The 11 Most Beautiful Places in Croatia from The 11 Most Beautiful Places in Croatia

The 11 Most Beautiful Places in Croatia

Croatia is not the first country that comes to mind when people think about vacationing in Europe. It doesn’t even come up as a possible road trip stop, but it should. This is a country of vivid mountainous landscapes and picturesque deep-blue seascapes; almost anywhere you go will be worth your time, money and effort.

Dubrovnik

iStock

Located in the middle of the Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik casts a spell over all those who visit. The coastline is stunning, rugged mountains are nearby, certain tourist sites have been for centuries, and the wine is divine. To give you an idea of how magical this city is – many episodes from Game of Thrones were filmed here. Travel back in time while walking the cobblestone streets of the walled-off Old City, many parts dating to the 11th century.  After visiting the city, George Bernard Shaw said, “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik.”

Motovun-Montona

Shutterstock

Located in the northern part of Istria, overlooking the Mirna River valley, this popular medieval town is one of the characteristic symbols of the region.  Visitors can stay in hotel Kaštel situated in the restored palace of the Polesini family, according to Istra.hr. Motovun-Montona is the perfect venue for a large number of events. The town also attracts many ballooning lovers due to favorable microclimate. Surrounded by vineyards the entire area is dotted with excellent local restaurants.

Hvar Island

Shutterstock

Hvar Island boasts 2,718 hours of sunshine a year, making it Croatia’s sunniest island, according to Croatia Traveller. The island if often referred to as the “new St-Tropez.” The stylish Hvar town is the destination of choice, as glamorous yachts glide into the stunning harbor. The streets are decorated with renovated Venetian townhouses. From honeymooners to backpackers and retirees, everyone wants to see what the fuss there is all about. The island is also known for boasting the best nightlife on the Adriatic.

Split

Shutterstock

Split, located between mountains and sea, is the second largest city in Croatia and the largest city on the Adriatic coast, but it’s always overshadowed by Dubrovnik. Split has just over 200,000 residents but it’s a bustling city that is worth your time, even if you’re going for a short visit. People usually see it as a transport hub. This is where you go if you want a peak of authentic Dalmatian life. Go to the Diocletian’s Palace, explore the mighty coastal mountains, and swim in the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Brac Island

Shutterstock

Consider going off the beaten path and visiting Brac, the largest island of the central Dalmatian group of islands, and the third largest among the Adriatic islands, according to BracInfo. People who already love it go there for windsurfing. The stunning beaches and nightlife bustling with parties, festivals and shows also lure people.

Northern Velebit National Park

Shutterstock

This stunning park is known for its preserved biodiversity, lushness and pristine wilderness. Within UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere program, the Velebit Mountain was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1978. Three years later the entire Velebit area was designated a nature park.  Northern Velebit was established in 1999. It is home to one of the most diverse habitats in the country –countless plants, fungus and animal species. The park is a perfect destination for active holidays with many trails for mountaineering, hiking, trekking, and cycling.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

iStock

This national park is more like a scene from a fairytale than an actual place on earth, but the 16 crystal clear lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and vaulted caves are not only real—they’re natural formations. Water rich with minerals winds its way down waterfalls and along rocks, continuously changing the landscape as diverse wildlife (bears, wolves, rare birds, and butterflies) live in the vast forest that surrounds the lakes.

Dalmatian Islands

Shutterstock

Drawing in travelers with breathtaking coastal views, lively ports and a thriving nightlife, the Dalmatian Coast was a well-kept secret not long ago. Once a low key getaway for those in-the-know, it is now a top summer travel hotspot. Sailing and yachting is top-notch, the nightlife is buzzing and the coastline is among the best in Europe. Top locations include Brela town and Cove Vrulja, River Cetina and Velebit mountain.

Rovinj

Shutterstock

This is one of the most adorable small towns in all of Europe. Hike to seemingly inaccessible beaches and walk to family-friendly shores – either way, you will love the experience. You may even get to be the only person in the vicinity, feeling like the king of the coast for a few hours. Bike and boat tours are very popular in the small town. For a true Mediterranean fishing port experience, avoid visiting in the summer when crowds take over.

Kingdom of Festini Cave

Istra.hr

The natural beauty of the cave, located in the heart of Istria, attracts many visitors. You enter and you immediately hear the musical sound of drops that have been creating superb underground “jewels” from ancient times. The cave thrives in wonderful dripstone forms, among which are “the magician’s hat,” “Tower of Babylon” and the huge “bat wings” covered with grapevine that gets its water from the bottom of the cave, according to Istra.hr.

Trogir

Flickr/Nick Savchenko/CC BY-SA 4.0

Located not far from Split, Trogir is a popular day trip destination for many tourists. This historic city is a remarkable example of urban continuity, according to UNESCO. The orthogonal street plan of the settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was elaborated by successive rulers with many buildings and fortifications. Its gorgeous Romanesque churches only add to the exceptional Renaissance and Baroque structures from the Venetian period. You will also see finely-carved facades, elegant palaces, and medieval streets showing Dalmatian art.