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20 Fantastic Places to Visit in Croatia – By a Local

Croatia, the land of breathtaking natural wonders, rich history, and a vibrant cultural tapestry, has captured the hearts of travelers from around the world. As a local, I’m thrilled to share with you the most fantastic places that this remarkable country has to offer. From the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea to the majestic mountains and enchanting medieval towns, Croatia promises an unforgettable journey. So, let’s dive into the top 20 destinations that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

1. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Prepare to be spellbound by the breathtaking beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This natural wonderland boasts a series of 16 terraced lakes connected by cascading waterfalls, creating a mesmerizing display of turquoise hues and lush greenery. Wooden walkways and hiking trails wind through the park, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in this natural masterpiece.

Where to Stay Near Plitvice Lakes

  • Hotel Jezero, located within the national park, offers stunning views of the lakes.
  • Ethno House Plitvica Selo, a charming accommodation option in a traditional Croatian village.

2. Dubrovnik

Step into a living fairytale in Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” This medieval city, with its iconic fortified walls, terracotta-roofed buildings, and winding cobblestone streets, has served as a backdrop for numerous films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones. Explore the Old Town, stroll along the ancient city walls, and soak in the enchanting atmosphere.

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

  • Villa Glavić, a luxurious boutique hotel with panoramic views of the Old Town.
  • Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, a historic hotel with a prime location within the city walls.

3. Zagreb

Croatia’s vibrant capital, Zagreb, is a delightful blend of old and new. Wander through the charming Upper Town, where you’ll find the iconic St. Mark’s Church and the captivating Dolac Market. Don’t miss the lively Tkalčićeva Street, lined with cafés, bars, and art galleries, offering a taste of the city’s vibrant culture.

If you visit Zagreb, don’t miss these sights:

  • Ban Jelačić Square
  • Zagreb Cathedral
  • Museum of Broken Relationships
  • Mirogoj Cemetery

Where to Stay in Zagreb

  • Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, a historic and luxurious hotel in the heart of the city.
  • Swanky Mint Hostel, a modern and affordable option for budget travelers.

4. Rovinj

Nestled along the Istrian coastline, Rovinj is a picturesque town that will steal your heart. Its colorful houses, narrow streets, and the iconic St. Euphemia Church perched atop a hill create a postcard-perfect scene. Explore the Old Town, indulge in the local seafood, and soak up the Mediterranean charm.

5. Omis

Adventure seekers, prepare for an adrenaline rush in Omis! This coastal town is a mecca for outdoor activities, including rafting, canyoning, rock climbing, and zip-lining. Nestled between the Cetina River and the Adriatic Sea, Omis offers a unique blend of natural beauty and thrilling experiences.

6. Pag Island

Venture to the rugged and windswept Pag Island, renowned for its exceptional cheese and salt production. This lunar-like landscape is dotted with charming villages, secret coves, and pristine beaches. Explore the island’s rich history, taste the local delicacies, and bask in the sun on the pebbly shores.

Where to Stay on Pag Island

  • Hotel Solaris, a beachfront resort with modern amenities and stunning sea views.
  • Camping Pag, a budget-friendly option for those seeking a more rustic experience.

7. Krka National Park

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Krka National Park, a true gem of Croatia’s Dalmatian region. The park’s centerpiece is the magnificent Krka River, renowned for its series of cascading waterfalls, including the iconic Skradinski Buk. Swim in the crystal-clear waters, hike along the nature trails, and witness the breathtaking scenery.

8. Hvar Island

Bask in the Mediterranean sun on the stunning Hvar Island, often referred to as the “Croatian Madeira.” This picturesque island boasts a rich cultural heritage, lavender fields, vineyards, and a vibrant nightlife scene. Explore the charming towns of Hvar and Stari Grad, and don’t miss the chance to visit the nearby Pakleni Islands.

Where to Stay on Hvar Island

Where to Stay on Hvar Island
  • Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel, a luxurious beachfront resort with a renowned spa.
  • Palmizana Meneghello, a secluded eco-village offering a tranquil escape.

9. Trogir

Step back in time in the UNESCO-listed town of Trogir, a true architectural gem. Explore the beautifully preserved Old Town, with its Venetian-style buildings, winding alleyways, and the iconic St. Lawrence Cathedral. Stroll along the waterfront promenade and soak in the town’s rich history and charm.

10. Split

Located along the Dalmatian coast, Split is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends ancient and modern. The historic heart of Split is the Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved Roman monuments in the world. Explore the palace’s underground chambers, bustling squares, and charming cafés and restaurants.

Where to Stay in Split

  • Heritage Hotel Cardo, a boutique hotel located within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace.
  • Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Split, a modern beachfront resort with excellent amenities.

11. Cetina River Spring

Cetina River Spring

Discover the natural wonder of the Cetina River Spring, a breathtaking natural phenomenon where the Cetina River emerges from the ground. This crystal-clear blue pool is surrounded by lush greenery and offers opportunities for swimming, diving, and exploring the nearby caves and waterfalls.

12. Zadar

Zadar, a coastal city with a rich history, is a true gem on the Adriatic. Wander through the Old Town, admire the iconic Sea Organ and Sun Salutation installations, and visit the impressive St. Donatus Church. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the stunning sunsets from the waterfront promenade.

Where to Stay in Zadar

  • Bastion Heritage Hotel, a boutique hotel housed in a 13th-century fortress.
  • Falkensteiner Family Hotel Diadora, a family-friendly resort with various amenities.

13. Zrmanja Canyon

Prepare for an unforgettable adventure in the stunning Zrmanja Canyon, a nature lover’s paradise. This rugged landscape offers opportunities for hiking, canyoning, and rafting through the crystal-clear waters of the Zrmanja River. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and explore the hidden gems of this breathtaking canyon.

14. Rijeka

Rijeka, a vibrant port city on the Kvarner Gulf, is a fascinating blend of cultures and architectural styles. Explore the historic Old Town, visit the stunning Trsat Castle, and indulge in the local cuisine and vibrant nightlife. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a scenic drive along the Lungomare, a coastal promenade offering stunning views.

15. Pula

Step back in time in Pula, a city rich in Roman heritage. Marvel at the impressive Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Explore the ancient ruins, visit the Archeological Museum, and soak in the city’s unique blend of history and modernity.

Where to Stay in Pula

  • Park Plaza Histria Pula, a modern hotel with excellent amenities and a prime location.
  • Boutique Hotel Villa Vujan, a charming boutique hotel set in a historic villa.

16. Korčula

Korčula, a picturesque island in the Adriatic Sea, is often referred to as the “Emerald Isle” due to its lush greenery and stunning natural beauty. Explore the Old Town, believed to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, and take a stroll along the medieval walls for breathtaking views. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample the local wines and indulge in the delicious seafood.

17. Brač

Brač, the largest of the Dalmatian islands, is a true paradise for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning beaches, such as the famous Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape), crystal-clear waters, and rugged landscapes, Brač offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Explore the charming town of Bol, hike the Vidova Gora mountain, or simply soak up the sun on the pristine shores.

18. Varaždin

Step into a fairytale in Varaždin, a city often referred to as the “Little Vienna” due to its stunning Baroque architecture and rich cultural heritage. Wander through the picturesque Old Town, adorned with colorful buildings, charming squares, and historic churches. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Varaždin Fortress and the nearby Trakošćan Castle, a true architectural masterpiece.

19. Makarska

Nestled along the Dalmatian coast, Makarska is a vibrant seaside town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and lively atmosphere. Stroll along the famous promenade lined with palm trees, enjoy the beautiful beaches, and indulge in the local cuisine and nightlife. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the nearby Biokovo Nature Park, a hiker’s paradise with stunning mountain landscapes.

Where to Stay in Makarska

  • Hotel Osejava, a modern beachfront hotel with excellent amenities.
  • Villa Marijeta, a charming villa offering a peaceful retreat with stunning sea views.

20. Blue Lake, Imotski

Discover the breathtaking Blue Lake, a natural wonder located near the town of Imotski. This mesmerizing lake, with its striking turquoise hue, is nestled within a steep-walled sinkhole, creating a truly unique and awe-inspiring sight. Hike down to the lake’s edge, take a dip in the refreshing waters, or simply admire this natural masterpiece from above.

21. Paklenica National Park

Paklenica National Park, located in the heart of the Velebit Mountains, is a paradise for rock climbers and hikers alike. This rugged and beautiful park offers a network of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks, as well as numerous rock climbing routes for all skill levels. Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, marvel at the towering limestone cliffs, and enjoy the serenity of nature.

Map of the Most Beautiful Places in Croatia

Map of the Most Beautiful Places in Croatia

To help you plan your Croatian adventure, we’ve created a handy map highlighting the locations of these fantastic destinations:

FAQs

Where is the best place in Croatia for a girls trip?

Although Hvar is known for its summer nightlife scene, it is more laid-back in the shoulder season while still giving off a lively vibe. 

What is the cheapest region in Croatia?

Slavonski Brod. Slavonski Brod is one of the cheapest cities to live in in Croatia

Is Croatia good for singles?

Croatia is a popular destination for solo travellers and thousands of people visit every year, with most trips being trouble-free.

Conclusion

Croatia is a true gem, offering a remarkable blend of natural wonders, rich history, and vibrant culture. From the stunning Plitvice Lakes to the enchanting Dubrovnik, from the rugged Paklenica National Park to the idyllic islands of the Adriatic, this country promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler. So, pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime in this captivating corner of Europe

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