10 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Croatia

You've probably at least heard about Croatia and its medieval towns, idyllic islands, and beautiful beaches. After it was featured in the hit show "Game of Thrones," many were intrigued, with an increasing number of visitors flooding in. If you haven't paid much attention, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. Among the many reasons why you need to visit Croatia, it's easily accessible from other European countries and easy to combine on a trip with other appealing destinations like Italy, Slovenia, and Montenegro. Plus, getting around Croatia is quick and easy whether by car or boat, allowing for multiple destinations to be visited on one holiday. But there are numerous other reasons, including these top 10.
Aerial view of Sibenik cathedral

Historical Cities

Croatia’s historical cities offer a captivating blend of rich heritage, stunning architecture, and cultural diversity, making it an irresistible destination for travellers. From the ancient Roman walls of Split to the medieval charm of Dubrovnik‘s Old Town, each city provides a unique insight into Croatia’s past. Zagreb, the vibrant capital, boasts a fusion of Austro-Hungarian and socialist-era buildings alongside modern landmarks. Meanwhile, the hilltop town of Sibenik showcases its UNESCO-listed cathedral, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. With a backdrop of crystal-clear Adriatic waters, these cities offer not just a glimpse into the past but also an opportunity to immerse oneself in Croatia’s vibrant present, filled with art, music, and culinary delights.

Zlatni Rat Beach

Beautiful Beaches

From the secluded coves of the Dalmatian Islands to the pebbled shores of Istria, Croatia offers a diverse array of idyllic beaches that are perfect for a summer holiday. One of the most famous beaches is Zlatni Rat on Brac Island, known as the Golden Horn for its unique and ever-changing shape. Sunj Beach on Lopud Island in the Elaphiti archipelago near Dubrovnik, is small and secluded,  ideal for swimming with a gentle incline before reaching deeper water. Additionally, the Pakleni Islands just off the coast of Hvar also boast some fabulous beaches like sandy Palmizana on Sveti Klement, whilst Marinkovac is home to Carpe Diem, one of Europe’s most popular beach clubs.

View of Dubrovnik Old Town

'Game of Thrones' Locations

A Croatia holiday is ideal for Game of Thrones fans, with it possible to visit many filming sites from the show. Whilst exploring its ancient past, view what you saw on-screen in real life, including the streets and walls of Dubrovnik which served as the fictional city of King’s Landing. The walls were used for tournaments and the battle of Blackwater, whilst Pile Gate featured frequently in the first few seasons. Lokrum Island, a short boat ride away, served as the City of Quarth. In Split, the cellar of Diocletian’s Palace is the very place where Daenerys trained her dragons. Nearby in the mountainous terrain that surrounds the city is the ancient Fortress of Klis, also the stronghold of Daenerys in Game of Thrones.

Oysters and wine

Exquisite Cuisine

Croatia is a foodie haven despite not being as well known for its cuisine as countries like France and Italy. It can rival some of the best, with few eateries strictly catering to tourists. Dishes are often made using local ingredients here and can be complemented alongside delectable local and regional wines. Some of the highlights include fresh seafood and fish caught right off the shores of seaside villages. Ston is renowned for oysters, considered some of the world’s tastiest, whilst the Istrian peninsula is a gastronomic hub often compared to Tuscany. It’s most famous for extra-virgin olive oil, farm-fresh vegetables, wine, and truffles. Visitors can even join a truffle hunter and truffle-hunting dogs to learn how these delicacies are found.

View of Krka National Park waterfalls

Outstanding National Parks

There’s lots of unspoiled nature in Croatia and much of it can be discovered in the country’s eight spectacular national parks. With great respect for the environment, Croatia has been prioritising and preserving nature with parks like Plitvice Lakes National Park and its famous waterfalls, lakes in brilliant shades of blues and greens, lush greenery, and abundant flora and fauna. Krka is another popular national park that includes gorges, waterfalls, and the Krka River, with miles and miles of scenic hiking trails for exploring. Mljet National Park covers about a third of densely forested Mljet Island. Ideal for walking, biking, and paddling, it’s best known for its two saltwater lakes with picturesque paths along their shorelines and through the woods.

White water rafting Croatia

Exhilarating Adventure Activities

For adventurers looking for an action-packed Croatia holiday, there are many outdoor activities available. Divers will find plenty, with everything from vibrant reefs, underwater caverns, and canyons, and wrecks to explore, including one near Rovinj. Baron Gautsch is a highlight as one of the Adriatic’s most beautiful wrecks with many schools of fish that have made the interior their home. Just outside of Split on the emerald Cetina River, a heart-pounding whitewater rafting adventure can be enjoyed. In Omis, there’s a thrilling zip-line ride that provides a view of the Cetina River canyon from nearly 500 feet above whilst reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour. The Craggy Dinara Mountains are an outdoor playground for canyoning and cliff jumping too.

Aerial view of Lokrum Island

Island Hopping

Croatia is home to more than a thousand islands, including stars like Hvar, Korcula, and Mljet, along with a wealth of lesser-known island treasures. It’s the perfect country for an island-hopping adventure, best enjoyed on a small ship cruise. An unforgettable Croatia holiday, you’ll be able to visit multiple islands without having to navigate public transport, or continuously unpack and repack again. Many of these trips start or end in Dubrovnik and Split, bringing an opportunity to explore two of the top cities before visiting islands like unspoiled Vis and nearby Bisevo Island with its famous Blue Cave. Sunny Hvar is often included with an excursion to the nearby Pakleni Islands, whilst other popular destinations include Korcula, Mljet, and Brac islands.

Plitvice Lakes

Spectacular Hiking Trails

The opportunities for hiking in Croatia are plenty. There are scenic trails in national parks like Mljet that wind through lush greenery and along the shores of its dazzling saltwater lakes, and in famous Plitvice Lakes National Park, with paths that lead to countless waterfalls and 16 crystalline lakes. The islands’ best hike is arguably Vidova Gora on Brac. The 6.6-mile round-trip journey leads to the highest point in the Adriatic islands starting from Bol, a charming seaside town. At the top, take in a panoramic vista of Zlatni Rat beach protruding out into the turquoise sea, the island of Hvar, and Biokov Mountain on the Croatian mainland. After this trek, a dip in the crystal-clear Adriatic is a must.

Pula amphitheatre

Ancient Roman Ruins

As a part of the vast Roman Empire some two thousand years ago, Croatia is home to incredible monuments that have survived the test of time. That includes the Roman Forum in Zadar, the Roman Amphitheatre in Pula, and Diocletian’s Palace in Split with some of the world’s best-preserved Roman architecture. Near Split are the Roman ruins of Salona, a fascinating archaeological treasure with the remains of a 2nd-century amphitheatre that once held 18,000 spectators, and the ruins of the thermal bath known as Great Thermae, built in the 3rd century. Located not far from Zagreb on the Sava River is a recently discovered ancient Roman archaeological site, Andautonia, with well-preserved foundations of baths, buildings, and more.

Vineyard in Vis

Excellent Local Wine

Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the last of our reasons why you should visit Croatia. It’s a fabulous country for a wine-soaked holiday with viticulture holding a long legacy here. There are many family-run wineries and vineyards for tasting and touring with the opportunity to meet the winemaker and learn all about the winemaking process. Over five dozen distinct grape varieties, more than 800 wineries, and nearly 20,000 registered winemakers are located here. In addition to tasting and touring, enjoy them in wine bars, cafes, and restaurants, or even a home-hosted visit. A favourite Croatian excursion will bring you into a family’s home to learn how to prepare a meal with the matriarch before enjoying it with the local wine.

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