While perhaps less famous than its neighbors near the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a modern nation with robust options for travelers to enjoy. Its natural beauty, historic sites, and comfortable accommodations rival any Mediterranean vacation destination. A European country of about 4 million and reputation as a safe tourist destination, the republic of Croatia hosts dozens of picturesque islands, historic sites, and luxury amenities. These are sure to please experienced travelers or families seeking an affordable and memorable vacation.
Use this guide to start planning a Croatia itinerary that includes activities for all. Croatia is a historic cultural center with a number of attractions for travelers of any age or taste.
With its location near the earth’s equator and a temperate climate, Croatian beaches are a getaway to be enjoyed for most months of the year. Rarely too hot or too cold, Croatia is in contrast to some sandy tropical getaways that can be too hot to fully enjoy. The spring can be optimal for solo travelers or young couples who will enjoy the throngs of tourists in chic bathing suits. The fall may be perfect for families when crowds have subsided and the Adriatic water is its warmest—until the annual rains arrive.
Numerous islands and natural harbors create offshore settings for adventures like scuba diving, water skiing, and windsurfing. The coastal regions also host hot air balloon and boating excursions. Just offshore are a number of protected environments and national parks like Kornati National Park, a small archipelago that can only be accessed by sailboat. While largely uninhabited, the park does feature small seasonal seafood restaurants that can be enjoyed if the captain of your Kornati tour boat is so inclined to shuttle you to them. The Adriatic coast has become something of a hotspot for the globe’s rich and influential, so you might just rub shoulders with someone famous at one of these quaint but exclusive pop-up restaurants.
History buffs will already be familiar with the historical significance of Croatia as the ancient region of Dalmatia, a term that also includes modern day Slavonia. At one time, this coastline was sandwiched between classical Greece and Rome, and even then considered an exceedingly beautiful hub of trade, culture, and worship.
Even those new to the region’s history will be in awe of ancient sites like Diocletian’s Palace in the town of Split. Home to the first Roman emperor to rule primarily from a place outside of Rome, much of that monument of power, wealth, and prestige still stands today and is readily accessible to the public. Portions of it such as the vestibule, temples, and the famous Golden Gate can all be enjoyed by guided group tours as the former palace now plays host to dozens of shops and cafes.
Additional sites in Croatia include the City Walls of Dubrovnik, an impressive set of defensive structures that once guarded the city during the middle ages that now stand as an engineering marvel. They surround a city containing numerous ancient landmarks including medieval fortresses, religious sites, and the breathtaking Stradun, a stone passageway that acts as a main public artery of Dubrovnik.
Modern Amenities and Accommodations
Despite its historic atmosphere, Croatia is also home to countless modern amenities and attractions including island resorts, boutique shopping, and gourmet restaurants. Croatia also enjoys a flourishing wine industry. Consuming this national product isn’t simply a pastime but practically a cultural rite.
Go scuba diving along the shores of the Adriatic to discover its wondrous secrets including WWII-era shipwrecks, ancient ruins, mysterious caverns, and vibrant coral reefs teeming with ocean life.
For above-water adventure, take advantage of numerous boat tours allowing visitors to discover hidden landscapes and witness natural features like Adriatic lagoons only accessible by sea. Enjoy sipping wine by waterfalls while touring Krka, one of Croatia’s many beautiful national parks.
Enjoy Croatia like the locals do by enjoying its thriving food scene and nightlife. In addition to award-winning wines, Croatia is home to exquisite flavors imparted by locally-sourced olive oils, fresh caught seafood, and sweets concocted with freshly harvested ingredients like berries and honey.
As for nightlife, Croatia is alive with pub crawls, street food, live music, and alfresco dining when the sun sets. Families can join the locals in taking their kids to outdoor movies and arcades. The city of Šibenik is also home to an international annual children’s festival hosted each summer!