Croatia has to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The sea along the Adriatic coast is a vibrant turquoise blue, so clear and inviting that it makes you want to jump in everytime you see it. The terracotta roofs and white stone walls of the old towns and villages are picturesque, and the cobbled alleyways that wind their way through the towns just beg to be explored. Not only is Croatia beautiful, but it is also budget-friendly, with lots of fresh produce and seafood readily available.
Here are 8 amazing things to do in Croatia:
8. Beach out at Marjan Park.
Marjan Park is a forest reserve populated by pine trees. At the water edge of the Forest Park are some great little secluded beaches.
The beaches closest to the park entrance are filled with people swimming, but as you walk further into the forest, you can discover some amazing secret spots.
7. Visit Zadar.
The waterfront in Zadar has something unique to the rest of the world: An organ played by the sea. A combination of stone steps and plastic piping, the sea organ creates music and sound as the waves roll in.
While in Zadar, head out on a boat to the Zadar archipelago. These islands are less touristy that the ones of the coast of Split but still have the same turquoise seas and long white stretches of beach. Some of the islands are uninhabited while others have neat little villages that are begging to be explored.
6. Head to Hvar.
To fully explore Hvar Island, catch the ferry over and stay for a few days. Check out St. Stephens Cathedral on the harbor. There are some great breakfast spots here if you want to get up and start your day early.
If you are feeling energetic head up the hill to the Spanjola Fortress. The view at the top is worth the walk. Afterwards, catch a ride over to the Pakleni Archipelago, this is a great spot for snorkeling, kayaking or lazing in the sun. If you want to try a great little secret beach then head to Robinsons. It is only accessible by boat or a long rocky hour walk from Hvar, but the rustic beachy vibe of the bar is worth the effort.
5. Explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
The old town area of Dubrovnik, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is enclosed in large medieval stone walls. The best way to enter is via the bridge to Pile Gate. From there, you can easily spend a day walking around the cobbled alleyways and up and down the stone stairwells. The walls of Dubrovnik have also been a popular filming location for the fictional city of King’s Landing in the HBO television series, Game of Thrones.
Stop for a coffee in the Strada, or main street, and do some people watching. If you are after a bit more action, take your swimwear and head to Cafe Buza. Buza means “hole in the wall”, and that’s what this café is. A hole in the old town wall that opens up to the cliff. From this great vantage point, you can chill out, enjoy a beer, watch the sunset or be daring and jump of the rocks down into the water below.
4. Visit Roman ruins.
The Diocletian’s Palace in Split is a great example of ancient meets modern. People still live in the old Roman fortress which is filled with a fabulous mix of old meets new. Take the free walking tour to learn a little about the history of Diocletian’s Palace, which was also used as one of the filming locations of Game of Thrones.
Discover the vomitorium, the Temple of Jupiter and the four large gated entrances. Hang out in the Peristil, or central square, and you can even get your photo taken with the Roman guards.
3. Go island hopping.
There are so many islands in Croatia, all unique and with their own charms. The Adriatic sea in summer is so clear and blue that spending some time on the water is a must. If beaches are your thing, check out Lovrencina beach on Brac. Less crowded than Zlatni Rat, it’s a large sandy spot perfect to chill at for the day.
Stop by Korcula for a day or two and explore the picturesque walled town. Take a break from the heat and wander through the shady streets or visit Marco Polo’s house. If you want to visit somewhere a bit more untouched, head to Sipan. With its olive groves, fig trees, citrus and vineyards, it’s a great spot to enjoy some Mediterranean fare, especially the fresh fish.
2. Kayak in the Adriatic Sea.
The sea around the Croatian Coast is so clear that a kayak trip is a must. Spend an hour or so and take a leisurely paddle around the outside of Dubrovnik Old Town or challenge yourself and kayak between the islands off Split.
If you want a little more adrenaline, head to Zagreb and kayak on some of the waterfalls and rapids of the Mreznica river.
1. Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park.
One of the most beautiful areas in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Explore this UNESCO site on two wheels via bike — that way, you don’t just get to see the 16 different interconnected lakes that cascade downstream, but you can fit in a visit to the Barac Caves too.
The lake system is so large that it is best to spend a night in the park so you are not rushed. There are plenty of accommodation options in the area. Try spending a night with a local family and experiencing some Croatian hospitality.
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