Best Things to See in Croatia

It’s not surprising that Croatia emerged as a top tourist destination in recent years, given its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and crystal clear waters.

From the ancient city of Dubrovnik, with its terracotta rooftops and winding cobblestone streets, to Mljet, Croatia’s greenest island, offering lush greenery and stunning scenery, there’s something for everyone to see in this Eastern European wonder. 

Below, let’s explore some of the best places to see in Croatia.

1. Dubrovnik

Best Things to See in Croatia

Dubrovnik is one of the Adriatic Coast’s most storied cities, steeped in rich history and charm. Despite its wealth of historical treasures, Dubrovnik’s compact size makes it easily navigable on foot. With its iconic red-tiled rooftops, picturesque hills draped in pine and cypress trees, and glistening turquoise waters, the Old Town of Dubrovnik captivates with its breathtaking architectural splendour and natural beauty.

Explore the formidable stone walls encircling Dubrovnik, erected between the 11th and 13th centuries as a shield against warfare and disease outbreaks. Stretching over 1.3 miles, it boasts an expansive network of forts, bastions, and pathways, providing unparalleled vistas of the cityscape and beyond. Embark on a scenic hike along these ancient ramparts and venture into the majestic Lovrijenac Fortress, perched atop a towering 100-foot rock, commanding views that once gazed towards Venice.

Stroll down the main thoroughfare of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, known as Stradun or Placa, a charming avenue steeped in history and charm. It is particularly enchanting in the late afternoon, as the sun casts a golden glow upon the ancient facades and graceful swallows dance in the azure sky above.

2. Hvar

Best Croatian Islands

Renowned for its vibrant nightlife scene, stunning ancient sites, and captivating coastline, Hvar Island offers a quintessential island getaway in Croatia. Nestled in the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Croatia’s mainland, a cluster of enchanting islands surround the island, including Brač, Korčula, and Vis. Conveniently situated, Hvar is merely an hour’s boat ride away from the bustling city of Split.

Begin your Hvar sightseeing adventure at the iconic Fortica fortress, also known as the Spanish Fortress, perched atop the city. This historic site traces its origins to around 500 BC, with the construction of fortifications commencing in the 6th century under Byzantine rule. Although the Spanish fortress garners much attention as a Hvar landmark, another fort lies further inland. During the Napoleonic Empire’s influence on Hvar in 1811, the Napoleon Fortress emerged, situated atop the hills overlooking the panoramic views of the town.

Step into the bustling heart of Hvar at St. Stephen’s Square, the vibrant epicentre of the town’s social and public life. Here, amidst a lively atmosphere, you’ll encounter some of Hvar’s most iconic attractions, including the cathedral, the accessible Episcopal Palace, and a collection of architecturally stunning public buildings.

3. Split

Best Things to See in Croatia

Split is Croatia’s second-largest city and an absolute must-see destination for everyone exploring Croatia. It is steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty, delighting you with its captivating blend of ancient architecture, vibrant atmosphere, and breathtaking coastal landscapes.

Split is a great place to stop for those who want to charter a yacht in Croatia. The city’s well-equipped marinas and strategic location make it a convenient base for exploring Hvar, Brač, Vis, and other nearby islands. Chartering a yacht in Split is an incredible way to discover secluded coves, pristine beaches, and hidden gems along the Dalmatian coast.

At the heart of Split is the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace, a sprawling complex built by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD. This architectural masterpiece serves as the city’s beating heart, with its maze of narrow streets, hidden courtyards, and ancient ruins inviting exploration. Visitors can wander through its historic corridors, marvel at the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, and climb the Bell Tower for panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Split’s Old Town exudes a lively ambience, with its bustling squares, vibrant markets, and charming cafes offering a taste of authentic Croatian life. The Riva promenade, flanked by palm trees and overlooking the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, provides the perfect setting for relaxing strolls and al fresco dining.

4. Korcula

Best Croatian Islands

Nestled in central Dalmatia, Korcula is the second most populous Adriatic Island, renowned for its stunning natural beauty and rich history. Blanketed by Mediterranean flora, including expansive pine forests, the island’s landscape exudes a serene and verdant allure. Its name, derived from the dense, dark forests that once covered it, reflects its ancient origins. 

Steeped in history and culture, Korčula’s Old Town is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets, medieval walls, and historic buildings, evoking a sense of stepping back in time. Explore iconic landmarks such as the Cathedral of St. Mark, marvel at the intricate stonework of the Marco Polo House, and soak in the atmosphere of bustling squares and waterfront promenades.

Korčula offers a tantalising culinary experience for food and wine lovers, with fresh seafood, locally sourced ingredients, and world-class wines from the island’s vineyards enticing the taste buds. Dine al fresco at charming seaside restaurants, sample traditional Dalmatian dishes at family-run taverns, and embark on wine-tasting tours to discover the island’s viticultural heritage.

Outdoor enthusiasts can engage in fun activities, from swimming and sunbathing on secluded shores to hiking and cycling through scenic trails that wind through vineyards, olive groves, and pine forests.

5. Mljet

Best Things to See in Croatia

As one of Croatia’s most unspoiled islands, Mljet boasts pristine landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Mljet is Croatia’s greenest island, home to a stunning national park covering a significant portion of its western half.

Within Mljet’s protected area lies Veliko and Malo Jezero, two saltwater lakes connected by a narrow channel and surrounded by dense forests. Explore these tranquil lakes by kayak, paddleboard, or small boat, immersing in the island’s untouched wilderness and spotting native wildlife.

Beyond the natural wonders, Mljet is rich in history, with its ancient ruins, medieval monasteries, and charming fishing villages scattered throughout the island. The most notable attraction is the Benedictine monastery of Saint Mary, located on a small islet in the middle of Veliko Jezero. It dates back to the 12th century and is steeped in legend and history, offering a glimpse into Mljet’s rich cultural heritage.

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