The best things to do and places to see in Croatia
Croatia is one of the best places you can visit in Europe at the moment. The vast amount of things you can do and see in conjunction with paradisiac views and sensational climate make it difficult not to put this country on your bucket list.
The Adriatic Coast lines this beautiful Eastern European country and provides it with hundreds of islands, many uninhabited and just waiting for you to explore them. Attend a notoriously impressive music festival in summer or discover the national parks and terracotta-roofed cities and towns where you can stroll the cobbled streets and soak up the Croatian lifestyle, culture and ambience.
Exploring Croatia: Beautiful Bike Trails and Coastal Roads
Cycling Croatia’s forested wine region in the north is an area full of winding bike trails, stunning scenery and ever better, vineyards. Why not stop for a wine tour or tasting? Istria offers some of the top hiking and cycling routes, but you can also choose to cycle coastal roads from town to town. The Tour of Croatia is a famous bicycle race which takes place in April and there are various stages and routes of the race, which you can use to plan your own cycle route in Croatia during a quieter time of year!
Don’t let your bike stop you from visiting the islands! Hop on a catamaran and cycle islands such as Mljet, a beautiful verdant island near Dubrovnik with a national park—perfect for cycling!
Top Experiences: Things to Do in Croatia
Countless experiences await you in Croatia. Why not attend your first island festival or boat party? Or instead, lie on the Sea Organ and relax in Zadar.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or a relaxing getaway, you can find exactly what your heart desires while exploring Croatia. Sail the turquoise Adriatic Sea as you island hop in Kvarner Bay and catch sight of dolphins and other fascinating wildlife.
If you’d rather explore metropolitan hubs, visit historic museums or even more alternative museums such as The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb.
Sightseeing in Croatia
Whether visiting Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, or exploring the sensational coastline that this Eastern European country has to offer, the list of things to see in Croatia is endless.
Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvička Jezera) is an absolute must-visit. This national park and its drastic waterfalls will leave you breathless. Croatia is blessed with more than one national park. You can also visit Krka National Park near Šibenik or Kornati National Park and Park prirode Telašćica which are based in the same zone of islands, also near Šibenik.
If parks and nature isn’t your thing and you’re looking for a more or a metropolitan buzz, we recommend visiting Split and Dubrovnik. Two of Croatia’s most popular travel destinations, they also have nearby paradisiac islands where you can retreat to for a day or two.
Discover Croatia by Interest: Croatian Food and Culture
Delectable dishes made with locally produced cheese, rich olive oil, not to mention regional wine, Croatia will tickle your taste buds. Seafood and risotto dishes by the coast are a must-try, as well as cheese and meat platters or traditional soups. In touristic areas, you’ll find a large variety of food on offer. We recommend spending at least a day off the beaten track and discovering a traditional Croatian Konoba where you can really explore the taste of Croatia.
Music Festivals in Croatia
The music festivals in Croatia in the last few years have been on the rise, with Croatia becoming a popular tourist destination, so it’s easy to see why festivals in Croatia have become such a hit.
- Outlook Festival: With a variety of music and an impressive set list, Outlook is based in Pula and is one of Croatia’s most successful music festivals.
- Inmusic Festival: Set in Croatia’s capital, this two-day festival is a summer favorite with mainly guitar and indie music.
- Hideout Festival: One of Croatia’s top music festivals, hideout is one big boat party on Zrče Beach and never fails to please the crowds.
- Sonus Festival: Set in the same place as Hideout, Sonus hits a special note for techno lovers and compelling sound.
- Love International: A smaller music festival with a different touch. Set in Tisno, this festival is also set on the beach, but has plenty of forest for shade and rest from the sizzling sunshine.
- Dimensions Festival: An international dance stage in an ancient amphitheatre is difficult to triumph… Like Outlook, Dimensions takes place in Pula, as well.
Shopping in Croatia
Shopping in Croatia ranges from large shopping centers such as the Arena Centar in Zagreb, to vintage shops full of antiquities and peculiarities, or sweet town markets based along the coast in locations such as Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar. Dubrovnik Old Town has plenty to offer in terms of boutiques and gift shops, as well as Pula’s cobbled streets which are lined with restaurants, cafes, boutiques and souvenir stores.
Travel Tips: Things to Know Before Going to Croatia
Traveling Croatia shouldn’t concern you in any such way, as Croatia is a friendly European country which welcomes tourism and travelers. You can get by with English if you forget your Croatian handbook, though you might find German to be more useful when speaking to Croatians of an older generation, as before German was taught in schools, not English.
The Croatian climate is a dream from spring to autumn. Summer can get rather hot, just like any Mediterranean country, so if you’re planning a trekking or cycling adventure, you might want to plan in for earlier or later on in peak season. On the other hand, if you’re planning on island hopping or beach bathing, visit Croatia in the summer and cool off in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea when the heat gets a bit much.
The Croatian currency is not the euro like some might think, but the kuna (KN). If you’re travelling on a budget in Croatia, you can budget around 450KN a day.
Cities to Visit in Croatia
There are many cities you can discover in Croatia, each with a special something and a unique touch.
Located on the coast in the region of Istria, Pula hosts various music festivals during the summer, though you can visit any time of year to explore this timeworn town with its ancient amphitheater, the Temple of Augustus and other beautifully historic buildings and examples of Venetian architecture.
Croatia’s capital and a must visit, this famous European capital holds many of the country's historic treasures, as well as some fascinating museums, such as the Museum of Broken Relationships. Blend into the coffee shop lifestyle and people watch in the seats facing towards the street (yes, it’s a thing).
A classically radiant Croatian coastal city with plenty of charm and history to attract thousands of tourists around the seasonal clock, Dubrovnik is divine. Fun fact: Dubrovnik is one of the legendary series Game of Thrones filming locations and brings fans from all over the world to explore this breathtaking setting.
Let the palace ruins and walls that form the city center of this harbor city set you in a Venetian trance. Split is a gateway to some of Croatia’s most popular islands, such as party island Hvar. The gourmet and bar life here is exceptional here and perfect for those who want to unwind on holiday with good food and refreshing cocktails.
Located near the Kvarner Bay region, from Rijeka you can island hop and get the chance to see dolphins near the island of Cres or Lošinj. Rijeka itself is a bubbly metropolitan town with great access to raw nature and parks, such as Risnjak National Park. So staying in Rijeka is a great option for those who like hiking or cycling and want to see Croatia from a greener angle!
A favorite amongst many, Zadar features unique sights which attract travelers from all around the world. How often is it really that you can lie on a sea organ or dance on a solar paneled dancefloor anyway? The old town is incredibly romantic in the evening and the perfect place to take a stroll or go out for a drink after a day exploring.
Set on the seafront in Central Dalmatia, Šibenik is one of Croatia’s prettiest and preferred destinations. With so many gorgeous islands nearby, not to mention Krk National Park, it’s understandable why so many visit. Did we mention that Šibenik is Croatia’s only city with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites?