It’s one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, but with a shoreline nestled in the Adriatic Sea and populated with over 1000 islands, Croatia boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline that the continent has to offer. Many of Croatia’s towns and cities have a fascinating and diverse history and still boast stunning examples of Roman and Venetian influence. Here are some of our favourite Croatian attractions to help you make the most of your trip.
The ancient city of Split isn’t short of fascinating historical artefacts, but perhaps the grandest of them all is Diocletian’s Palace. Built by the Roman emperor Diocletian in preparation for his retirement, the palace was abandoned after the Romans abandoned the site and remained uninhabited until residents fled to the walled palace to escape invading barbarians in the 7th century. Today you can find shops, restaurants and even homes within the walls.
If you ever needed any proof that you don’t have to go to Rome to see some of the Empire’s surviving relics, then Pula is it. Built in the 1st century AD, the amphitheatre is the sixth largest surviving Roman arena and one of the best preserved Roman monuments in Croatia. In its former glory it could seat over 26,000 spectators, and nowadays it is used to host a variety of festivals and performances during the summer.
Steeped in stunning architecture, the walled city of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its beauty has earned it the nickname ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’. Inside the famous walls you’ll find beautiful churches, monasteries, museums and fountains.
As well as beautiful beaches, Croatia also boasts the stunning Plitvice Lakes which are famous for being one of the most beautiful natural destinations in Europe. The Lakes are now a national park and home to a huge variety of plants and animals including the rare European brown bear, wolf, eagle, owl, and lynx. As well as the beautiful greys, azures, greens and blues of the Lakes, you’ll also find some of the most beautiful and majestic waterfalls in the world here.
The island of Hvar (and in particular Hvar Town) is one of Croatia’s most popular attractions and for good reason. Set in a picturesque natural bay, the landscape is lined with olive groves, lavender fields and fruit orchards. There are beautiful villages scattered all over the island, but the oldest village on the island, Starigrad, as well as Jelsa are particularly recommended. In the summer time, the island is also a popular port for yacht sailing in the Adriatic.