Looking for the best things to do in Croatia? You’re in the right place. Whether you’re a curious traveller or an adventurer seeking new horizons, Croatia has something for everyone. To help you navigate this stunning land, I’ve made my list of the 22 best things to do in Croatia.
From the picturesque Dalmatian coast along the Adriatic Sea to the historical gems of its cities, Croatia invites you to immerse yourself in its unique blend of past and present. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders that make Croatia an extraordinary destination for your next adventure!
1. Stay Amazed by the Plitvice Lakes Waterfalls
All of my visits to the Plitvice Lakes Waterfalls were absolutely breathtaking. It’s like nature turned up the wow factor to a hundred.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts 16 stunning turquoise lakes, over 90 enchanting waterfalls, and a network of hiking trails that offer panoramic views you won’t believe.
Picture this: you’re walking through these lush forested trails, and suddenly, you stumble upon these crystal-clear turquoise lakes that cascade into one another through stunning waterfalls. The sound of the rushing water is so soothing, it’s like nature’s symphony in the background. And the wooden boardwalks and bridges get you right up close to the falls.
The whole place is like a living postcard. Plitvice Lakes Waterfalls is one of Mother Nature’s greatest masterpieces, and trust me, these memories are going to stick with you for a long, long time.
2. Explore the Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Visiting the Diocletian’s Palace in Split really is like stepping into a time machine! This ancient Roman palace, dating back to the 4th century AD, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the heart of Split’s old town. As you wander these historic streets, you’ll feel the blend of Roman and medieval vibes.
Back in the day, this palace was colossal (around 30,000 square meters) and it served as the residence for Emperor Diocletian, his entourage, and even a full military garrison. But today, Diocletian’s Palace is a vibrant hub bustling with shops, restaurants, apartments, street performers, and charming cafes.
Can you believe it’s home to approximately 3,000 people? Exploring this living piece of history is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable things you can do in Croatia. You’ve got to experience it for yourself!
3. Sport away at the Mljet National Park
The Mljet National Park covers roughly a third of the entire Mljet island, with dense woodlands, picturesque turquoise lakes, stunning beaches, and an abundance of thrilling trails. It’s the kind of place that’ll make your heart race with excitement, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast.
Out of all the incredible places you can experience in Croatia, I must say that exploring Mljet promises unparalleled serenity with an adrenaline kick.
Within the park, I highly recommend visiting the Isle of Saint Mary, nestled within a saltwater lake and home to a 12th-century Benedictine Monastery.
If you’re into sports, consider renting a bicycle to leisurely pedal along the scenic 9-kilometer loop trail or opt for a kayak rental to explore the crystal-clear waters.
It’s not just a paradise for nature lovers but also a playground for adventure seekers, where you can leave the hustle and bustle behind and immerse yourself in thrilling outdoor activities. Trust me; this is an experience you will want to have!
4. Walk the Dubrovnik City Walls
A must-do activity in Dubrovnik is strolling along the city’s ancient fortifications, which encircle the historic Old Town. These huge stone walls, constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries, span an impressive 1,940 meters in length.
While there is an admission fee, the experience is undeniably rewarding. The Dubrovnik Old City walls are also full of towers, bastions, and a fortress, adding an array of fascinating features to discover during your walk. It’s like stepping into a historical time capsule, where you get a bird’s-eye view of the past, much like my recent experience walking the Dubrovnik City Walls.
The ancient walls, dating back to the 13th century offer amazing views of the Adriatic Sea on one side and the charming orange-roofed buildings on the other – it’s like a scene from a postcard.
As you walk along, you’ll pass by watchtowers, cannons, and the renowned Fort Lovrijenac, known as the “Gibraltar of Dubrovnik.” The best part? You can explore at your own pace, taking in the splendor of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re coming in from Split and want to travel by ferry, check out this useful guide:
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a photography buff, or simply seeking an unforgettable experience in Croatia, strolling the Dubrovnik City Walls is an absolute must. It’s a journey through time that offers a view you’ll cherish forever!
5. Embark on the Kopački Rit Nature Park boat ride
Taking the boat ride in Kopački Rit Nature Park is like setting sail into a hidden paradise. This nature park is a haven for wildlife and natural beauty. When you hop on that boat, you’re in for a treat.
As you glide along the waterways, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush wetlands, dense forests, and an abundance of birdlife. It’s a birdwatcher’s dream come true! You might spot herons, eagles, and even the elusive black stork. The tranquility of the park is just mesmerizing.
But what truly makes this boat ride special is the feeling of being completely immersed in nature. There’s something incredibly soothing about the rustling reeds, the gentle ripple of water, and the distant calls of birds. I found it to be a sensory experience like no other.
For nature enthusiasts, bird lovers, and those seeking a serene escape in Croatia, embarking on the Kopački Rit Nature Park boat ride is an absolute must. Trust me; it’s a journey that connects you with the wonders of the natural world and leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime.
6. Embrace the Skywalk Biokovo
Perched high in the Biokovo Mountains of Croatia, Skywalk Biokovo offers an experience that will leave you breathless in more ways than one.
As you step out onto the glass platform, you’ll be suspended over a jaw-dropping abyss, with the mountain landscape stretching out beneath you and the Adriatic Sea shimmering in the distance. It’s an adrenaline rush like no other, and the views are absolutely out of this world.
But it’s not just the thrill that makes this experience special; it’s also the feeling of being on top of the world. For me, simply looking down at the vast nature below was a sight to behold.
This is an adventure that will elevate your spirits and leave you with memories that will stay with you forever.
7. Wander through Krka National Park
No matter whether your base is Split, Hvar, Zadar, or Dubrovnik, don’t miss the opportunity to dedicate a day to exploring the enchanting Krka National Park.
Situated about an hour and a half from Split, Krka National Park is famous for its many waterfalls, beautiful landscapes, charming lakes, and boardwalks that guide you through the park’s picturesque hiking trails.
From my experience, you can easily spend several days at Krka National Park. But, even if you have just one day, it still ranks among the top destinations to visit in Croatia, in my opinion.
Remember to enjoy and have fun if you decide to go but remember that swimming is no longer allowed there, even though it used to be before. This change is due to the park’s preservation efforts.
8. Grasp the Pula’s Roman amphitheater
I had the most amazing time visiting Pula’s Roman amphitheater, also known as the Roman Arena. You can almost see the full grandeur of ancient Rome while you’re there. This historical gem is an absolute must-see.
As you enter the amphitheater, its sheer size and well-preserved architecture will leave you in awe. There used to be epic gladiatorial battles and other grand events in this arena, and you can almost feel the echoes of the past as you stand within its mighty walls. Don’t forget to climb to the top for panoramic views of Pula!
One piece of advice: if you have the chance, try to catch a show or performance at the Roman Arena in Pula. It’s an incredible way to connect with the history and culture of the place while enjoying a captivating spectacle.
9. Taste the joy of amazing wine in Pelješac
If you want to feel what it’s like to sip pure joy from a glass, go to Pelješac, a stunning peninsula in Croatia. This particular destination is renowned for its exceptional vineyards and the exquisite wines they produce.
I recommend visiting the local wineries, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of the finest wines in the region. Rolling hills and crystal-clear waters near the wineries create the perfect atmosphere to savour each sip.
The red wine, particularly Plavac Mali, is my top recommendation and a true speciality of Pelješac. So, pack your bags, go to Pelješac, and treat yourself to a good glass of vino!
10. Get to know Zagreb’s vibe
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, has a unique charm that’s impossible to ignore. As you wander through the city’s streets, you’ll discover a vibrant atmosphere filled with culture, history, and creativity.
From the historic Upper Town, with its charming cobblestone streets and medieval architecture, to the bustling Lower Town, where modern cafes and shops thrive, Zagreb offers a blend of old and new.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore local markets like Dolac, where you can try fresh produce and traditional Croatian dishes. And if you’re an art enthusiast, the museums and galleries here are a treasure trove of creativity and inspiration.
Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, a foodie, or simply someone looking to soak in the atmosphere of a vibrant European city, getting to know Zagreb is an absolute must.
11. Tour the hidden gem called Zrmanja River Canyon
Zrmanja River Canyon is a remarkable natural wonder full of breathtaking landscapes of crystal-clear waters, lush flora and awe-inspiring cliffs.
I took to exploring this hidden gem by going on a rafting tour, and let me tell you – it was amazing! The river’s emerald shades are a sight to behold. On the other hand, the exhilarating rapids of the river mix in a touch of excitement, too! Another option is to take a kayaking adventure along the river.
If you’re someone looking to experience the hidden treasures of Croatia, touring the Zrmanja River Canyon is something you have to do. Believe me when I say, it’s an adventure that will leave you with memories to cherish forever.
12. Admire Zadar’s artistic city center
The next city that you have to try and visit is none other than Zadar – one of my favourite stops in Croatia!
Zadar’s artistic gems, the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation, are celebrated as two of Croatia’s most cherished attractions. The Sea Organ magically transforms the rhythms of the sea into a symphony of sounds.
The creation itself lies beneath a set of marble steps, featuring a network of 35 organ pipes, each of varying lengths and sizes. As the sea’s gentle waves flow into these pipes, they collaborate to produce an ever-changing and mesmerizing auditory experience. It was unlike anything I’ve seen (or heard) before.
Meanwhile, the Sun Salutation is a radiant solar masterpiece, a 22-meter circular installation composed of 300 layered glass panels. Throughout the day, it captures the sun’s energy, and as night falls, it weaves the stored power into a captivating display of light.
Beyond its enchanting spectacle, the Sun Salutation also serves a practical purpose, generating enough energy to illuminate Zadar’s entire waterfront after the sun sets.
In any case, walking through the city of Zadar is like walking through a living art gallery.
13. Absorb the spectacular views in Hvar Town
Hvar Town, nestled on the island of Hvar, offers some of the most awe-inspiring vistas you’ll ever see.
As you wander through the town, you’ll be captivated by the panoramic beauty that surrounds you. The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea shimmer in shades of blue, which complement the vibrant greenery of the island’s landscapes. The charming orange-roofed buildings and the historic architecture add to the town’s charm.
Don’t miss the chance to climb up to the Hvar Fortress, which offers a mesmerizing view of the town and the nearby Pakleni Islands. Pro tip: it’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset!
If you’re coming in from Split, check out this guide for tips about the trip:
… and this guide for more useful travel tips:
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply someone looking for a slice of heaven in Croatia, absorbing the spectacular views in Hvar Town is an absolute must.
14. Explore baroque Varaždin
Want a fairytale-like experience? In Croatia, you can get that and more in Varaždin. Varaždin is a city that’s steeped in baroque elegance and charm.
As you meander through the city, the first thing you’ll notice is the beauty of baroque architecture that’s around every corner. I particularly liked the pastel colours and intricate details of it all.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Varaždin Castle! It’s a beautiful baroque fortress surrounded by lush gardens that I visited last spring. Don’t miss the castle’s museum either!
But what I find truly sets Varaždin apart is its warm and welcoming ambience. The locals are friendly and eager to share the city’s heritage with visitors, making you feel right at home.
15. Road trip through Istria’s picturesque villages
I really like road trips. I can proudly say that I’ve been on quite a few in my life, and the one through Istria’s villages has got to be my favourite. If you didn’t know, Istria is a stunning peninsula, and a dream destination for those who are looking for ultimate scenic beauty.
There is a whole series of enchanting villages in Istria, and each has its own unique character. The stone-built houses, cobbled streets, and charming squares create an atmosphere that’s straight out of a storybook.
Make sure to stop in Grožnjan and Motovun! Grožnjan is a village known for its artistic vibes. On the other hand, Motovun is a small settlement perched on a hill surrounded by lush green landscapes.
Furthermore, I recommend trying Istria’s famous truffles and indulging in the local cuisine at one of the many family-run taverns.
16. Check all Game of Thrones spots in Dubrovnik
Fancy a visit to Westeros? Dubrovnik, with its stunning old town, served as a backdrop for some of Game of Thrones’ most iconic scenes!
As you explore the city, you’ll come across familiar locations like the Red Keep (Fort Lovrijenac) and the famous Walk of Shame (Stradun). It’s a thrilling experience for any Game of Thrones fan, and the city’s medieval charm adds an extra layer of authenticity to the adventure.
If you have the time, I recommend a visit to the Arboretum Trsteno, too:
This beautiful garden was featured in the show as the palace gardens of King’s Landing, and it’s a nice place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
In any case, Dubrovnik offers a journey through one of the most beloved fantasy worlds in television. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just curious to see where some of the show’s magic was brought to life, it’s an experience that will leave you with lasting memories of this city.
17. Indulge in Croatian finest seafood
Let me tell you one thing – Croatia’s coastal regions offer some of the most delicious and fresh seafood you’ll ever taste. Trust me on that one.
From succulent grilled fish to tender octopus salads, the flavours are a true delight. Don’t miss out on trying the famous Dalmatian-style seafood risotto or a plate of black risotto, which gets its unique colour from squid ink!
What makes this seafood even more special is the stunning coastal settings of the restaurants. Dining by the sea, with the sound of waves in the background, adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your meal.
18. Visit the Ston Walls
Ston is renowned for its impressive defensive walls, often referred to as the “European Wall of China.”
As you explore these ancient walls, you’ll be captivated by the historical significance and magnificence that they exude. The Saltworks in Ston are equally as impressive to me, as they provide a glimpse into the centuries-old tradition of salt production.
Now, let’s talk about the culinary delight of the region – oysters. In Mali Ston, you can indulge in the finest oysters you’ll ever taste! These delectable molluscs are harvested from the local oyster farms and are known for their exceptional flavour and quality.
In my opinion, visiting the Ston Walls, exploring the Saltworks, and savouring oysters in Mali Ston combine history, culture, and gastronomy in one unforgettable journey.
19. Nature-watch at Brijuni NP
Brijuni, a group of islands in the Adriatic Sea, is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re an avid nature-watcher, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply someone looking to connect with the natural world, Brijuni National Park offers an extraordinary opportunity to observe and appreciate the beauty of Croatia’s nature.
As you explore the national park, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, lush greenery, and diverse wildlife. The islands are home to many different species of plants and animals. This is why it’s a perfect place for nature or animal lovers.
One of the highlights is the Brijuni Safari, which allows you to get up close to the park’s resident animals, including deer, zebras, and even an elephant. It’s a unique and memorable experience, unlike any other in Croatia.
20. Sail away around the islands
I’m sure you’ve heard of one of Croatia’s most prominent boasting points – our islands. There are so many and every one of them is unique and absolutely gorgeous in its own way. I’ve personally been to a lot, so I’ll try to single out some of my favourites.
Mljet is a tranquil oasis, with lush green forests and two stunning saltwater lakes. You can take a leisurely hike around Veliko Jezero, the larger of the two lakes, or explore the islet of St. Mary, which houses a 12th-century Benedictine monastery. Snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters is a must!
Known as “Little Dubrovnik,” Korčula boasts a beautifully preserved old town surrounded by impressive stone walls. Take a stroll through its charming streets, visit the birthplace of Marco Polo, and enjoy the local cuisine at cozy taverns.
If you’re seeking some adventure, Brač offers opportunities for windsurfing and kiteboarding in Bol, a town known for its windswept beaches. The famous Zlatni Rat beach is a natural wonder, with its shifting sandspit that changes shape with the winds and tides.
With Vis, you can explore the coastal villages of Komiža and Vis town. A tip: don’t miss the opportunity to visit Fort George for panoramic views of the island and the open sea.
Hvar is known for its vibrant nightlife, but it’s also home to lush lavender fields and stunning vineyards. Take a wine tour and savour some of the finest local wines, like my personal favourite – Plavac Mali.
Sailing around the islands allows you to experience the variety of landscapes, cultures, and activities that Croatia’s coast has to offer!
21. Make a stop at the underrated city of Sibenik
In my opinion, Sibenik is often overshadowed by more famous cities in Croatia, which is a shame as it has its unique charm and attractions just waiting to be explored.
As you wander through the historic streets of Sibenik, you’ll be captivated by its well-preserved architecture and the magnificent St. James’ Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site!
Now, if you visit in the summer, don’t miss the chance to have a beach day at Primosten, which is a beautiful town nearby. The beaches in Primosten are absolutely worth visiting, believe me. It’s the perfect place to soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, and enjoy the overall beauty.
All in all, in the midst of all the drop-dead gorgeous cities in Croatia, don’t forget about Sibenik! It really has so much to offer.
22. Pick the most beautiful hike in the World
Croatia offers a multitude of stunning hiking routes, but one that stood out to me was Route K in Plitvice Lakes National Park.
As you embark on Route K, you’ll be immersed in the vast beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park. This trail takes you through dense forests, along crystal-clear rivers, and past a series of stunning waterfalls, including the iconic Skradinski Buk waterfall! I found the sights and sounds of the cascading water incredibly soothing.
Another remarkable hike in Croatia I did is the Via Dinarica, a long-distance trail that runs through the Dinaric Alps.
For coastal beauty, consider the Premužić Trail in Northern Velebit National Park! It’s a pathway through rocky landscapes with incredible views of the Adriatic Sea.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a hiking enthusiast, or simply someone looking for unforgettable outdoor experiences, Croatia’s diverse landscapes offer some great hiking options.
What is Croatia best known for?
Croatia is renowned for its natural beauty, cultural richness, historical significance, and delectable cuisine. Among this nation’s most iconic treasures are the ancient walls of Dubrovnik, which encircle the Old Town, encompassing churches, palaces, and the distinctive terracotta rooftops.
What not to miss when visiting Croatia?
There are a lot of things I could include, but if I had to choose one, it would be hiking at Plitvice Lakes National Park.
How many days should I spend in Croatia?
Opting for a week-long Croatian adventure would be a great choice. Within the span of 7 to 10 days, you’ll have enough opportunities to discover Dubrovnik, Split, and the Dalmatian islands, all while leaving room to include another region or national park in your travel plan.
Is 7 days enough for Croatia?
Your travel goals influence the ideal duration, but typically, a one-week stay in Croatia provides enough time to visit its major attractions. This timeframe allows you to explore the coastline and the capital, taking in national parks and historical landmarks throughout your exploration!