While traveling in this gorgeous gem of Eastern Europe, here are the best places to visit in Croatia.
But the breathtaking natural beauty and rich cultural history of this country has started to attract more and more curious travelers, causing Croatia to become the 25th most visited country in the world (according to the UN World Tourism Organization).
So why is everyone flocking to Croatia?
Aside from its role as the backdrop for many scenes in Game of Thrones, its location at the crossroads of central, southern, and eastern Europe creates a cultural fusion that makes for a truly unique experience.
Croatia combines the cheap prices and traditional cuisines of eastern Europe with the gorgeous seaside towns and relaxed pace of life found in Mediterranean cities.
Travelers may also find themselves attracted to Croatia for its thriving natural scenery.
From the warm climate, to the peaks of the Dinaric Alps, to the beaches of the Dalmatian Coast, Croatia offers so much biodiversity that it’s hard to believe so much beauty fits into a single country.
With seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites scattered throughout the landscape, and thousands of islands lining the coastline, the incredible nature never ends in Croatia.
In order to navigate this amazing country with ease, here is a list of the 10 best places to visit in Croatia.
1. Plitvice Lakes National Park
Because Plitvice is the largest national park in the country, and a world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is easily one of the best places to visit in Croatia.
If you are a student, make sure you bring your student ID because there is a huge discount.
This massive park is filled with smooth turquoise lakes, winding forest trails, and countless tumbling waterfalls, making it a perfect day trip from Zagreb for hiking, relaxing, and marveling at natural beauty.
The day trip is really easy to do on your own from Zagreb, so you don’t need to book a tour.
If you plan on visiting Plitvice from other Croatian destinations that are further away, you may prefer booking a tour for ease of transportation.
If you are traveling from Zagreb to Split, you can book this tour that stops in Plitvice on the way, easily combining the day trip with your transport.
- Hours: 8 am to 4 pm
- Entrance Fee: 180 Kuna in summer, 110 Kuna in spring/autumn, 55 Kuna in winter
2. Ban Jelačić Square, Zagreb
While Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia, Ban Jelačić Square is the heart and soul of Zagreb.
This historic square has been a pedestrian-only zone since the end of WWII, and is framed with welcoming cafes and shops where locals like to sit, drink coffee, and watch the world go by.
3. Lokrum Island
When in Croatia, a day trip to one of the many surrounding islands is a must.
Lokrum is a particularly popular spot off the coast of Dubrovnik, where a 15-minute ferry ride can transport you to a little oasis filled with forests, wildlife, a botanical garden, a historic fort, swimming areas, and a lovely coastline where rocky cliffs meet the refreshing waters of the Adriatic Sea.
If you want to escape the crowds, all you have to do is wander around you are sure to find a deserted, beautiful cove of turquoise water for swimming.
- Ferry hours: Ferries run every half hour, opening hours depend on the time of year
- Ferry cost: 40 Kuna
4. Old Town, Split
Full of narrow alleyways, hidden local restaurants, and historical sights, wandering through the maze that is the Old Town of Split can entertain for hours.
The Old Town is also home to another UNESCO World Heritage Site: the ancient Palace of Diocletian.
Be sure to climb the bell tower of the nearby Cathedral of Saint Domnius, where you can witness panoramic views of the quaint city and the neighboring ocean.
- Cathedral Hours: 7 am to 9 pm
- Cost: 25 Kuna
5. Krka National Park
Though Krka is much smaller than Plitvice, this park is also worth a trip as its only a 1.5-hour bus ride from Split.
After enjoying a peaceful boat ride up the Krka River, you can spend the day meandering through the winding wooden walkways that arch over crystal clear streams and curl around powerful waterfalls.
- Hours: 8 am to 8 pm, but the hours change frequently depending on the time of year, so check before you go.
- Entrance Fee: 150 Kuna during high season, 30 Kuna during the winter. Click here for the full price list.
6. European Avenue, Osijek
Osijek is the largest city in Croatia’s eastern Slavonia region, and European Avenue clearly embodies the city’s eastern European influences.
This main road represents a showcase for Art Nouveau architecture, with huge, aging buildings sporting incredible ornamentation and artistic decoration.
Grab a camera and wander around the streets for some beautiful sights.
7. Dolac Market, Zagreb
As the most popular marketplace in Zagreb, Dolac Market is perfect for early risers who want to try fresh, authentic food at cheap prices.
Spend a morning wandering through the seemingly endless rows of tables piled with fresh fruits and vegetables, aromatic herbs, and dried fruits and nuts.
Fig jam is also a Croatian specialty, and vendors often sell jars infused with flavors like lavender and rosemary.
- Hours: 6:30 am to 3 pm Mon-Sat, closes at 1 pm on Sundays
8. City Walls, Dubrovnik
Used to protect the seaside city since the Middle Ages, the fortress walls that curve around the Old Town of Dubrovnik are an incredible piece of history.
Walking along the 2km pathway provides sweeping views of the rugged coastline and clustered city, so if you like amazing photo opportunities then this is easily one of the best places to visit in Croatia.
Again, bring your student ID because there is a huge student discount on the entrance fee.
- Hours: 8 am to 3 pm
- Cost: 200 Kuna for adults, 50 Kuna for students and children
9. Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb
While traditional art and history museums exist in most major cities, this creative and funny museum displays unique objects that have been donated over time.
From strange trinkets to heartfelt letters, every piece reveals an interesting story about broken hearts and failed relationships from all over the world.
- Hours: 9 am to 9 pm
- Cost: 30 Kuna for adults, 20 Kuna for students
10. Marjan Forest Park, Split
Within walking distance from the Split city center, Marjan Forest Park provides loads of opportunities for outdoor activities including renting bikes, hiking through the woodland paths, cliff-jumping, or relaxing at one of the surrounding beaches.
The park resides on an elevated peninsula, so while one side towers over the city and offers a gorgeous view, the other side looks out over the ocean and represents a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
So those are the 10 best places to visit in Croatia! This is based on my personal experience, so I’m sure there are lots of other amazing places around the country that I didn’t get the chance to visit.
Check out Why I Fell In Love With Croatia to read about more personal experiences I had in the country.
To read more travel articles from Eastern Europe, check out these links: