Official language: Croatian with Italian, German and English being widely spoken.
Welcome to the land of art, archipelagos and amazing seafood!
As one of Europe’s most fashionable destinations, Croatia doesn’t remotely feel like it will ever be visited too much. With its amazing tourism development and the diverse experiences on offer here, Croatia has a little something for everyone; from the family travelers to the yachters and spa lovers. There’s something magical about the genuine quality you’ll get from a Croatian experience. We’ve all tasted Croatian cuisine on one form or another, heard a about their niche festivals and their cool and contemporary sheen they get from their amazing art galleries. Blessed with an abundance of natural riches, Croatia boasts roughly 2,000km of rocky shores, more than 1000 islands and a rich blanket of luxuriant vegetation. The great thing about Croatia is that it still has oodles of space for travelers, even during its busiest months of peak season. Stepping off the beaten track is the best way to explore a real authentic taste of Croatia. You’ll get to see the quiet coves and the stone-built fishing villages. This is essentially a part of Europe in its most unspoiled state.
Aside from natural beauty, the country boasts more than enough urbane glamour with its swanky hotels, yacht-lined harbors and cocktail bars that seem to ever end. Croatia is one of the last European countries that retain an appeal for independent travelers, something you won’t find elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Step inside and explore a world where tantalizing seafood, breathtaking archipelagos and captivating culture is bound to keep you lingering for much longer than you had anticipated!
Must see places in Croatia
Split is Croatia’s second largest city and offers an abundance of exploration opportunities within easy reach of the city. It’s not just a base for heading out into the surrounding areas though; Split has quite a lot on offer itself. The awe-inspiring Old Town of Split and buildings like the Palace of Diocletian, the Archeological Museum and the whimsical Waterfront Promenade come together with Split’s other great attractions to make it a destination filled with excellent dining, entertainment and cultural experiences.
Located in the Istrian peninsula in the northwest of Croatia you’ll find the Venetian-ear seaside town of Rovinj with its pastel-colored houses, a quaint fishing harbor and a hilltop church with a charming bell tower. Off course the pebble beaches are great for day trips, but the main tourist attraction is undeniably the Batana Eco-Museum located on the seafront. The town also boasts an extensive collection of top-end hotels, up-market seafood restaurants and elegant art galleries.
Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most glamorous tourist destination and is best known for its spectacular Old Town with its sturdy medieval defensive walls. Explore the beautiful town by walking around the ramparts where you’ll see fortresses, towers and cannons along the way. Get up on the walls and experience a bird’s eye view of the old town rooftops as they lead the way to the glistening Adriatic Sea.
Zagreb is Croatia’s Coastline Capital and offers some seriously great big-city attractions. This place is home to one quarter of the country’s population, which makes Zagreb the political and cultural center of Croatia, boasting some of the best museums, restaurants and shopping in the area.
The town of Trogir is located on the Dalmatian coast and dates back to 380 BC. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and is without a doubt one of the region’s most popular destinations. Make sure you soak up the splendid Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, the medieval streets and the very pleasant waterfront promenade.
Mljet National Park
One third of the western side of the island of Mljet is a dedicated national park. It’s mostly covered by dense woodland, with the focus being on the two interconnected turquoise saltwater lakes. One of the lakes boasts an islet capped by a 12th century Benedictine Monastery that can be visited by taxi-boats. The park is a nature lover’s heaven with numerous paths trailing through the woodlands and around the perimeter of the lakes.
The car-free town of Zadar is built on a small peninsula and its top attractions are the fine Romanesque churches built here during the 9th and 13th centuries. Make sure you stop by the Zadar Cathedral, the Zadar Archeological Museum, the Church of St. Donatus, the Church of St. Chrysogonus, the People's Square and the Ancient Glass Museum among Zadar’s many beautiful sights and attractions. The City Walls and Gates are also breathtaking to see.
Plitvice National Park
The Plitvice National Park is one of Croatia’s most visited inland attractions and comprises of steep forested hillsides that surround the 16 emerald-blue lakes connected by their thundering waterfalls. The footpaths and wooden bridges crisscross over the park so that visitors can enjoy the lush pristine nature with its wild animals. If you want to stay for the night there are several hotels located on the edge of the park.
Kornati National Park
The Kornati National Park is spread out over 35 kilometers long and 13 kilometers wide. It’s an archipelago that consists of over 80 scattered islets, mostly rocky and arid, this area is mostly uninhabited aside from the scattered stone cottages built as one-room shelter by local fishermen and shepherds. To really explore the islets you’ll have to go by private boat or book a boat excursion from Zadar or Sibenik in the mainland.
As the biggest settlement on the island of Korčula in South Dalmatia, Korčula Town is protected by medieval walls and towers and its car-free stone alleys are laid out in herringbone patterns, giving sufficient shelter against the prevailing winds. Abundant with centuries old aristocratic buildings, the town was mainly shaped during the era of Venetian rule. The town’s main attractions include the Marco Polo house, and the moreška sword dance shows.
Brijuni National Park
Just off the Istrian peninsula, the archipelago of scattered pine-tree islets forms the Brijuni National Park. The largest of the islets is Veli Brijun, and island covered with landscaped parks that are open for visitors to explore. There’s also a small safari park in the National Park boasting elephants from India, antelopes from Zambia, and zebras from Guinea among the other exotic species. With 2 hotels, a golf course and the ruins of and ancient Roman villa to explore, it’s a destination that definitely should be included on your itinerary.
Zlatni Rat Beach
The ‘Golden Horn’ is Croatia’s most photographed beach. Zlatni Rat is located in Bol on the south coast of Brač. The real reason why it’s that popular is thanks to the odd landform known as “spit” that’s made up from fine pebbles and runs 500 meters perpendicular to the coast. The landmass is constantly moving and changing form, depending on the wind and the currents. The beach is overlooked by the heights of the Vidova Gora Mountain, and since the waters are warm enough for summertime swimming, watersports is a massive hit here. This is also Croatia’s best windsurfing spot.
Hvar town is the most fashionable town on the Dalmatian Islands. Hvar has plenty of top hotels and some of the best seafood restaurants on offer. It’s a town that’s entirely car-free and you might just fall in love with the bug main square overlooked by the 16th century cathedral, the surrounding fishing harbor and the hilltop fortress.
Pick the time right!
Tourists travel to Croatia from May to September
Croatia has two distinct climatic patterns; the Mediterranean climate on the coast with its warm summers and mild winters, and the Continental climate on the inland which is slightly hotter during summer and freezing during the winter months. The peak traveler’s season is between July and August on the Adriatic coast. If you plan to be a beach bum and live it up café style, this is the time to get to Croatia.June and September sees a more laid-back atmosphere with far less feet putting pressure on accommodation availability.
If you want to explore the inland Istria and the National Park areas of Plitvice Lakes and the River Krka, autumn is the best time to travel here. The winter time brings snow to the inland, and although transport in the highland areas might be disrupted by natural forces frequently, it’s still a very pretty picture to see.
Did you know?
- Pršut i paški sir - air-dried ham and sheep’s milk cheese platters
- Salata od hobotnice - octopus salad made with squid, onion, chopped parsley, olive oil, crushed garlic and lemon juice
- Crni riýot - black risotto that’s made from cuttlefish ink
- Janjetina - roast lamb
- Tartufi - truffles
- Even though Croatia’s crime level is very low by European standards, you should still ensure your personal belongings are always held close to you to avoid falling victim to petty theft
- Public displays of affection by members of the same sex might promote hostility from the locals outside of the main city areas
- If you’re planning on trekking up the mountains, you might want to get vaccinated to prevent tick-borne encephalitis
- Smoking is generally acceptable but there are restrictions in public buildings and on public transport