Croatia is small country with only little bit over 4 million people living there, however, it has much to offer to everyone. From gorgeous nature, UNESCO sites, vibrant cities, events and parties, sailing/yachting, over 1200 islands and amazing food & wine. We picked 10 MUST SEE spots for first time travellers.
This coastal city is known for its massive stone city walls and renaissance inspired buildings. During the 90’s there was structural damage to the walls from the Yugoslav People’s Army, but it has since been repaired and now welcomes tourists and locals alike to enjoy the beaches and city. While visiting, be sure to check out the Minceta Fortress, take a ride on the Dubrovnik cable car and check out the Elafiti islands just outside of Dubrovnik.
Hvar, a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, is best known as a summer resort. Highlights of the port town Hvar include its 13th-century walls, a hilltop fortress and a main square anchored by the Renaissance-era Hvar Cathedral. The island also features beaches such as Dubovica and inland lavender fields. Boat trips are a must to see the nearby Pakleni Islands, which have secluded beaches and coves.
Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, is known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its peninsular Old Town. There are several Venetian gates in the city walls. Surrounding the Roman-era Forum is 11th-century St. Mary’s Convent, with religious art dating to the 8th century. There’s also the grand, 12th-century St. Anastasia’s Cathedral and the round, 9th-century pre-Romanesque Church of St. Donatus. Many say city with the most amazing sunset!
PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a 295-sq.-km forest reserve in central Croatia. It’s known for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. Walkways and hiking trails wind around and across the water, and an electric boat links the 12 upper and 4 lower lakes. The latter are the site of Veliki Slap, a 78m-high waterfall.
Split, a town on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, is known for its beaches and the fortress-like complex at its centre, Diocletian’s Palace (UNESCO), erected by the Roman emperor in the 4th century. Once home to thousands, its sprawling remains include more than 200 buildings. Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards are a cathedral and numerous shops, bars, cafés, hotels and houses.
Trogir is a town on the central Adriatic coast of Croatia. Its preserved old town, known for its mix of Renaissance, baroque and Romanesque buildings, lies on a small island connected to the mainland and the island of Ciovo by bridges. The 13th-century Cathedral of St. Lawrence houses the Renaissance Chapel of St. John and offers sweeping views from its bell tower. Parts of the medieval city walls remain intact.
Rovinj is a Croatian fishing port on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula. The old town stands on a headland, with houses tightly crowded down to the seafront. A tangle of cobbled streets leads to the hilltop church of St. Euphemia, whose towering steeple dominates the skyline. South of the old town is Lone Bay, one of the area’s pebble beaches. The Rovinj archipelago’s 14 islands lie immediately off the mainland.
Porec is a popular summer resort on the coast of the Istrian Peninsula in western Croatia. In the historic old town, the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica complex is famous for its gem-studded Byzantine mosaics. The coastline north and south of town draws visitors with camping areas, marinas and beaches with water sports. Some 6 km inland, the Baredine Cave is notable for its stalactite formations.
Zagreb, Croatia’s northwestern capital, is distinguished by its 18th- and 19th-century Austro-Hungarian architecture. At its centre, Upper Town is the site of the Gothic, twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral and 13th-century St. Mark’s Church, with a colourfully tiled roof. Nearby is pedestrian-friendly Tkalciceva Street, lined with outdoor cafes. Lower Town has the main square, Ban Jelacic, plus shops, museums and parks.
Korcula is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, off the mainland’s Peljesac peninsula. The town of Korcula is known for the medieval towers and walls fortifying its harbour. Its central square features the Cathedral of St. Mark, begun in the 14th century. Also, it is a birth place of Marco Polo.