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How to Explore Beautiful Croatia
Croatia is home to a variety of beautiful landscapes, including rugged mountain peaks, stunning islands, enchanting waterfalls, incredible beaches, vibrant cities, and charming historic towns.
Not only are there many beautiful places in Croatia, the country is also filled with history, culture, and friendly people. It’s definitely one of the best places to explore in the Balkans, if not Europe, whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or an adventurous coastal road trip.
There are so many beautiful places to visit, it can be difficult to decide where to go. We’ve pulled together all our favorite most beautiful places in Croatia to visit to inspire you and help plan your next trip.
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1. Old Town of Dubrovnik
Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, the city of Dubrovnik is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia. Located on the Dalmatian Coast, this incredible place is full of history and breathtaking views.
The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is surrounded by medieval walls, making it one of Europe’s few remaining fortified cities. In the center of the old town is the main street Stradun, which is paved with limestone streets and lined with beautiful red-roofed buildings, and Renaissance architecture.
Wandering through the charming streets of the old town is one of the top reasons to visit Dubrovnik on your next trip to Croatia.
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2. Plitvice Lakes National Park
The oldest and largest of Croatia’s national parks is one of the prettiest places in the country. The lush greenery, crystal clear lakes, and captivating waterfalls make Plitvice Lakes worth visiting.
A highlight of Plitviče Lakes National Park is the Veliki Slap waterfall. The waterfall is a respectable 78m high, making it Croatia’s largest waterfall. It’s not the tallest waterfall in Europe – that would be in Vinnufallet in Iceland at a whopping 865m high – but it has to be one of the most beatitful.
One of the most unique things about Plitvice Lakes National Park is its gorgeous boardwalk paths. The paths traverse through the park, over the crystal clear lakes, and next to some of the incredible waterfalls. It is the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring the beauty of nature.
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3. The Charming Town of Rovinj
On the Istrian Peninsula sits one of Croatia’s most beautiful towns, the charming town of Rovinj. The old town of Rovinj is on a peuninsula in the Adriatic Sea, giving it lovely seaside views. The old town is car-free and consists of narrow, cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
As a coastal town, Rovinj was heavily influenced by the Venetian empire, and so much of the architecture resembles that of Venice. Some of the best things to do include exploring the streets of the Old Town, relaxing at one of the cafés and bars, or taking in the incredible sunset views from the Church of Saint Euphemia, at the highest point of the peninsula.
4. Historic Trogir
Trogir is a beautiful historic town that is an easy day trip from Split. The old town is known for its unique mix of Baroque, Renaissance, and Romanesque buildings.
Trogir is the perfect place to spend the day exploring the cobblestone streets of a medieval old town while taking in beautiful sights such as the 13th century Cathedral of St. Lawrence and the Kamerlengo Castle.
Another thing to do in Trogir is to unwind at one of the many picturesque cafés that line the harborfront of the old town. It is a great place to enjoy some scenic views of beautiful turquoise waters with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
5. Hvar Island
The country’s fourth largest island, Hvar is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Croatia and known for its fragrant lavender fields, stunning beaches, and charming towns.
One of the most popular islands in Croatia, Hvar is easily accessible by taking a ferry frim Split and is one of the most visited summer destinations in Croatia. There is plenty to do on the island, from relaxing on the beaches and enjoying water sports to exploring the historic town of Stari Grad or checking out the boutique shops and nightlife in Hvar Town.
Perched atop Hvar Town is the Fortica, a fortress that dates back to the 1200s. Not only is the fortress an incredible historical site to visit, but it also is one of the best places in Hvar to get panoramic views of the island.
6. Krka National Park
Krka National Park is filled with scenic beauty and natural landscapes, which make it one of the most picturesque places in Croatia. Krka National Park is known for its seven waterfalls that cascade into the Krka River. The park is also home to the gorgeous Visovac Island, which is home to a Franciscan Monastery.
The park has many paths and is a great place to walk around and admire the enchanting waterfalls and lush green plant life. Another highlight is to take a relaxing boat tour to the island to visit the monastery.
7. Diocletian’s Palace in Split
One of Croatia’s most historically significant landmarks is Diocletian’s Palace. Diocletian was once a famous Roman Emperor who built a massive luxury palace in what has now become the city of Split.
Construction of the ancient palace began in the 4th century CE, and today the ruins of the palace are what make up the old town of Split. Some of the highlights of the ruins of Diocleatian’s Palace include the magnificent Golden and Silver Gates as well as the fascinating Vestibule Monument.
The Roman palace ruins that uniquely intertwine with the old town of Split are what make this one of the most beautiful places in Croatia.
8. Zlatni Rat Beach
As a country with miles of beautiful coastline and many islands, Croatia boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. One such beach is Zlatni Rat Beach, which is located on the Croatian island of Brač, one of the best places in Croatia for beaches.
Zlatni Rat is also known as the Golden Horn or Golden Cape, due to its unique V shape that juts out 300 meters into the Adriatic Sea. The beach is incredibly beautiful with its soft shingle surrounded by stunning turquoise blue waters.
9. Mljet Island
Mljet Island is located off the coast of Dalmatia. Known as Croatia’s greenest island, Mljet is filled with beautiful trees, plants, and wildlife. The island is also home to two scenic saltwater lakes.
The entire northwestern part of the island is part of Mljet National Park, which is an incredible place to visit to immerse yourself in the scenic, natural beauty of Croatia.
From hiking the hills of Mljet to kayaking or swimming in the blue waters, Mljet is an incredible place to explore in Croatia.
10. The Seaside Town of Cavtat
Located on the Dalmatian Coast is the small seaside town of Cavtat. The proximity of the town to Dubrovnik makes it a base to explore the city, Southern Croatia and the nearby Elaphiti Islands.
This scenic Croatian town has a beautiful harborfront that is lined with picturesque cafés, shops, and restaurants. Along the harborfront promenade are beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea and its crystal clear turquoise waters.
11. Korčula Island
Another one of Croatia’s stunning islands is the beautiful island of Korčula. Korčula is located off the coast of Dalmatia and boasts a historic old town, vineyards, beaches, and stunning landscapes.
The charming Korčula Town is a must-visit spot on the island and is filled with cobblestone streets and historic buildings such as the Cathedral of St. Mark. The old town has a Venetian influence as it was once ruled by the Venetian empire. Korčula is also believed to be the birthplace of the famous Venetian explorer Marco Polo.
One of the best places to visit in Croatia for couples, Korčula is also home to several scenic vineyards and wineries. It is famous for its delicious Dalmatian wine, and one of the most popular things to do is go wine tasting.
12. Coastal City of Zadar
Zadar is one of the larger cities in Croatia and is located in the northern part of the Dalmatian coastline. The city boasts a spectacular old town that was once ruled by the Romans and Venetians and retains influence from both eras.
However, a highlight of Zadar is its beautiful waterfront. Along the waterfront are many cafes, shops, and restaurants and it is a picturesque place to visit.
One of the most famous landmarks of the waterfront is the Zadar Sea Organ, which is a unique landmark of stone stairs that go into the sea. When the movement of the sea pushes the air through this unique structure it creates beautiful sighs that mimic an organ, hence the name.
13. Roman Ruins in Pula
Pula is a city in the Istrian Peninsula that is most famous for its ancient Roman ruins. The historic beauty of these impressive structures makes Pula a place worth visiting in Croatia.
The most well-known of the ruins is the impressive Pula Arena, which was originally built between 27 BCE and 68 CE. The Pula Arena originally held 23,000 people and was used for gladiator battles in ancient Roman times.
During the Middle Ages, the Pula Arena was used for medieval fairs and tournaments held by the Knights of Malta, a medieval and early modern Catholic military order.
Today, the arena is still an iconic landmark of Pula and is used regularly for different events such as concerts, operas, and the annual Pula Film Festival.
14. Island of Vis
Vis is one of the most remote islands in Croatia and is the perfect place in Croatia to unwind and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Adriatic Sea. Vis is an untouched beauty, that is more off the beaten path compared to other Croatian islands.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Vis is Stiniva Bay, which is a small bay that is partially surrounded by overarching cliffs that protrude into the turquoise waters. It is a beautiful, yet calming place to check out.
15. The Capital City Zagreb
Located in northern Croatia is the capital city of Zagreb. While Zagreb is a lively and vibrant city, it is also a beautiful place in Croatia. The city is filled with colorful Austro-Hungarian architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries. Streets such as Tkalčićeva Street are lined with restaurants and cafés, plenty of which have outdoor seating to enjoy the city views.
One of the most beautiful places in the city is the impressively tall Zagreb Cathedral, which is located in Upper Town. The Cathedral features two stunning neo-Gothic spires, which make it an iconic landmark of the Zagreb skyline.
16. Village of Samobor
Samobor is a small, yet charming village located just 20km outside of Zagreb. In the center of Samobor stands the Parish Church of Saint Anastasia, which is a beautiful yellow, Baroque-style church.
The beauty of Samobor is found in its picturesque main square which is surrounded by quaint pedestrian bridges and cobblestone streets. The main square also has several outdoor cafés and is home to the famous cream cake Samoborska Kremšnita, two layers of puff pastry that are filled with custard cream.
Samobor is a beautiful village in Croatia that is a true hidden gem. While it isn’t a large destination, it is well worth spending an afternoon wandering the quaint streets and trying some traditional Croatian dishes at one of the local restaurants.
17. Velebit Mountains
The Velebit Mountains are the largest mountain range in Croatia, located along the Adriatic Coast and part of the Dinaric Alps. The Velebit Mountains are an incredibly beautiful and dramatic mountain range known for their rugged and jagged peaks.
One of the best places to visit the Velebit Mountains is in Velebit Nature Park. Velebit Nature Park is the largest area of protected land in Croatia and encompasses 2,200 square kilometers.
There are several hiking trails throughout Velebit Nature Park, from easy day hikes to intensive multi-day hikes. The park is full of scenic views making it a perfect destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.
In Conclusion: The Most Beautiful Places in Croatia
Whether you are looking to go hiking in the mountains, relaxing on the incredible beaches, or wander the historic old towns of cities like Dubrovnik, you are sure to fall in love with the beautiful country of Croatia.
While the above list detailed 17 of the most beautiful places in Croatia, there are certainly many more hidden gems and scenic locations. There are so many gorgeous places to visit that you could easily spend weeks or months discovering the incredible country of Croatia.