But despite its popularity, Croatia is still very much a Balkan country. Its language, food, and history belong distinctly to Croatia. It’s also one of the more affordable places to visit in Europe, making it popular for backpackers and luxury travellers alike. In addition to its popular hubs like Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia is home to some of the continent’s most stunning natural beauty, including Plitvice Lakes National Park. Then there are the many islands adrift in the Mediterranean, like beautiful Hvar, Vis, and Solta. Each one has something different to love about it. You’ll never run out of unique things to do in Croatia.
Places to Visit in Croatia
- Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Peljesac Peninsula
Unique Things to See and Do in Croatia
- Kayak around Dubrovnik
- Take a sailing trip around the islands, including Hvar
- Watch the sunset in Zadar
- Visit the Museum of Broken Hearts in Zagreb
- Party in Split
- Walk the Premuzic Trail
- Watch a show at the Pula Amphitheatre
Croatia’s architecture is one of its defining cultural aspects. Fortress towns, stunning palaces, and old towns that look like something out of a fairy tale tend to immediately charm those who come to Croatia. You’ll find some of Croatia’s best Roman remains in Split, at the Diocletian’s Palace complex, as well as in Pula with its preserved amphitheater. There are also Roman sites in Zadar and Salona, with many other archaeological findings on display at the Split archaeological museum.
Dubrovnik is the attraction that everyone comes for. This stunning medieval town is surrounded by high stonewalls, and its interior is decorated beautifully with marble. You can walk along the top of the walls overlooking the sparkling Adriatic Sea, and you’ll understand why the Game of Thrones series is filmed here! You’ll feel like you stepped back in time.
In Istria, visit the Euphrasian Basilica, commissioned by Bishop Euphrasius in 535 BC and home to some beautiful Byzantine wall mosaics. In Croatia’s coastal towns, you’ll find a blend of Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The old towns of Korcula, Trogir, Sibenik, and Zadar are also worth visiting. Like Dubrovnik, Trogir is a medieval town surrounded by high walls, with a castle and tower. Its focal point is the church of St. Lawrence, with artwork by Radovan. It’s considered the most important Romanesque-Gothic work in the country.
But no matter where you go in Croatia, you’ll find stunning architecture, like Hvar and its Cathedral of St Stephen, or Varazdin and its Baroque buildings. You might even accidentally stumble across a castle or two.
Did you know…?
The Croatian currency is kuna, which is the Croatian word for “marten.” Yes, Croatian currency is named after a rodent.
Did you ALSO know…?
Hum, a tiny town in Croatia, is known as the world’s smallest town with a population that varies between 17 and 23.
Getting around Croatia
This part of the Balkans is very easy for getting around. Croatia has several airports, and a reliable and efficient bus system running across the country. You can get anywhere by bus. Croatia’s train system works very well in the north and east, but not so much along the coast. Ferries make regular journeys to the islands as well.
Renting a car is also a great idea, but can be expensive depending on the time of year. When in doubt, get out there on foot!
Best time of year to travel to Croatia
Croatia’s peak season is definitely the summer months between June to August, when the Adriatic is warmest and visitors can make the most of sailing, swimming, and other water sports. Temperatures are also the pleasantest during this time, with near-constant sunshine. Naturally, this means things can get more congested as well with tourism traffic…especially in Dubrovnik. Spend an afternoon here in July, and you’ll see massive buses pulling up at the city walls with cruise visitors.
Spring and early fall are good times to visit. Most things are still open, including Dubrovnik’s shops and attractions. Transit schedules may be a little more erratic, but it’s still easy to get around. You’ll also avoid the tourism hordes between April to early June and late August to October.
Ready to plan your visit to Croatia? Check out these popular guides and trips.