12 Croatia Top Destinations

Rovinj, Croatia (20) - red rooftops

Fast becoming one of Europe’s must see destinations, Croatia is blessed with near perfect weather, and is a heady mix of stunning natural beauty and cities enjoying growing levels of post communist chic. Many come for the near 2000 km of coastline, with over 1000 jaw-droppingly beautiful islands, studded with world class cities such as Dubrovnik and Havar. But, delve a little inland (with the help of our Croatia Top Destinations list) and you will find adventures lying just of the beaten track and a strong and vibrant local culture to boot. All at much more agreeable prices.

During our stay in Croatia we hitchhiked from the Slovenian border to Zagreb, visited the Krk and Istrian peninsulas before heading inland again to cross into Bosnia. We entered Croatia once again in the deep south to see Dubrovnik before eventually hitch-hiking onto Montenegro. We found couchsurfing in the capital and used our tent everywhere else.

12 Croatia Top Destinations

 

Zagreb 1 full day is enough

Zagreb, Croatia (29) - Croatian National Theatre. croatia top destinationsZagreb is Croatia’s capital and largest city and is a wonderful blend of austere Austro-Hungarian architecture, top-end restaurants and down at the heel pubs. The city itself can be divided into Gornji grad (Upper Town) and Donji grad (Lower Town) with the upper town containing the medieval historical centre and the imposing Zagreb Cathedral. Other highlights include the pedestrianised Strossmayer šetalište, a popular socialising place which offers lovely views across the lower town, and the unique Museum of Broken Relationships.

.

.

_________________________________

② Plitvice Lakes National Park – 1 full day is enough

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (8). croatia top destinationsConsidered to be one the most beautiful natural areas in all of Europe, the Plitvice Lakes National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and is located in the mountainous area of central Croatia, on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The park is most famous for its series of interconnected lakes arranged in cascades which are distinctive for their palette of colours and the unique flora and fauna of the area. Ticket prices vary (110–180 KN/15-24€) depending on the season and during summer the park is extremely busy.

.

_________________________________

③ Rovinj – 2 days minimum to walk around, have a swim and soak up the atmosphere

Rovinj, Croatia (20) - red rooftops. croatia top destinationsThe charming town of Rovinj is coastal Istria’s star attraction; beautifully positioned on the peninsula jutting out over the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean. It is one of the last authentic Mediterranean fishing ports and the sound of seagulls following the early morning catch is one the endless charms of this beautiful place. It’s not as touristy as some other Croatian gems, but it’s equally beautiful and not as expensive. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and a few camp-sites around to guarantee you a cheap stay. Be sure to climb the Belfry of Sv Euphemia for wonderful views across the town.

.

_________________________________

④ Dubrovnik – 1 full day is enough

Dubrovnik, Croatia (57) - old ship at sunset. croatia top destinationsThe picture perfect medieval city of Dubrovnik is one of the Mediterranean most prominent tourist attractions and perhaps Croatia’s star destination. The UNESCO World Heritage Site old town is in an almost perfect state, despite the shelling it received during the Yugoslav wars of the early 90s, with the central thoroughfare Stradun and city harbour notable for their particular beauty. Be warned that Dubrovnik is not cheap, with food and accommodation at eye watering prices but sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. Just to give you some idea: to stay in a tent on somebody’s driveway: 20€, cheapest meal in a restaurant: 20€, beer bought in a kiosk: 2€.

.

_________________________________

⑤ Poreč – 1 day is enoughPorec, Croatia - Porec old town with Euphrasian Basilica - wikicommons, Croatia Top Destinations

The ancient Roman town Potec is located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula and is saturated with tourists in the summer. Meaning that quiet, it is not, but it does have the 6th century UNESCO World Heritage Site Euphrasius Basilica, the most integrally preserved early Christian cathedral complex in the region as well as curious blend of Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque buildings to keep you entertained.

.

.

_________________________________

Trogir – 1 day is enoughTrogir, Croatia - old town and harbour, Croatia Top Destinations

Containing one of the best preserved Romanesque-Gothic medieval towns in all of Europe, Trogir’s walled historic centre comprises of a wonderful blend of palaces, churches, and towers, as well as a fortress on a small island. Highlights include St. Lawrence Cathedral and the Duke’s Palace, but the real joy is simply in taking a stroll around this UNESCO World Heritage Site jewel.

.

.

_________________________________

⑦ Šibenik & Krka National Park – 3 daysSibenik,Croatia - Sibernik harbour - wikicommons - Croatia Top Destinations

The historic town of Šibenik was one of the first Croatian settlements on the Adriatic coast and over its long history has been under Venetian, Austro-Hungarian, Yugoslavian and finally Croatian rule. Its principal attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Site St James’ Cathedral, the most important Renaissance building in all the region and the nearby Krka National Park.

.

.

._________________________________

Split 2 days

Split, Croatia - Wikipedia 2The unofficial capital of Dalamatia, Split is Croatia’s second largest city and is blessed with almost perfect weather, experiencing over 2800 hours of sunlight every year. The city’s principal attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Diocletian’s Palace, built in 4th century AD in preparation for the Roman Emperor’s retirement, and the fulcrum of Split’s old town. Other attractions include St. Domnius Cathedral and the boat accessible Hvar Island.

.

.

.

_________________________________

⑨ Krk Island3 days if you want to see the whole island

Krk port, Krk island, Croatia. croatia top destinations

Croatia’s largest island, Krk is also one of its busiest especially in the summer months. Centrally located Krk Town is pleasant enough but is something akin to a Slavic Ibiza, with hordes of tourists walking the bar strip. Other places of interest on the island include Punat, which is the launchpad for Košljun island and monastery, Baška and its popular beach and the cliff-top village of Vrbnik.

.

.

_________________________________

⑩ Hvar Island3 daysHvar Island, Croatia - Hvar Grad - wikicommons, Croatia Top Destinations

.

Hvar is Croatia’s most picturesque island and is extremely popular with tourists. Many are drawn by the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stari Grad Plain, an agricultural landscape that was established by ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC. Other highlights include walking the medieval streets of Hvar Town and visiting the charming villages of Stari Grad and Jelsa.

.

.

_________________________________

⑪ Korčula Island3 daysKorcula Island, Croatia - Korcula Town - wikicommons, Croatia Top Destinations

Korčula Island is renowned for its vineyards, olive groves and villages, and offers a little more relaxed pace to its ever increasing number of summer tourists. Korčula Town, the island’s principal town, is a glorious mix of marble streets, Renaissance and Gothic architecture and imposing coastal citadel. Also be sure to check out any of the charming villages of Blato, Smokvica, Pupnat, Zrnovo or Lumbarda.

.

.

_________________________________

⑫  And what would you recommend?

Croatia outline map. croatia top destinations

.

What should be our number 12 in your opinion? We are very curious to hear where you’ve been and what you liked, so please share your knowledge and experience in the comments!

.

.

.

.

Croatia Top Destinations Map

written by: Jon

You May Also Like

6 comments