Mountain Top Goat

Best Places to Visit in Croatia: 10 Incredible Locations

by Mountain Top Goat

Picture this, you’ve survived a long-haul flight over to Croatia and have no planning. Do you go there or here? Now, you’ve spent the whole morning deciding where to go. To help you avoid this, I’ve created this list detailing the best places to visit in Croatia. 

Located in the Balkan Peninsula, Croatia has been Europe’s tourist hotspot destination since the 1990s. The country of Croatia is remarkably unique, offering a perfect holiday for all interests. Although this is great, there’s only one problem – where do you go? 

To decide this before you initially visit this magnificent country, I suggest you become familiar with the following list. 

The City of Zagreb – Best Place to Visit Around Christmas Time

There is no denying that Croatia is famous for its turquoise waters and golden beaches along its shores. However, it has much more to offer. If you go deeper into the country, you’ll find Zagreb, which is the country’s capital. This beautiful place is also my hometown.

Zagreb is an incredible city full of 18th- and 19th-century Austro-Hungarian architecture that looks astonishing. Apart from its wow-like visual appearance, you can also do many things here. 

The city has something for everyone of all ages and interests, making it one of the best places to visit in Croatia. Make sure to check out the following when you’re here:

  • The Upper Town 
  • Dolac Market 
  • The Zagreb Eye 
  • Maksimir Park and Zagreb Zoo 
  • Zagreb Cathedral 
  • King Tomislav Square 
  • Ilica Street

These locations will undoubtedly fulfill many people’s interests when visiting the northern city. 

If you happen to be in this city between November 27 and January 7, you have to go to the famous Christmas market. The market is considered one of the best in Europe, winning the “Best Christmas Market” award in 2016, 2017, and 2018. 

The last thing I’d like to mention is the hiking opportunities. If you know me, you know I love hiking and have conquered Kilimanjaro recently. Although the hikes at Zagreb aren’t that extensive, they’re still beautiful. 

The incredible thing about the trails here is that there are multiple difficulties ranging from easy to hard, including: 

  • Easy – Tomislavac to Zrinjevac 
  • Moderate – Mikulici to Risnjak 
  • Hard – Gračani to Puntijarka 

Above are only a small selection of the 100s of routes. To see more, check All Trails for more information. 

zagreb best place to visit in croatia

Istria region 

Including the above, another top tourist destination in Croatia is the Istria region, and it’s unique. Surprising to many, Istria consists of three countries: Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy.

It’s located in the westernmost county of Croatia and has a bunch of notable towns you can visit, my two favorites being Pula and Rovinj. 

Pula has a great number of university students, both from the area and from other countries. Therefore, it’s known for its lively community, including many great restaurants, hotels, and events. 

One of the most spectacular historical attractions you must visit is the Roman Amphitheater, built in the first century by Emperor Vespasian. It’s the largest of its kind and a unique piece of architecture. 

Another superb place for Croatia tourism is the medieval town of Rovinj. Every street has a unique part of history while being scattered with restaurants and bars. 

If you decide to visit this town, I highly recommend Restaurant Puntulina. It’s one of the best restaurants in Rovinj, which offers some superb seafront dining with a picturesque view. 

However, that isn’t all; there are still many things to do in Croatia around the Istria Region. These include: 

  • Snorkeling at Rabac’s beaches 
  • Scaling the old town walls of Motovun 
  • Getting a boat to the Brijuni National Park
  • Spend a day in the coastal town of Opatija 
  • Visit the Museums of Pazin 
  • Explore the old town of Lovran 

The Istria region is a gem, and many are unaware it exists. It’s packed with many exciting places, making it one of the best places to visit in Croatia.

rovinj istria croatia

Plitvice National Park

Not only one of the best places to visit when in Croatia, but rather a must while you’re in the country. The national park of Plitvice covers 73,000 acres of hiking trails and stunning lakes. However, get there early because it can get busy. Plitvice is Croatia’s most active national park, racking up more than 1.7 million visitors annually.

Unfortunately, the national park is somewhat in the middle of nowhere. But because it’s one of the most favorable things to do in Croatia, there are many day trips from the following locations; 

  • Split – 260km, 3-hour drive 
  • Zadar – 136km, 2-hour drive 
  • Dubrovnik – 450, 5-hour drive 
  • Pula – 275km, 3-hours 45-minute drive 
  • Zagreb – 135km, 2-hours 15-minute drive 

Wherever you travel from, the drive isn’t too long (minus Dubrovnik). However, I’d recommend getting there early to take in all its beauty. 

Once you arrive, you can choose between seven of their hiking routes. These are labeled Program A, B, C, E, F, H, and K, ranging in difficulty. The shortest is A at 3.5km, and the longest is K at 18.6km, which is the entire national park. 

If you’re wondering about the best locations of Plitvice national park, I’d recommend everything. However, the Upper Lakes or Lower Lakes are excellent options when limited on time. 

But hiking the trails isn’t the only thing to do in this top tourist destination in Croatia. You can also explore the below adventures that are all close to Plitvice national park; 

  • Search the Grabovača Cave
  • Kayak on the Mrežnica River 
  • Head to the Adventure Park and do the zip line 
  • Explore the Barać Caves
  • Go horse riding at Ranch Terra

Like most of Croatia, activities are endless. The Plitvice National Park is the same, and more than worth the visit on your travels to this country.

plitvice national park best places to visit in croatia

The City of Zadar

Zadar could be one of the top cities in Croatia to visit for many reasons. It has everything for everyone, from Michelin Star restaurants and beach clubs to the Roman-Venetian ruins of its old peninsular town.

The location of Zadar is excellent, sitting on the Dalmatian coast; perfect for any island hopper. Islands surround Zadar that aren’t reachable by lands, such as Dugi Otok, Lošinj, Sušac, Silba, and Molat, to name a few. 

Apart from island hopping, there are also various other things you might want to consider when visiting here. Although not everyone’s tastes will be similar, here’s what I recommend for a broad spectrum of individuals; 

  • Learn to surf – If you’re in Zadar, head over to the Ždrijac beach in Nin (about a 30-minute drive), as it’s an ideal place to learn how to windsurf or even kiteboard. Located here are professional coaches that offer multiple-day lessons with all the equipment required. 
  • Sip Maraska liqueur – In Zadar, you’ll see Maraska liqueur everywhere, and you must try this delicacy before you leave. 
  • Eat their signature dish – Including the above, you must try their signature dish of monkfish. It’s typically served with truffles and homemade gnocchi, offering a fantastic taste. The most popular place for this dish in Zadar is Kornat
  • See Nikola Bašić’s creations – Nikola Bašić is a Croatian architect known for the creations of Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun in Zadar. Both are must-sees and are on everybody’s Croatia tourism lists. 
  • Admire Byzantine treasures – Lastly, check Zadar’s unique collection of religious artifacts and Venetian art in the Church of St Mary. 

Zadar isn’t the largest, but it still gets included in the top cities in Croatia to visit. However, due to its size, seeing all these places is available.

zadar croatia

Krka National Park

Croatia is full of national parks, with many being the best in Europe. Krka National Park is always mentioned as the best place to visit in Croatia, and it’s easy to see why.

If you’re a traveling enthusiast that loves nature, you’ve seen images of Krka National Park. It has rich emerald waterfalls, lush forestry, and a small swimming lake seen everywhere on social media.

Although it is not as visually pleasing as the Plitvice lakes, it’s still up there with the best. And, for anyone not wanting to take the 5-hour drive from Dubrovnik to Plitvice National Park, you’ll be glad to hear traveling to Krka is almost half this. 

Krka national park is significantly smaller than others in Croatia, yet there is still much to see. Ideally, you’ll want to trek to the following locations:

  • Krka Monastery 
  • Skradinski Buk 
  • Visovac Monastery
  • Roški Slap 
  • Manojlovac Slap 
  • Rošnjak Falls 

Each of the above is spectacular, but I’d place Krka Monastery, Skradinski Buk, and Visovac Monastery in the top three places to visit in Krka.

krka national park best places to visit in croatia

The City of Šibenik

Moving towards the coast near Krka National Park, you’ll get greeted by the city of Šibenik. The ancient city of Šibenik, located on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, serves as a gateway to some of the country’s most picturesque locations. The Cathedral of St. James (Katedrala Sv. Jakova), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Šibenik’s most notable attractions.

Being situated on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, it grants you access to many islands; my favorite being Murter Island. 

Murter Island

If you’re looking for something to do in Croatia, Murter Island has you covered. It’s home to four pretty towns called Tisno, Betina, Jezera, and Murter, which all offer unique experiences. 

Despite this being one of the smallest Croatian islands, it’s full of fun activities. The top things I recommend considering are below: 

  • Visit all the towns – The island is small, so while you’re there, visit all four towns, Tisno, Betina, Jezera, and Murter; you certainly won’t be disappointed with the tasty food and calm environment. 
  • Hike the viewpoint of Kosirina Bay – Kosirina Bay is one of the most stunning places, with many Croatia tourism agencies recommending this location. To get here, head to Kosirina Bay and take one of the trails from the beach. 
  • Swim in the blue sea of Podvrške – Everybody loves a blue sea, and Podvrške beach excels in this field. Despite only being a kilometer from Murter Town, it’s usually quiet and has a crystal clear sea. 
  • Explore the sandy beach of Slanica – Slanica is one of the top tourist destinations in Croatia and undoubtedly Murter. It’s a family-friendly beach that looks like something from a magazine, absolutely stunning. 
  • Consider taking a day-long excursion – Murter has a large port also, offering various day-long tours to popular destinations like Nature Park Telašćica or the Kornati and Dugi Otok islands. 

Including the above, you must head over to the small town of Vodice. The town is around 11 km northwest of Šibenik and is known for its diversity, vibrancy, friendly community, and endless tourist attractions. 

Considering Vodice is so close to Šibenik, it’s more than worth including this on your trip around Murter Island. Trust me; you won’t regret it. 

sibenik best places to visit in croatia

Split Town

Around the Split region of the country, you could honestly spend weeks and even months here. However, let me tell you all the “golden” places you must see because it can be hard to choose.

As an avid hiker, I recommend the most challenging climb in Croatia – Vošac Peak. You start this in Makarska and scale the 4,500+ feet mountain (1,167m) in 30kms. During this, you’ll see beautiful views of Makarska and the surrounding villages, along with some excellent photo spots.

Take a few days to relax and see what Makarska has to offer after you’re done. It’s a town where everyone can have fun, whether they want to party or eat at a fancy restaurant on the water.

If you decide to visit Split, take a boat ride to the scenic island of Brač. Once here, you can choose to hike the signposted walk from Bol up the Vidove Gora or choose to relax on the picturesque beach named Zlatni Rat (the Golden Horn). 

The fun doesn’t end there, though. Hvar Island, which is a little farther away than Brač, is also known as one of the best places to visit in Croatia. It is an island known for partying, lavender, history, and good food. Anyone looking for a good travel experience should go there.

split best places to visit in croatia

Korčula Island

Both Brač and Hvar are great islands to visit. But beyond these islands, there is another place that you should definitely check out. This island is called Korčula, and it is known for its dense forests, sandy beaches, vineyards, and small historic villages.

Unlike Brač and Hvar, Korčula is a more relaxing island. It doesn’t focus on partying, instead, it has many places of interest for tourists, such as:

  • St Mark’s Cathedral 
  • Korčula Museum 
  • Lumbarda 
  • Račišče
  • Čara

Korčula island is undoubtedly one of the more relaxing places to visit if you want to unwind next to the sea. However, don’t think about this place as boring. There are many micro-islands surrounding this location, it has a fantastic local beer scene, and the restaurants offer some of the best seafood available.

korcula island best places to visit in croatia

Island Mljet

Moving further down the list, we’re now onto the island of Mljet, another top-rated tourist destination in Croatia. Despite the island only being 43km long, there are many things to do. 

One of my favorite activities is hiking, so you can imagine I gravitated towards the hiking routes Mljet offers. It’s a beautiful hike that can get completed in four different ways;

  • Pomena to Govedjari 
  • Govedjari to Blato 
  • Blato to Babino Polje 
  • Babino Polje to Sobra 

Either is excellent and more than worth the consideration if you visit Mljet. 

However, apart from this hikes, there are many more things you should do. Mljet is a small island, but it’s packed with beauty. Therefore, you’ll want to consider the activities below also; 

  • Experience the amazing Okuklje
  • Travel to the deep Odysseus Cave
  • Go snorkeling at the Mljet coral reef
  • Visit the beautiful bay at Prožurska Luka
  • Discover untouched nature in Mljet National Park

The above is only a small selection of things to do in Mljet, and there’s a lot more.

island mljet best places to visit in croatia

Dubrovnik is without a doubt the most popular location in Croatia for tourists. In 2019, more than 1.4 million tourists came to the country. The old city is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, unique terracotta roofs, and cute limestone streets that offer many different ways to enjoy life.

The primary reason I went was for hiking (of course). In and around Dubrovnik, there are various trails you can take, whether you want to walk the city walls or scale Mount Srđ for some lunch at Panorama Restaurant & Bar.

In addition to the aforementioned, I recommend you consider the following while visiting Dubrovnik:

  • Go sea kayaking
  • Visit a medieval pharmacy
  • Uncover communist history
  • Explore Dubrovnik’s old town
  • Have a drink at the cliff bars (Bard Bar
  • Go on a Game of Thrones tour (if you’re a fan)

You’ll have an excellent time here, whether you’re there for the drinks, food, historic nature, or its Game of Thrones reputation. For that reason, it’s been rated one of the top 5 cities to visit in the world

dubrovnik croatia

Conclusion 

After reading the above, you should have a good understanding of the ten best places to visit in Croatia. The country itself is one of a kind, offering beautiful and historic scenery everywhere.

Whether you’re staying in the north, south, or traveling the entire country, wherever you go, there are abundant activities to do. 

Given that you are now familiar with these sites, do you plan to go to any of them?


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