One of the most frequently asked questions we encounter in the running of this website is something along the lines of – “I’d like to holiday in Croatia this year, can you recommend where I should go?”
The answer is (very nearly) – anywhere! The two main areas of the country that travellers go to are somewhere along the coastline and its islands (and seeing as Croatia’s coastline is just under 1,800km/1,200 miles long, there’s plenty of it to visit), or Zagreb, the capital.
There’s really no bad place to go if looking to visit Croatia…just perhaps unsuitable for your wishes! If you’re looking for peace and quiet and want to be away from it all, don’t choose the clubbing hotspot that is Novalja on the island of Pag. Likewise, if you do want party central, one of the smaller, more tranquil islands isn’t quite going to cut the mustard.
The long coastline obviously has its own distinct areas, each with its own special characteristics and features. Istria, in the north, has a strong Italian influence; Dalmatia, around Split and where the majority of the the most popular Croatian islands are, has much to see and do and with great travel connections. Dubrovnik is obviously one of Croatia’s star attractions although, being right at the southern end of the coast, can be quite far to get to and from. Other areas, such as the Kvarner Riviera or North Dalmatia, are lovely in their own right though not as well known – perfect for those looking for something a little different.
If you’re considering Croatia as a holiday destination, and are trying to make your mind up about where to go, the best advice would be to read up on the destination. Obviously check out the info on this website, but also elsewhere – even sneaking a look at guidebooks in your local bookstore is quite useful. Read up on the most popular destinations, and see if any particular place especially takes your fancy.
Your destination in Croatia may also be dictated by how easy it is to reach from the UK! Luckily, there are now many flights operating during summer, but do see our Flights to Croatia section for information on which airlines fly where and where from.
Alternatively, you could take a look at what destinations travel companies are offering to see if you like the look at anything – see our Croatia Holidays section as a start.
Where to visit in Croatia for…
If you looking for…
…parties in Croatia... Head to the island of Pag, specifically the resort of Novalja. It’s considered one of Croatia’s top party resorts. Otherwise, head to one of the summer dance festivals such as Ultra Europe or Hideout for party time – see our special section on Festivals in Croatia.
…somewhere with good transport connections to make the most of travelling around… You should consider flying to Split, as there are numerous bus and ferry connections along the coast and to nearby islands. There’s also a train to Zagreb if you’re wanting to head inland.
…beautiful natural surroundings… The Plitvice Lakes National Park sounds like your kind of place. A UNESCO World Heritage site, its sixteen lakes plus waterfulls, flora and fauna mean the park is wonderful to visit and stay by. But Plitvice is only one of a handful of stunning national parks in Croatia – others include the island of Mljet, Krka National Park and Paklenica National Park. It’s highly likely that you will combine a visit to one of these Parks with a stay in a nearby town or city.
…the sights, cafes, bars of an Eastern European city… You should head to Zagreb. As Croatia’s capital city, there’s plenty to keep you occupied during the day (sights, galleries, museums, exhibitions) and night time (bars and clubs), and it’s not surprising that some compare it to Prague.
…5-star luxury… Go to Dubrovnik. It has the largest number of 5 star hotels anywhere in Croatia, with some being very special. And let’s not forget about Dubrovnik’s many other charms. Or try Opatija in the Kvarner region, which has long been famed as something of an upmarket resort, even going as far back as the time of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Rovinj in Istria also has some very smart and stylish 5 star options. These days, however, there a numerous 5-star hotels in many coastal locations, including on the islands. (Not forgetting Zagreb too!)
…near-total isolation… Consider the Kornati islands, where you can take part in a Robinson Crusoe-type holiday where you are left to your own devices for a week (you are provided with food) in a small, basic house. Or for not quite total isolation, but certainly a quieter holiday but somewhere with more amenities, consider Dugi Otok or Lastovo islands.
…a cheap version of a cruise… One of the ultimate holidays in Croatia must be island-hopping up and down the coastline on a private boat or yacht. For us mere mortals, we can rely on coastal ferries. A great (much cheaper way) of sailing down the coastline…if not quite island-hopping! There’s no one route that sails from the top of the coast to the end, but you can make use of a catamaran from Pula or Rijeka to Zadar, and the others from Split to Dubrovnik. (There are obviously stops along the way!) See out Ferries in Croatia page for more details.
…somewhere with an Italian feel… Istria is the place for you. Part of Italy once upon a time, towns such as Porec and Rovinj offer up a slice of Croatia’s maritime neighbour with gorgeous scenery, and excellent cuisine and wines.
...sandy beaches… Croatia doesn’t have many sandy beaches – most are pebble. If that’s something that’s especially important to you, you may be disappointed – though there are some dotted along the coastline.
…amazing Roman sights… Although there’s a number of rather fantastic Roman sites in various locations along the coastline, the most famous are either the Roman amphitheatre in Pula (the sixth largest in the world) or Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace in Split, built in the 3rd & 4th centuries AD.
…Game of Thrones sights… You can’t really go wrong in and around Dubrovnik…aka King’s Landing! The nearby island of Lokrum was also a filming location, as was Trsteno Arboretum a short drive up the coast.