Croatia is where you play the Game of Thrones. It is where you wander through Roman summer villas. It is also where you party the night away in an abandoned fort. A country of dramatic landscapes and a storied past, Croatia has finally come into its own. With this Croatia Travel Guide, we introduce you to the beaches of Zadar, the walls of Dubrovnik, the stunning natural beauty of the Plitvice Lakes and the medieval churches of Zagreb.
The recent surge in popularity has made Croatia the music destination in Europe. Make your way to the INMusic Festival in June for some of the biggest names in pop, Ultra Europe in Split during July for a dose of EDM and the Outlook Festival for a one of a kind experience in an abandoned fort. If you would prefer a taste of Croatian culture, we suggest heading to Zagreb in July for the Internation
Most of Croatia finds itself on the shores of the Adriatic Sea which means the days are balmy and the nights are pleasantly cool; even more so during the summers. The best time to visit Croatia coincides with the warmer months so if you do decide to visit between the months of June and August, brace yourself for sunny skies, warm waters and swarms of tourists.
Every Croatia Travel Guide worth its salt begins with Zagreb, and rightly so. The Croatian capital’s charm is hard to ignore. Its cobbled streets, steepled churches and street side cafes make it irresistible to visitors. When doing your Croatia travel planning, make sure you add St Mark’s Church. Built in the 14th century, the church forms part of St Mark’s Square that also houses the Croatian parliament. The Romanesque church with its tiled roof should really be one of the first things you see when you get to Zagreb. Another landmark on your list should be the Zagreb Cathedral. Construction on the cathedral began in the late 1000s and the towering structure has been a Zagreb icon ever since. And if you find yourself seeking something quirky, head to the Museum of Broken Relationships. See
It is not every day that you visit cities built inside palaces. But Split isn’t an everyday city. One of the sunniest spots in Europe, the town is often overrun with the cruise trip crowd but don’t let that bring you down. Diocletian’s Palace is what brings most tourists to Split. Built in the fourth century AD, the palace was meant to be the retirement home of the Roman Emperor Diocletian and now includes most of the old town. Add the Peristyle and the cellars of the palace to your Croatia travel itinerary and also include the Croatia travel guide favourite, the Riva promenade. Sip cocktails in a waterfront bar as the sun sets and watch the hordes of tourists walk by, the perfect way to end the perfect day.
“Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik” George Bernard Shaw The city of Dubrovnik has brought in visitors long before the Game of Thrones series was even dreamt up, its walls hosting travellers since a millennium. The city wall’s and its Old Town was the location for the series representing King’s Landing and Quarth but the best of the city doesn’t always make it to TV screen. Croatia travel guides will nearly always include the 16th century Sponza Palace and we do too. We also recommend taking a guided tour of the walls of the city. Built in the 12th century these fortifications are nearly 20 feet thick and run along the borders of the old town. And do take a stroll down the Stradun, t
Sixteen lakes surrounded by lush forestry and crisscrossed by gushing waterfalls. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is so unlike the white sands and blue seas of the Dalmatian Coast that you would be forgiven for thinking you had crossed the border into Bosnia. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, the national park is one of the oldest in the country having been founded in 1949. Spread over nearly 300 square kilometers, the park is a hiker’s delight with trail after trail of picturesque walks, bright blue pools fed by cascading waterfalls, and emerald karsts. Make a guided tour of the park part of your Croatia travel planning or go solo and discover beauty of the lakes on your own.
Zadar just might be Dubrovnik’s cooler cousin. With a giant harmonica and a solar powered dance floor as well as the Dalmatian staples of pebbled beaches and ancient fortresses. The city has the history and beauty that draws visitors to Croatia without the crowds. Zadar is also home to a gem that you don’t always find in Croatia travel guides, Saharun. One of the only sandy beaches in the country, it is Zadar’s best kept secret. Also worth a visit is the Sea Organ, an art installation made of underwater pipes that play a pretty melody as water passes through them. The city also plays host to the Hideout Festival, an event that must be in your Croatia travel planning should you find yourself in the city in the summer.
Off the coast of Croatia, Hvar may not have the mainland’s glamour but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most exclusive resort destinations in the world. The best of the island is in Hvar Town. We recommend a visit to the Arsenal. A towering white washed building with frescoes and galleries; the Arsenal has been a theatre of sorts to the people of Hvar since the 17th century. Another unmissable attraction is the Fortica; a towering fortress that looms over all of Hvar Town. Rounding up the rest of your Croatia travel planning should be the Franciscan monastery and the adjoining church of Our Lady of Mercy. Situated on a quiet stretch of the beach the monastery is home to some fine renaissance works of art stored in its refectory.
The centre of a Riviera that snakes along most of Dalmatia, Makarska is the definitive Mediterranean seaside resort. Complete with a pretty marina with bobbing boats, stone paved streets, café lined promenade and a Franciscan monastery to boot, Makarska feels like a vintage postcard. A darling of Croatia travel guides, the city has a host of attractions that you can include in your Croatia travel planning including the Town Museum, the Napoleon Monument and the baroque Ivanisevic Palace.
Between the Adriatic Sea and the Velebit mountains, lies the hidden gem that is Krka. Straddling the Krka River, Krka National Park is known for its waterfalls, gorges, monasteries, and stones bridges. The park is home to myriad flora and fauna including some of the rarest birds of prey in the world such as the peregrine falcon, the osprey and the golden eagle. Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars on your trip to Krka to catch glimpses of these magnificent birds. And if you’re a history buff, you’ll love making the trip to the Visovac Monastery, a 15th century Roman Catholic Monastery, oft ignored by Croatia Travel Guides. The monastery is built on an island that you can visit on a boat trip from Skradinski.