeing. You can also take a ferry to visit a nearby island, Lokrum, which is also home to beautiful beaches, a monastery, and a botanical garden.
Also called the “Mediterranean Flower”, Split is the second-largest city in Croatia, which lies off the Dalmatian Coast. It’s famous for its orange-roofed houses and gorgeous Roman architecture creating a striking contrast with the majestic mountains and turquoise blue sea.
Split’s main attraction is its historic centre, which has beautiful Renaissance and Gothic architecture, including the Diocletian Palace. Built around 298 to 305 AD, the Diocletian Palace is a massive complex that resembles a small city. It has a maze of marble stone walkways lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes. Inside the complex are several striking structures, including Jupiter’s Temple, Peristil Square, St. Duje’s Cathedral, and the two original monuments of the Egyptian sphinx.
Outside the historic centre, you’ll find plenty to explore and fun activities for entertainment, such as strolling along the promenade, shopping at the bustling markets, hiking on the scenic Marjan hill, and swimming at the Bacvice beach. You can also check out the Croatia Small Ship Cruises if you want to visit nearby islands from Split.
Hvar is one of Croatia’s most popular tourist attractions. Lying along the Adriatic Sea, this beautiful Croatian Island is renowned for its spectacular beaches, gorgeous landscapes of lavender fields and lush vineyards, and buzzing nightlife.
Hvar Town is a charming city home to imposing old fortresses, Gothic palaces, and stunning churches. Its town square is one of Croatia’s largest and most beautiful, surrounded by many historic structures, including the Cathedral of St Stephen and the 17th Century Arsenal. Hvar’s stunning natural beauty offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, such as hiking on the cliffs and swimming in secluded beaches and coves. There are also boat rentals and tours if you want to visit the nearby Pakleni Islands.
For history lovers, you’ll find plenty of archaeological sites to discover in Hvar. These ancient ruins and artefacts offer a great insight into the island’s Neolithic history. Visit Grapceva Cave, an archaeological site from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. In the lush countryside of Hvar, you’ll find pretty villages to explore. These are the best places to experience the local culture.
Kvarner is a majestic Croatian region situated in the northern part of the Adriatic Sea. Along its picturesque coastline are several beautiful beaches with a tranquil atmosphere, where you can swim and relax. In addition, Kvarner is home to many beautiful attractions with a diverse landscape offering tons of outdoor adventures.
Opatija, a charming coastal town, is a must-visit in Kvarner. It’s home to one of the first resorts on the Croatian Coast and is renowned for its unique historical charm, a magnet for tourists. Walking through the town centre, you’ll come across several historical monuments, beautiful parks, and ancient buildings. The Franz-Josef Promenade is particularly interesting. Connecting the scenic fishing village of Volosko with Opatija, a stroll through the promenade is very romantic.
It’s worth staying a day or two in Kvarner to discover everything this gorgeous island offers. You’ll find plenty of luxury villas in Kvarner that comes with a pool and with direct access to the beach.
Zagreb is Croatia’s capital and the country’s largest city. While many tourists overlook the city, there is plenty to explore in this vibrant metropolis. Packed with modern and historical tourist attractions, Zagreb was established in the 2nd Century AD when Hungarian King Ladislaus built the first diocese in the city. Nowadays, the sprawling cosmopolitan city of Zagreb lures thousands of tourists, especially those who want to learn more about Croatian culture and history.
Zagreb consists of two major areas – the Lower Town and the Upper Town. The upper town is the historical centre where tourists can stroll through cobblestone streets and explore medieval churches, beautiful palaces, and ancient towers. Some of the most remarkable sites in the city are the Stone Gate, which has the painting of the Virgin Mary and survived a major fire in 1731.
Zagreb’s main square, Ban Jelacic Square, is where you’ll find most of the historic architecture and great restaurants. It’s also home to a traditional open-air market called the Dolac Market, which has an array of stalls selling local handicrafts, clothing, fresh produce, and more. Head to Strossmayer’s Walkway, where you’ll see musicians, artists, and other street performers.
For foodies, Zagreb’s food culture will not disappoint. From traditional Croatian foods to international cuisines, Zagreb has plenty of exciting restaurants, cosy cafes, bustling bistros, and a myriad of great pubs worth a visit.