By: Ana Cerovski
If you’re look to plan a trip to take sooner rather than later, allow me to offer up Croatia as an idea for your bucket list travels. A beautiful country with tons to do, great weather, excellent food, it has something for everyone. This guest post lists some of the best things to do in Croatia. Check it out and hope it helps you with your planning!
Croatia is a small but beautiful Central European and Mediterranean country. In the last few years, it has become one of the most popular vacation destinations. Why? Because it has it all – untouched nature and greenery, crystal-clear Adriatic Sea, more than 1000 islands, numerous cultural and historical sights, incredible culinary heritage, amazing autochthonous wines, and much, much more.
10 Things To Do In Croatia
1 – The Food
Traditional Croatian food includes quite a versatile cuisine and makes it perfect is that every region has its own culinary tradition and heritage. That basically means that you will be overwhelmed with different flavors, aromas, and nuances. For example, in the continental parts of Croatia, you can enjoy amazing meat specialties, nutritious stews, rich-in-flavors-and-texture desserts, and more.
On the Croatian coast and islands, the cuisine is a bit different. There, you will find classic Mediterranean aromas hidden in seafood delicacies, risottos, buzara, fish stews, simple desserts based on nuts and fruits, and many more dishes, recipes, and traditions. Your palate and taste buds will be quite satisfied.
2 – Enjoy Local Wine
Of course, to have a true gastronomy experience, you need to add some wine to your trip. Now, we’re not talking about classic worldwide-known wines but authentic and autochthonous ones. The story is actually the same as with the mentioned cuisine – every region has unique wine nuances to offer.
With that said, Croatian continental parts are known for Graševina, Škrlet, Dišeća Ranina, Moslavac, Belina, Plavec Žuti, and more. On the coast and islands, you can (actually, you must!) enjoy Plavac Mali, Grk, Pošip, and Maraština. All these wines are autochthonous vine varieties that can be found only in Croatia. And trust me, they will perfectly complement all the gastronomy flavors.
3 – Island Hopping
As a country with more than 1000 islands, Croatia island hopping is a must-do. This is a great traveling method to visit more islands on your vacation, especially if you are a lover of exploring and wandering. Any of the islands would make a great day trip destination if you choose to stay in one area as a home base.
You can easily make a unique itinerary based on the part of Croatia you are visiting but what I would recommend is going to Croatia’s second largest city Split, the main port of Dalmatia, and then visit the islands like Brač, Šolta, Hvar, Korčula, Vis, Lastovo, Mljet, … The options are endless, while these are surely some of the most beautiful Croatian islands.
4 – Visit Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Speaking of Split, this amazing town is a great travel destination. It beautifully combines ancient architecture and vibes with modernity and vividness. Diocletian’s Palace is a place to be and explore. The Roman emperor Diocletian built it in the 4th century, and it dominates the historic core of the city. The palace is one of the best-preserved monuments of Roman architecture in the world and it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
The palace is divided into four parts by 2 main streets, it has four towers at the corners, four smaller towers at the walls, and doors at each side. Besides important sites within the palace, such as Peristyle, Vestibul, the Temple of Jupiter, and more, visit the palace’s cellar, especially if you are a fan of the Game of Thrones – Daenerys kept her dragons in the cellar while she was in Meereen. Diocletian’s Palace is one the most amazing places and due to that, an ancient must-visit!
5 – Get Lost in Narrow Stone-Paved Streets of Dalmatia
Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and the islands is a region with many small towns, villages, and places. Most of those places have old, traditional architecture with narrow streets and stone-paved lanes. There is no better feeling than wandering through the streets, discovering small pots of flowers, breathtaking views, or lazy cats relaxing in the middle of the street. Such wandering is one of the best ways to really meet the traditions of small towns and villages. Just relax and let the feeling of ancient spirits and traditions overwhelm you.
Go to Zadar, Šibenik, and Trogir, visit the island of Hvar and Korčula, and explore their small villages. Let yourself go.
6 – Sit & Enjoy Your Coffee
This is actually a habit of the entire Balkan, and I must say, I simply love it. Most tourists don’t quite understand the beauty of just sitting in a cafe or a terrace for hours, enjoying the view, watching the people running the errands, or listening to a man playing the violin, while they are simply enjoying life and sipping coffee.
This is a real habit of Croats and while visiting, you will notice how much they enjoy sitting, talking, and relaxing with a cup of coffee in their hand. Life is short, so, try it out, let the worries go away (after all, you are on your vacation!), sit in a cafe or on the terrace of your hotel or guesthouse, and enjoy the view and sip coffee. That’s it.
7 – Travel Through the Solar System in Zagreb
In 1971, the academic sculptor Ivan Kožarić made a sculpture of the Sun (called The Grounded Sun) in the middle of Bogovićeva Street (the Sun is placed there since 1984). In 1994, another artist, Davor Preis, came up with the idea to build the entire solar system around that Sun. Each metal ball (planet) is made in the same scale as the Sun and their positions are made in the same scale as the real solar system. It may take you all day to travel through the entire Solar System in Zagreb, but it is definitely worth it. Also, that is a great way to explore the beauties of Zagreb while hunting the planets!
8 – Explore Dubrovnik’s Old Town
Dubrovnik is often referred to as the pearl of the Adriatic and due to that, it is simply a must-visit destination. The town is so popular that it is usually overcrowded with tourists and visitors, however, its beauty speaks for itself. The Walls of Dubrovnik surround the Old Town. They are approximately 1 940 meters long and have numerous towers, bastions, fortresses, and city drawbridge.
The old city walls are the unique cultural heritage of Dubrovnik, while its Old Town is like an ancient story intertwined with small streets, cultural and historical monuments, museums, fountains, and more. The main street of the Old Town is called Stradun and it is among the most popular tourist spots. Dubrovnik is simply a town of history and culture, and it will surely take your breath away.
9 – Enjoy The Beauty of Plitvice National Park
Perhaps you already saw the stunning photos of Plitvice Lakes National Park. And let me tell you, the reality is even better than photos! Plitvice Lakes is the oldest national park in Croatia, and it has some of the most stunning and breathtaking waterfalls and lakes.
The Park has 16 big lakes, as well as numerous smaller ones, and you can take a beautiful stroll through the amazing untouched nature and green heaven. Plitvice Lakes are stunning in every season, especially during winter (the price is also cheaper during that period and there are not as many tourists and visitors as in the summer) when nature is coated in snow. Now that is a breathtaking view!
10 – Visit Blue Cave
The island of Biševo is a small island located around 4.5 nautical miles from Komiža, Vis. Besides its beautiful untouched nature, it is known for its amazing Blue Cave located in a small bay Balun. The sunlight reflects off of the white seabed, giving the cave the most beautiful blue nuances. The scenery is quite mesmerizing, and you definitely feel like you entered a fairytale. Even though the tour of the cave lasts for only around 10 minutes, those 10 minutes of breathtaking beauty are all it takes to seduce you!
These are the top 10 things to do in Croatia, but the area has so much more to offer. There are many more towns to visit, activities to enjoy, sights to see and explore, streets to wander, flavors to indulge. Use this list as a guide to help you with planning your trip, but definitely look for unique experiences to enhance your trip and make it personal!
The rule for visiting Croatia is quite simple – just enjoy every moment, flavor, sight, and view, and let all your senses be seduced!
Author bio: Ana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and she is an experienced writer for restaurants and wineries at KitchenToast. She loves to photograph, travel, and explore Croatia in order to bring new and interesting content for future tourists and visitors.