Croatia holidays and travel guide

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Where to Go in Croatia on a Holiday

Choose amongst Croatia's top holiday destinations

Croatia is country of wonderful destinations, making it hard for travelers to choose the best places for holiday. You can browse through Croatia's travel brochures and even decide where you want to go. But it's not going to be an easy decision, as there are numerous holiday destinations in Croatia.

Don't just fall for your travel agent's idea of a great holiday in Croatia. Do some online research and inform yourself about best destinations in Croatia. Then you can make an informed decision and pick the best place in Croatia that suits your likes and budget. To help you out, here's our choice of Croatia top holiday destinations.

Dubrovnik

By now, just about any traveller knows that Dubrovnik is the obvious destination in Croatia, owing to its media exposure via celebrity visits and through the likes of TV series Game of Thrones being filmed in Dubrovnik. It's a jewel that cannot be missed. On your visit to Croatia, you can easily dedicate a few days to explore this stunning city.

It often gets crowded during the summer months, due to its recognizable brand. But if you choose quieter periods and out of season holiday, you will find yourself probably enjoying the place much more. Bell Tower, Roland's Column, Sponza Palace, Pile Gate, and Old Port are but a few places you could visit in Dubrovnik. Natural History Museum is a great place to learn more about the city. You can also visit the nearby islands, such as Lokrum island, Elafiti islands group, and resorts like Cavtat.

Old city walls in Dubrovnik
Croatia's top holiday destination, Dubrovnik, has plenty to offer to its visitors, including walking tours of the old city walls

Plitvice Lakes

Another great destination is Plitvice National Park, one of the eight national parks in Croatia. This is a World Heritage site, which has grown increasingly popular with the international visitors and nature lovers, attracting over one million visitors annually. The Park is popular for its nature treks throughout the park and the magnificent cascaded, interconnecting sixteen waterfalls. The largest of them, Veliki Slap (The Large Fall) is the highest of the waterfalls, reaching some 70 metres (230 feet) height.

Visit the Scrub Lake or Gypsy’s Lake to enjoy the view. Each of these lakes have their own stories to tell. There are boat tours if you want to explore the lakes. The boats are quiet, running on electricity, so as not to disturb the fish, which abound in the lakes' crystal clear waters. You could hike your way around the park, or there are buses that run regularly. Park is open year-round but during winters nearby ski resorts are perfect for family holidays.

Plitivice Lakes waterfalls cascades
Croatia's top National Park, Plitvice Lakes, offers nature walks, boat tours, and spectacular views of its cascaded waterfalls

Istria

Istria, locally known as Istra, is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. It's one of the world's top holiday destinations, having received praises from the likes of Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, Fodor's, USA Today, Travel & Leisure, and more. It's known as one of the world's top olive oil producing regions, amongst best wine regions, and a food and wine destination.

Istrian region is well connected to all means of transportation. Most European visitors drive straight down to enjoy their holidays here, with Istria being closest to the likes of Italy, Austria, France and Germany. The peninsula is dotted with colourful towns along its coastline, all of which are holiday destinations in their own right. Umag, Poreč, Rovinj, Pula, Medulin, Labin, all the way to Opatija, to name the best known.

Itria's main attractions are its small villages. Motovun is known for its annual film festival, while Buzet is known for its truffle autumn. You should also try and visit the smallest town in the world, Hum, which has a population of only 17 inhabitants. The town dates back to the early 12th century and features many old buildings, including a bell tower built in the 16th century. No matter where you go to Istria, you will find this an interesting and a beautiful region.

A scene from Poreč, an Istrian town
The town of Poreč is just one of the many popular towns on the Istrian peninsula that attract returnee visitors year after year

Zagreb

Zagreb is becoming an increasingly popular destination, attracting visitors all year around. It's a great destination for those who want everything in one place. It has great sights, good food, active nightlife, public transport, and great shops. It's also very well connected to all major cities in Europe by roads and air.

As Croatia's capital, it's a great place to start your holiday. Spend a few days here, then make your way to any other parts of Croatia, be it inland or going down to the coast. There are many places of interest in Zagreb, such as St. Mark's Church, Lotrščak, Jarun lake, Kamenita vrata (Stone Gate), Trg Bana Jelačića (Jelacic square), and many other town squares and parks. For art lovers, there are many art galleries and museums in Zagreb. Make sure you take some time off to enjoy coffee in the city's main square. Croatians are well known for their coffee culture.

Blue tram in the city of Zagreb
Zagreb's blue trams are recognizable and popular mode of public transport in Croatia's capital

Hvar

Island of Hvar is a popular holiday destination for celebrities and one of the sunniest and most beautiful islands on Croatian coastline. Hvar town is the island's hub and the busiest destination, attracting numerous visitors. Originally a Greek colony named Pharos, the island is located between 3 other popular and large islands of Brač, Vis and Korčula.

Hvar landscape is known for its lavender plants that grow in the wild, providing an aromatic and beautiful island atmosphere. Apart from the main town of Hvar, visit the small towns around the island, such as Šućuraj, Stari Grad, and Jelsa to experience the local traditions and food. You can also hire a yacht and sail in style to the nearby islands of Pakleni otoci, perhaps one of the prettiest archipelagos on Hvar riviera (seen at the top of the picture below).

Panoramic view of Havar town harbour
One of the oldest towns in the region, Hvar is a popular mecca for international tourists and celebrities alike

Makarska Riviera

Makarska is a great destination for a family holiday, where you can play with your children. There are numerous resorts and private apartments of all kinds, sizes, and price range. As there are no nightclubs, parents can spend a great deal of time on soaking up on Makarska's great beaches. Among more popular places on Makarska riviera are Brela and Baška Voda, both featuring beautiful beaches.

If you want to do something different, the islands of Brač and Hvar are not far away, where you can get via ferries. Or for those who are more adventurous, go hiking on the nearby Mount Biokovo. It has great hiking trails, but hire someone experienced to avoid getting lost or stranded.

Panoramic view of Makarska town
The beautiful Makarska riviera attracts numerous visitors, as one of the most popular holiday destinations in Croatia

Brač Island

Most pictured beach in Croatia is the Zlatni Rat Beach (Golden Horn) of Brac Island, named after its horn-like shape that changes with sea currents. The beach lies next to the line of pine trees and it's extremely popular during summer season with bathers and wind surfers.

Brač island is known for its small towns. The popular Zlatni rat beach is located near the town of Bol, which is also home to Croatia's annual Bol Tennis Tournament. Milna is a beautiful, picturesque harbour town, situated on the west side of the island. The town of Supetar is the largest on the island, with ferry harbour connecting to the mainland city of Split. To get the best view of the island, you can walk to the highest peak of Vidova Gora, 780 metres (2.550 feet) high, from where you can see the town of Bol and its Zlatni rat beach.

Clear sea at Brač island
As one of the largest islands on Croatian island archipelago, Brač island is an attractive tourist destination that features a few small interesting towns along its coastline

Korčula town

Located on Korčula island, the town of Korčula is a beautiful old fortified town, not too dissimilar to Dubrovnik, only smaller. The town has preserved its culture and heritage and features many old buildings, such 15th century Franciscan monastery, the Cathedral of St. Mark built in Romanesque-Gothic style, Town Museum, Icon Museum, the palace of the former Venetian governors, and many city fortifications.

Being the birth place of the famous adveturer and traveller, Marco Polo, the town also houses Marco Polo Museum, where you can see in an entertaining way the significance of Marco Polo's travels to uniting the East and West in the 13th century.

The island of Korčula is known for its greenery, vineyards, and olive groves. Apart from the main town of Korčula, there are many small towns around the island, such as Blato, Prigradica, Lumbarda, Smokvica, and Vela Luka (Big Harbour). There are also numerous small beaches and quiet coves around the island. Ferries connect Korčula island with another large island of Mljet, as well as the city of Dubrovnik.

Korčula town on Korčula island
An attractive holiday destination in its own right, Korčula town, on Korčula island, is best known as the birthplace of the world famous explorer Marco Polo

Vis Island

The island was used as base for navy during the era of Yugoslavia and was completely shut for the outer world. After 1989, it was developed for tourism. Place is perfect for those you seek solitude in their holidays as place hardly gets crowded. You can rent a car to explore its roads. This is best way to explore the island. Popular attraction is Bisevo’s Blue cave, which has no human settlement. You can easily hire boat for Biševo and other nearby islands.

Town of Vis on the island of Vis
Croatia's most protruding large island, Vis, is signified by the traditional Dalmatian architecture and its natural beauty

Elafiti Islands

A group of several islands near Dubrovnik, three of which are the only ones inhabited: Šipan, Lopud and Koločep. These are amongst most peaceful islands on earth because there are hardly any vehicles and their settlements count only several hundreds of inhabitants. Elafiti islands support only a modest tourist industry, so you will find them largely untouched by mass visitors.

Šipan island is the biggest in the group, where you can find the accommodation and other necessary amenities. It has two settlements with just over 400 inhabitants in all. All three islands connect daily via ferries to Dubrovnik. So, whether you stay on the islands or in Dubrovnik, you will find it easy to explore the both via daily excursions.

Lokrum island near Dubrovnik
Located off Dubrovnik, Lokrum island is one of the cluster of islands known as Elafiti islands, home to many exotic plants brought here from around the world

Getting to Croatia

Croatia is a great holiday and travel destination, which is perfect for families, singles and honeymooners. It is very well connected to most of the cities in Europe via air, as well as great, modern road system. Most of the main roads are tollways, but for those who like to explore the country, there are many old roads that are well kept and toll free. There are also good ferry connections from Ancona in Italy to the city of Split.

  Holiday destinations in Croatia

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Istria Region of Croatia
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Istrian Peninsula
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Vacation in Central Croatia
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