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Best Places To Visit In Croatia
Right now, we know many of you are busy planning your vacation in Croatia. The season is just around the corner; in fact, the season has already begun for some. Every year more and more people are coming to Croatia outside of the hot summer months.
Croatia’s Guests are more and more intrigued to explore the not so “popular” places to see in Croatia that they have heard of repeatedly. So we thought it might be a great idea to feature some top places to visit in Croatia that have loads of activities, many with fun for the whole family, and individuals looking for an adventurous holiday. Here, our hand-picked ideas for the best places in Croatia to visit this year!
Pack your bags and come and enjoy the beauty of Croatia.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Papuk Nature Park
Slavonia is a much less visited part of Croatia. Still, it’s here that you’ll find Papuk Nature Park, which may just be the most underrated Croatian park – and since 2015, it also happens to be Croatia’s first UNESCO Geopark. Croatia’s many UNESCO Heritage sites get a lot of attention, so it’s time we give a little love to this UNESCO Geopark gem!
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Town of Đakovo
The town of Đakovo, which is sometimes also spelled Djakovo, is known as a “Bishop’s Town’. Located in the heart of the fertile Slavonia region in northern Croatia, it has been a center for bishops since 1239.
The town is home to many things, but it is one thing you can’t miss if you are in the area. Both from its sheer size and position on the landscape, and also for how magnificent it is – The imposing Đakovo Cathedral.
What to Do in Đakovo
- Visit the Đakovo Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter. One of Slavonia’s most important religious and cultural landmarks, this striking church features an interior home to beautiful New and Old Testament frescoes. Dating from the 19th century, it was constructed under the watch of Josip Juraj Strossmayer, a prominent Slavonian-born politician and bishop.
- Visit the Đakovo Bishop’s Palace. The Bishop’s Palace is often combined with a visit to the Cathedral. Usually, you can also visit the wine cellar below, where you can sample and buy several local wines.
- Visit the Lipizzaner horses at the Stud Farm. Lipizzaner are one of the world’s most renowned horse breeds, originating from Vienna and the flagship horse breed of Southeastern Europe. These horses have been bred in Đakovo for 500 years, and one of the best places to see this centuries-old tradition is the Stud Farm. It’s one of the oldest still-operating stud farms in all of Europe; a visit includes viewing training sessions, seeing the horses gallop freely across the meadows, learning about the breed’s history, and exploring exhibits.
- Attend the annual Đakovo Embroidery. This folkloric event occurs every year around the Đakovo Cathedral and involves traditional Slavonian folklore dancing, singing, and exhibits. A major highlight is the horse and wedding wagon show.
Where to Stay in Đakovo
- Private accommodation, many affordable apartments are available.
- Hotel Đakovo and 21 Rooms are top-rated places to stay in Đakovo.
What Makes Đakovo Special
- Đakovo is one of the best places to visit in Croatia because of its location in Slavonia, the country’s least-explored region.
- It’s home to the massive Đakovo Cathedral, an edifice so magnificent Pope John XXIII called it the “most beautiful cathedral between Venice and Istanbul.”
- Đakovo is home to one of the last strongholds of Lipizzaner horse breeding, a fantastic destination for lovers of equestrian sports.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Krapanj Island, Šibenik
- Krapanj is the smallest and the most populated island in the Šibenik region.
- Krapanj is called a sponge town because of its sponge processing operation, which has been around since the 18th century.
- It’s only 400m away from the mainland.
- Settlement began in the 15th century when a nobleman from Šibenik bought the uninhabited island from the church and gave it to the Franciscans from Bosnia.
- Franciscans built a monastery and church on the island.
- The friars of the Province of St. Jerome later replaced the Franciscans.
- Cultural valuables can be found in the monastery, such as paintings from the 16th century and art influenced by the Renaissance. The state protects the monastery due to its cultural significance.
- There is also a special museum within the monastery with a collection of sponges, corals, amphorae, and antique pottery.
What to Do in Krapanj Island, Šibenik
- Horseback riding with the horse riding club Pegasus in the village of Mučići.
- Explore the island through its many walking and cycling paths.
- Visit the Oil Factory Museum of St. Laurent, dating back to 1584.
- Rent a scooter, bike, or boat for a day.
- In the summer, swim and sunbathe on one of the many gravel beaches. They are not overly populated and safe for children to play with.
- Lovers of the underwater world will want to explore the shores of the island by diving. The local diving school offers diving excursions and reveals the local archaeological locations, Kornati national park, and shipwreck sites.
Where to Stay on Krapanj
- Private accommodation in houses and apartments.
- 4-Star Hotel Spongiola
What Makes Krapanj Special
- Krapanj is the smallest, the lowest, and the most inhabited island on the Adriatic.
- The sponges in Krapanj have become high in demand for the international cosmetic market due to their high quality and beauty.
- Sponge diving has led to the rise of scuba diving, free diving, and spearfishing in and around the island.
Interesting Places in Croatia: Village of Draguć, Istria
Draguć is a small medieval town in central Istria. It was built around a homonymous medieval castle. Just like its more famous neighbor of Motovun, it is located on a hilltop. The town survived after it completely burned down during the War of Uskoks (1615-1618). The town was symmetrically rebuilt. Throughout history, the French, Venetians, Habsburgs, and Ottomans occupied the town. Many movies have been filmed here. It has been called the Istrian Hollywood.
Its churches are well known for their frescoes and sacred treasures. The oldest church in the village is St. Elisha from the 12th century. The interior is decorated with Romanesque wall paintings from the end f the 13th century.
The town offers cozy accommodation, with a peaceful and quiet ambiance. Visitors will love the beautiful views from the surrounding hillsides from the many terraces in the village.
What to Do in Draguć
- Visit the many ancient churches, including the paintings by Antonio di Padova in the St. Rocco Church from the 16th century.
- Visit the neighboring Town of Hum, the smallest town in the world.
- Enjoy true Istrian delicacies, such as the Istrian fuzi (pasta) and tartufi (truffles) in one of many local taverns (konoba’s). Try the Humska Konoba, a typical Istrian tavern with delicious homemade food and beautiful hilltop views.
- Visit the Nature Park Učka.
- Visit Opatija, which is about 50 min away.
- Visit the beautiful hilltop town of Motovun, the land of truffles.
Where to Stay Near Draguć
- Nearest hotels to the village are Hotel Vela Vrata in Buzet or Hotel Kaštel in Motovun.
- In the town, you can find excellent private accommodation in apartments and rural houses.
What Makes Draguć Special
- Draguć is located on the tallest hilltop in Istria.
- It was built around a castle; however, because the town almost completely burned down, the castle has been incorporated into the architectural structures of the later periods.
- The castle was burnt and destroyed by the Ottomans, Venetians, Uskoks, and Austrians. It is a miracle that due to its turbulent history, the castle and the town have been preserved and survived to present times. Its churches are like art galleries with the supreme vivid frescoes and sacred treasures.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Village of Lun, Pag
Lun is a village on the island of Pag, located in the northernmost part of the island. It is a small and peaceful village, which was declared a botanical reserve in 1963. The village is closest to Novalja. Lun has an ancient tradition of olive growing, and it has perhaps (arguably) the best olive groves in all of Croatia.
Lun has a unique landscape that is not barren and rocky, typical of the Pag landscape. As you make your way to Lun from Novalja, it goes from rocky and dry rock to green and flat landscape, surrounded by dry stone walls and rich olive groves. The olive groves are composed of over 80 thousand olive trees in an area of about 500 hectares, many of which are more than millennia old. The oldest tree is over 1600 years old, being one of the oldest living beings on earth. The trees come from about 300 different sub-species.
What to Do Close to The Village of Lun
- Lun has a beautiful landscape for hiking and walking. There are lots of signs indicating different sites of the centuries-old olive groves and the location of the oldest tree.
- Visit Novalja and the famous Zrće beach.
- Enjoy a relaxing drink, lunch, or dinner on the main town harbor (Called Tovarnele). Take a leisurely walk along the sea and enjoy the sea’s beautiful views and the nearby islands.
- Take a boat ride to the island of Rab.
- Visit the Sirana Gligora cheese factory and find out how the famous Pag cheese is made. Enjoy a wine and cheese tasting tour.
- If you visit during the summer months, spend a day lounging on the beautiful beach called Tovarnele and Dudići.
Where to Stay Near The Village of Lun
- Hotel Luna 4-Star
- Camp Dražica
- Private accommodation
What Makes The Village of Lun Special
- Lun has one of the oldest olive gardens in the world.
- There are olives everywhere you turn.
- Its landscapes are different from the typical rocky landscape known for Pag.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Biograd na Moru
Biograd na Moru is located in northern Dalmatia (the very center of the Adriatic) and is a part of the Zadar Region. A town well known for its nautical tourism, it has a large marine harbor (Kornati Marina). The Marina is located in the western part of the town with 15 piers equipped with 750 berths. The city annually hosts more than 40 domestic and international regattas and over 30 flotillas attended by more than 10,000 sailors from around the world.
Biograd na Moru was once known as the crown city of the Croatian kings. It has been referred to as the tourism center of the county. Unlike the rest of Zadar, Biograd na Moru has had a tourism history dating back to the 1920s. Its first hotel was built in 1935.
What to Do in Biograd na Moru
- Biograd na Moru is a well-known sports town. Enjoy various sporting activities such as tennis, water skiing, surfing, beach volleyball, basketball, handball, bocce, mini-golf, indoor football, swimming, and much more.
- It is a popular camping destination. It offers seven campsites in the area.
- Biograd is a paradise for lovers of diving, sailing, and yachting.
- As of July 2017, Biograd na Moru will be home to Croatia’s first theme park, similar to the theme parks found in Italy and Orlando.
- Visit three national parks and two nature parks in the region: Kornati National Park, Paklenica National Park, National Park Krka, Vrana Lake Nature Park, and the Telašćica Nature Park.
- Visit the historic city of Zadar and the pre-Romanesque church of St. Donatus (9th century).
- Visit the city of Nin and the world’s smallest cathedral (9th century).
- Biograd na Moru has many exciting events you can visit throughout the year, including:
- International Trekking Race and the International Bike Race (March)
- Slovenian Weekend, Biograd Regatta, Biograd Run, and Biograd Walk (April)
- MTB Marathon at Lake Vrana (May)
- Biograd Summer, including many cultural shows and events (June-August)
- Biograd Boat Show (October)
- Enjoy one of many beautiful beaches, including Soline Beach, Dražica Beach, Crvena Luka Beach, and Bošana Beach.
Where to Stay in Biograd na Moru
- Private accommodation in houses and apartments.
- Hotels and Resorts: there are many hotels in the area with three and 4-Stars. The Crvena Luka 4-Star Hotel and Resort is highly recommended.
- Several campsites, Camping Park Soline, is the most popular.
- Mediterranean Village San Antonio, offering 68 stone bungalows with an authentic Mediterranean ambiance.
What Makes Biograd na Moru Special
- It is the Dalmatian Nautical Tourism Center.
- Biograd na Moru was the former capital of the medieval Croatian Kingdom.
Top Places to Go in Croatia: Saharun Bay, Dugi Otok
Saharun is often referred to as the Caribbean beach of Croatia. One of the best Croatia laces for vacation is crystal clear, with a white sand beach located in a secluded bay on the northern tip of Dugi Otok in the Zadar region.
This is easily one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets; as such, it is not as busy or touristy as some of the other popular destinations in Croatia. It is a private paradise for beach lovers and lovers of the sea who want to explore the Croatian islands on a sailboat or a yacht and are looking for a perfect place to anchor and enjoy the stunning beauty that surrounds them.
What to Do in Saharun Bay
- Lounge on Saharun Beach, relax, enjoy the beautiful views and singing of the crickets in the nearby vicinity.
- Explore the island of Dugi Otok, which is only 45 km long.
- Visit the nearby Veli Rat Lighthouse.
- Visit Telašćica Nature Park.
- Visit the Kornati National Park.
- Explore the Adriatic underwater world by diving and snorkeling. Dugi Otok has several diving schools that provide private tours and lessons.
- If you are a nature lover, there are several hiking, trekking, and biking paths to explore in the nearby area and all across Dugi Otok.
Where to Stay on Dugi Otok
- Private accommodation in the village of Veli Rat
- Find accommodation in any of the 12 villages on the island, as the island is 45 km in length, making it very easy to move from one place to another in no time at all.
- You can also find accommodation in Hotels in the towns of Božava, Sali, and Luka. Hotels are three and 4-Star.
What Makes it Saharun Bay Special
- Saharun is a large bay, which is why there is plenty of space for sailboats to anchor and for island visitors to swim. The colors are beautiful – smooth white pebble on the shore turning into fine white sand in the turquoise waters. The colors of the sea change throughout the day due to the position of the sun.
- Explore the dark green pinewoods in the close vicinity, scented wild rosemary, mint, and fennel, olive trees, and vineyards.
- If you visit Saharun in the summer months, there are two café bars in the area, offering refreshing drinks, coffee, sunbeds, and umbrellas.
Beautiful Places to Visit in Croatia: Cres Island
Cres has a total of 16 small villages on the island. Cres town is the administrative center of the island, which dates back to at least two millennia. The town can only be entered by foot through the town gates. Two Blue Flag marinas are located in the town (Lubenice and Valun); beautiful beaches surround them.
The town of Osor was once a regional capital and a major trading port on the Croatian Adriatic. Beli is one of the oldest towns, and at one point, it was the most important. It is settled on a high hill above the eastern coast of the northern part of the island. The western and southern part of the island has beautiful beaches and coves, while the north and east part is very steep and rocky.
Things to Do in Cres
- Visit some of the best beaches, coves, and lagoons in Croatia, including Valun, Lubenice (perhaps the most beautiful on the island), Sv. Ivan, Meli, Mali Bok, Koromačna.
- Visit many cultural and historical sites, museums, ancient city remains, early Roman-Catholic churches and chapels, Venetian heritage buildings. Examples include the Glagolitic lapidary in Valun, the Valun Tablet, the Cres Tower, and Plava Grota cave.
- Visit the eco-center Beli, called Caput Insulae, which preserves the natural diversity, native values, and cultural-historic heritage of Cres.
- If you visit Cres in the summer months, do check out the Cres Summer Festival, which takes place from Aug 3 to 5. The festival hosts a local food fair, produce expo, cultural celebrations, and live music.
- Sports fans will enjoy sporting tournaments and can play volleyball, soccer, mini-golf, tennis, basketball, mountaineering, and trekking.
- Active holiday seekers will enjoy biking, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, swimming, and boat excursions to nearby islands and islets. Bike and boat rental is available in most town centers and campsites.
Where to Stay in Cres
- Private accommodation
- You can also find accommodation in Hotels in the towns of Božava, Sali, and Luka
- Four camping sites (Cres Town, Martinšćica, Valun, and Beli)
- Mobile Homes
What Makes Cres Special
- Cres Island has a self-sufficient water supply from its freshwater Lake Vrana, providing high-quality water for Cres and the neighboring Island of Lošinj. It is one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. This is why access to this lake is strictly forbidden.
- Cres has a lush floral and faunal life.
- Cres is the only island in Croatia that is home to Croatia’s only vulture (the Eurasian griffon).
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Island of Rava
Rava is a small island between Dugi Otok and the island of Iž in the Zadar archipelago, first mentioned in the 13th century. The Raua family of Zadar owned the island. The only settlements on the island are Mala Rava and Vela Rava. It has 13 bays and a little over 15 km of coastline. It is an island of great fishermen, wine, and olive growers. Rava has one of the most beautiful landscapes, heaven on earth, for nature lovers who want peace, tranquillity, and a little escape from the busy city life.
What to Do on Rava Island
- Explore the many bays, green islets, and rocks.
- Swim in crystal clear waters.
- As with most Dalmatian towns and villages, it has its own Festival “Fešta,” which is a lively event with local Dalmatian delicacies and live music.
- There is not much to do here, but for those looking to enjoy the peace and quiet and just be away from the city life, it is a perfect escape.
Where to Stay on Rava
- You can also find accommodation in Hotels in the towns of Božava, Sali, and Luka
What Makes Rava Island Special
- Rava’s Central Canal is one of the centers for nautical navigation of this region.
- Rava has its drinkable water stored in its fountains and wells.
- An old legend says it is the center of the world.
Best Places to See in Croatia: City of Karlovac
Karlovac is located in the Croatian interior, known as the city of four rivers. It is about 55 km from Zagreb. The town is known for its many beautiful parks, rich culture, and of course for Karlovačko Pivo – great-tasting Croatian beer.
Things to do in Karlovac
- The Dubovac Castle, offering a complete view of the Old Town of Karlovac.
- Stroll through the Vrbanić Gardens, established in 1886 with rare plants and trees. This is an open style botanical garden replicating the style of French and English parks.
- Explore the three-century-old Katzler Pavilion, which holds many romantic mysteries, political intrigues, and sufferings.
- Visit the main town square and the six-pointed Karlovac Star. The streets inside the Star are arranged at right angles. Six bastions connected with walls surround the star.
- Visit the Karlovac art galleries and museums (5 in total), including the Karlovac town museum and the ULAK Gallery.
- Visit the Franciscan Monastery and the church of Holy Trinity, a baroque complex with a rich inventory. The church is the oldest building in Karlovac (from the 17th century).
- Visit the Paulin gothic monastery Kamensko and the gothic style church of Our Lady of The Snows, built in 1404.
- Sports fanatics explore the area by biking and cycling along the many city paths and along the river trails.
- If you love horses, you will want to participate in recreational and cross-country horseback riding at the FANY riding club. Two routes you will want to try include riding near the woods and the scenic route near the Korana River.
- Try canoeing, rafting, and swimming in the four rivers of Karlovac. There are many canyons and rapids to explore very close to the town.
- Some events that should definitely not be missed include the Karlovac Beer Festival in August, the largest beer event in Croatia.
- Another event that you should consider is the Karlovac Birthday Ball, celebrating the exact date of the city’s birthday July 13, 1579. You will enjoy an abundance of fun festivities and activities.
- Ethno Jazz Festival, another great event, includes performers from Ireland, Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Great Britain.
- Other notable events include the Festival of Old Military Vehicles, International Folklore Festival, Karlovac Dance Festival, PickUp Music Festival, free movies at the River Cinema, The Youth Film Festival, and Four River Film Festival.
- Visit Karlovac-Ozalj-Ribnik, known as the Green Heart of Croatia, offering visitors peace, tranquility, action, and adventure. You will enjoy many outdoor and sporting activities, cultural events, great wine, and gastronomy offerings.
Where to Stay in Karlovac
- Private accommodation
- Hotel Carlstat and Hotel Korana Srakovčić
- Auto camp Radonja, located 13 km from the city of Karlovac.
What Makes Karlovac Special
- Karlovac is located in the center of four rivers – Kupa, Korana, the Mrežnica, and the Dobra. The Kupa flows through the center of the town, and it is the largest river in Karlovac.
- Karlovac is the home of Croatia’s biggest beer festival.
- Karlovac is known as a star-shaped city. A Renaissance city built and developed in the shape of a six-pointed star on the edge of the Pannonia Plain.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Duga Resa
The town of Duga Resa is located in Karlovac County, along with the River Mrežnica, about 65 km from the city of Zagreb. Duga Resa is known as a very vibrant town with a lot of natural beauty.
What to Do in Duga Resa
- Duga Resa has a rich offering for an active holiday, including cycling, rafting, and kayaking along the rushing rapids of the Mrežnica River. Tennis is especially a favorite sport here, with its many professional tennis courts (at Mrežniči Brig) that attract many tourists.
- Enjoy fishing and swimming in the emerald green river. Surprise! Duga Resa has some great beaches along its river, including the Bosiljevac, Galović Selo, Town Beach, Zvečaj, Mrežnički brig, and Otok Ljubavi or “The island of love.”
- For those that love hiking and walking, try the many routes along the four rivers—Head toward the peak of Vinica, the mountain rising above Duga Resa. On top of the hill, you will also find the hiking lodge of Mladen Polović, a large area just to take a deep breath, relax, enjoy some refreshments and great food! If you lose track of time before the sun sets, the lodge also offers accommodation.
- If you are not an adrenaline addict, you can take a leisurely and scenic boat ride along the river.
- Visit its many churches, historical and cultural sites in the area, including the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Park (a cotton industry factory from the 19th century), the oldest mill on the broader region, and the wooden house Gallery.
Where to Stay In Duga Resa
- Private accommodation
- Several 2-Star Hotels
- Ecotourism Mreženica and RiveRaj, a wooden holiday house in the heart of nature (highly recommended).
What Makes Duga Resa Special
- Duga Resa is known as a nature and sports town.
- It is the home of the largest textile industry factory in this part of Europe.
- The town has excellent restaurants that offer local specialties. Many of these places are located in the atmosphere of breathtaking nature.
- Duga Resa is the first city in Croatia (as a matter of fact, the first city in Europe) that is introducing broadband gigabit Internet speed for public use. The town wants to position itself as a technologically smart city. Using the gigabit (GIGA) Internet infrastructure, it is attempting to attract the most advanced technology and innovation companies that are developing products and services for a “smart city.”
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Bjelovar
Bjelovar is located in Bjelovar-Bilogora County and is the center of the County in the Croatian interior. It was established in the 18th century and has been voted the third most beautiful city in continental Croatia.
The city has centuries-old milk and cheese-producing history. It is the agricultural and livestock region in Croatia. The city offers many recreational activities, including walking, cycling, jogging, riding, and skiing.
What to Do in Bjelovar
- Visit impressive buildings, cultural monuments, and museums, including the Baroque Cathedral of St. Theresa of Avila and the music pavilion in the central park (the largest stone pavilion in Europe).
- Visit winery and excursion site Vinia, a family-run resort situated on the hills of Bjelovar. The vineyards offer magnificent panoramic views of Bjelovar and the green forests of Bjelovar County. Families with small kids will especially love this resort, as it has a little playground with horses and other farm animals.
- Definitely visit the Veliko Trojstvo, a Bilogora tourist path, located 10km from Bjelovar. The pathway has 19 points, offering various attractions, such as ethnographic collections, traditional crafts, recreational activities (horseback riding, fishing, hunting, cycling, and walking tours), including hospitality and accommodation offerings. Enjoy homemade agricultural products from the many family estates in the area, including wines, snaps, and traditional cuisine, such as homemade cheese, baked goods, and honey.
- Learn about the legends of Vedi, a reasonably new tourist offering in the area. An old legend says that the mythological creatures called Vedi escaped into the forests when the Bilogora became inhabited. They intended to help out the people in the region, and the story has it that every household had a Vedi.
- Old tales speak of hidden treasures they left behind – that must be found by the tourists. The treasure hunt begins with a story told by an older woman in the region about the legend of Vedi in the ethno house in Veliko Trojstvo.
- Explore the many destinations in the area via Gypsy Tent Carriages, a parade of horse-pulled tent carriages.
- Visit the mountain lodge Kamenitovac in Bilogora.
- Events you may want to attend :
- Black Cat event,
- Croatian selection of best rock films,
- BOK fest,
- Terezijana Festival and Event (June), including sports competition in archery records, cycling, unusual fashion shows, concerts, and theatrical performances.
- Christmas and Easter on the Salay Family Estate (Graovnica)
- International percussionist week
- Beekeeping Fair
- International Spring and Autumn Fair
- Christmas Gala Concert
Where to Stay in Bjelovar
- Private accommodation
- Highly recommended Vinia Winery (a winery, restaurant, and lodging)
- 3- Star Hotel Central
- Guesthouse Vita Nova
What Makes Bjelovar Special
- Bjelovar offers many anti-stress and medical wellness tourism programs, including an infertility treatment facility.
- It is known as one of the youngest cities in Croatia.
Best Places to Go in Croatia: Ilok
Ilok is a small town close to Vukovar, located in Vukovar-Srijem County. The little town is perched on a hill overlooking the Danube River, the slopes of Fruška Gora, and many vineyard hills surround the town. It is known to be a well-preserved medieval town with viniculture since Roman times.
What to Do in Ilok
- Visit Ilok’s Medieval center.
- Ilok has one of Slavonia’s best castles, the Ilok Castle or Odescalchi Castle, from the 15th century built by Nicholas of Ilok, a Croatian viceroy and the King of Bosnia. The castle offers excellent views of the town, the Danube River, and the Pannonian Plains.
- Visit some of the most famous wine cellars in Croatia.
- Visit the Museum of Ilok; it is home to many historical, ethnographic, and archaeological collections of the region; it also exhibits many artworks.
- Tour the highly recommended Iločki podrumi or the Old Wine Cellar, a unique heritage site that offers a fascinating history of wine cultivation and production in the region. The Cellar also offers a great restaurant, located in an old wine cellar from the 18th century. The restaurant offers delicious food, including homemade specialties from the region and excellent wine.
- The town of Ilok has over 20 wineries that can be toured. You can sample some renowned Croatian wines, including Gewürztraminer, Welschriesling, Pinot white, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
Where to Stay in Ilok
- The Principovac Summer residence and estate or The Odescalchi summer residence (highly recommended)
- 3- Star Hotel Dunav in Ilok
- Villa Iva Ilok
- Rural Households, such as The Fisherman’s Home Danube, providing a very authentic experience.
What Makes Ilok Special
- Ilok is the easternmost town in Croatia, a town where the East meets the West.
- It is one of the largest urban and fortification complexes in Northern Croatia.
- It is the Danube kingdom of wine.
- Ilok is an old royal town.
- The town dates back to the Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages.
Best Places in Croatia to See: Kutjevo
Kutjevo is a small town in the Požega-Slavonia County, located on the south slopes of the Papuk and Krndija hills in the narrow valley of the Kutjevčanka River in continental Croatia. The town was created in the 13th century when the Cistercian abbey founded the area and started growing wine. Kutjevo is known to be the wine capital of Inland Croatian. It has a very famous Old Wine Cellar dating back to 1232. It is the home of some excellent Croatian wines, including the Kutjevo Graševina, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Traminer. Next to the Old Wine Cellar, you will see a beautiful old Kutjevo castle built on the former Abbey site, connecting the castle to the wine cellar by a cellar passage.
What to Do in Kutjevo
- A guided tour of the Old Wine Cellar and the Kutjevo castle, and do not forget to sample some wine along the way.
- Visit Kutjevo during the Kutjevačko Vincelovo in January, a manifestation celebrating the beginning of a new wine-growing season. Visitors will enjoy a wine manifestation, accompanied by the Tamburica music, and visiting “klape” groups from all over Croatia. Also, enjoy various Kutjevo wines, Slavonian sausages, and bacon.
- Kutjevo is also famous for its Lipizzaner horses. When in Kutjevo, you should visit the Lipizzaner stud farm where these horses are trained and ask for a ride.
- Kutjevo has many picturesque trails, where you can ride a bicycle through the vineyards and the beautiful Nature Park Papuk.
- If you visit in May and June, you can participate in the traditional folklore festival, called Bekteški and the Festival of Graševina, which is dedicated to the queen of Kutjevo vineyards Graševina.
- In November, there is an exceptional event called St. Martin. During St. Martin, there is a parade, craft fair, baptism of young wine, and many tamburica and klapa performances.
- Visit the region’s famous wineries, including the Krauthaker vineyards and winery, the winery of Branko Jakobović, the Sontacchi vinery, or the Adžić vinery.
Where to Stay in Kutjevo
- Private accommodation
- Rural Households surrounded by nature
What Makes Kutjevo Special
- The town of Kutjevo holds a special wine festival called the Kutjevačko Vincelovo, marking the beginning of grape harvest in the town square.
- During the feast of St. Martin, the people of Kutjevo take pride in their harvest by baptizing young wine. They take their winemaking very seriously and invite many people all over Croatia to celebrate with them. This region has been known for centuries as the best wine-growing area in continental Croatia.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Imotski
Imotski is located in the Dalmatian hinterland, behind the Biokovo Mountain, where Croatia borders Bosnia and Herzegovina. Imotska Krajina, the historical name of the region, is a very flat and fertile region. This is why it is often referred to as the fertile Imotsko polje (field). A flat surface surrounds the area, but also, there is a spacious karst area with hills and bays, which is where the Vrljika River flows. A floodplain area called the Prološko blato, providing excellent conditions for agriculture.
The town of Imotski developed on the slope of Podi hill from a medieval fortress in the 10th century.
What to Do in Imotski
- Visit the Topana fortress, which was once the center of the development of the town. It is located on the rock above Blue Lake and has a stunning panorama view of the entire region.
- Visit two karst lakes in Imotski, the Blue and Red Lakes, often referred to as the pearls of nature.
- Crveno Jezero, or the Red Lake, is a giant sinkhole situated 1.5km west of the town center. It is the deepest karst in Europe and one of the deepest in the world. The total depth of the sinkhole is a total of 550m. Many small caves formed along the tall stone slopes surrounding it, such as the Čepitška Cave. The cave never dries out, so visitors often enjoy a day of swimming in the lake during hot summer days.
- An old legend says if you can throw a stone in the Red Lake, you will get married soon. This is because the depth of the sinkhole makes it challenging to throw a stone in the lake.
- Modro jezero or the Blue Lake is a sinkhole, probably created by the collapse of an underground cave. The south side is about 150m, while the north is about 290m deep. The water depth varies with the seasons. In the summer, when it almost entirely disappears, the lake is used as a soccer field by the local population. The lake is also a popular hiking destination. The nearby cliffs are used as diving platforms.
- Visit the Vrljika River, which flows through Imotsko polje. The upper stream is an ichthyologic reserve. There are also several major springs in the Vrljika’s spring area.
- Visit the Basilica of Zmijavci, one of the finest early-Christian remains throughout Imotska krajina, dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries.
- Prološko blato (swamp), situated on the north-eastern edge of the field, one of the last remaining flood karst fields in Croatia.
- Nature lovers will enjoy many trails and huts on the northern slope of Biokovo Mountain.
- The Imotski gastronomic offering is an important part of their touristic offer, which includes delicacies under the bell specialties (pod pekom), a famous cheese from Studenci produced from full-fat cow’s milk.
- Visit Ranch Perla, a recreation and horse riding facility owned by the Lelasi family. It also offers excellent gastronomy, a kids’ playground, many walking, bike, and riding trails.
What Makes Imotski Special
- Imotski is internationally recognized for its folklore ballad Asanaginica, which has been translated into many other languages.
- Imotski is also very famous for its ganga, which is a traditional type of singing.
- Tin Ujević, from Imotski, a famous Croatian poet, contributed significantly to 20th-century Croatian literature.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Gospić
Gospić is a town in Lika-Senj County. Lika is, in fact, the largest city in Croatia – territory wise of course, and not population-wise – it is 967km2. Gospić is the administrative, cultural, medical, and education center of the region of Lika. Gospić is very famous for being the birthplace of a very renowned Nikola Tesla. The town was established in the 17th century and is located very close to the Dalmatian coast, separated by the Velebit mountain.
What to Do in Gospić
- Visit the Nikola Tesla Memorial and Nikola Tesla’s birthplace, consisting of a multimedia exhibition, a historical review of Tesla’s life, including quotations from Tesla’s autobiography, his inventions, and video projections that speak about Tesla’s childhood.
- Visit the Lika Museum, exhibiting an extensive history and cultural heritage of the entire region of Lika.
- Visit the birth house of one of Croatia’s most influential and well-known politicians and Father of the Croatian Nation in the 17th century, Dr. Ante Starčević.
- Visit the National Park Velebit and the Cerovačke špilje (caves). Velebit is one of the largest mountains in this area of the Dinarides and stretches about 145km in northwest-southeast. Its highest peak is 1757m. It has several protected areas in the Park, including the Botanica reserve, Forest Reserve, Special geo-morphological reserve (the Cerovac caves), Strict Reserve, Nature monuments, and Important landscape.
- Visit the Pećinski park Grabovaca, which is a complex of pristine nature where you can enjoy many recreational activities in the area. Explore the Cave Samograd, the only touristic cave in the Park’s area, and the River Lika, the second largest underground river in Croatia. Have a picnic, swim, fish, or just enjoy the beauty of nature by the Lake.
- Fans of extreme sports can venture into a day of paragliding with the paragliding club called “Fobos.”
- Bikers can choose one of nine bike routes, ranging from 19 to 285km in length.
- Gospić is also known to have a tradition of hunting, sports fishing, and riding at the Liden Tree Retreat and Ranch. The Ranch is a luxurious and intimate place in the Velebit Mountains, an untouched wilderness and UNESCO protected. It is a first-class horseback destination for riding in Croatia.
- Spend a day sports climbing and test your strength, endurance, and technique of climbing. There are many areas for beginners and more advanced climbers.
Where to Stay in Gospić
- Private accommodation
- Rural households
What Makes Gospić Special
- Gospić is the birthplace of the famous Nikola Tesla.
- Gospić is the largest city in Croatia (size of the territory); it is even bigger than some of the biggest cities in Europe.
Top Places to Go in Croatia: Krapina
Krapina is a small town in the Croatian hinterland established in the early 13th century, a part of the Krapina-Zagorje County, very close to the city of Zagreb. Krapina is the largest region in the Croatian Zagorje. The town of Krapina is the political, cultural, and administrative center of the county.
What to Do
- The best time to visit Krapina is in the fall when the skies are clear and the trees turn golden-brown. The Zagorje hills and the chapels on the hilltops are the most beautiful to watch and photograph in the fall months.
- Visit the impressive cultural and historical monuments, including the Krapina neanderthal Museum, Franciscan Monastery, and the Church of Our Lady of Jerusalem at Trški Vrh, which is the most famous church in Krapina and one of the most beautiful baroque churches in this part of Croatia (18th century).
- The historical Center of Krapina preserves the region’s historical importance and architectural and urban elements.
- Visit the Town Gallery, the Majcan House, exhibiting works of many Croatian painters and contemporary Croatian art.
- Some fun events to consider when visiting Krapina include the Carnival in Krapina, the Theatre Festival, and the Kajkavian Culture Week.
Where to Stay in Krapina
- One of many hostels
- Private accommodation
- Vacation houses, such as the stunning rural household Vulgec Breg, which is a touristic village.
What Makes Krapina Special
- The Zagorje region is also home to one of many health, spa, and wellness centers in Croatia. Zagorje is known for its lush and picturesque nature, thermal springs, delicious food, and excellent quality wine. The region offers excellent services for individuals and activities for the entire family, including hot tubs, saunas, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, massage, and more.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Vodice
Vodice is a town in the Šibenik-Knin County in Croatia. It is situated in a wide bay in central Dalmatia. Vodice is a popular tourist destination and is known to be a lively and happening town, with a rich tourist offering. It has a large marina in the center of the town, with more than 400 berths. The marina has been awarded a “Blue Flag” for its infrastructure and supporting facilities. The town center is known for its many cafes and restaurants and having a long promenade for leisurely walks along the sea.
What to Do in Vodice
- Swim and sunbathe on one of its many beautiful beaches, such as Hanger – pebble and concrete, Plava plaža – ideal for families with children, Imperial and Srima.
- If you are not too crazy about spending a lazy day on the beach, rent a boat, a canoe, or a powerboat and take a day trip to offshore islets such as Tijat and Logorun.
- Take day trips to Kornati National Park, Krka National Park, Vransko Lake Nature Park, the town of Skradin, Šibenik, and the charming islands of Prvić and Zlarin.
- Vodice is a vibrant holiday destination. Visitors will enjoy playing volleyball, soccer, basketball, cycling, diving, or working out in the fitness facilities.
- Visit the old castles in Šibenik; Barone, Sv. Mihovil and Sv. Nikola.
- Visit the original three-story tower with 16-century walls, the Čorić tower (which is an open space movie theater in the summer months), and other cultural and historical sites in the town.
- In the evenings, enjoy walks along the long promenade and try out one of many restaurants on the waterfront offering delicious local specialties.
- Exciting events to consider throughout the year include:
- Easter Regatta (April) very popular among yacht owners.
- Easter breakfast, a unique Easter program, offers traditional foods of the region and folklore performances from the region.
- Vodička fest – a traditional folk festival in August, one of the most popular events in Dalmatia.
- For the young and party-seeking travelers, make sure to check out the after-night beach party at Baloo Beach Club.
Where to Stay in Vodice
- Private accommodation
- Many three and 4-star hotels.
- Hotel Olympia and Matilde Beach Resorts are highly recommended.
- Many auto camps. Camp Imperial is the highest ranking.
What Makes Vodice Special
- Vodice is very rich in water. The town was developed next to water springs, hence its name “Vodice,” meaning water.
- It is located in the middle of Dalmatia.
- It is very close to many of Croatia’s natural beauties, including Kornati National Park, Krka National Park, and Vransko Lake.
- Vodice has well-established dental tourism. Its dental experts offer the highest quality of service with very high standards.
Best Places to Visit in Croatia: Island of Lastovo
Lastovo is an island in Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It is known as the Island of bright stars. It is quite a journey to make it to Lastovo, but it is well worth it. It is one of the furthest islands from the mainland (5 hours ferry ride or 3 hours on board a catamaran). Lastovo is an unspoiled, naturally beautiful with rich vineyards and thick forests. The main port on the Island is located in the town of Ubli.
What to Do in Lastavo
- Experience the real life of an islander. Explore the very old stone houses and ancient stone stairs that rise to hilly streets. Visit one of many cultural sites, including ancient churches of Sv. Mihovil (from the 14th century), Sv. Marija na Grži (built in 1442), Sv. Antun (14th century), St. Roch, which is also an art gallery with many exhibitions.
- Visit the Rector’s Palace, once a royal residence built on the most prominent site in the village – at the Glavica castle entrance (the most beautiful house on the island).
- Visit the Struga Lighthouse, located at the Bay of Skrivena Luka.
- Visit the Rača Cave, which has the oldest evidence of people living on the island (4 millennium BC).
- Pay attention to the decorated chimneys. The “fumari” and “lastovski sulari” have become the trademark of Lastovo.
- Visit the Statue of Lastovo, seven hundred-year-old rules, and customs of the Assembly and Municipality of Lastovo.
- Visit Castle Kašćel and experience the most beautiful view of the entire town of Lastovo.
- Finally, don’t miss out on the Archaeological site of the Old Christian Basilica of St. Peter (6th century).
Where to Stay in Lastavo
- Private accommodation
- Hotel Solitudo (the only hotel on the island).
- Are you looking for something different? Book your accommodation at the Struga lighthouse.
What Makes Lastavo Island Special
- Lastovo is known for the production of Lastovo Maraština, a famous white wine in Croatia.
- Lastovo holds a unique carnival tradition. It has a specific ritual that started in the Middle Ages, with stringent rules and procedures not seen anywhere in the world. The Lastovo carnival is protected by the Croatian Ministry of Culture since 2008.
- Lastovo is home to Croatia’s youngest nature park.
Croatia is just so beautiful, and it has so many things to see. I wish I could write a whole book on things to do and see, but this will just have to do for now. I hope you enjoy and plan to visit one of these places this year. Happy vacation planning in Croatia!Share