I have only visited Croatia once, but I would happily go back at the drop of a hat. It is a diverse country that makes it a wonderful destination for visitors. If it’s not on your bucket list then hopefully I can persuade you why it should be with these 21 reasons to visit Croatia. Even if you only have time for a short stay you can still see quite a bit of this beautiful country.
Some of the best reasons to visit Croatia
IT IS EASY TO REACH
LOADS OF SUNSHINE
Croatia is one of the sunniest places to visit in Europe. I couldn’t believe it either! May and June on average have 12 hours a day while in July and August you can expect a whopping 13 hours. That’s a lot more than you will have in Provence or Corfu
WALK THE TOWN WALLS AT DUBROVNIK
If you are a Game of Thrones fan you will already know that numerous scenes in the series were shot in Croatia and you will instantly recognise them. The city walls feature prominently as those of Kings Landing. Even if you are not a fan of series the impressive walled city is still worth a visit. Walking the 1940 m long town walls will give you some stunning views over the pretty terracotta tiles rooftops and the crystal blue waters below.
You can easily see Dubrovnik in a day
ENJOY THE LOCAL WINE
Croatian wine has been made for centuries but is not well known outside the country. There are vineyards in Dalmatia, Istria, Slavonia and around Zagreb. Don’t expect a chardonnay because you won’t find it. Malvazija from Istria is fresh, light and fruity while Plavac Mali is the predominant red. It’s a powerful wine with big tannins that goes well with a dish like pašticada ( a beef stew).
IT HAS ATMOSPHERIC ROMAN RUINS
Right in the heart of Split, you will find Diocletian’s Palace that was built in the 4th century by the Romans. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can sit on the steps of the ruins and enjoy a drink, or try any one of the restaurants or bars that are hidden in the walls and underground cellars of the palace. It’s a popular spot so if you want it all to yourself the earlier you get there the better.
IT WON’T BREAK THE BANK
There are not many good value destinations that you can visit in Europe. Even though Croatia is part of the EU it has kept its own currency, the Kuna. You can also find a wide range of accommodation that is friendly on your pocket.
IT HAS STUNNING BEACHES
If you are looking for an idyllic spot to soak up the sun the picturesque pebbled beaches will fit the bill perfectly. They can get busy, but ask the locals for some of the hidden spots off the tourist trail and enjoy the crystal clear waters away from the crowds.
Zlatni Rat is the beach that adorns almost every tourist brochure you see of Croatia.
These are some of the other popular beaches :
- Lubenice Beach
- Vela Beach
- Dubovica, Hva
- Lovrecina Bay, Brac
- Prozid, Korcula
- Zrce Beach, Pag
BRAC ISLAND & ZLATNI RAT
Zlatni Rat translates as Golden Horn and is a pretty pebbled beach on the island of Brac. It is triangular in shape and juts into the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic sea. It is quite unique and as a result is a very popular destination. Just bear in mind that all the photos you see are aerial shots so it doesn’t look quite the same at ground level. The beach is small so I would not recommend visiting it in peak season.
Brac is the largest island in Dalmatia and the third largest in the county. It is famous for its white stone (stira) that was mined and used to build Diocletian’s Palace in Split. The stone was also used to build the Houses of Parliament in Budapest and the White House
It also produces excellent olive oil and cheese.
VISIT ONE OF THE WORLD’S QUIRKIEST MUSEUMS
The Museum of Broken Relationships is an odd place to visit. It was created when Croatian artists Olinka Vistina and Drazen Grubisic parted ways. They didn’t want to lose items that reminded them of their relationship so they started a museum. It’s filled with arbitrary items that have no apparent significance until you read the captions and the explanations. It delves into the meaning of love, pain, breaking up, reconciliations etc. It’s now opened a second museum in LA because of its popularity. Some facts are stranger than fiction……
This gorgeous town is a short distance from Split. It is a medieval walled town on a tiny island. Bridges link it to the mainland and a much larger island of Čiovo. There are many examples of 13th and 15th century buildings around which has earned the town UNESCO World Heritage status.
MARCO POLO WAS BORN HERE
That’s the claim of the official tourist office in Korcula which has naturally upset the Venetians. As you wander through the town you will notice numerous places with his name. It has also been called “Little Dubrovnik” because of its medieval walls, town squares and old houses. The town is laid out in the shape of a fish bone to protect it from the ocean winds.
If you like truffles then head to Istria, the home of excellent quality truffles. Both black and white are produces here as well as first-class olive oil and wine.
Monte, a restaurant in Rovinj, was recently awarded Croatia’s first Michelin star.
SEE THE WORLDS SMALLEST TOWN
The population of Hum, in the northwest of Croatia, varies from 17 to 23. It also is the world record holder of the smallest town in the world.
The waters in Croatia are some of the best in Europe when it comes to sailing. They even host a yacht week each summer. It’s a good time to party and enjoy the views of the coastline from the ocean.
A SCUBA DIVING HEAVEN
Most of the year the conditions and the crystal clear waters are ideal for snorkelling. Not far from the Croatian port of Jablanac is the wreck of a German WWII ship not far beneath the surface of the water. Check out the ecosystems that have evolved. These are some of the best spots to go scuba diving.
- Bisevo Grotto, Vis Island
- Pakleni Otoci, Hvar
- Taranto, Dubrovnik
- Premuda, Pag
- Baron Gautsch, Rovinj
YOU DON’T HAVE TO VISIT AT PEAK SEASON
The best time to visit Croatia is May – June and September – October. The days are still warm with enough sun to enjoy the beach without the crows.
CHRISTMAS IN ZAGREB
Zagreb is a great town to visit at any time of the year, but it becomes a magical winter wonderland with the Christmas market each year.
Explore: What to do in Zagreb
VISIT A BEAUTIFUL AMPHITHEATRE
What about timing you visit to enjoy an annual film festival? The town of Pula, in Istria, is well known for its 1st century Roman amphitheatre. It also happens to be one of the best preserved in the world. At the film festival, you can watch screenings of featured films inside the ruins. It’s also a popular venue for music concerts.
While this is not unique to Croatia it happens to be one of my favourite dishes so I had to mention it. It gets its colour from squid ink and is popular in the Dalmatia region.
STROLL ALONG THE RIVA
Split has a wonderful palm filled promenade along the water’s edge. It has gorgeous architecture, great rest taunts and good, but expensive shops. It’s also an ideal place to have a cocktail as you watch the sunset.
NATURE AT ITS BEST
The Plitvice Lakes or Plitvička jezera in Croatian has become famous for its beautiful waterfalls, turquoise blue waters and spectacular views. If you love the great outdoors then you will be blown away by its beauty.
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I am sure that there are more reasons to visit Croatia that I have not thought of. If you have any other ideas I’d love to hear them, please drop them in the comments.
If you are looking for a destination that you can enjoy at a slower pace, without the hustle and bustle of big cities, then you will love Croatia.