Top 10 Things To Do in Croatia
Croatia is not only a spectacular country due to its gorgeous beaches, green forested valleys, turqoise Adriatic Sea waters, and beautiful Mediterannean cities which have kept their old romantic flair; Croatia is a destination which will allure you to visit time and time again due to the warm hospitality of the Croatian people, the vast offerings of tradition culinary specialties, adventurous excurscions, numerous festivals and entertaining events which are offered throughout the year especially the summer months. Keeping this in mind, choosing only 10 top things to do and see in Croatia was not an easy task however we have narrowed down our favourites!
Dubrovnik is a small city located at the southernmost part of Croatia along the coast of Dalmatia. The old city walls which were built in the late medieval times once protected the village from enemies. Today these very walls are the crowning jewel of Croatia and popularly referred to as the pearl of the Adriatic. As you walk through the walls you will not only feel as though you are being taken back into history, reminiscing about how the civilians of Dubrovnik once lived, you will also be stimulated by the striking views from all sides. Facing the south, you will be mesmerized by the crystal clear waters of the turquoise Adriatic Sea. Facing the north, the sight of red roof topped houses and clothes hanging off lines from romantic little balconies will allure you. It is no wonder that UNESCO has named the whole old city of Dubrovnik a world heritage site. Dubrovnik is one of the most acclaimed touristic regions of Croatia.
Split is often referred to as the heart of Dalmatia being located in the center of Dalmatia and also being Croatia's second largest city by population. This enchanting city is built upon one of the most important masterpieces of ancient Roman architecture, Diocletian's Palace. The historical complex of Split including the palace of Diocletian is all categorized under UNESCO's world heritage site. Unearth a true piece of history while divulging in the gastronomic specialties of the quaint cafes and restaurants hidden within the walls of the palace. It is a city which will leave an impression on you for many years to come.
If you are already travelling by car, explore the Dalmatian coast by taking the scenic route using the coastal highway from Dubrovnik to Zadar. While driving along the coast of Dalmatia you will be undeniably amazed by the natural beauty. Every turn will leave you breathless. Along the way you will drive through the hidden valleys of the richly landscaped Mediterranean hills filled with vegetation varying from olive orchards, vineyards, palm tress and evergreen forests. The jaw dropping cliffs will make your heart skip a beat but will be worth the surprise as you venture along kilometers of sparkling Adriatic sea water all bordered by the wild mountains of Dalmatia. Once you reach your destination, Zadar, you will be more captivated than ever to discover what else Dalmatia has to offer. Zadar is a city which was developed along the central coast of the Adriatic Sea hidden by the rich archipelago of the Zadar Islands. Zadar will certainly astound every visitor with its wide variety of cultural and historical sites along with numerous charming restaurants and dainty boutiques. Do not forget to take a boat ride to the Zadar Islands to divulge in the warm salty waters of the spectacular Adriatic Sea and the mesmerizing vistas of this intoxicating part of Croatia.
Mljet is the southernmost island of Croatia, relatively close to the city of Dubrovnik. This secret sanctuary will astound you with its untouched natural beauty and numerous beaches hidden along the borders of the National Park Mljet. The enchanted island of Mljet, is a haven for snorkelers and divers alike as the tranquil deep blue waters of this part of the Adriatic Sea are abundant with coral reefs, deep sea crevices, and underwater caves. The salty waters in this area are said to be one of the cleanest in the world in which you can see at least 15 meters deep with your bare eyes. The Island of Mljet is also well known to divers as it encompasses the largest reef of stony coral in the Mediterranean. Ask a local scuba guide to lead you to the Odysseus Cave, here you will uncover why so many unique species of fish call these spectacular waters their home.
Plitvice Lakes are Croatia's largest national park, spanning across nearly 300 kilometers of forested hills, including 16 lakes and countless waterfalls. This natural phenomenon became a part of UNESCOs World Heritage list in 1979. Depending on the time of the year and the amount of sunlight, the colors of the lakes range from emerald green, to azure blue and sometimes even a calming grey. The wooden walking trails allow visitors to safely explore the park while capturing the most spectacular views. This astonishing natural masterpiece continues to attract an increasing number of tourists yearly. The only question remains, are Plitvice Lakes more beautiful in the summer or winter; you be the judge.
Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and home to numerous cultural, governmental and recreational attractions and buildings. Zagreb has become renowned for being a major European city acting as the economic access point between Central and Western Europe via the Adriatic Sea. The charm of the city is truly something that is created through the varying people that inhabit it, from students, to working professionals, along with locals and even tourists. Something that you must not miss out on is a visit to the Dolac Market. The Dolac Market is located directly behind Ban Jelacic Trg, the main square in the heart of the city. This is Croatia's largest outdoor market providing consumers with the widest selection of seasonal produce, varying meats, fresh fish, homemade dairy products and exquisite delicacies. Become part of the action by bargaining with a local tender. People watch the happenings of Jelacic trg from above, in one of the many cafes overlooking the square. Enjoy a fresh cooked meal served at the local restaurants surrounding the market or simply explore the dainty little shops only steps away on the trendy street of Tkalciceva. The medieval architecture and romantic cobble stone paths will immediately draw you in. This major metropolis offers something for every individual, proven by the growing number of visitors Zagreb welcomes yearly. Be the next to take part in the action.
Located just off the coast of central Dalmatia is where the breathtaking island of Hvar is situated. The island receives on average over 7 hours of sunlight per day making it the sunniest destination in Croatia. Due to the favourable climate conditions and luscious vegetation surrounded by kilometers of endless crystal clear waters Hvar has become a popular destination for yachting and sailing activists alike. During the summer months as you walk along the main harbor of the old city of Hvar you will be sure to witness a stunning sight of hundreds of luxury yachts and sailboats docked in the calm turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. Indulge in the local delicacies including fresh grilled fish, rich olive oil and exquisite homemade wines. You will surely be mesmerized by the scent and sight of endless lavender fields, exotic cactuses and enchanted private beaches. It is no wonder that this spectacular island has become the new vacation hotspot for both local and international celebrities.
Rovinj is a spectacular small city located on the western coast of the Istrian region. Famous for its magnificent landscapes, Mediterranean charm and numerous cultural attractions, Rovinj remains one of the most visited destinations of Croatia. During the summer months the festive atmosphere is contagious as there is always a play, concert, festival or party taking place. Croatia's largest outdoor art exhibit is held in Rovinj every summer. Also known as the Grisia Exhibit, named after the long cobblestone street the exhibit takes place on, works from professional artist, amateurs and even children are displayed along the old stone walls and walkways of this quaint Mediterranean concourse. The summer festivities close at the end of August with the most energetic, three day, festival of the year, Rovinj's night. Traditional sports competitions, dancing folklore groups, awards ceremonies and the singing of performers on numerous different stages will truly amaze you. When you think that the atmosphere could not get any better and the enchanting sky, dotted with thousands of brightly shining stars, illuminating the Adriatic Sea could not look anymore breathtaking, the sky will literally light up with a extravagant fireworks show, concluding the summers festivities. With this scene to take away with you, it is no wonder that tourists by the thousands revisit Rovinj every year. Become a part of the magic.
The idyllic island of Brac is located in central Dalmatia just across the coast of the City of Split and Makarska Riviera. Brac is widely recognized for its stunning beaches which stretch along kilometers of crystal clear, turquoise and azure colored sea. The world famous beach, Zlatni Rat, along the town of Bol, has become a symbol of Croatian tourism. This extraordinary beach is not only so special because of its untouched natural beauty but also because the formation of the cape of the shoreline physically changes depending on the patterns of the wind. Adding to the rarity of Zlatni Rat is the blanket of small pebble stones which create the shore maintaining maximum visibility in the salty clean waters of the Adriatic Sea. Secluded beach coves, rugged coastal dive spots, brilliant windsurfing destinations, and family beach paradises border the perimeters of the Island of Brac.
Do not be mistaken however that this lazy island's gorgeous beaches are the only attraction. Take advantage of a rare rainy day, by exploring the small bays and villages along the island. In Milna, you will not want to miss out on the spectacular architecture of the church of Our Lady of Annunciation built in the 1700s. Cultural monuments such as the Franciscan Monastery and chapel of St.Spirijun dating back to the 18th century will enthrall you in the town of Sumartin. Visiting the stone masonry school in Pucisca is a must as this is where the famous white stone of Brac, which can even be found in the White House in Washington, is extracted from. Brac, a quite yet very unique island is the place to create an unforgettable family vacation surrounded by the heavenly unspoiled nature of the Mediterranean.
As you stroll along the idealistic streets of the city of Pula you will be astonished by the cultural masterpieces which create the landscapes of this cultural city. The rich itenirary of cultural monuments definitely begins with the grand ampithetre, the Arena of Pula. Once hosting thousands of spectators of gladiator fights, today is the venue for concerts including legendary artists such as Boccelli, Pavarotti, and famous locals such as Oliver and Toni Cetinski. The Arena is the only remaining Roman architecture with all four side towers and three architectural orders completely preserved.
We will not spoil the surprise but the twin gates of the city, the Temple of Augustus, the famous floor mosaic and the numerous roman ruins will completely capture you as you truly feel you are connecting to such an ancient era of history. Pula is just as well known for its hospitable locals who are always willing to share an interesting fact about the city, recommend a delectable restaurant, or point you to the nearest nightclub. It is not only in the Monte Zero Park Pula Observatory that you will be able to experience the glorious sights of Pula but with the turn of every corner you will uncover a spectacular historical monument, a breathtaking view of the sparkling sea or a sight of the luscious natural landscapes that ornament the magnificent city of Pula.