Croatia is a country located in Central and Southeastern Europe. It is one of the successor states of Yugoslavia. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometers (21,851 square miles) and has a population of 4.28 million. The capital and largest city are Zagreb.
Croatia is a member of the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, NATO, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is also a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean and former President of the Central European Initiative. On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th member state of the EU.
There are many tourist places in Croatia, such as Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zagreb Cathedral, Diocletian’s Palace, and many more. You can reach Croatia by air, bus, or train. The best time to visit Croatia is during spring or autumn. The weather is milder, and there are fewer crowds. However, you can also enjoy Croatia’s winter activities, such as skiing in Gorski Kotar or ice skating in Zagreb.
Here are the top places in Croatia
Krka National Park
Krka National Park is out of this world. If any place deserves to be called paradise, it is this national park.
In the south of the national park is the entrance Lozovac. In summer, shuttle buses go here to the national park. In winter you can also go by car. The Skradinski Buk waterfall is the highlight south of the Krka National Park. You walk on wooden paths through a water landscape. Everywhere it splashes and flows.
Small waterfalls unite at the end to a large one – the main motif. But it’s worth it to follow the circuit in the park because you will discover some great photo spots and beautiful waterfalls on the route of 1.6 miles.
After that, head north to the Roski Waterfall (Roški Slap). You can explore the waterfall by boat. Next to it, a huge fairytale-like area of small waterfalls awaits you. When you climb up 500 steps to a supervisory point, you will be overwhelmed by the beautiful landscape that opens up below you. By the way, there is another cave at the top, which you can visit on a guided tour.
The biggest waterfall in Krka National Park is Manojlovacki slapovi. You can get there by country road. The walk takes less than five minutes and you are at the viewpoint.
The best way to reach Krka National Park is by car from Split. The driving time is about one hour. The best way to get to Split is by plane.
The capital of Croatia is tucked away in the northern inland region, far from the tourist hotspots of the Dalmatian and Istrian shores. Despite being an old city, Zagreb only came into its own in the 19th and 20th centuries, when Illyrian neoclassicism and Slavic art had a major renaissance and gave the city’s center the abundance of massive city buildings and Baroque spires still visible today. More recently, the charming Gornji Grad neighborhood has gained popularity among visitors looking for interesting churches and summer plazas filled with regional street performers. Oh, and don’t forget about the students and the associated nightlife, which erupts every evening in the outdoor bars along Tkalciceva Street.
Zagreb, Croatia’s capital and largest city, is complete with historic and modern attractions. In the 2nd century AD, Hungarian King Ladislaus established a diocese in northwestern Croatia. Zagreb is the center of Croatian culture, academia, and government. Zagreb is walkable. Upper Town has red roofs, cobblestones, and church spires. Follow residents to a cafe. Zagreb’s bustling street life is fueled by year-round events that bring music, pop-up markets, and food stalls to parks and plazas. Even when nothing is going on, the city center throbs with youthful energy, so it’s no surprise that tourists are flocking to Croatia’s capital.
Plitvice National Park
The best way to get around in Croatia is by car. The country is relatively small, and you’ll have a lot of flexibility by car in the country. Plitvice Lakes National Park is only a 2-hour drive away from the capital city, Zagreb. The Plitvice Lakes National Park entrance fee is around $39 for an adult one-day ticket. The prices vary depending on the period (more expensive from July to August); you can also get a nice student discount. After visiting Plitvice, and spending a day in awe of its natural beauty, its turquoise lakes, and stunning waterfalls, every other place that I visited seemed dull in comparison. Plitvice Croatia is made of 16 lakes: 12 upper lakes, and 4 lower lakes. I went to see the 4 lower lakes and had to wait for a boat to take me there. The second part of Plitvice National Park is where I got to see the highest waterfall in the park: Veliki Slap which is 78 meters (256 feet) high.
Plitvice National Park is Located in central Croatia, where the rocky Dinaric Alps rise to create the boundaries with Bosnia to the east, the namesake Plitvice lakes and national park live up to all the hype. They are located in valleys carpeted with spruce, fir, beech, and hornbeam, and may be seen gushing and flowing in a succession of spectacular waterfalls from the many meandering walking routes and boardwalks now available to tourists. Plitvice is one of the continent’s oldest national parks, and it is still home to wolf packs, brown bears, wood grouse, and lynxes.
I would have to recommend the iconic island of Vis as my favorite destination in Croatia.
Set deep in the Adriatic Sea, and about 2 hours via ferry from the Dalmatian coast, lies the magical island of Vis. The water is crystal clear and the landscape has everything from cliffs to sprawling olive and fig trees across the land. What makes Vis even more surreal is the star-lit sky and due to low levels of light pollution, allow you to have spectacular views of the Milky Way, with some luck you might even catch some shooting stars if you look hard enough!
To get there, you would need to arrive by plane from the UK or mainland Europe at the airport in Split, followed by a 2 and half-hour ferry to Vis Island. However, you may want to rent a car in Split and bring it across to Vis island on the boat ferry so you can move around when you get there!
To avoid big touristic cities in Croatia such as Dubrovnik and if you prefer a more secluded environment, Vis is a perfect choice. For visitors, there are guided tours and activities for everyone, including beautiful caves, the legendary Blue Cave, and its astounding natural deep shades of blue.
There are also boat “taxis” and guided tours around the Vis and local farms that produce wine and olive in nearby Komiza, which you can also visit if you find the time. They have some awesome olive paste and oil, not to mention the exceptional domestic wine that I would also recommend.
Overall I’d say Vis is a bit hard to reach but if you are looking to enjoy your vacation in privacy in a stunning location, it’s perfect.
Mljet, an undeveloped, wild island in the Adriatic, continues to be the destination of choice for tourists seeking Croatia’s authentic coastline. It is covered in a thick layer of the forest, steeped in Greek mythology (Odysseus is said to have spent six years in a cave on the south coast), and dotted with the occasional basement door where tanned residents tend their vines in between the pines. The Mljet National Park, a magnificent expanse of coastal woodlands where the Veliko and Malo salt lakes slice through the terrain and a stately Benedictine Monastery captures the attention, has to be the piece de resistance of this sun-drenched isle.
Opatija is regarded as one of Croatia’s most picturesque regions and is where many rich people go to unwind. It’s beautiful to look at the enormous mansions that overlook the ocean. The area’s year-round pleasant weather is one of its outstanding features. While you are here, there is a tonne of fantastic places to eat and shop. It’s crucial to remember that this country’s tourist destinations are among the priciest in the world. You may always visit the beach for some cost-free entertainment if you’re on a
At the tip of its self-named island, on the edge of the Dalmatian Coast, hedonistic Hvar town and its fun-loving crowd of students, Club Med types, and coffee-culture-mad residents make plenty of noise. Yes, sir. This charming location has a sun-drenched harborside (called locally the Riva) where cabana bars and open-air cocktail lounges roar till the early hours next to bobbing luxury boats. In the meantime, the Stari Grad’s winding marble-stone alleyways provide a tonne of upscale konobas where mezze platters of Croatian olive oils blend with truffle pasta and similar items. When you can drag yourself out of the city, the Pakleni Islands’ peaceful coves and path-lined with pine trees hiking trails, and beaches beckon.
Most people visit Hvar and go on a boat tour to visit Hvar’s famous “Blue Cave”, which is a cave that glows naturally due to bioluminescence. This wound up being a blessing in disguise! The Blue Cave has become so famous that the daily tours visiting it are very unenjoyable. The cave is located a 3-hour boat drive, round trip, from Hvar and then once you arrive you will have to queue in line with the other dozens of boat tours to visit the cave.
Ugljan is another less-touristed hidden treasure in Croatia.
To get to Ugljan you need to take a ferry, which is sold through Jadrolinija in the Old Town. The ferry runs about 5 times a day from the Old Town to Ugljan, and round-trip tickets only cost 50 Croatian Kuna ($7).
The ferry takes 20 minutes and once you arrive you’re in paradise. Ugljan is much less crowded than Zadar, and there are plenty of perfect swimming areas with showers, free lounge chairs, and changing areas.
In one spot there is a smaller island you can only access by swimming to it or taking a boat, where there’s a historical Franciscan Monastery.
The best tourist place to visit in Croatia would have to be Dubrovnik. The city is located on the Adriatic Sea and is known for its ancient walls, marble streets, and baroque buildings. It’s an incredibly picturesque city with stunning architecture and tons of history and culture. The food is also 10/10 (obviously, since it’s Croatia).
There’s no question that the best thing to do in Dubrovnik is to walk the city walls. The walls date back to the 13th century and are an incredible feat of engineering. They’re also one of the best-preserved medieval fortifications in Europe. Walking the walls gives you a great sense of the history of the city, allows you to take pictures of some great views, and it’s also a great way to get some exercise!
The walls are made of 1080 stone steps that stretch 2km. This is on top of the other approximately 4323 steps across the rest of the city, so be prepared to do some walking. It takes about 2 hours to walk the city walls, although you can finish it quickly if you go in the early morning or late afternoon. This is a good way to avoid the crowds and midday heat.
There are a few ways to reach Dubrovnik. You can fly into the airport, take a bus or drive. If you’re looking to take a bus, there are a few options: you can take the Eurolines bus from Zagreb, the Croatia Bus from Split or Rijeka, or the Semi Tours bus from Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If you’re looking to drive, the best option is to take the A1 highway from Zagreb. The drive takes around 5 hours. If you’re looking to fly, there are a few airlines that fly into Dubrovnik Airport including Ryanair, EasyJet, and British Airways.
Although Croatia’s beaches may serve as the country’s primary draw for tourists and inhabitants alike, the pandemic has increased people’s desire for the great outdoors. Take a look at Gorski Kotar, Croatia’s version of Switzerland. It is a forested mountain wilderness that can be found southwest of Zagreb on the way to the Kvarner coast. This verdant area is its location for city dwellers seeking a sliver of untouched wilderness. Gorski Kotar, which is home to the endangered Eurasian lynx and wolves and bears in its Risnjak National Park, has seen an increase in the number of upscale lodges and cabins that you can rent recently, including the breathtaking Casa Nube and the cute Gorska Bajka. It’s very well connected with the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. You can reach it by car from there within less than two hours.
Pula is one of the northernmost cities in Croatia, a short flight across the Adriatic from Venice, Italy, and a short bus or train ride (5 hours) from Ljublana, Slovenia, once voted the greenest city in Europe.
Pula is amazing because it was formerly an Italian territory and as such many of the nearby cities still speak Italian and still bear Italian standard (and heritage) wine and food culture, combined with the hearty cuisine that Croatia and the Balkans are known for. Additionally, the Roman amphitheater in Pula is one of the most exemplary outsides of Rome, and the warm, clear water of the rocky beaches and shores is pleasant and less trafficked than destinations further south.
Split is a fantastic destination as the midpoint between the many fantastic destinations in Croatia and, most importantly, Diocletian’s Palace. Diocletian was a former Roman Emperor and one of the only ones to leave his office peacefully. He did so by foremost building a large palace complex (the size of a small city, and reminiscent of Game of Thrones), then dividing the Roman Empire into multiple areas with multiple capitals divided between 4 emperors and then Retiring, with the strategy that the four emperors would be so busy fighting each other for power that he would be left in peace, and he was. The remaining complex, the Diocletian palace is beautiful, extravagant yet simple, and huge (7.5 acres) and filled with alleys, bars, music, and entertainment sufficient to occupy a couple of days of travel.
Located 165 miles (265 kilometers) from Venice, Italy (by land) is the ancient Croatian city of Rovinj, Croatia. Until 1947, this city was part of the Kingdom of Italy, at that time 97% of the city’s residents were Italian. Italian is still one of the official languages of the region besides Croatian. As far back as the Venitian Empire, the city of Rovinj has been linked to the Italian peninsula through trade and military
The famous Istrian limestone which paves the 1500-year-old streets of Rovinj came from quarries outside the city and is the same stone the Venetians used to build many of the iconic bridges and canals of Venice. After centuries of foot traffic, the stones paving the city streets have been polished to a smooth reflective shine giving tourists a walking experience unlike anywhere else in the world. The city of Rovinj was originally an island, but during the 1700s the Venetians turned the island into a peninsula by filling in the shallow waterway between the island and the mainland.
If you’re looking for a wonderful weekend road trip from Venice, this beautiful Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea is the perfect destination. The 165-mile (265-kilometer) trip will take about 3.5 hours of leisurely driving. Your drive from Venice to Rovinj will take you through the famous Italian port city of Trieste and briefly through the country of Slovenia, which has an open border with Italy. Within an hour of crossing the Croatian border, you will arrive in the city of Rovinj.
To reach Rovinj *by boat*, you can take a Kompas ferry from Venice which takes approx 3 hours and costs about $150.00 per person for a roundtrip ticket.
Although Croatia is part of the European Union, the country has continued to use its native currency the Kuna. As of June 2022, you can use Euros in Croatia, and by 2023 the official currency will be the Euro. So, if you want to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate and experience using the soon-to-be-extinct Kuna currency, you need to get to Croatia by the end of 2022.
Things to do while in Rovinj
While visiting Rovinj, you can expect to have some of the most delicious seafood of your life – the restaurants are superb. Even for those who don’t enjoy fish, the menus are overflowing with fabulous options. The shopping in the city is also fantastic, there are scores of local artisans and painters who sell their wares in tiny adorable shops. There are also wonderful antique shops filled with treasures just waiting to be discovered. Besides shopping and eating, you can take boat trips and walking tours through the city. This is one of those places where you can feel safe letting yourself wander for hours and even get lost as you explore.
With the reduction of COVID-related travel restrictions in 2022, Croatia has reported a 73% increase in the number of visitors this year. The city of Rovinj has reported a 35% increase compared to last year according to eVisitor. Germans, Slovenians, and Italians respectively make up most of the 82,000 tourists currently in Croatia as of mid-August 2022.
Baredine Stalactite Cave
The dripstone cave Baredine (Jama Baredine) is the first cave in Istria you could ever visit. It is still open to visitors today and is one of the top sights in Croatia. Our guide told us that the farmers here have always known about the cave. 132 meters deep it goes into the cave. After all, we get up to 60 meters under the earth.
Huge stalagmites and stalactites pile up in the cave. There are also two lakes in the cave. In the lakes lives a large population of grotto elms. This is caudate that is blind and lives in the cave. It is white and resembles a mini dragon.
The emblem of the cave is the so-called snowman. This is a vast, white, iridescent stalagmite. The stalactite cave is located northwest of Poreč. It takes you about 20 minutes by car.
Croatia’s island-dotted coast is its biggest draw. Set against a white pebbly beach, emerald and sapphire waters shine like jewels. If you look away from the sparkling water, a mountain may appear. Croatia’s limestone karst landscapes feature rugged peaks, caverns, river canyons, waterfalls, and gorgeous lakes.