For someone who is looking to visit an unspoiled European beach destination, Croatia is the place to be. Full of historic monuments and history, along with great food and wine; Croatia is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe for a summer vacation.
Nature lovers and beach bums come to Croatia to enjoy the many beautiful beaches, stunning waterfalls, caves, and mountains.
Dubrovnik Old Town Walls
Definitely reigning on top of Croatia’s list of places to visit, Dubrovnik is one of the most glamorous places you can visit in the country. Yes, this is also the place which is a real-life version of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones.
Even if you are not a fan of the show, you will be astounded with the beauty of this walled city. Also a UNESCO World Heritage site, Dubrovnik makes for a great vacation spot in Croatia.
Start with a walk around the city’s walls which incorporate fortresses, towers, and cannons along the way.
Enter the old town via Pile Gate built in 1537 and one of the city’s most impressive structures. You can climb atop the gate and enjoy the views of Old Town along with beautiful views of the Adriatic sea.
Diocletian’s Palace overlooks the Adriatic Sea and was built by Roman Emperor Diocletian, who retired here in AD 305. Technically, a palace, the Diocletian’s Palace is more of a fortress as it covers more than half of the city of Split.
This housed the Emperor’s personal garrison. It was the residence and was used for personal reasons too.
Today, it is one of the most complete Roman palace and the most significant architectural feature on all of Croatia’s coast. Visitors can roam around the palace which now has a snack bar, restaurant, and souvenir shop.
Krka National Park
Just a one-hour drive away from Split, Krka National Park is a Croatian national park named after the river of the same name. The park is comprised of 109 square kilometers.
Visit the park to see some untouched natural beauty plus varied flora and fauna. The most striking part of the national park is the Visovac Monastery located in the middle of a lake.
Apart from that, you can enjoy hiking participate in tours and boat trips, visit the museum and restaurants as well.
Do visit Skradinski buk which is a massive pool with high waterfalls on one end and cascades at the other.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
This 295-square-kilometer forest reserve is one of the best destinations to explore in Croatia. It has steep forested hillsides surrounding 16 emerald-blue lakes connected by a succession of thundering waterfalls.
The lakes are connected with walkways and hiking trails which offer stunning views. The area is also a haven for wild animals such as wolves and bears.
There are numerous waterfalls, caves to explore. Plus, you can always relax at restaurants and cafes before hopping on to another adventure in the national park.
Zlatni Rat Beach
You will notice that most of Croatia’s coastline is rocky with pebbled rocks along the shore. If you want to venture to a soft sand beach, then head to Zlatni Rat Beach.
The area is also famed to be one of the most photographed beaches in Croatia because of its unusual landform which is known as a “spit”.
The beach is made of fine pebbles and runs 500 meters perpendicular to the coast. The crystal clear waters surrounding the beach make it one of the most popular beaches in Croatia.
The beach is backed by a cluster of pine beaches and Zlatni Rat Beach is warm enough to swim from June through September.
Visitors can also indulge in water sports such as paddle boats, sea kayaks, and banana boat rides.
Head inland after enjoying the beaches of Croatia to Zagreb. Here you can enjoy the craft beer scene, monuments with Baroque architecture, and beautiful farmers market.
Head to medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town) district which is the main tourist area in the city. Explore the cathedral with its neo-Gothic façade, the Church of St. Mark, and the 13th-century Tower of Lotrscak which you can climb for some of the best views of the city.
When here do visit the strange but popular Museum of Broken Relationships.
Korcula is the sixth largest island in Croatia and makes for a great tourist spot in the country. The island is protected by medieval walls and towers and it is known for its dense forest as well.
Korcula was built under Venetian rule which is why the city is full of centuries-old aristocratic stone buildings.
Top things to do include the Marco Polo house which is said to be the birthplace of the renowned 13th-century explorer. The main point of interest is Korcula Town which people call “Little Dubrovnik”.
This charming, picturesque town located on the Istrian peninsula makes for a great tourist spot. Made up of pastel-colored houses and pretty fishing harbor it attracts many visitors.
The most important landmark and tourist spot are the Church of St. Euphemia (completed in 1736). This is the largest Baroque building in Istria.
Apart from that, do visit the Balbi Arch which was once the entrance to Rovinj. The Old Town is also a nice attraction where you can see what Rovinj was like when it was all packed onto one crowded island.
One of the top tourist destinations Croatia’s spectacular Dalmatian coast, Trogir is a delight to explore. The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and there are lots of historical sights to see.
Founded way back in 380 BC, Trogir has at various times been ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Hungarians, and Venetians.
Do visit the Cathedral of St Lawrence on which building work started in 1213. There are many top-rated hotels and accommodation options, plus many restaurants where you can dine at.
Often overlooked by visitors, Rijeka is a charming city and also the third-largest city in Croatia. Considered a somewhat transit city with a few beaches, you might just want to take a day trip here, instead of staying long.
Head on to Old Town where the cobbled streets will greet you, plus many old shops as well. Attractions in the city that you can visit include Trsat Castle (Gradina Trsat), Church of Our Lady of Trsat (Gospa Trsat), and apart from this, the city has many art galleries and museums.
The lovely city of Sibenik can be traced back as far as the 11th century and the city is often overlooked as a tourist destination because of its size.
However, the town has many fantastic sights which you can see like the Old Town center which is preserved to this date. Explore the 5th- and 16th-century architecture, along with numerous attractions.
A prominent place you must visit is the 15th-century Cathedral of St. James, which is one of the best churches in Croatia.
Drink Croatian Wine
Though you might not have heard of it, wine has been made in Croatia for centuries. To explore the wineries, you can visit the Tomić Winery in the town of Jelsa, after which you can head to D’vino Wine Bar in Dubrovnik.
This is a unique phenomenon and a one-of-a-kind experimental musical instrument in Zadar. There are a series of tubes under large marble stairs and when the ocean waves come to the shore, they play a sound skin to a musical organ.
The Sea Organ is the only of its kind in the world and attracts many tourists and locals each year.
Croatia might be one of the most underrated places to see in Europe and if you are Game of Thrones fan, this country should definitely be on your list!