It may sound like a cliché, but I actually believe that besides Italy and France, Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in all of Europe. From picturesque islands with magical beaches and secluded bays to charming medieval cities blessed with interesting architecture and well-preserved historical landmarks, Croatia has it all.
When you add great wine and sublime local foods, you’ve got yourself a real traveler’s paradise. To help you decide where to go while visiting the country, I’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Croatia.
Stunning Krka Falls. Canva/dennisvdw.
An aerial view of the National Park. Canva/wmaster890.
Located just a one-hour drive from Split, the waterfalls at Krka National Park are a stunning site. Although the water is often cold here, many travelers choose to go swimming in the crystal-clear waters beneath the magnificent waterfalls.
|The most popular area of the park is the Skradinski Buk where you will find 17 waterfalls, as well as many species of wildlife. To reach the fabulous Roski Slap and admire its 12 waterfalls, you’ll have to go on a short boat ride.|
The Coliseum in Pula. Canva/jasminam.
|The city of Pula is home to one of the best-preserved Roman Coliseums in the world. With 15 gates and a capacity for 23, 000 visitors, the Coliseum was originally a place where gladiator fights took place.|
Today, this amazing amphitheater is one of the most popular attractions in the region of Istria and attracts thousands of visitors each day. It’s also a good place to hear a story or two about the Roman Empire. Expect to pay around 7 euros at the entrance.
|Honestly, I am not a huge fan of that whole third wave of coffee movement or those artisan cocktails. However, when it comes to craft beers, I am always more than happy to try local IPA’s and lagers.|
Fortunately, Zagreb is well-known for its craft beer scene and there are many young people opening their own microbreweries nowadays.
Zagreb is ideal for beer enthusiasts. Canva/EddieHernandezphotography.
Located on the outskirts of the city, The Garden Brewery is a must-visit microbrewery and bar for all you beer lovers out there. The Beertija is also quite popular, as well as the Mali Medo which is thanks for its central location on Tkalčićeva Street always full of people.
Croatia has a superb culinary scene. Travelade/Hörður.
Black risotto with parmesan. Canva/Sanja Cokolic.
Croatian Peka Sa with Octopus. Canva/_jure.
When it comes to tasty food, Croatia has definitely plenty to offer. In Istria, try the local seafood dishes like prawn risotto, brudet (spicy fish stew), and the mouthwatering grilled squid.
When in Dalmatia, I always end up ordering fresh fish or local delicacies such as prosciutto (dried ham), black risotto with cuttlefish, and lamb under a cast-iron dome.
If you happen to be in the eastern Slavonia region, don’t leave before trying the traditional fiš (spicy river fish stew), kulen (spicy pork sausages) and Čobanac (spicy slow-cooked stew with wild game, pork, or beef). Yes, these people are really into spicy foods.
Dubrovnik city walls and harbour. Canva/0.
You can also hit the beach while in Dubrovnik. Canva/julof.
You might recognize Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls from the popular Game of Thrones show. The city’s Old Town was used as a filming location and represents the famous Kings Landing.
The Old City Walls are actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site and travelers can take a walk around here and enjoy the views of the Adriatic Sea and the Old Town’s busy cobblestone streets.
You will find the entrance to these walls close to the gate in the Old Town. Keep in mind that this is an extremely touristy attraction and is usually packed with other tourists.
See also: A Local's Guide to Dubrovnik
Perfect solitude in Dugi Otok. Canva/xcbrhx.
Beautiful colours at the Dugi Otok Harbour. Canva/xcbrhx.
In summer, many of Croatia’s islands are packed with people and sometimes it’s difficult to find some peace and quiet. However, there are a couple of islands where travelers can find solitude and have picturesque beaches all to themselves.
One of these places is called Dugi Otok. With a population of only 1,500 people, the island is a true hidden gem with very little tourists around. There are no swanky bars or posh hotels here, only beautiful places like Telašćica Nature Park and Sakarun Beach.
Korčula during sunset. Canva/kgph.
Beautiful sunset by the island of Korčula. Canva/kgph.
Well-known for is pine trees, rugged coves, and magnificent beaches, the island of Korčula also has one of the most beautiful old towns in Croatia.
Walk down the cobblestone streets dotted with historical houses and visit the Old Town’s main attraction, the magnificent St Mark’s Cathedral which was built in the 15th century.
To learn more about the history of the island and admire stone carvings and shipbuilding historical artifacts, check out the Korcula Town Museum. In the evening, have dinner at one of the waterside restaurants and enjoy amazing views of the Adriatic Sea.
Such gourmet! Canva/maria_esau.
The town of Rovinj, Istria. Canva/master2.
Italy and France have the majority of truffles in Europe, but Croatia’s region of Istria is also one of the few places on the continent where you can find white truffles. They usually grow on the roots of hazel, oak, poplar, and beech trees and are known to be quite expensive.
The hillside town of Motuvun. Canva/jasminam.
Visit Motovun, a small hillside town in Istria where you can try everything from truffle cheese and pasta to truffle oil and ice cream. Some of the local operators can even take your with them to hunt for truffles. Motovun is also a great place for cycling and hiking. Thanks to its hilltop location, the town offers amazing views of the Istria region.
To sum it all up, Croatia is a lovely country that offers plenty of interesting things to do. Whether you wish to go island-hopping and swim in the deep blue waters of the Adriatic Ocean or you want to admire the beauty of the country’s medieval towns, a trip to Croatia can become an amazing experience.