Spend your mornings delving into the fascinating history that hides around every corner before heading down to the coastline to enjoy an afternoon of sun, sand and sea. When night falls, the towns come alive with an array of cosy bars and top-notch restaurants serving up fantastic Croatian cuisine and colourful cocktails. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach retreat or a chance to discover the stunning vistas this part of the world has to offer, holidays to Croatia have it all.
Set on Croatia’s biggest peninsula, Istria is a visually stunning treat. From the beautiful coastal town of Rovinj to the pretty district of Porec, you’ll not have to worry about travelling far to the beach. Both set along the water’s edge - teaming beach pampering with a slice of culture has never been so easy! Split also enjoys a prime Adriatic location and as Croatia’s second largest city, there’s a variety of things to see and do, especially surrounding the city’s Roman attractions. Enjoy stunning views from your waterfront hotel and even more hidden historic gems in the heart of the city. In Zadar you’ll experience even more historical and cultural delights in the city’s Old Town, all complimented by beautiful and popular beaches and easy access to surrounding islands.
With such a gorgeously varied landscape, you can enjoy Croatia at your own pace. From kicking back on the coastline and soaking up a slice of local life to embarking on a hiking trip or a kayaking tour - there are a myriad of ways to explore Croatia. Heading inland will see you in the midst of lush greenery that is home to one of Europe’s most beautiful National Parks. Plitvice National Park boasts cascading waterfalls and glistening lakes, a real gem of the country.
Croatia holidays allow a fantastic opportunity to go island-hopping. The Adriatic Sea is home to many gems, all boasting fantastic beaches and unlimited natural beauty. In the southern reaches of the country, Hvar and Brac reign supreme and are easily accessed from Split. Further north you’ll find the islands of Krk and Cres which are best visited from Rijeka – with your swimming gear in the suitcase.
For more inspiration on things to do in Croatia, check out our guide.
There are many great beaches in Croatia. Being off the beaten path in Europe, they are often inexpensive, but providing identical weather to that of the major beach destinations. Medulin has great facilities and a long, sandy beach that ends at a beautifully calm sea. Baska beach, on Krk Island, is popular also, with a long pebbly beach, with cafés, hotels, restaurants and the like running along the shore. Bol is another popular destination, with beautiful golden sand, and activities. And quite possibly the most beautiful of them all, is Zaton. It has 1.5 kilometres of beach, and terrific water sports.
The beaches in Croatia offer great attractions that are designed, and maintained to the highest standards. The beaches are well manicured, and free of rubbish, while the water maintains a perpetual sapphire blue. But, if splashing and lounging grow a little tiresome, hop on a cruise, and tour the region and the islands that surround.
Croatians are passionate about their water sports. With Zaton, Bol, Baska and Medulin all offering activities to keep everyone from the smallest to the oldest in your holiday party happy. The clear blue waters make snorkelling ideal, and the calm sea is great for water skiing. But, if you are looking to dive into something deeper, Bol has a scuba diving school that can get you out in the deep in no time.
For couples, Croatia is a perfect location to get away. Affordably priced, and with plenty to do, you won't want to miss it. For instance, Velebit Botanical Garden in Zavizan is the only alpine botanical garden in Croatia. Also, the beaches here are spectacular, and should not be missed. Or, if you've got a history buff among you, Split and Pula each have Roman ruins that are a terrific treat.
Boat trips are easy and inexpensive in Croatia. By hiring a boat, you can explore the islands that rest just off the coast. Most of the chartered boats berth at Split, and it's best if they are booked in advance. However, if you prefer to remain landlocked, then take advantage of the tax-free shopping. While in Dubrovnik the Old Town is a must visit. Being a UNESCO World Heritage site, it's filled with ancient buildings, making it an ideal place to wander with someone special.
The major cities, such as Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split are all home to fantastic local cuisine, and international staples. Outside the main tourist centres, you will find terrific regional cuisine for an affordable price. While out, it is necessary to try the local wine, which is particularly nice. The Croatian National Theatre has two buildings, one in Split and another in Osijek. They each host around 300 performances a year, so whenever you choose to visit, there should be something on.
Diocletian's Palace is one of the most stunning structures in all of Croatia, and that speaks volumes considering the architecture of this country. Located in Split, Diocletian's Palace is arguably the best-preserved Roman palace anywhere. The ancient walls of Dubrovnik holiday are also a must. There you will have great views of the sea, as well as the structures within. It is recommended to join a walking tour, of the walls, and Old Town.
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is a great opportunity to see a selection of drama, plays and concerts from artists of 30 separate countries. The festival runs from July 10th to August 25th, so book ahead and don't miss out. Also, Fisherman's Night in Komiza, is a fun festival that takes places on the first Saturday of August, celebrating the fishing history of the town. It is a big party that inhabitants look forward to all year round, and it shows in the celebrations.
With Roman ruins dotting the cities of Croatia, the historical centres like old town Dubrovnik, will not short change you on attractions here, but if you are looking to visit something a little more green, then look no further than the Plitvice Lakes. Plitvice is a national park that is the oldest in south east Europe, and the largest in Croatia. Famous for its lakes shaped like cascades, you won't be disappointed in this gem. But if you're looking for a bit of a party, visit Rijeka for carnival.
Looking for a holiday with a bit of pizzazz? Dalmatia has what you're looking for. The hub of Croatia's mountain climbing and hiking, you'll get a good workout climbing up these faces. If something a little less physically taxing is more appealing, rent a jet ski at one of the major beach resorts. You can zip around the sea, enjoying the sun, and satisfying that need for speed.
For families travelling abroad, Croatia is a fantastic option, with a wealth of museums, historic sites, health resorts and on the less beaten path, the choice of renting a lighthouse. Most cities have a historic centre, offering guides and information. Or, if you are interested in doing something a little more modern, take a Segway tour of Zagreb. This tour offers a fun alternative to the 'pile them in a bus' mentality often seen, and allows you an intimate journey through all of the places that make Zagreb special.
Who doesn't like to shop and, when is a better time to do so, than when you're on holiday? Croatia is a popular shopping destination because it is home to tax-free shopping. But, if you are looking to experience more, than acquiring more, than take a cycling tour. With most cities offering fantastic tours via bicycle, what better way to spend a holiday enjoying the sun, and seeing the beauty Croatia has to offer.
Restaurants in Croatia are varied, but quite good. During a night out you will find that along with the traditional establishments, there are fast food options as well. But Croatian food varies from region to region and is worth a try no matter where you visit. On the coast, one must try the seafood, caught fresh off shore; or the spicy sausages of the east. On the sea there are beach cafés, but they may be pricier due to the location. Also, keep in mind that during the off-peak months of November to March, most of the top-end restaurants are closed.