If your idea of the perfect Mediterranean break includes long days of seemingly endless sunshine, fresh and flavourful cuisine, ancient UNESCO-listed towns, and hidden coves with clear waters, Croatia will be the travel destination for you. This Southern European nation is the place to be for any summer trip (or even for some winter sun!).
Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, or with the whole family, you can rest assured that there are so many holiday experiences to soak up in Croatia. The trouble can be settling on a particular place to start. Here’s where we can help. We’ve put together an expert guide to the best locations throughout the country, starting with the “Pearl of the Adriatic”...
Croatia’s pearl: Dubrovnik
No visit to this corner of Europe would be complete without a trip to Dubrovnik, a highlight of which is undoubtedly the spectacular city walls and historic forts. Experience this beautiful city from above, viewing the picturesque terracotta rooftops through a shimmering mirage and the glittering ocean to the west.
Enter through the main Pile Gate to visit the Large Onofrio’s Fountain. Designed by Italian architect Onofrio in the 15th century, the fountain was built to bring water to the city as it was notoriously difficult to find fresh water in the long, dry summers. Other notable historic buildings include the Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral, St Saviour Church and the Franciscan Church and Monastery.
Nearby Lokrum Island is well worth visiting too. You can catch a ferry from the old town harbour for the 15-minute trip. Carpeted with dense and fragrant vegetation, Lokrum is home to a majestic holm oak forest, where peacocks and rabbits roam freely. Walking trails are laid out from the ferry point across the island, passing other interesting sights along the way.
Want an even more dramatic view of the city? Dubrovnik has a well-established cable car system, a journey which is inexpensive and bookended with charming shops and restaurants. For an unforgettable bird’s eye view of the old town, take the cable car to the top of Srđ, the mountain overlooking Dubrovnik’s Old Town. From the top, a vast expanse of blue engulfs the horizon while a small, terracotta-roofed built-up area stretches along the shore.
The sea-lover’s city of Split
For those wishing to explore Croatia’s spectacular architecture and history, there are plenty of heritage sites where you can soak up the Mediterranean sunshine while enriching your knowledge of the country. Visit the Cathedral of St Domnius, a centuries-old octagonal church featuring an iconic Romanesque bell tower, intricate stonework and an ancient crypt.
Pula, a distinctly Roman city
Another essential destination on your Croatia tour is Pula; this seafront city is home to one of Europe’s most incredible Roman Amphitheatres, the Pula Arena. This remarkably well-preserved structure allows you to walk in the footsteps of gladiators, wild beasts and Roman theatre troops, and there are also underground chambers to explore with appealing displays of olive oil extraction equipment.
The striking Paklenica National Park
Croatia is also home to some breathtaking natural spaces: one of the best is undoubtedly Paklenica National Park, which covers nearly 38.6 square miles of rugged cliffs, dramatic gorges, dappled wooded paths and verdant meadows, spread between the Adriatic shoreline and continental Croatia.
Zagreb, a nightlife haven
Finally, we couldn’t talk about Croatia without mentioning its nightlife and social scene, which is among the most invigorating and eclectic in Europe. Dive into an exciting array of beach clubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in the country’s capital, Zagreb, or experience seaside partying like never before on one of Croatia’s many islands.
Over the past decade, Croatia has blossomed from a little-known destination to one of the Mediterranean’s best loved holiday havens. Tour the country with us.