With so much natural beauty, a great party scene and a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, it is difficult to choose where to visit, what to eat and who to share a Karlovačko with when you travel to Croatia. The country is one of the most beloved destinations for travellers the world over, and there are now plenty of tour options that offer a jam-packed itinerary of adventure to make sure you see, eat and do everything on our list!
Get giddy walking the walls of medieval Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations thanks to its maritime history rivalling that of Venice and its stunning UNESCO World Heritage Listed old town featuring the walls made even more famous by their regular appearance on Game of Thrones. Shaken by earthquakes and bombings during the Yugoslav war, the walls now welcome over a million visitors each year to walk their picturesque two-kilometre circuit around the town.
Sail the islands
Week long live-a-board sailboats are the most popular way to experience Croatia’s 1246 islands. The country has well and truly embraced their long-standing nautical culture and extended that welcome to visitors, with countless tours operating during the warmer months that take the party to the sea.
Hole up on Hvar
Hvar can be found on most tour island itineraries, and with good reason. The rolling lavender fields and fruit orchards, hidden coves tucked away, and all night yacht parties make it a place to settle in for a few days of bliss.
Swim up a storm
Whether you choose to sail the islands or not, Croatia offers miles of beautiful coastline to enjoy. Even cities like Split and Dubrovnik are home to beautiful bays and beaches, while smaller towns like Kupari a little outside Dubrovnik offer more secluded swimming spots.
Visit Diocletian’s Palace
Built way back in 400AD as a retirement home for Roman Emperor Diocletian, the palace has since been occupied by barbarians, army troops, and today, throngs of tourists who wander through monumental pillars of Roman ingenuity in downtown Split. Be sure to take in some acappela Klapa singing while you’re there!
Don’t miss the capital
Many travellers visiting Croatia beeline for the coast and miss the capital completely – and wrongly so. Include Zagreb on your list and you won’t be disappointed as you stroll through the medieval core of Gornji Grad and St. Mark’s Church, wander the plum-filled markets, muse over what might’ve been at the Museum of Broken Relationships, and get lost in the fascinating art galleries.
Plitvice National Park
This spectacular national park presents a palette of azure, green and blue, an interplay of cascading waterfalls and 16 lakes, reflecting the most outstanding natural beauty Croatia tourism has to offer. The park is surrounded by a landscape of moss-sodden karst and forest, and if you’re lucky you may just catch a glimpse of the rare European brown bear.
Courtney Gahan is a serial expat, traveller and freelance writer who has bartered with Moroccan marketeers, seen the sun rise at Angkor Wat and elbowed her way through crowds on NYE in NYC