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From cities filled with ancient ruins and terracotta buildings to pristine beaches and impressive waterfalls, Croatia has something for everyone. Croatia really is the ultimate summer escape. It was no easy task, but below are 10 top places to visit in Croatia.

1. Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, described as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is a must-see when visiting Croatia. Preserved city walls encompass the UNESCO world heritage listed old town. Walk along the city walls for uninterrupted views of orange tiled roofs, cobblestoned streets and the surrounding blue waters.

This stunning city has been the filming grounds for the likes of James Bond, Robin Hood and most famously, Game of Thrones. Enjoy walking up and down the many twisted staircases and when it is too warm, head to the waterfront for a swim. Dubrovnik is the perfect location for short day trips to many of the stunning neighbouring islands.

Dubrovnik
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2. Elaphiti Islands

Just off the coast of Dubrovnik, you will find the Elaphiti Islands. There are six main islands to soak up the authentic Croatian lifestyle. The best part about these islands? You are away from the crowds of Dubrovnik and can spend your time talking to locals.

Make your way around the islands by boat and find many hidden caves to take a refreshing dip. With no specific churches or monasteries to admire, this area has a local feel without the tourists. Indulge on fresh seafood with stunning waterside views and enjoy the local wine.

Sipan Island, Elaphiti Islands

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3. Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes are a part of Croatia’s’ largest National Park. They are within easy reach of Zadar, Zagreb and Split making it a popular day trip. This brings about many crowds to the lakes so if you can, arrive early or stay in the area.

Veliki Slap – the most famous waterfall here is not far from the first entrance. Once you have admired the beauty, you can catch a boat to the Upper lakes. The upper lakes offer spectacular aerial boardwalk views over the waterfalls and national park. If you have more time, there are many hiking trails throughout the 73,000 acre area.

TIP
Book yourself a day tour to Plitvice National Park through GetYourGuide. Available departing from Zagreb, Zadar and various other cities.
Lower Lakes at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Image by @mikecleggphoto

4. Hvar

Hvar is Croatia’s celebrity hot spot! And it is easy to see why. Steep streets of orange topped houses and UNESCO heritage sites lead down to the sparkling blue port. Spend the days atop the Tvrdava Fortica admiring the view, cooling off in one of the many beaches and shopping in the boutique shops.

Hvar is well known for its party scene. Enjoy aprĕs style drinks by the port, find cocktail bars in old ruins and party the night away in the club scene. From day beach parties to nightclubs with pools, Hvar has it all! Furthermore, the island creates delicious locals wines. Be sure to try them out!

Hvar

5. Korčula

Korcula is the sixth-largest island in the Adriatic. Home to rich pine forests, small sandy beaches and aromatic vineyards it is worth a visit. Discover hidden coves along the seafront and enjoy the famous local white-wine in one of the many medieval squares. The old town is dense with historic buildings and a well-preserved fortress giving glimpses of the blue sea surrounding the island.

The best thing about Korcula? The turret of a 15th century Zakerjan Tower is now home to a cocktail bar. Climb up a steep ladder for picture-perfect sunset views over the Adriatic sea and await your cocktail delivery via a pulley system. Massimo Cocktail bar is a must-see!

Korcula old town

6. Krka National Park

Krka National Park is around 1 hour north of Split. Slightly smaller than its rival, Plitvice Lakes, Krka National Park hosts the Skradinski Buk, a waterfall where you can swim! Hire mountain bikes or enjoy a boat ride to see the best of the park.

Take a boat up the Krka river to explore the tiny island of Visovac and the orange tiled monastery. Don’t miss the view Roski Slap has to offer! Climb up a few hundred stairs to admire an aerial view over 12 consecutive waterfalls!

TIP
It’s possible to book day tours from Split and other cities to Krka with GetYourGuide. Click here to see some of the options available.

Waterfalls at Krka National Parkl

7. Rovinj

Sitting in the Istrian peninsula, the oh-so picturesque town of Rovinj pokes into the Adriatic Sea. Tightly knit houses and churches surround Venetian-baroque centrepiece, the Tower of St. Euphemia. Wander through the old town to discover the town clock, water fountain and of course the three remaining entrances through the medieval walls.

The seafront hosts an array of terracotta-coloured buildings and of course, fishing boats. Take a day trip to one of the surrounding islands or scuba dive amongst the wreck of Baron Gautsch. Enjoy the laid back cafe and bar culture of the old town. Lose your bearings in the side streets. And finally, taste the local twist on seafood with stunning views. Put simply, Rovinj is the perfect seaside escape!

Rovinj, Istria, Croatia

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8. Pula

Pula, a cute Istrian town scattered with ancient Roman infrastructure. In fact, Pula is home to Croatia’s very own Roman amphitheatre called the Arena! This impressive ruin hosts different concerts and festivals all summer long.

Enjoy spending time in the modern cafes and bars overlooking the ancient ruins. After some more adventure? There are many beaches and waterfalls are within easy reach of the city centre. The friendly seafront town has a happy small-town vibe to it and is a must on your Croatian hot list.

Arena Pula Roman amphitheater, Croatia

9. Split

The second-largest city in Croatia hosts the perfect balance of history with a modern twist. The lively ‘Riva’ next to the Port of Split is the ultimate place to relax and enjoy a coffee, cocktail or beer! Walk along the riverfront, browse the market stalls and explore the stunning Diocletian’s Palace.

Split is surrounded by many shallows beaches, perfect for a paddle when exploring the city. There is also a busy port with boats heading off to many islands frequently. Don’t forget to admire the sunset atop Marjan Hill!

Split, Croatia

10. Zagreb

The capital of Croatia hosts a vibrant city life all year round. Flat streets, open green parks and a small city centre make it perfect to walk or cycle around. Explore the many cathedrals, cemeteries and markets and don’t forget to check out the street art scene. Zagreb is a bustling city with a huge cafe scene. Spend time sipping away at coffee whilst admiring the beauty of its architecture.

In downtown Zagreb, you can roam the observation deck for stunning 360-degree views over the city. Enjoy craft beer? Pop along to one of Zagreb’s many microbreweries to taste what they have to offer. Spend the night in a chilled bar or party the night away in one of the cities many clubs. Whatever your style of travel, Zagreb has something to suit everyone.

St Mark's Church, Zagreb
Image by @mikecleggphoto

Shelley Doherty

Writer and traveller for www.adventure-travelist.com

Shelley is a traveller origionally from Queensland, Australia, but now based in London. She spends her weekends and spare time travelling the world and then sharing her travels on her blog.

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