19 places you can’t miss when visiting Croatia

1. Split

We flew from Vancouver, Canada to Munich and from there to Split.

Arrival: From the airport to downtown I recommend you take a cab or ask the person where you are staying to book a driver for you. That’s what we did. At the time we got there,  the driver was holding a piece of paper with our names on it. Very handy, as he knew exactly where to take us.  It cost 200 Kuna from the airport to the Old Town (approximately 30USD).

Main attractions: Diocletian Palace and Split Harbor.

Where to eat: Croatian food is delicious and we loved all the places where we ate. Our favorites there were: Restaurant Central (for lunch) and Konoba Marjan (for dinner).

Restaurant Central, Split

Restaurant Central, Split

Where to stay: We booked a lovely apartment, 5 minutes walking to the Diocletian Palace. When traveling to Split, don’t look any further: Check is “Apartments Antonia” is available and make your reservation as soon as possible. This is, for sure, one of the best accommodations in town.

Where to stay in Split

Apartments Antonia: Excellent choice in Split

Impressions: Split is absolutely beautiful and you will not get tired of admiring it’s architecture and natural beauty. As all other Croatian towns visited by us, we found Split  super clean and also safe.

Diocletian Palace, Split, Croatia

Internet: There is free Wi-Fi along the Old Town. Depending on how long we are going to stay in Croatia, I recommend you buy a prepaid  SimCard. There are three stores to choose from, all located on the same street (Mammontova Ulica). We bought a 3GB plan from Tele2, that cost approximately 60 Euros and was very useful during our one month journey We got  excellent coverage, even when we were sailing or exploring tiny islands.

More pictures of Split: Visit my Flickr Gallery and see more pictures of beautiful Split.

2. Makarska

Arrival: We arrived by boat, docking at the beautiful Makraska Harbor Makarska by boat CT-Makarska-b-2 Attractions: St. Mark’s Church and Park Šuma Sv. Petar

I highly recommend you walk to the top of Park Šuma Sv. Petar for great views of the city and a close view to St. Peter’s statue. Along the way you will see dozens of “love lockers”.  In case you want to “lock” your partner, there’s a small booth selling lockers at the trailhead.

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Where to eat: Restaurant Bura is romantic and offers extremely fresh seafood.  Our waiter was very friendly and gave us a lot of advice on Croatian wines. We loved it there!

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To see more pictures I took while visiting Makarska, click here

3. Bol (Brac Island)

Attraction: The main attraction on Brac Island is also one of the main attractions in Croatia _  Zlatni Rat, also know as “The Golden Horn”, in the town of Bol.  It’s a spectacular pebble beach with very clear waters. Golden Horn-5 Arrival: We arrived there by inflatable boat as Katarina’s yacht stayed anchored in deeper waters. Below is a picture of our boat “Fantazija”,  from Katarina Line, taken while we were enjoying Zlatni Rat.

Fantazija-5

Fantazija, Katarina Line

Activities: Swim, snorkel and enjoy the beautiful sun  😀

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4. Stari Grad, Hvar

Hvar Island is known for its fields of lavender and rosemary.  It’s oftentimes called “The Lavender Island”. Hvar is also the sunniest island in the Adriatic. Arrival: We arrived by boat. It’s a busy harbor as Hvar is the island where the international jet-set meet. There were dozens of beautiful and large sail boats,  and also motor yachts from all over the world.

Arrival Stari Grad

Stari Grad, Arrival

Attractions: Stari Grad is one of the best preserved cities we visited in Croatia and it must be on top of any list when visiting that beautiful country. You will be taken back to the past while admiring its narrow streets and astonishing architecture.

On my Flick gallery you will see many other pictures of this lovely town.

5. Carpe Diem Island and Pakilinski Bay

When traveling by boat these two places that should be included in any route. The bay is protected against the winds, making it an ideal place for swimming and snorkeling. Carpe Diem is a great beach with an awesome bar / nightclub / restaurant.  You will enjoy the beautiful premises and an amazing private beach.

More pictures of Carpe Diem are found here.

6. Hvar Town, Hvar

Arrival: We got there by boat

Attractions: There is a lot to see in Hvar Town. The Renaissance Square and the views from the Spanish fortress are  “must see attractions”.

The views from the fortress and unbeatable! To access the fortress: The first part is the tougher one, as it’s necessary to climb  a long stone stair with many steps. After the stair, there’s a ramp all the way to the top.  The vegetation along the way is pretty, including beautiful cactus flowers. There is also a tiny stone church on the way to the top.

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Besides going to the fortress you will have a great time strolling along the narrow streets and beautiful harbor. There are many souvenir stores selling local products, and you will find lavender everywhere you go. This town smells good!

Where to eat: There are countless places to eat in Hvar. It’s a touristic city, with many wealthy visitors from all over the world. Dalmatino Restaurant: I highly recommend you call ahead in order to book a table as this place gets really busy.

This is the best restaurant in Hvar. Although it is the best, don’t think you will pay exorbitant prices. On the contrary. You will pay the average price for restaurants in Croatia.

The food at Dalmatino is to die for, the service is super friendly and attentive and you will receive free aperitif before eating (to open your appetite and prepare your palate) and also when you finish (a delicious Croatian liquor).

Dalmatino Hvar: The place to be

Dalmatino Hvar: The place to be

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We overnight in the boat and could watch a great “free show” provided my Mother Nature: A huge storm with many lightning around the Fortress. It was quite impressive and fortunately it last only a few minutes.

If you want to see more pictures from Hvar Town, please click here.

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7. The Blue Cave (Modra Špilja) located on Bisevo Island 

This is  for sure one of the best attractions in Croatia. We have been to the famous “Blue Cave” (Gruta Azzura) in Capri and there’s no comparison.

The one in Croatia is much more scenic. The colors are prettier,  the cave is larger (inside) and the way to get into it is much more impressive in Croatia than in Italy.

Go for it, it is one of the best experiences while visiting beautiful Croatia.

Bisevo-1

The way to Bisevo Island has beautiful views and crystal clear waters

How to get there: You go by sail boat or motor boat to Bisevo Island and after docking there you change to inflatable boats that belong to the company that administrates the cave. Cost: 140 Kuna (approximately 20 USD), a real bargain for entering this spectacular place).

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8. Vis Island

Vis was a navy harbor due to its unique geographical position and was closed to the public until 1989. Vis is also the island farthest from the mainland. More than 2,300 years ago the Greek colony of Issa was already flourishing there.

Attractions: Walk along the Old Town, visit the Cemetery with many Greek tombs and inscriptions, go to the beach, have drinks in one of the many bars.

Beach time, Vis Island

Beach time, Vis Island

Beach time, Vis Island

Beach time, Vis Island

Best way to move around: As soon as you arrive, rent a bike or a motor bike. There are several stores by the harbor with similar prices and equipment. The price is a real bargain, comparing with everywhere else you travel:  Only 20 Kuna / hour which makes it less than 3 USD / hour! Can ou believe this?

Best place to eat on Vis Island: We ate at Kod Paveta and loved it! Delicious food, great service and  warm atmosphere. We were fortunate to have a group of eight sailors (I guess they were from Germany) singing and playing music while we had dinner there. It was a great show for free!

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More pictures of pretty Vis Island?  Click here.

9. Korcula

Korcula resembles a miniature of Dubrovnik. This is the birthplace of Marco Polo and the house where he was born is shown by all guides during their walking tours along the town.

The form of planning the streets in Korcula is very interesting and I highly recommend you go on a walking tour to learn and see the amazing urban planning they used in the past. They were smart!

The walking tour is affordable and doesn’t take long. This  the best way to really absorb what you are seeing around you.

Attractions: Walk through the narrow streets built in the shape of a fish bone, see the walls from inside and from the outside,  visit art galleries and craft stores. Have a look at Manina store, they have wonderful handmade jewelry. I bought a nice ring there.

Where to eat: There are countless restaurants, cocktail bars and konobas. We ate at Konoba Raciska  enjoying the sea view while tasting the local, excellent white wine called Cebalo Grk.

Konoba Raciska, Korcula

Konoba Raciska, Korcula

If you want to see more pictures of Korcula, visit my Flickr gallery by clicking here.

10. Mljet  Island

Attractions: The beautiful Mljet National Park with two salty lakes connected by a narrow channel to the sea. We stopped here for a few hours in order to explore the beautiful lakes.

Click here to see more pictures of Mljet

11. Slano Island

This is a beautiful small fishing village, located close to Dubrovnik where our boat docked in the afternoon and we overnight.

Where to eat: We went  to Konoba Kolarin in the afternoon for wine and appetizers and found the food and service so great that we returned for dinner. One of the best meals we had in Croatia!

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Please, visit my  gallery on Flickr to check more pictures I took in Slano.

12. Dubrovnik

Called “The Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik should be included on the top of the list of anyone visiting Croatia.

Attractions: The best attraction is to walk along the city walls, with a bird’s eye vie of the alleys and streets of the old city. You will notice that most of the roofs look brand new, this is because they were destroyed during the 1991-1995 war and had to be replaced.

There’s also a cable car offering views from the top but we did not go on this one.

Where to eat: There are dozens of restaurants and cocktail bars not only inside but also outside the city walls. We went to a place called Azur but found the food too spicy.

Check our photos of Dubrovnik on my gallery on Flickr.

We left the boat in Dubrovnik and started the second part of our trip: Croatia by Car

The drive from Dubrovnik to Brela is stupendous, along Magistrala (Magistral Lane).

The road that goes along the Croatian coast and it’s necessary to have a “green card” in your car (ask the rental company). It cost approximately 50 Euros and is necessary in the small section of the road that crosses Bosnia.  No one asked for it at the border,  anyway, we had it.

On our way to Brela we stopped to have a lunch in a nice town called Zeostrog. We didn’t have time to stroll around but found the pebble beach inviting.

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13. Brela

We stayed in Brela during four nights and loved the town and the beaches. We didn’t like our accommodation at apart-hotel Sunceva Postelja due to the following reasons:

The hotel has a great location, close to the beach. The staff is friendly and polite.

But… there are problems.

  1. I booked a room through their website (www.hotel-brela.com). They charge 30% as deposit and they have a “no cancelations” / “no refunds” policy.
  1. After the booking is completed, the hotel doesn’t send an email confirming the reservation and stating the amount paid.
  1. I found this weird, as all hotels send emails confirming reservations, so I printed my credit card statement and traveled with it, just in case.
  1. The biggest problem: Probably there’s an issue with the venting system of the hotel’s septic system as the bedroom and bathroom have a very unpleasant smell. I complained with the receptionist and she said it was because the room was kept closed and that I should open the balcony’s door. The smell remained.

It’s not a nice experience to stay in a room smelling sewer gases.

  1. We are a mature couple and didn’t have any accompanying children with us, but we found it weird that this hotel prohibits strollers in their premises. I took a picture of the “forbidden strollers sign”. Beach clothes are also forbidden as can be viewed on the same picture.
  1. The bathroom has a scale. This should be considered “fancy”, if the scale was working. It was not. Or the batteries were drained, or the scale needed repair or replacement.
  1. Another major issue: At the time we were leaving and paying for our staying, the receptionist had a printed copy of our charges showing everything and “forgetting” the fact that we had already paid 30% as a deposit! I said “Oh, it is not that all, we already paid 30% as a deposit”. After a 30 seconds look on the computer, she said “Oh, I see it” and printed another bill, this time correct. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but what would have happened if I did not remember paying 30% as deposit, especially because it happened four months before my trip?
Hotel-Brela.com-1

Hotel Brela (Aparthotel Sunceva Postelja) has this sign on the hotel’s door. No strollers. No beach clothes.

Attractions in Brela: Several beaches along the coast, many of them located in small bays.

All of them are fantastic, with rounded pebbles that are smooth and pleasant to walk.

Walk along the beach promenade, a path where only pedestrians and bicycles are allowed.

We walked several times from Brela to Baska Voda. It’s a great walking along a beautiful promenade.

If you want to see more pictures we took while staying in Brela, click here. Brela-b-1

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Brela-1 Where to eat: We ate in several places but repeated Mediteran Restaurant several times because this is not the best restaurant in Brela: This is one of Croatia’s best places to eat!

The food at Mediteran is marvelous. The service is great. If you are staying in Brela, Baska Voda or any other town nearby, do yourself a favor and go to Mediteran Restaurant.  You can write a comment thanking me later!

14. Trogir

Where to stay: Aparthotel Bellevue Trogir located at A. Stepinca 42 is excellent! They offer free parking.

The Old Town is located in front of the hotel. All you have to do is cross a beautiful wooden bridge.

The service at Aparthotel Bellevue is super friendly,  the hotel is spotless clean and the breakfast is one of the best, or maybe the best, we had during our one month trip in Croatia. We highly recommend this place for anyone visiting  Trogir.

Attractions: The historic Old Town, with narrow streets and beautiful souvenir stores and restaurants. The St. Laurence Cathedral (amazing!) and  St. Michel Bell Tower with lovely views of the town and the sea. The  Kamerlengo Fortress is very scenic as well.

Here are more pictures we took while visiting Trogir.

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Where to eat: We had lunch in a restaurant called T.R.S, located in the Old Town and found it delicious! Dinner was at a local pizzeria.

T.R.S Restaurant Trogir-1

T.R.S Restaurant Trogir

16. Skradinski / Krka National Park

Attractions: This is the best place to stay for those who want to visit the incredible Krka Waterfalls National Park.

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There are boats departing from Skradinski that let you inside the park. The ticket covers the boat trip and Krka National Park.  Plan a full day to visit Krka National Park.

After walking along the park take another boat and go to Visovac Monastery, a beautiful island in the river, and also visit the Roski Slap area.

Where to stay: There are not many options in Skradinski regarding to hotels. We stayed at Hotel Skradinski Buk and found it clean and comfortable. despite being very simple.

Breakfast was very good and the location was superb. There is air conditioner and free parking.

Where to eat: We stayed two nights in Skradinski and tasted different places. All restaurants  were excellent with fresh sea food, great local wine and friendly service.

Zlatne Skoljke and Dalmatino were our favorites. There is also one excellent pizzeria located near Dalmatiano (same side of the street) but we can’t remember its name.

Please see more pictures I took at this astonishingly place visiting my Flickr Gallery.

16. Zadar

Where to stay: We stayed in a super modern and beautiful apartment located in the Old Town. Cars are not allowed in the Old Town but we managed to find a parking spot nearby (approximately 4 Kuna / hour till 10PM and free from 10PM till 8AM).

Attractions: Explore the historic Old Town walking on beautiful alleys. Zadar-blog-1 The Forum, the Cathedral and Zadar’s door are not to be missed.

The main attraction is “Tribute to the Sun” / “Greeting to the Sun” sculpture to celebrate the setting of the sun in an unforgettable way.  The sunsets in Zadar are famous and some consider it the best in the world.

Where to eat: We had lunch at Konoba Stomorica and had dinner at Bistro Pjat. Both places were absolutely great, with fresh sea food, reasonable prices and friendly service. During dinner, at Bistro Pjat,  we had an excellent red wine called Korlat. Accordingly o our waiter, this is the best wine produced in Istria.

Here you will see more pictures of Zadar, including the astonishing sunset.

17. Plitvice Lakes

Where to stay: We stayed in Hotel Jezero, an excellent choice for those visiting Plitvice Lakes. The hotel is located inside the National Park boundaries and the entrance to the park is less than 10 minutes walking.

Attention: Hote Jezero has a top secret place! You will not find signs anywhere, but if you walk around the hotel you will find a delicious tub! Although the hotel was fully booked, none of the 300 guests that discovered this place! 🙂

We went there two days in a row to find the pool just for us!  There are fresh towels, lockers, etc.  The water temperature is not extremely hot, it’s almost the same temperature of our bodies, but it was extremely relaxing after walking/hiking during the whole day.

Where to eat: Breakfast is included. For dinner we had “a la carte” menu and found the food extremely good. Service is friendly and professional. Desserts are…. marvelous!

How to get to the falls: After paying the park entrance fee, a small boat (included in the parking fee) takes visitors to the trails’ starting point.

The map will show several itineraries and the approximately time to complete them. The itineraries are named with a  capital letter.

After making your selection, just follow the letter and you will be fine. The lakes are espectacular. Plitvice-alta-1 On the first day we visited the upper lakes.  On the second day we visited the bottom lakes and after visiting them,  we took the bus (also included in the parking fee) to the higher point and did the upper lakes once more, this time by a different path.

Tip: Make sure you stamp your parking entrance at the hotel front desk, in order to have free access on the second day of your visit.

More pictures of Plitvice Lakes?  There are several. Visit our Flickr Gallery.

18. Krk Island

It’s a big island, we even got lost when we got there!

After the bridge we did something wrong and when we noticed we were at the top of a mount, like “nowhere land”, with ancient stone walls around us and no clue of how to find the way  to the highway again as our mobile had no juice!  It was scaring but we managed to find our way after a while…  😀

Attractions: Krk Old Town is beautiful and preserved. The narrow streets have interesting houses, most of them built directly over the rocks.

We found the harbor promenade very interesting, with souvenir booths and fishing boats. There is a lot to see there: The city walls, the cathedral, the clock tower, the monastery, the lighthouse, etc

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Vrbnik is a super scenic village, located few miles away from Krk Town. Vrbnik has stunning views to the ocean, beautiful architecture, charming stores and restaurants.

Tip: When you get to Vrbnik, park your car at the parking lot located near the Cathedral. If it’s full, wait for a free space.

When we got there this parking lot was full and I followed the signs to the “additional parking”. It was a stupid idea as the roads to get there are super narrow, they are also steep in some sections  and with cliffs scaring  the hell out of me.

Only to find out that this additional parking lot was also full, so I returned to the first one and waited. In Vrbnik you will also find the narrowest street in the world. It’s amazing!

The narrowest street in the world

The narrowest street in the world

Where to stay: We stayed at Valamar Koralj Hotel and loved it. Location is superb, as it is possible to “forget” the car at the parking lot (free) and walk along a beautiful promenade to the Old Town (approximately 15 minutes walking).

We opted for “half board” and loved the food there.

Breakfast was excellent with great variety of breads, fruits, hot plates, etc.  Dinner was also fantastic.

We must say that this hotel will stay in our memories as one of the best places where we stayed regarding “hotel food”. There was plenty of variety (we stayed during 4 nights, so variety is something to consider, he?).  Also appearance, taste, creativity,  etc were top notch. I am not going to say how fresh the clams were… oh my… I guess I repeated them at least six times!  Desserts were to die for.

This hotel has, for sure, one of the best Chefs in this business! Hotel staff couldn’t be better. Everyone was friendly and offering sincere smiles.

The beach in front of the hotel is perfect.

Where to eat: Taverna Koralj is a good option for a light lunch after the beach.

We also had lunch at Nono in  Krk  Old Town and loved the food there.

It’s a great place to eat while visiting Krk Old Town.

In Vrbnik we had lunch at Pizzeria Morska  and found it good, although we had higher expectations.

More pictures I took while visiting Krk Island? Please check my Flickr gallery.

19. Zagreb

Attractions: We stayed in Zagreb during one day before flying back home. It’s an interesting city, with a beautiful atmosphere. We recommend you visit the Cathedral, the Market, and walk in the Old Town, specially along Tkalciceva Street.

Where to stay: We stayed at Bed & Breakfast 4 City Windows and loved it!  Comfortable and well appointed room, in contemporary style, with a super modern bathroom. The place is  spotless clean.

Although the accommodations are on the main floor there is absolutely no noise coming from the street as they have double glasses windows installed. It is less than 4 minutes walking to Tkalciceva street, the Cathedral and other city attractions.

The owner is a sweetheart and you will be greeted as family.  The delicious breakfast includes pancakes made in front of you in the beautiful breakfast room. There is free parking as well.

Where to eat: We had lunch at Ribice I Tri Tockice and loved it. Fresh sea food in an informal and cozy restaurant with great service.

I highly recommend you go to Ribice I Tri Tockice. It’s located on the second floor of a building, Google it and don’t miss!

For dinner we went to restaurant Agava. This restaurant has an ideal location, the service was ok but the food was simply mediocre to say the least. We ate very well during one month in Croatia and  I feel sorry that Restaurant Agava is not on the same level of other Croatian restaurants.

I ordered an “oven baked octopus with vegetables”  that came like a tomato soup with almost no octopus inside. “Oven baked octopus” should be an octopus baked in the oven, he? Not small pieces floating in a lot of liquid!  Really ridiculous.

If you visit my Flick gallery you will see more pictures I took while visiting Zagreb

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I hope you enjoyed our post and please feel free to write your comments and your travel experiences while visiting this beautiful country!

Happy travels!  😀

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About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
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4 Responses to 19 places you can’t miss when visiting Croatia

  1. Tanja says:

    Thank you, we shared that onour FB https://www.facebook.com/pages/4City-windows/290921854393295 hope you don’t mind
    keep in touch
    best regards from Zagreb

    Like

    • It was an enormous pleasure to stay in your beautiful B&B.

      Oh, thanks for sharing my post, I loved it! 🙂

      Croatia is fabulous, Zagreb is a great place to visit and your B&B is absolutely lovely!

      Warmest regards,

      Cecilia

      Like

  2. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This piece of writing posted at this site is genuinely
    pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

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