Croatia has long been a hidden little secret of Europe in which beach and history lovers wandered the streets of old towns and pebble beaches while enjoying the enchanting sea and untouched nature.
Croatia is a country for everyone, the coast attracts lovers of beaches and water sports, the mountains call people eager for nature, and the old towns are a place where history lovers are simply forced to visit.
Not to mention the fact that the food has a strong Italian influence, wine is grown almost everywhere in the country, waterfalls are abundant and there are several national parks that offer stunning views.
Your guide to Croatia starts here.
GENERAL COUNTRY INFORMATION:
Currency: Croatian kuna (KN);
Official language: Croatian, English and Italian are widely spoken and understood, German as well
Population: 3.9 million
The capital of Croatia and the largest city: Zagreb.
Other capitals (by population): Split, Rijeka, Osijek
Croatian regions: 4 (Central Croatia, Istria, Slavonia, Dalmatia)
National parks: 8 (Brijuni, Kornati, Krka, Mljet, Paklenica, Plitvice Lakes, Risnjak, Northern Velebit)
Islands and coast: 1244 islands on 6278 kilometers of coast
Highest peak: Dinara, 1831 m
Climate and weather: The climate is Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast, which means warm dry summers and mild winters, with an average of 2,600 hours of sunlight per year - Croatia has one of the sunniest coasts in Europe! The interior of the country has a continental climate with hot summers and colder, snowier winters.
Emergency telephone number: 112
Our ten-day guide to Croatia takes you from Zagreb to Dubrovnik (or vice versa) through some of the most popular Croatian cities, natural beauties, sights, beaches and islands.
Day 1. Zagreb
Zagreb, the largest city and capital of Croatia, is often neglected by tourists who choose the most popular coastal destinations in the country and do not really know what to do in Zagreb. But the city is worth a visit, and the number of great Zagreb tourist attractions could be really surprising. The Croatian capital can enchant with its beautiful and impressive architecture, large museums and many other places that Zagreb must see, including alternative places. This is one of the best places to learn about Croatia and its history.
1.Upper town -Upper town is the medieval core of Zagreb from the 12th century. In the Upper Town you will walk the cobbled streets, immerse yourself in cafes and admire the most beautiful architectural moments in Zagreb. Head to Kaptol, a settlement whose existence was confirmed in 1094 when King Ladislav founded. The diocese of Zagreb, Kaptol, is part of Zagreb in the Upper Town and is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop in Zagreb. Also, here you will see the Church of St. Marcus, Zagreb Cathedral, Lotroshchak Tower, Grichki tunnel and many other interesting attractions.
2.Dolac market -legendary, and at the same time the oldest market in Zagreb where you will feel the real atmosphere of the city and experience the local tastes of Croatian producers. An extension of the Dolac market is the busiest street in Zagreb and a favorite gathering place for young people. Take a peek into Tkalchicheva Street and relax with a cup of your favorite drink and food in one of the many cafes and restaurants.
3.Tomislavac square and park - one of the most beautiful public city parks, the main gathering place for young people in Zagreb and a place of various festivals and events, of which we certainly single out the beautiful, multi-award winning Advent.
Day 2. National park Plitvice Lakes
Deep in the Lika forest, 16 hidden lakes at different heights flow into each other creating the most beautiful cascades and waterfalls in various colors that are constantly changing. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is nature at its absolute best. You will be surrounded by amazing views of the lake and waterfalls as you walk the picturesque hiking trail. You can hire an educated guide or explore the park yourself.
1. Lake Kozjak -The largest lake is Kozjak with 81.5 hectares, also the deepest with 47 m.
It is located on the border of the Upper and Lower Lakes. There is an island on the lake called Shtefanija's Island, and the name Kozjak comes from goats which, according to legend, fled from wolves and crossed the frozen lake and perished in the ice.
2. Big waterfall -Big waterfall is located in the Lower Lakes and is also the highest waterfall in the Plitvice National Park and is located near Plitvice Lakes at the end of the lake.
3. Milka Trnina Waterfalls -Located on the barrier between Milanovac and Lake Gavanovac, Milka Trnina Waterfalls was named after the famous opera singer from the end of the 19th century, soprano Milka Trnina, which donated significant funds for the preservation and protection of the nature of Plitvice Lakes.
4.Galovaсki buk - 16 meters high waterfall located in the heart of the Upper Lakes. It feeds on the inflow waters of Milino Lake and Galovac, which descend into Gradinsko Lake. It used to be much taller and wider, but due to the many fallen trees and debris, the waterfall is much smaller today.
Day 3. Zadar
Zadar is one of the liveliest and most fascinating cities on the Adriatic. Obsessed with history, but with a dynamic cultural life, you will have a real dalmatian experience in Zadar. Going out on the Adriatic and enjoying one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, the old town of Zadar in Croatia is almost full of heritage.
1. Roman Forum - this is the largest Roman forum of its kind on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. It was the main square of the Roman Iader where the public life of the city took place, and its construction began in the 1st century BC. Right next door is the Church of St. Donatus, which was built on the remains of a forum in the 9th century, and has retained its original form to this day. Today it is one of the recognizable symbols of Zadar and a favorite place for concerts and other cultural and artistic events.
2. Greeting to the Sun and the Sea Organ -exceptional installation by Croatian author Nikola Bashich of 300 photosensitive glass plates that absorb daylight and turn into a unique at night a light show.The sea organ records the movement of the waves and turns them into music that is unique in the world.
3. Cathedral of St. Anastasia -monumental Romanesque building, named after the Srijem martyr who was worshiped by two popes in Zadar; Alexander III who visited her tomb in 1177, and Pope John Paul II. who bowed in front of the front door of the cathedral in 2003.
4. Sandy beach Borik - Equally popular among locals and tourists, this half-pebble, half-sandy beach with a small concrete part offers just a little bit for everyone. It is located only 4 km away from Zadar, which is ideal for a pleasant walk. The beach also offers natural shade in the old pine forest that surrounds it.
Day 4. Sibenik
Shibenik is a great place to end your trip to Croatia down the Dalmatian coast. Although there are not as many attractions in Shibenik as in larger cities, this city offers a slower pace, fewer tourists and amazing views. The beautifully preserved old town is great for wandering and is filled with beautiful 15th and 16th century architecture. Interestingly, Šibenik was the first city in the world to have electricity more than 100 years ago, through an electrical system on the Krka River designed by Nikola Tesla.
1. St. Michael's Fortress - is one of the five fortresses in Shibenik and the one from which this city was created. Built during the Middle Ages, located on top of a hill in the middle of the old town with a beautiful view.
2. Cathedral of St. James - Today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the architectural peaks of the Dalmatian coast. During construction, different styles were installed, which gives it a recognizable look today.
3. Fortress of St. John - the highest city fortress, defensive in nature, built in the 17th century, and located on top of a hill, with an incredible view to the city.
4. Banj Beach - Banj Beach is a beautiful pebble beach with a view of the old town of Sibenik. From the city center, the beach Banj can be reached by a promenade by the sea, and it takes about ten minutes of easy walking. The beach offers many facilities that will make your vacation even more enjoyable.
Day 5. Split
On the beautiful Dalmatian coast of Croatia, Split is the second largest city in Croatia. This 1700 year old lively and stable place perfectly combines the urban way of life with the historical architecture. Split has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years, starting with the Romans, then the Byzantines, the Croats, the Venetians and finally the Austrians, who left only in 1918. All these cultures have contributed to the present-day appearance of the city, its unique architecture, culture and fascinating monuments.
With that in mind, we bring you a list of the most interesting places you should not miss on your visit to Split:
1. Diocletian's Palace - is actually more of a fort, made up of a multitude of different buildings and monuments. It was built for Emperor Diocletian , and today is one of the main sights of Croatia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fascinating place to explore. Within the complex you will also see the Vestibule, the Temple of Jupiter, the Golden, Brass, Silver and Iron Gates and the magnificent cellars.
2. Cathedral of St. Donatus - Among European cathedrals, the one in Split has its seat in the oldest building - the Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Within the cathedral, at the end of the second millennium, history reconciles ancient pagan, Christian medieval and modern heritage.
3. Riva - promenade - beautiful paved promenade by the sea. We can say that over the centuries it has become a city living room and the most popular and most important public space in Split.
4. Bacvice Beach - Bachvice Beach is a legendary beach in Split and you must definitely visit it during your stay in Split. It is the main city beach, in fact a natural phenomenon - a sandy beach in the heart of a big city. In the evening, Bachvice becomes one big party.
Day 6. The island and town of Hvar
Hvar - an ancient city with a rich history on the island of the same name in the Croatian Adriatic, which is proud of the fact that it has the most hours of sunshine of all the islands in the Adriatic Sea.
For the town of Hvar, many say that the town is like a fairy tale because of its architecture, beautiful nature and mild climate. In Hvar, everyone can find everything that gives peace to the soul and relaxation to the body. Vineyards, lavender vines and secluded coves are just some of the amazing things you will experience on the island of Hvar. Below you can see the main attractions and attractions of Hvar.
1. Cathedral of St. Stephen -On the site of the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary of Lesna was built the Cathedral of St. Stephen I Pope and Martyr. The cathedral became in the 13th century, when the center of the diocese moved from the Old Town to Hvar.
2. Fortress Fortica -This beautiful fortress dating from the 16th century offers a beautiful panoramic view of the entire island of Hvar and the nearby Paklinski islands, which you will definetly enjoy. Not only is it one of the nicer places to visit but also coming to it is a great experience. If you head north from the main square you will pass through the main city gate Porta di Datallo you will come across stairs that, surrounded by aromas of Mediterranean herbs, lead all the way to the top of Fortica - or as the locals call it, Španjole.
3.St.Stephen square -Central Hvar square, St.Stephen square also known as Pjaca, is the largest square in Dalmatia. It covers 4500 m². It was originally a deep bay and the sea reached all the way to where the cathedral is today. It later became the area between two fortified cities, Grode in the north and Burg in the south. In the center of the Pjaca is a communal well from 1520, repaired twice, in 1780 and 1830. The square was completely paved in 1780.
4. Pakleni islands - Over six miles long group of islands is one of the biggest attractions of Croatian tourism. Spending a day there, you will feel adventurous at a distance of only a few hundred meters from the island of Hvar. You can visit the Pakleni islands during our kayak tour with a daily departure from the city of Split or the city of Hvar. Here the beaches are beautiful and the sea is clean - everything you need for rest and relaxation.
Day 7. The island of Korcula
Just like Hvar, you can make a day trip from Korcula to Split or make it a full day stop on your trip. The island of Korcula is one of the most beautiful islands in Croatia. Although quite small in Korcula there are an incredible number of things to do. Home to ancient sights, stunning coastline, local wineries and the birthplace of Marco Polo, it is easy to understand why so many tourists decide to visit Korcula. The best thing you can do is park your car and travel around the city by bike. Vineyards and beaches are just some of the things you will discover while cycling.
1. Church of St. Peter -This small Gothic church from the 14th century is one of the oldest in the Old Town, but perfectly preserved. It is located in a small square next to the Cathedral on the corner with Don Pavla Pose Street.
2. Marco Polo's house -Many old records confirm that Marco Polo was born and lived on Korchula, as evidenced by his small stone house that has been renovated just like the Marco Polo Museum and is a great attraction for tourists from all over the world.
3. St. Mark's Cathedral -One of the most famous sights of the island of Korcula is St. Mark's Cathedral was built in the 15th century, in the Gothic-Renaissance style. Located on the main town square it is almost impossible to avoid it when you are on this beautiful island.
4. Pupnatska port - Relax with the glitter of fine sand and the flashing waves! Pupnatska Portis the most famous beach on the island of Korcula on the south, the so-called defora side of the island, which means it faces south. It is one of the largest bays on the south side of Korcula, with a beautiful, wide and very adaptable pebble beach at the bottom.
Day 8 : The island of Mljet
When you are wondering what to do on Mljet, one of the first things you need to do is visit its national park! Mljet National Park is a beautiful island park located on the island of Mljet in the Dubrovnik archipelago. In the park you will find the most untouched forests, two unique salt lakes and numerous cliffs, coves and small islands. A visit to the island is perfect for all those who want to relax, swim, sunbathe or do something active, such as cycling, hiking or kayaking. In the center of one of the lakes there is an islet with a former Benedictine monastery which has been turned into a charming restaurant. It covers the entire northeastern part of the island of Mljet, which is about 5300 hectares of land (or one third of the whole island).
1. Big lake -Big and Small lake are two natural salt lakes that are part of the Mljet National Park. The lakes are interconnected by a narrow channel. You can visit them in a small boat, walk the surrounding forests bordering the lakes or swim. A tour of the monastery is an experience that leaves visitors breathless.
2.Little Bridge -Small bridge is an old stone bridge in the National Park that connects the two sides of the shores of a small canal whose role is to connect two natural phenomena: the Big and the Small Lake. The whole area around the bridge is called Little bridge, and here is one of the main information points of the Park where you can find useful information for touring
3. The islet of St. Mary -The islet of of St. Mary is located in the southern part of the Big Lake of Mljet. Its size is almost negligible - 120 m x 200 m. Remains of a Roman building were found on it, but it is by far the most famous for the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary from the 12th century. It was built in the period from 1177 to 1198. The Benedictines first built a monastery on the islet and then a church. The church has changed its appearance over the centuries under the onslaught of styles, Renaissance and Baroque.
5. Saplunara beach -Saplunara (lat.sabalum means sand) is a fine sand beach located in a protected bay on the island of Mljet. It consists of 4 beaches, the most famous of which are Big and Small Saplunara. It is the most beautiful beach on island.
Day 9: Peljesac penninsula
Bounded by long pebble beaches, the Peljesac peninsula, which stretches north from Dubrovnik to Korcula, is this wonderful rarity, a Dalmatian getaway without the crowds. Peljesac is a favorite destination for surfers and wine lovers, and is also known for its oysters and mussels - probably the best in Croatia. When you are on Peljesac, you can take a day off from traveling and simply enjoy. Here you can experience the indigenous Dalmatian life.
1.Vuchine Bay -Vuchine Bay is known for its white pebble beach and beautiful water. Pinewoods Nature Reserve surrounds this protected and exotic lagoon. A small island in the bay makes for fun swimming and exciting scuba diving and snorkeling.
2.Small Ston Bay -Small Ston Bay, sometimes known as the Small Ston Channel, is a bay as long as 21 kilometers at the entrance to the beautiful Peljesac peninsula, named after the village of Small Ston. The bay is known for growing oysters and shellfish because its waters are unpolluted. Due to its clean waters, Small Ston Bay was declared a Special Nature Reserve in 1983.
3.Ston walls -This famous fortified stone historical complex dating back to the fourteenth century is unique in the world because of its enviable length of as much as 5 and a half kilometers, monumental size and defensive structures and urban layout. The walls begin and end with the fortresses of Koruna in Small Ston and Big Kashtio in Ston. The largest fortress is Bartolomeo, which rises above Ston, and you can visit them every day.
Day 10: Dubrovnik
First impressions are quickly etched for a lifetime when you first see the magical Dubrovnik Old Town. Named the pearl of the Adriatic, the beautiful city of Dubrovnik offers plenty of tourist attractions that visitors can explore. Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century and was ruled over the centuries by the Venetians and Austrians, each of whom left his mark on today's appearance of the city. Today, Dubrovnik's Old Town is as graceful as any of the best medieval European cities. Here history lurks around every corner. The most important points of visit include a walk through the picturesque old streets and alleys during visits to excellent attractions such as the magnificent cathedral and treasury, the main street Stradun and many beautiful old palaces and forts.
1. Stradun - Stradun (Placa) is the main street in Dubrovnik's Old Town. It divides the Old Town into two, equal parts. As Stradun is closed to traffic, so it is only accessible to pedestrians, both sides of the street are full of cafes, shops and restaurants. Walking along Stradun you will see the main attractions and attractions of the city - the Sponza Palace, the Church of St. Blaise, the small and large Onofrio's Fountain, Orlando's Column, the Rector's Palace and many others.
2. City walls - the old city of Dubrovnik is surrounded by city walls almost 2 km long for which it is known throughout the world. Throughout history, these walls have protected the city of Dubrovnik from enemies, and today they bring visitors from all over the world. From the walls you will see 5 monumental fortresses - Bokar Fortress, Lovrijenac, Minčeta, St. John's Fortress and Revelin.
3.Banje Beach - Banje is the name for the most famous and most popular beach in Dubrovnik. The beach is located near the Old Town, between the Dubrovnik Hotel Excelsior and Lazaret, so it is such an unavoidable place to all visitors. The beach with its beach bar is a very popular place for evening outings with the beautiful sounds of sea waves and live lounge music.
4. Mountain Srdj - Mountain overlooking beautiful Dubrovnik. The ride to Srdj takes about 4 minutes by cable car from the vicinity of the Old Town and once you get up, you will have the most spectacular panoramic view of Dubrovnik. At the top of the cable car there is a cafe and restaurant with a beautiful terrace overlooking Dubrovnik, and you can even buy some souvenirs in a small shop.
Don’t forget to take a picture of each of the places you’ve visited and make sure you share your impressions with us in the comments.