Croatia is becoming one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe. Not only does this small country offer beautiful beaches, extraordinary national parks and exciting nightlife, it also boasts ten UNESCO-protected sights. The most visited is the magnificent Dubrovnik Old Town, but the Ancient Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the Roman Arena in Pula aren’t far behind! Here’s our list of Croatia’s most popular destinations:
Dubrovnik used to be an autonomous republic that owed its success to its leaders’ excellent diplomacy skills and prosperous maritime trade. Its official name was the Republic of Ragusa; it reached the “golden age” in the 15th and 16th centuries when its wealth and thalassocracy rivalled that of the Venetian Republic.
The walls of Dubrovnik attracted no less than 1.1 million visitors in 2016; they encompass the medieval Old Town featuring cobblestoned streets, the Rector’s Palace, the Dubrovnik Cathedral and the popular Stradun promenade.
Korčula Island is one Croatia’s southernmost islands. It is the alleged birthplace of Marco Polo, the Medieval merchant and traveller, and a former Greek colony. Korčula boasts the medieval walls that were built in the 13th and 14th centuries and had been improved several times since then.
The island of Korčula has some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia; the sandy Vela Pržina beach in the town of Lumbarda is one of them.
Boasting the wonderful sea-side promenade lined with palm trees and endless cafés, Split is the must-visit destination in Croatia. Its most beautiful attraction is the Ancient Roman palace built by Emperor Diocletian and finished at the beginning of the 4th century AD. The palace is today a place where people meet for meals and drinks, go shopping for souvenirs, books and clothes. It is the true heart of the city!
Apart from the Diocletian’s Palace, Split offers the popular Bačvice Beach and the Marjan Hill with many walking and running trails.
Hvar Town on Hvar island attracts rivers of tourists every year. It features the beautiful Old Town, with a large square called “pjaca”, the Renaissance Cathedral and one of the oldest theatres in Europe. Hvar boasts some of the most luxurious hotels and restaurants in Croatia and is believed to be the sunniest place on the Croatian coast.
Visitors come here for the Hvar Town’s exciting nightlife, its beaches and wonderful sceneries.
The small town of Bol on Brač Island is popular around the world for the extraordinary Zlatni rat (Golden Horn) beach. This pebbled beach extends into the Adriatic Sea forming the shape of a horn; its shape changes slightly every few years due to the tide and currents.
Brač Island features centuries-old limestone quarries. The Brač limestone was used by the Ancient Romans to build cities and palaces in Dalmatia; allegedly, even the White House was built in Brač limestone.
Situated in the north of Dalmatia, Zadar is an Ancient city featuring the remains of a Roman forum and the Church of St Donat, one of the best examples of Pre-Romanesque architecture in Europe. Zadar is a lively university centre, with the wonderful Old Town and pretty beaches.
One of its most interesting modern attractions is the sea organ; visitors come here to listen to the sounds of the sea! The “Greeting to the Sun” is another interesting attraction in Zadar centre, producing a remarkable light show in the rhythm of the waves and the sounds of the Sea organs, creating a multi-coloured dance floor.
The city of Pula is situated in the south of Istrian Peninsula. It is popular for the magnificent Ancient Roman Amphitheatre – the famous Pula Arena, built in the 1st century AD. Today, Pula Arena is a popular event venue hosting various concerts, festivals and film screenings.
When in Pula, make sure to visit the Temple of Augustus, today a museum exhibiting ancient sculptures. Walk under the sea in Underwater Park Verudela or visit the Pula Aquarium.
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, situated in the continental part of the country. It features the historic Medieval Upper Town and the buzzing Lower Town, featuring many interesting museums, galleries and squares. Zagreb Main Square is dedicated to the 19-century hero, Josip Jelačić. This is the true heart of the city, close to the popular Tkalča street full of cafés, bars and restaurants, the charming Flower Square and the Ilica Street.
When in Zagreb, enjoy the view from the popular “Zagreb Eye” observation deck, shop in Ilica street, visit the Zagreb Zoo and the Botanical Garden.