Top 5 Favourite Places to Visit in Croatia
In the last two decades, the small Balkan country of Croatia has risen from devastation to one of Europe’s hottest travel destinations. With seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, astonishingly beautiful national parks, ancient cities, turquoise waters, sprawling beaches, fascinating history, excellent food and friendly locals, this country is blessed with loads to offer even the most discerning of travellers. Because of the vast diversity, Croatia is a must-visit for everyone. Whether it’s history, culture, sea, nature or nightlife you’re looking for, this list has you covered. If you need ideas for your next holiday, here are our five favourite places to visit in Croatia:
One of the Mediterranean’s most popular tourist destinations, this city really needs no introduction. Nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful walled cities in the world. The untouched Old Town feels like it’s frozen in time with it’s tiny lanes and stone houses, which makes it very suitable for filming scenes of Game of Thrones – the location of the fictional city King’s Landing. When you first arrive, get on top of the city’s ancient walls for the best views of the city and to get a feel of the place. Soak up the sun on the beach, take the revamped cable car to the top of Mt Srđ, and if you’re there in the summer, don’t miss the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
2. Plitvice Lakes National Park
Considered to be one of the most beautiful natural destinations in Europe, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a system of interconnected lakes, caves and waterfalls surrounded in forest – home to a wide variety of animals including bears, wolves and rare birds. A nature lover’s paradise, the astonishing beauty will leave even the most verbose speechless. Famous for their unique colours of green, blue, turquoise and grey, the Plitvice Lakes are a definite must-see in Croatia. Walking the entire system of wooden footbridges and pathways will take about five to six hours so get there early. If you prefer to save yourself some walking, take advantage of the park’s free boats and buses.
3. Zrće, Pag Island
When you’re itching for some nightlife, head straight away to Zrće – one of the top clubbing spots in Croatia. A sprawling beach on the island of Pag, during the summer months you will find an abundance of 24/7 discotheques and beach bars. Spend the days relaxing on the beach (ahem, maybe recovering from the night before) and the nights showing off your moves on open-air dance floors. Regularly hosting internationally famous DJs during peak season, it’s the go-to summer hotspot for party-goers. Plan ahead so you can arrive in time for one of the island’s top music festivals: Hideout, Fresh Island Festival, Barrakud and Croatia Rocks.
4. Kopački rit Nature Park
If you’re longing for the sounds of birds chirping, frogs croaking and fish jumping, or just some fresh air, then this is the place for you. One of the largest areas of wetlands in Europe, this area is a utopia for fish and the wading birds feeding off them, and the neighbouring woodland is home to deer, fox and wild boar. A vast floodplain formed at the meeting of the Drava and Danube rivers, Kopački rit Nature Park is a bird lover’s paradise – 293 species of birds have been spotted here. There is a visitor centre at the main entrance with two scenic walking trails nearby, or take one of the various guided tours – by boat you can tour the zoological reserve passing a farm and castle complex.
5. Hvar Island
If it’s sunshine you crave, Hvar is where it’s at. The most luxurious island in Croatia, Hvar Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia. Rightly so, it’s the sunniest place in the country with over 2700 hours of sunshine each year. And when the sun goes down, you’ll find some of the best nightlife on the Adriatic. Hvar Town boasts posh hotels, fancy restaurants, trendy nightclubs and bars, and you may even spot a celebrity. For a more low-key atmosphere, head to the coastal towns of Stari Grad and Jelsi. Don’t miss a hike up to the impressive Hvar Fortress for jaw-dropping panoramic views of the town and harbour.