A long coastline sprinkled with more than a thousand islands, historic towns bursting with Medieval charm, and stunning natural landscapes rich in wildlife are just some of the wonders waiting for you in Croatia.
Located in the Western Balkans, Croatia’s unusual shape means its borders touch many central European countries including Slovenia, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Adriatic Sea laps at its shores before stretching all the way to Italy, and sailing the crystal clear blue waters is one of the most recommended ways to discover the country of red and white checks.
But, if sailing isn’t your thing, road trips are also popular amongst tourists visiting this stunning country. It’s no surprise, there are so many beautiful places to discover. There’s the capital, Zagreb, with its romantic Old Town and quirky modern museums; the coastal region of Dalmatia, home to the ancient city of Split and an array of beach resorts; Dubrovnik, whose Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and whose urban beaches are something to behold. In fact, there’s so much to see and do, one trip won’t be enough.
Holidaymakers from all walks of life will feel welcome in Croatia. Ever since the Independence Wars in the 90s, the country has blossomed into its own. Despite its location in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is Mediterranean at heart. Not the Mediterranean of boozy beach resorts and overcrowded beaches, but the one where old ladies dress in head-to-toe black in the heat of summer, colourful seaside towns are undisturbed by top 40 tunes – unless, of course, you head to one of the many music festivals – and delicious restaurants hide amongst cobbled streets.
Old and new meet in Croatia’s vibrant capital city Zagreb. Many travellers only use it as a stopover before heading to the coast, but we recommend spending some time getting to know the old girl; she’s got plenty of life in her yet. Founded in the 11th century, the city’s Medieval Upper Town hides many historic landmarks, including the Cathedral and Lotrscakc Tower. But it’s the modern attractions like the Museum of Broken Relationships that give it extra charm. Bring a healthy appetite – the restaurant and café scene is one of the best in Europe.
Dubrovnik is a favourite Croatian destination amongst tourists. The city dates back to the 7th century, when it was established on maritime trade, and is known as ‘the Pearl of the Adriatic.’ With whitewashed buildings kissed by the clear blue sky and azure waters lapping at its shores, it definitely lives up to the nickname. Sightseeing in the historic Old Town, soaking up the sun at one of the urban beaches and enjoying a wild night out are musts during your stay in Dubrovnik.
Home to the beautiful city of Split and an array of sun-drenched islands, the Dalmatian region is perfect for families of all shapes and sizes. Most of Croatia’s beaches are pebbly, but the islands off the Dalmatian coast offer some stunning golden beaches worthy of the Caribbean. Families and couples will fall in love with Hvar, Brac and the Drvenik islands, where charming beach resorts will satisfy all your holiday needs. Culture vultures won’t want to miss Split’s many historic landmarks.
Soak up the sun
Croatia is home to some of Europe’s most stunning beaches. If you’re in Dalmatia, Split’s Bacvice beach and Brac’s Lovrecina Bay are a must visit. The former is popular with families and is the spiritual home of the Dalmatian sport picigin (basically net-less volleyball in the shallows on the beach). The latter is a golden sand paradise kissed by translucent waters. Meanwhile, Dubrovnik is home to popular Banje beach, Lapad bay and Copacabana beach, all of which are surrounded by lively cafés and vibrant cocktail bars.
Explore the National Parks
Croatia is home to eight wondrous national parks. We definitely recommend you visit the Plitvice National Park, where several trekking routes take you across the sixteen interconnected lakes. Krka National Park is also a must visit; the array of gushing waterfalls and lush green nature is just a stone’s throw from Split.
Visit Croatian landmarks
Croatia has no shortage of historic and cultural landmarks to explore. Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian monuments sprinkle Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split, while traditional Croat culture shines through every cobbled street. Bring your walking shoes and camera, there’s so much to explore!
There are almost as many festivals in Croatia as there are islands. Music festivals range from big events like the popular Hideout or Outlook to intimate affairs like Obonjan or Electric Elephant. There’s also a good selection of delicious foodie events – our favourite is the Croatian Food Festival, which visits the country’s major cities.
Croatian cuisine is a happy blend of Mediterranean and Eastern European fare. Fresh fish and seafood feature on most menus, while Italian influences are especially strong in coastal regions. Self-confessed foodies will fall in love with Croatia’s tasty delights, which include crni rizot, a black rice risotto with cuttlefish, pasticada, a traditional beef dish, and burek pastries.
You’ll find plenty by way of food and drink in Croatia. Strong coffee at one of the cafés lining the beaches is a great way to start the day, while Croatian pizza is a mind-blowing experience. Though there are many international eateries, we recommend you find a konoba – small, family-owned local restaurant – and take your taste buds on a culinary journey of discovery.
Visit Croatia and experience one of Europe’s most stunning destinations. Despite its recent surge in popularity, Croatia still retains plenty of unique charm. Families, couples and party animals will all find a home away from home in this welcoming Balkan state.
Booking your holiday to Croatia with easyJet holidays is a sure way to get to this top destination hassle-free. Best of all, you can save on your holiday when you book your flight and hotel with easyJet holidays.
If Croatia isn’t your thing, have a look at Portugal for further inspiration.