Best Places to Visit in Croatia
Historic cities and unspoiled nature are some of Croatia’s main attractions. The vibrant capital city of Zagreb has some of the best museums, galleries, restaurants and shopping centers in the country. Along the coast, centuries-old port towns are dotted with stone buildings from the Venetian era, while countless pebbly beaches offer activities like scuba diving, water skiing, and windsurfing.
The delightful islands of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea are a paradise for yacht enthusiasts and those who just want to relax and enjoy the Mediterranean sun. To get the most out of your travel experience in this beautiful Eastern European country, always remember to check our list of top things to do in Croatia.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Croatia and make your trip enjoyable.
14 Best Places to Visit in Croatia
Here are the top 14 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Croatia:
Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most fascinating tourist destination and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the center of the magnificent medieval walled Old Town. Any first city tour should begin with the forts, towers and cannons surrounding these fortified old city walls (the full circuit is 2km long).
You can also enter the Old Town through the famous Pile Gate, which was built in 1537 and is one of the city’s most impressive buildings. From the high walls, you can enjoy stunning views over the rooftops of the old town and the sparkling Adriatic Sea (remember to wear comfortable walking shoes, a bottle of water and a selfie stick).
Other must-sees here include the stunning Loggia Square, a historic meeting place known for its breathtaking cathedral and treasury of artifacts, beautiful old buildings and monuments, and Lovrienac Castle, one of the most important castles in the country.
2. Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Split, Croatia’s second-largest city after Zagreb, was built within the ancient Roman walls of the massive Dioklecijanova palace. Overlooking the Adriatic Sea, it was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian, who retired here in 305 AD.
The square in the plan—more of a castle than a palace, and actually the seat of the emperor’s personal garrison—had four large gates, three of which were accessible by land and one originally opened directly onto the water. Sights within the city walls include the magnificent Peristyle (vaulted courtyard), where you’ll also find the elegant bell tower and the Basilica of St. Dominus.
A fun thing to do at night is to visit and admire the illuminated ruins, as concerts and entertainment are often held during the day. The Old Town is a pedestrian zone and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Official website: www.diocletianspalace.org
3. Hvar Town
Many tourists travel to Croatia to explore the delightful Dalmatian islands, with the most fashionable island of Hvar. Here, the popular city of Hvar has some of the best hotels in the country and some of the best seafood restaurants.
Dating back to Venetian rule (1420-1797), this pedestrianized old town consists of a large main square overlooking a 16th-century cathedral, a quaint fishing port, and a castle on a hill.
Hvar is popular with yachtsmen and celebrities, as well as tourists who come here to enjoy the beaches and water sports. It is served by a ferry from Split.
4. Plitvice Lakes National Park
Nacionalni park Plitvicka jezera, Croatia’s most visited inland attraction, consists of steep forested slopes surrounded by 16 turquoise-blue lakes connected by a chain of thundering waterfalls. A network of walkways and wooden bridges crisscross the park (the country’s first national park), and entry includes a boat ride on the lake.
Thanks to its lush, unspoiled nature, the park is a haven for wildlife, including wolves and bears (although timid you are unlikely to see them), as well as owls, eagles and hawks. If you want to stay the night, there are several hotels on the edge of the park. You can take a bus tour from Zagreb and Zadar for sixteen days.
If you plan to visit or take the tour without a guide, be sure to book your tickets in advance – this is an extremely popular tourist destination that welcomes over a million visitors a year.
Official website: https://np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/en/
5. Zagreb’s Gornji Grad
In Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, the main tourist area is the medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town). Here, popular attractions include the cathedral and Croatian Parliament (Hrvatski Sabor), with its neo-Gothic façade, twin minarets, and a treasury of religious art and artifacts.
Also worth a visit is the famous Church of St. Mark with its colorful tiled roof and the 13th-century Lautescaque tower, which you can climb for stunning views of the city and the surrounding area. Also, be sure to catch the much-loved Museum of Broken Relationships, many people’s favorites.
6. Kornati National Park
The Kornati Islands, 35 kilometers long and 13 kilometers wide cover an area of approximately 320 square kilometers and consist of 89 small islands of various sizes.
Rocky and arid, with poorly fertile soil, these islets are almost uninhabited, although there are some very simple stone houses scattered here and there. Originally built as a one-room shelter by local fishermen and shepherds, it is now often used as a resort or seasonal seafood restaurant.
The best way to explore this stunningly beautiful coastal region is in a private sailboat, from the nearest charter base Biograd Na Moru. It is also possible to take a sightseeing boat to the Kornati as a day trip from Zadar or Sibenik on the mainland. If you are self-sailing (actually), you will need to purchase a valid license, which can be obtained online (see the official website below).
Official website: www.np-kornati.hr/en/
7. Pula’s Roman Arena
The historic city of Pula on the Adriatic coast in Croatia’s trendy Istria region is well worth including in your itinerary. In addition to its stunning seaside setting (including many beautiful beaches), Pula is also known for its well-preserved Roman architecture, making it the perfect day trip for those staying in other parts of the country.
Although humans lived for tens of thousands of years, it was the Romans who left their mark more than 2,000 years ago. Of the many surviving examples of Roman architecture, none is as impressive or grand as the Polska Arena. Built by Emperor Vespasian in the 1st century BC, it is one of the largest Roman amphitheaters in existence, rivaling only its famous cousin, the Colosseum.
It is designed to accommodate crowds of up to 20,000 people and is primarily used for recreational activities such as gladiator fighting and gladiator fighting. Thanks to careful reconstruction, this impressive building still hosts 5,000 visitors during regular summer concerts and festivals.
Some other Pula Roman ruins are also worth seeing. The best of these is the Roman Forum, a well-preserved ancient square that has been the center of city life for centuries. Here you will also find the Temple of Augustus, a well-preserved cylindrical structure with a collection of Roman sculptures.
Address: Flavijevska ul., 52100, Pula, Croatia
8. Zadar’s Romanesque Churches
Zadar’s car-free old town is built on a small peninsula that juts out from Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Said to be the country’s oldest continuously inhabited site – dating back to the Stone Age – its main tourist attraction is its many beautiful Romanesque churches filled with well-preserved religious paintings, many of which were built between the 9th and 13th centuries. and ornate gold treasures.
The 9th-century pre-Romanesque St. Donatus Church, the 11th-century St. Mary’s Church and the 12th-century Anastasia and St. Be sure to visit the Chrysogonus Cathedral.
Other things to do include visiting the Museum of Ancient Glass and two popular modern installations, the Sea Organ and Salute to the Sun, both located near the tip of the peninsula.
One of the best free things to do in Zadar is to relax on the picturesque Koloval Beach, a series of sand and pebbles backed by beautiful parkland.
9. Zlatni Rat Beach
The most photographed beach in Croatia has to be the extraordinary Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn or Golden Horn). Located in Bol on the south coast of Brač, this unusual terrain is known as “spit” and consists of tiny pebbles that stretch 500 meters perpendicular to the shore. It moves and changes shape with the seasons, according to local winds and currents.
Backed by a row of pine trees that provide shade, the hotel overlooks the rocky peaks of Vidova Gora Mountain with sun loungers and parasols in summer. Considered one of the best beaches in Europe, the waters are warm enough for swimming from June to September, and some even manage to extend the swimming season into May and October.
Additional beach attractions include water sports such as paddle boats, sea kayaks, and banana boats. Zlatni Rat is also Croatia’s top windsurfing destination. Brač can be reached by ferry and catamaran from Split. For those who want to stay here for a long time, many luxury hotels are located nearby.
The town of Korčula is the main settlement on the island of the same name clinging to a small peninsula in Southern Dalmatia. Protected by medieval walls and towers, its stone streets, closed to vehicular traffic, are arranged in a herringbone pattern to protect them from the prevailing winds. Korčula has centuries-old noble stone buildings built during the period when the island was under Venetian rule.
Top attractions include the Marco Polo House, said to be the birthplace of the famous 13th-century explorer, and one of the best things to do is to watch the Morska sword dance, a traditional dance performed for tourists. City walls on a summer night.
For a truly special experience, you can reach Korčula’s historic city center by catamaran from Split (daily) or Dubrovnik (summer only).
11. Mljet National Park
The western third of Mljet Island is designated as a national park. It is at the center of two interconnected turquoise lagoons, mostly covered with dense forest, one of which has an island with a 12th-century Benedictine abbey, which you can visit by taxi.
Popular with nature lovers, the park offers many activities, including exploring the many trails in the woodlands. There is also a 9 km trail around the lake, ideal for hiking or mountain biking. The area is also popular for activities such as swimming and canoeing.
There is only one hotel on the island, but local families rent rooms to tourists during the summer, and there are many famous campgrounds to choose from. Mljet can be reached by ferry or catamaran from Dubrovnik.
Located on the Istrian peninsula in northwest Croatia, the Venetian seaside town of Rovinj is made up of pastel-colored houses surrounding a beautiful fishing port with a church and elegant bell tower topped by.
Besides the nearby pebbly beach, the main tourist attraction is the beachfront Batana Eco-Museum, which tells the story of the Batana, a wooden boat used by local fishermen. There are also many top hotels, upscale seafood restaurants, and art galleries to explore. The locals speak a dialect that mixes Croatian and Italian.
13. Brijuni National Park
This small archipelago of pine-scented islands scattered across the Istrian peninsula has been designated as a National Park (Nacionalni Park Brijuni). The largest island, Veli Brijun, is covered with natural parks that are open to tourists all year round.
Former Yugoslav President Tito hosted foreign dignitaries here and some brought him exotic animals as gifts, and now their descendants are on display in the small safari park: elephants from India, elephants from Zambia Antelope and Guinea’s zebra are the main attractions.
The island is also rich in unique flora and fauna, and there is also evidence that dinosaurs once roamed here. There are two hotels, a golf course and the remains of a Roman villa on the island. To get here, take the National Park Boat from Fažana on the mainland, 7km north of Pula.
Official website: www.np-brijuni.hr/en
Considered one of the best places to visit on Croatia’s gorgeous Dalmatian coast, the charming seaside town of Trogir is a delightful vacation destination. Trogir has a long history dating back to its founding in 380 BC and was ruled many times by Greeks, Romans, Hungarians and Venetians.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – an honor bestowed on the city in 1997 – Trogir offers its visitors endless fun activities. In addition to the best hotel and accommodation options, tourists also have a variety of options when searching for quality seafood restaurants or shopping for souvenirs.
History buffs and travelers alike have many attractions to visit, most of them within the city walls, which date back to the 1400s, thanks to the careful preservation of many ancient structures.
Examples of elegant Romanesque and Renaissance-style architecture can be found on the city’s medieval streets or on its charming waterfront promenades. Notable among them are Trogir Cathedral (St. Lawrence Cathedral), Cipico Palace and St. Peter’s Church.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Croatia. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Croatia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.