The pearl of the Adriatic: 8 highlights of Croatia

Croatia is multifaceted, from its rugged rocky landscapes to historic buildings and crystal clear bays. The land on the Adriatic Sea offers the perfect place for beach, culture and active travellers. The diverse natural treasures of Croatia extend from the mainland to around 1,000 surrounding islands.

Croatia not only offers great beaches, beautiful islands and pretty cities but also breathtaking natural treasures. If you are intrigued by Croatia’s offering, here are 8 of the most beautiful places that you should visit during your stay.

Zagreb. Image: iStock

Zagreb

The capital Zagreb is home to colourful houses, pretty alleys and historical sights which make this city so unique. In 1899 the two neo-Gothic spires of St. Stephen’s Cathedral were built, which adorn the panorama of Zagreb from a lofty height. You should pay a visit to the Lotrscak Tower, which after the somewhat strenuous ascent, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of the city. Zagreb also offers an extensive art and cultural programme with its numerous museums that bring you closer to the historical past of the city, such as the Natural History Museum, the Historical Museum of Croatia or the City Museum.

Rijeka. Image: iStock

Kvarner Bay – Rijeka

Kvarner Bay is located on the upper Adriatic between the Istrian peninsula in the west and the Croatian coast in the east. The port city of Rijeka is located on the bay. The largest city on the Kvarner Bay, it was voted the European Capital of Culture in 2020. The numerous sights, imposing buildings and picturesque bays promise a varied holiday in Rijeka. Stroll along the Korzos, a lively promenade with many pretty boutiques and restaurants and enjoy the view over the city from the Trsat fortress, which is enthroned on a 140m high mountain.

Plitvicer Lakes National Park. Image: iStock

Plitvice Lakes National Park

A highlight of any visit to Croatia is a trip to the Plitvice Lakes National Park which is part of the UNESCO natural world heritage. The sixteen lakes have some of the cleanest water in the world. They are connected by various wooden walkways and impressive waterfalls. Lush, green forests combined with waterfalls and lakes that are so turquoise and clear that they almost seem surreal. Grab your camera, stroll over the jetties and just enjoy the impressive view of the Plitvice Lakes below.

Rovinj harbour. Image: iStock

Rovinj

The port city of Rovinj in northwestern Croatia promises another highlight. It is located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula and has a beautiful old town and great bays. Numerous picturesque boats line up on the crystal clear water, providing a postcard-perfect panorama. The colourful houses are adorned with flowers and round off the overall picture of the city perfectly. Stroll through the pretty streets, explore the cathedral of St. Euphemia and watch the fishing boats in the lively harbour.

Krka National Park. Image: iStock

National Park Krka

Breathtaking waterfalls, picturesque lakes, hidden paths and small islands await you in the Krka National Park. With its paradisiacal river landscape, its seven large waterfalls and the emerald green shimmering water, it is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. The most impressive waterfall is the Skradinski Buk which is the longest waterfall in the national park. It is located about 14km downstream from Rossi Slip. The area offers many hiking and biking trails that lead to the falls and the park can also be explored by boat. Bring your swimsuits because on sunny days you can cool off in the lakes and experience the thrill of a dip in the gloriously clear water.

Promenade, Split. Image: iStock

Split

In the heart of the province of Dalmatia, about 150km north of Dubrovnik lies the second-largest city in Croatia – Split. In this port city, you can expect beautiful beaches, many historical sights and a unique, medieval charm. One of the main attractions is the historic Diocletian’s Palace in the centre of the city. Split is also the perfect starting point for active travellers because the surrounding mountain ranges Kozjak, Motor and the Biokovo make the city a true Eldorado for hiking and nature-lovers. The nocturnal among you will also get their money’s worth in the bustling city. The Riva waterfront promenade turns into the city’s party mile in the evening and is a meeting point for tourists as well as locals with its numerous bars and restaurants.

Brac, Dalmatia. Image: iStock

Brac

The island of Brac is located in front of the city of Split on the Adriatic Sea. On the south coast near Bol you will find one of the most popular beaches in Croatia – the Zlatni Rat, in English “Golden Horn”. The crescent-like headland protruding about 300m into the sea is reminiscent of a horn and gave the heavenly beach its name. Due to the constant surf and the deposition of rock, the headland was created over centuries from finely ground pebbles.

In addition to the beautiful beach, you can also experience a lot more on Brac. The area offers various opportunities for extensive hikes or mountain bike tours. It is also a true paradise for windsurfers or kitesurfers. Soak up the Mediterranean charm of the port of Bol, stroll through the alleys and let yourself be pampered with regional delicacies in the local cafés and restaurants.

City walls, Dubrovnik. Image: iStock

Dubrovnik

The coastal city of Dubrovnik is located at the southernmost point of the Croatian mainland and is shaped by countless medieval buildings ranging from the baroque style to gothic and renaissance. Marble-paved squares, steep cobblestone streets, monasteries, churches, fountains and museums adorn the old town Stari Grad. Perhaps the most recognizable feature is the city wall which dates from the 16th century. It surrounds the old town, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

If one or two places seem familiar to you, it is probably because it was one of the film sites of the show “Game of Thrones”. In addition to its medieval charm, the “Croatian Athens” shines with countless architectural masterpieces that offered the series producers the perfect filming locations.

Old harbour, Dubrovnik. Image: iStock

In the evening, take the path to the Dubrava viewpoint. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Adriatic Sea and the old town, which is picturesquely under the play of colours at sunset.

Croatia, with its numerous islands, fantastic beaches, crystal clear water, rugged rocky landscapes, imposing architecture, buildings steeped in history, impressive waterfalls – there really is something for everyone here! So look forward to a varied holiday in Croatia that you won’t forget.