Croatia is a magical, sunny country with over one thousand two hundred islands. The country has an enormous wealth in natural and cultural heritage with centuries-old tradition.
To be frank, I am more than proud to be Croatian and call this country my first home. And although growing here wasn’t that easy, I must say I had the best childhood ever running along all those natural beauties that Croatia has to offer.
So, here’s an epic list of 6 best places to visit with the short descriptions about each location and of course all followed by my own photos.
When I mention Croatia to someone today, people usually start to scream: football or Dubrovnik. And trust me, I’m so happy about that, because few years ago while I was working in a restaurant, I met a group of Chinese people that went totally confused about my origin. After a while, they started to imitate shooting guns.
Nope folks, Yugoslavia is dead long time ago.
Today, it’s Republic of Croatia.
Croatia proudly has the highest number of intangible protected assets from all of all European countries: 10 percent of the whole country is protected: 11 nature parks, 8 national parks and 2 strict reserves. Believe it or not, even the Klapa singing is protected by UNESCO and characterizes Dalmatia.
1. PLITVICE LAKES
If you’re a nature lover, Plitvice are definitely a must place to see and not only for nature lovers, but for anyone. Seriously, the views here are outstanding and vegetation so alive – you’ll totally rest your mind and soul.
Plitvice are the largest and the oldest national park in Croatia already from 1949. On the other hand, they were part of UNESCO World Heritage List from 1979.
The lake system is comprised of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, cascading one into the next which are making stunning scenes for observation.
I’ve been here three times and I always like to come back. This national park is situated in the mountain range and you can hike up and down for the whole day around.
It is highly recommended to go there as early as possible and to have some comfortable clothes on. However, you don’t have to hike all the time. There’s a boat and a bus transfer inside the area which are making your exploring lot easier and faster. Plus, there’s a place to eat too and to buy all from souvenirs to drinks. Unfortunately, vegetarians and vegans, you won’t find much to eat here so prepare in advance!
You’ll definitely need one whole day for Plitvice Lakes.
Believe it or not, I’ve been fist time to this extraordinary city when I was 25 years old. Okay, I still have that much.
Pretty late, don’t you think?
Well, it’s never too late for anything!
As soon as I entered Dubrovnik, I fell in love with it. Honestly, now it’s my favorite city in Croatia.
The historic centre is enclosed by huge sturdy and stone walls from 11th and 17th century. It’s possible to walk along those walls and to enjoy the striking, panoramic views of the surrounding charming green islands.
It’s truly unbelievable how all of history remained unchanged for centuries:
plenty of churches, palaces, paved squares, steep cobbled streets, monasteries, fountains & facades all in Baroque and Renaissance.
Beware that you need to pay the entrance to walk along the historical walls plus prepare to dedicate the whole day just for it at least one whole (extremely active) morning!
And don’t miss the sunset – it’s one of the nicest I have seen in my life!
Split is the second largest city in Croatia located in the Central Dalmatia. It’s my hometown too!
It has charming vibe and its streets are very lively, something very different and so contagious to dive into!
The development of the city was slow, around 17 centuries ago and it started when the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to build his Palace right on the peninsula near the Salona – Roman city, where he wanted to spend the last years of his life.
Today, Diocletian Palace and the whole historical core of Split are on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979.
Extraordinary preservation of the palace and full life inside the walls, are making Split interesting to explore. You will be amazed with all those stone walls, narrow streets, charming stores and cafes inside of the palace.
Don’t miss to walk over the Riva (promenade) and to climb the Marjan hill (park/forest). Climbing on the St. Domnius bell tower is also a must because the views are unforgettable. And the Cathedral as well. Be prepare to pay a fee for the last two!
For exploring all, you’ll need a day. Maybe two if you are in bad condition.
Ancient Salona is the largest archaeological park in Croatia and the former capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.
When you walk across all of the remains, you’ll immediately feel like you were set in a time machine. According to legend, the birthplace of Emperor Diocletian, who built the already mentioned palace from which the city of Split developed.
If you love historical sites and architecture, definitely don’t miss Solin and Split ( they’re just 5 km away from each other).
In Salona you can visit the imposing walls with towers and numerous gates, a forum with temples, the remains of an amphitheater and cemeteries with martyrs of Solin.
Salona is located in Solin, the city where I grew up. It is the cradle of ancient Croatian history, situated on the river Jadro. It’s the youngest town in the Republic of Croatia and has a great cultural and natural heritage, which makes it an extremely interesting destination to explore.
Admittedly, there are not even half visitors as in Split, which makes it an ideal destination for all those who prefer quieter places.
Here, you’ll definitely need two days if you really want to explore all the historical locations.
5. ISLAND OF HVAR
Hvar is the longest island in Croatia and one of the sunniest places in the country. I was actually blessed to live here for few months and I was totally enjoying its vibe. Islands are without a doubt my favorite spot to enjoy in Croatia.
The remnants of material culture found in the islands caves speak of settlements in the Prehistoric period. For many, one of the most beautiful Dalmatian island, known since ancient times for its important strategic and nautical position, richness of mentioned historical periods, cultural and natural monuments.
No matter what you are looking for on your vacation – you will find in Hvar; rich nightlife and architecture of the old town, daily boat trips to Pakleni islands, sandy beaches, pine forests, exotics of the southern slopes, village and gastronomic ambience, driving through the lavender fields, quiet hidden coves…
To explore this island, I recommend at least five days. If you are short with time, then enjoy only in Hvar town and Pakleni Islands – the rest – next time.
Omiš is a small town and port 26 km southeast of Split. It lays on the Cetina river and its canyon with bustling stunning views.
In the 13th and 14th century Omiš was home of pirates.
A short climb up to the Fortica fortress is something you shouldn’t miss. Once you get there, you’ll be much rewarded for your efforts with one of the most magnificent views in the whole Dalmatia.
To get up to Fortica, you have to start from the city center and follow the well-marked path. In less than 45 minutes, you’ll be on the top.
There’s one more fortress too as well as church and few smaller historical monuments. And the whole nature side….oooh my!
Prepare to dedicate one day in Omiš and if you want to enjoy one of the areas activities – definitely two or three!
However, there are many more amazing places to see in Croatia, but I’m keeping them for some future posts. These are my top 6 which you shouldn’t miss! Besides, I will write more in future about each place in particular so don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!
Thank you. 🙂