Croatia is a country located in central and southeastern Europe. The country's capital and largest city is Zagreb, a prominent political, economic, cultural and scientific center. Croatia is a member of the European Union, the United Nations and NATO. The official language is Croatian and the currency is the Croatian kuna. The country has a well-developed infrastructure, with good road and rail connections to most major European cities. Croatia's main airport is Zagreb Airport, with other international airports in Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar. Tourism is a significant industry in Croatia, with millions of visitors coming to the country every year. The country's leading tourist destinations are along its Adriatic coast, such as Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar. These cities offer a unique blend of history, culture and natural beauty, with many landmarks, museums and galleries to explore. Croatia's islands are popular tourist destinations, offering a peaceful retreat with beautiful beaches, coves and bays.
- 1. Zagreb
- 2. Split
- 3. Rijeka
- 4. Osijek
- 5. Zadar
- 6. Slavonski Brod
- 7. Pula
- 8. Sesvete
- 9. Karlovac
- 10. Varazdin
- 11. Šibenik
- 12. Sisak
- 13. Velika Gorica
- 14. Vinkovci
- 15. Vukovar
- 16. Dubrovnik
- 17. Bjelovar
- 18. Koprivnica
- What is the best place to visit in Croatia during the summer?
- What is the best place to visit in Croatia during the winter?
- What is the best place to visit in Croatia during Christmas time?
- What is the best time to visit Croatia?
- What should you know before traveling to Croatia?
- What is the best local food to eat in Croatia?
- What are the popular events and festivals in Croatia?
- Is it expensive to visit Croatia?
- Is it cheaper to visit Croatia during Christmas?
Listed below are the top destinations to visit in Croatia.
- Zagreb: Zagreb, Croatia's capital, stands out as a historical and cultural hub. It's known for its rich history, beginning as a free royal town in the 13th century. Key attractions include the Zagreb Cathedral, St. Mark's Church, and the Museum of Broken Relationships. The city's population is around 651,866, covering 641 square km. Zagreb enjoys a continental climate, making spring and fall ideal for visits. A minimum of three days is recommended to explore its attractions.
- Split: Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and is celebrated for its ancient Roman heritage, particularly Diocletian's Palace. It has a population of approximately 178,000 in an area of 79 square km. The city is known for its vibrant old town, Cathedral of Saint Domnius, and Marjan Hill. The best visitation period is late spring to early June. A three-day stay is ideal for a comprehensive exploration.
- Rijeka: Rijeka, as Croatia's third-largest city, is a significant port and industrial center. Its history spans over centuries, including periods under the Byzantine Empire and Austro-Hungarian rule. Attractions include Trsat Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Rijeka has a population of 128,000 and experiences a moderate maritime climate. The city can be fully experienced in 1-2 days.
- Osijek: Osijek is the largest city in Croatia's Slavonia region. It is notable for its baroque architecture and historical significance, particularly under Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rule. Its main attractions include Tvrđa, St. Michael's Church, and the Drava River promenade. With a population of 74,199, Osijek spans 259 square km. The city's climate is continental, and a visit of 3-5 days is recommended.
- Zadar: Zadar, on the Dalmatian coast, is known for its Roman and medieval architecture. Key attractions include the Roman Forum, Sea Organ, and Sun Salutation. The city, with a population of 73,734, covers nearly 200 square km. The climate is Mediterranean, making May to September the best time for a visit. Zadar can be explored thoroughly in 1-2 days.
- Slavonski Brod: Slavonski Brod is situated on the Sava River, Slavonski Brod is an important cultural and economic center in Slavonia. The city, with a history dating back to Roman times, features attractions like Brod Fortress and the Franciscan Monastery. It has a population of 44,208 in an area of 54 square km. The best visitation period is May to September, with 1-2 days sufficient for exploration.
- Pula: Pulla, located on the Istrian peninsula, is known for its Roman amphitheater and rich history as a Roman administrative center. The city's population is approximately 51,296, covering 44 square km. Attractions include ancient ruins and beaches. Pula's climate is Mediterranean, and a 3-5 day visit is ideal for a comprehensive experience.
- Sesvete: Sesvete, as the largest city district of Zagreb, features a mix of industrial and residential areas. Its history dates back to the Middle Ages. Sesvete spans 165 square km and has a population of 69,547 people. Key attractions include Zagreb Zoo and Sesvete Sports Park. The district is best visited from late spring to early fall and can be explored as a day trip from Zagreb.
- Karlovac: Karlovac is a central Croatian city, known as “the city on four rivers,” originated as a Renaissance fortress. It has a population of 41,128 and features attractions like Dubovac Castle and the Korana River. The climate is continental, and Karlovac can be thoroughly explored in 1-2 days.
- Varazdin: Varazdin is situated in northwest Croatia, Varazdin is notable for its Baroque architecture and medieval fortifications. The city, with a population around 41,128, is known for the Old Town (Stari Grad) and King Tomislav Square. The climate is continental, and a 1-2 day visit is sufficient to explore its main attractions.
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city in Croatia. It is located 122 km (76 miles) from the Slovenian border and close to the border with Hungary, along the Sava River, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb is Croatia's prominent political, economic, cultural and scientific center. The city has a rich history dating back to the Roman times, with many historic buildings and landmarks. It sits on the Sava River basin, between the slopes of the Medvednica mountain to the north and the Prigorje region to the south. Zagreb has a long and eventful history. In the 13th century, Zagreb was made a free royal town by King Bela IV and developed into an important center of politics, religion and trade. Croatia lost its independence in 1102, but Zagreb remained its center point and was a focal point for many Croatian institutions. In the 19th century, it became Croatia's political and economic heart. Zagreb continued to develop rapidly during the 20th century, especially after WWII, when it became the capital of the Socialist Republic of Croatia.
Zagreb's main attractions include the Cathedral and Kaptol, the historic Upper Town, St. Mark's Church, the Lotrscak Tower, the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Art Pavilion, Maksimir Park, Jarun Lake and Bundek Lake. The Cathedral and Kaptol are located on a hill and contain many religious buildings, such as the Zagreb Cathedral, the tallest building in Croatia. The Museum of Broken Relationships is an unusual museum that displays mementos from ended relationships. The Art Pavilion hosts many exhibitions, while green areas like Maksimir Park offer a respite. Lakes like Jarun and Bundek are popular leisure spots.
Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, has a population of around 651,866 people in the town proper. It covers an area of 641 square km (247 square miles) and has an altitude of 122 meters (400 feet) above sea level. The Upper Town is at 158 meters (518 feet) and the highest point is the peak of Medvednica Mountain at 1,035 meters (3,396 feet). The GPS coordinates for Zagreb are 45.8150° N and 15.9819° E. The nearest international airport to Zagreb is Zagreb Airport, located 17 km (11 miles) southeast of the city center. The closest national capital to Zagreb is Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, which lies 136 km (85 miles) to the northwest. Other nearby means include Belgrade (Serbia), which is 358 km (223 miles) away and Budapest (Hungary), which is 348 km (216 miles) from Zagreb.
Visitors can fly into Zagreb Airport and take a bus, taxi or rental car to the city center. The city also has good railway connections to most major European cities, with a train station in the city center. Frequent bus routes connect Zagreb to places around Croatia and international destinations and the central bus station is also centrally located.
The best time to visit Zagreb is April through June and September through October when the weather is mild and sunny. Summers can get quite hot, while winters are cold with possible snow, so spring and fall are ideal seasons. To explore Zagreb's top attractions, it is recommended that visitors stay for at least three full days. However, if visitors have more time, they could also take day trips to nearby places like Samobor town or Plitvice Lakes National Park while still having enough time to explore Zagreb thoroughly.
Split is Croatia's second-largest city and the Dalmatia region's largest city. Split is situated on a peninsula between the Adriatic Sea and the Bay of Kaštela, with the Marjan hill overlooking the city. Split is known for its history dating back to Roman times when Emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace here, which makes up much of what is now Split's old town. The history of Split dates back over 1,700 years. In 295 AD, the Roman emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace in the center of Split, modeling it on Roman fortified camps. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, refugees settled within the palace walls for protection, forming the foundations of medieval Split. In the following centuries, Split fell under the rule of the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Croatia, the Republic of Venice and later the Habsburg Monarchy.
Top attractions in Split include Diocletian's Palace, the UNESCO World Heritage site taking up much of the old town with Roman ruins like the Peristyle courtyard and underground cellars to explore. Cathedral of Saint Domnius, which features a bell tower offering panoramic views over Split. The Riva seaside promenade lined with palm trees is famous for strolling and people-watching, with ferries connecting Split to nearby islands docked here. Marjan Hill overlooking Split provides trails through nature and superb views from Vidilica Cafe. Other top sites are the Meštrović Gallery, showcasing works by the famous Croatian sculptor and the Archaeological Museum, filled with ancient artifacts.
Split is a beautiful city on a peninsula extending into the Adriatic Sea, with a population of around 178,000 residents and an area of 79 square km (30 square miles). The greater Split metropolitan area has a population of 147,181 people. Split is situated on the eastern Adriatic coastline, with numerous offshore islands. The nearby Mosor mountain range reaches 1,339 meters at its highest point. The GPS coordinates for Split are 43.5147° N, 16.4435° E. The nearest airport to Split is Split Airport, which is 20 km (12 miles) west of the city center. One of the quickest ways to arrive in Split is by flying into Split Airport and taking the airport shuttle bus into the city center. Split's train station in the city center has connections to destinations around Croatia and Europe, making it a convenient option for travelers.
The best time to visit Split is from late April to early June, when the summer crowds have yet to arrive and the weather is sunny and pleasant without intense heat or humidity. Three full days are ideal for seeing the top attractions in Split correctly, exploring its old town and relaxing at cafes or beaches. This allows enough time for sites like Diocletian's Palace, Marjan Hill, the Riva promenade and more to be at a comfortable pace without rushing.
Rijeka is a port city in western Croatia on the northern Adriatic Sea. The city population is 128,000, it is Croatia's third-largest city and serves as a central transportation hub and industrial center. Rijeka has a history dating back to ancient times when it was a Tarsatica settlement. Rijeka is in western Croatia, 90 km (56 miles) southwest of Zagreb's capital. In later centuries, the area was settled by Croats and came under the control of varying rulers, including feudal lords, the Frankopan princes and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Rijeka was proclaimed a free port in 1719, which drove much trade and prosperity. Rijeka emerged as an industrial center and major port in socialist Yugoslavia, though it declined with the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s.
Top attractions and sites to see in Rijeka include Trsat Castle, an ancient hilltop fortress with sweeping views of the Kvarner Gulf; the iconic City Tower and the Korzo, Rijeka's main pedestrian street lined with Habsburg-era buildings, St. Vitus Cathedral, an impressive 17th-century Baroque church; the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral, chronicling Rijeka's maritime past; the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art featuring works by renowned Croatian artists; Rijeka City Market where locals shop amid 19th-century pavilions; and the Ivan Zajc Croatian National Theatre, built in 1885 and hosting events to this day.
Rijeka has a moderate maritime climate with influences from the sea and mountains. One of the most popular options is to fly into Rijeka Airport on Krk Island and then take the airport bus transfer into the city center. Another option is to take the train to Rijeka Railway Station, with connections across Croatia and Europe. The best time to visit Rijeka is from late spring to early fall, roughly May through September when sunny weather prevails. July and August are peak seasons with many cultural events and festivals but more crowds and higher prices. Rijeka's main attractions could be seen in just 1-2 days, allowing 3-5 days to let visitors experience the city at a more relaxed pace without rushing. It also provides time for day trips to beautiful destinations like Opatija, Plitvice Lakes National Park or Krk Island.
Osijek is a city located on the Drava River in eastern Croatia. It is Croatia's fourth largest city and Slavonia region's largest city. Osijek is an essential economic, cultural and educational center of eastern Croatia. It has a long history dating back to Roman times, with influences from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Osijek is a city with baroque architecture, museums, parks, a university and lively cafe culture. Osijek is situated in eastern Croatia, 90 km (56 miles) north of Bosnia and Herzegovina and about 90 km (56 miles) east of the Croatian capital Zagreb. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Osijek was under Ottoman rule and was almost destroyed. After liberation by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1687, the city was rebuilt with new fortifications, public buildings, churches and infrastructure. Osijek later developed into one of Croatia's largest and most prosperous cities during the 19th century.
Top attractions in Osijek include Tvrđa, the well-preserved 18th-century baroque fortress town with cobblestone streets, churches like St. Michael's Church and St. Peter and St. Paul Co-Cathedral, museums such as the Museum of Slavonia and Archaeological Museum, parks like King Tomislav Park along the Drava River, the 19th century National Theatre and sights from the Homeland War like the iconic “Red Fico” monument. Osijek also features lovely Secession architecture along European Avenue, a famous promenade for strolling along the Drava River and the nearby Kopacki Rit Nature Park.
The population of Osijek is around 74,199 within the city limits. Osijek covers 259 square km (100 square miles) of space. It lies at an altitude of 325 feet (99 meters) above sea level on relatively flat terrain along the right bank of the Drava River, around 25 miles (40 km) upstream from where the Drava flows into the Danube. Osijek has a humid continental climate and four distinct seasons. The GPS coordinates for Osijek are 45.5550° N and 18.6955° E. Some of the most popular and convenient ways to reach Osijek include flying into Osijek Airport, taking ground transportation into the city center and driving to Osijek via highways from Zagreb or international routes.
The best time to visit Osijek is From May to September, late spring through early autumn. Osijek's top sights could be seen over a weekend, allowing 3 to 5 days to let visitors explore the city's sights, culture, food and surrounding region unhurriedly.
Zadar is a historic city on Croatia's Dalmatian coast along the Adriatic Sea. It is the oldest inhabited Croatian city and serves as northern Dalmatia's cultural, economic and historical center. Zadar has ancient roots dating back over 3,000 years to the Illyrian times. It features an old town full of Roman and medieval architecture, such as churches, historic gates and ruins. It sits on a small peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic Sea, surrounded by several larger islands. Zadar's old town occupies the peninsula's tip, with more modern areas spreading onto the mainland to the southeast.
Zadar has an exceptionally long, rich history spanning over three millennia. It was initially home to an ancient Illyrian settlement before being taken over by the Romans in the 1st century BC.
Zadar's top attractions include its Roman Forum ruins with St. Donatus Church and the grand Cathedral of St. Anastasia in the old town. The unique Sea Organ and Sun Salutation art installations draw visitors to the waterfront. Also popular are the Land Gate and city walls, the Museum of Ancient Glass showcasing Roman glassware, Five Wells Square and the lively People's Square lined with cafes.
The population of the City of Zadar is around 73,734 residents. It covers an area of just under 200 square km (77 square miles). Zadar's old town sits on a small peninsula surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. The site has a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The GPS coordinates for Zadar, Croatia, are 44.1194° N and 15.2314° E. The closest airport to Zadar Airport is 9 km (6 miles) from the city center. The nearest capital city is Zagreb, located about 256 km (159 miles) to the northeast. The driving distance by car from Zadar to Zagreb along the A1 highway is around 3 hours.
The best time to visit Zadar is late spring, summer and early fall, from May to September, when sunny weather prevails. This allows enjoyment of Zadar's outdoor cafes, coastal settings and attractions without peak summer's intense heat or crowds.
Zadar's top sites can be seen in 1-2 days, allowing 3-5 days to experience the city more relaxed without rushing, including its cafes, museums and atmosphere.
6. Slavonski Brod
Slavonski Brod is located on the Sava River in eastern Croatia, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city is Croatia's seventh-largest city and an important economic and cultural center of the Slavonia region. Slavonski Brod is situated in eastern Croatia, 122 km (76 miles) southeast of the capital, Zagreb and about 95 km (59 miles) north of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies on the Sava River basin at 92 meters (302 feet) above sea level. The city's favorable position on the Sava River helped it develop as a strategic crossing point and transportation hub between Central Europe and the Balkans. Its border location has also impacted Slavonski Brod through the centuries during times of conflict.
Slavonski Brod has an eventful history spanning over 2,000 years. The area was first settled during the Roman Empire when a town called Marsonia existed. Slavic tribes later inhabited the region in the 6th century AD. Over the following centuries, Slavonski Brod came under the control of varying rulers like medieval kings, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was bombed heavily during World War II.
Some top attractions in Slavonski Brod include the 18th-century Brod Fortress, an impressive star-shaped fortress. The Franciscan Monastery and Church date to the same era and features ornate Baroque architecture and a library with ancient books. There is also the Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Square, the large central town square and museums like the City Museum and Gallery Brod. Places for scenic strolls include the Sava River promenade. The area around Slavonski Brod also offers natural sites like the wetlands of Kopački Rit Nature Park.
The population of Slavonski Brod is around 44,208 within the city limits. Slavonski Brod covers 54 square km (21 square miles) in the flat plains between the Sava and Drava Rivers. The GPS coordinates for Slavonski Brod are 45.1631° N and 18.0116° E. The nearest airport is Zagreb Airport, located 122 km (76 miles) northwest of Slavonski Brod. The closest capital city is Zagreb, situated 197 km (122 miles) to the northwest.
One of the most common ways to get there is by flying into Zagreb Airport and taking the train or bus for the onward journey, which takes about 2 hours. Another option is to drive to Slavonski Brod via highways like the A3 motorway that connects the city to Zagreb and other destinations across Croatia and Europe.
The best time to visit Slavonski Brod is from May to September. Late spring through early autumn is considered when sunny weather allows for enjoying attractions like Brod Fortress or riverfront strolls at their finest. Summers can get hot, while winters are cold with occasional snowfall. Slavonski Brod's top sites can be seen in just 1-2 days, allowing 3-5 days lets visitors explore at a more relaxed pace without rushing, including attractions like Brod Fortress, the Franciscan Monastery and scenic spots along the Sava River.
Pula is a port city on Croatia's Istrian peninsula along the Adriatic Sea. Pula is situated in western Croatia's southern tip of the Istrian peninsula. It occupies a small peninsula jutting into the Adriatic Sea, which leads to the sheltered harbor that has supported Pula's naval and commercial shipping activities for centuries. The city faces a group of small islands to the south, while the countryside north of Pula consists of fertile valleys, hills and woodlands leading into central Istria's “green heart”.
Pula has over 3,000 years of rich and varied history. An Illyrian tribe initially settled it called the Histri and later became an essential outpost of the Roman Empire from the 1st century BC. As “Pola”, it served as a critical trading port and naval base as well as the administrative center of Istria province under the Romans. Many temples, an arena, public baths, gates and other buildings date from this period, including the magnificent amphitheater constructed under Emperor Vespasian that still stands today.
The city of Pula has a population of around 51,296 residents within its administrative area. It covers 44 square km (44 square miles) of Croatia's western side of the Istrian peninsula. The landscape around Pula is typically Mediterranean, with azure waters meeting a rugged shoreline interspersed with coves and beaches. Inland from the city lie fertile valleys, rolling hills and dense oak forests. Pula Airport is the nearest airport to Pula, located 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Pula city center. The closest national capital is Zagreb, located 256 km (159 miles) to the northeast. The driving distance by car from Pula to Zagreb along the motorway is about 3 hours.
One of the easiest ways to get to Pula is by flying into Pula Airport, which has an airport bus going directly to the city center in just 15 minutes. Another option is driving to Pula via the Istrian Y highway from Slovenia, Italy or Zagreb. The best time to visit Pula is generally from April to October. Spring and early fall offer mild temperatures ideal for sightseeing in Pula's outdoor attractions while avoiding the intense heat and peak crowds of mid-summer. Pula's top sites can be seen in just 1-2 days, allowing 3-5 days to experience the city more relaxed without rushing, including its ancient ruins, Austrian architecture, museums, beaches and cafes.
Sesvete is the easternmost and largest city district of Zagreb, Croatia's capital and largest city. Sesvete developed from a series of villages into a significant suburb and industrial center of Zagreb. It contains a mix of residential neighborhoods, commercial areas and green spaces today. The district has good transportation connections to central Zagreb via rail and road. It features several large factories and industrial parks that provide employment. Sesvete has a history dating back to the Middle Ages when it was just a series of rural villages. The name Sesvete was first recorded in the 14th century. For most of its early history, Sesvete was agricultural land worked by local farmers and peasants under the administration of the Zagreb cathedral chapter and various noble families. After World War II, Sesvete experienced rapid growth and urbanization as part of Zagreb's sprawl to the east. Factories opened, residential areas were built and the population grew steadily.
Sesvete has a few attractions worth seeing. The most popular is the Zagreb Zoo, located on the western edge of the city district. Another highlight is the Sesvete Sports Park, which contains a soccer stadium, swimming pool and several sports halls. The city district also features two large green spaces—Blaguša Park and Božidar Adžija Park—that provide recreation opportunities. The Sesvete Museum exhibits local archeology and history. Visitors can also explore Sesvete's Medieval fortress and Old Sesvete village to see traditional life and architecture examples.
Sesvete has a population is over 69,547, making it the most populated of Zagreb's districts. Since World War II, it has experienced steady population growth as its villages urbanized into suburbs. Sesvete covers 165 square kilometers, from the edge of Zagreb to the Sava River valley in the south and the forests north of the city.
The GPS coordinates for Sesvete are 45.8272° N and 16.1113° E. This places the city district at the eastern edge of Zagreb, Croatia's capital.
The nearest major international airport to Sesvete is Zagreb Airport, about 20 km (12 miles) to the southwest. As the easternmost district of the Zagreb metro area, Sesvete is directly connected to Croatia's capital city. Downtown Zagreb is 10 km (6 miles) west of central Sesvete. Most visitors reach the city district by rental car, taking the A3 motorway from Zagreb International Airport to the east exiting at Sesvete. You can also take public transportation; the #226 bus line connects the Croatia Bus Station in central Zagreb with Sesvete Center in about 30 minutes.
The best time to visit Sesvete is in late spring, summer and early fall when the weather is warm and sunny. Months like May, June, July, August and September see average high temperatures around 24-27°C (75-80°F), which are comfortable conditions for exploring the area. Sesvete can easily be seen as a day trip from Zagreb. Most visitors spend 1-2 days exploring the area as part of a more extended stay in the capital city region.
Karlovac is located in central Croatia, southwest of Zagreb's capital. It sits at the confluence of four rivers – Kupa, Korana, Mrežnica and Dobra, hence its nickname “the city on four rivers”. It originated in 1579 as a six-pointed Renaissance fortress commissioned by the Habsburgs to guard their military frontier against Ottoman advances. The fort formed the basis of a settlement that grew into a regional center of trade, transportation and industry between Zagreb and Croatia's coastal regions. Today, Karlovac retains much of its historic old town but is also a modern hub focused on manufacturing, food production and timber processing.
Karlovac is in central Croatia, about 55 km (34 miles) southwest of Zagreb. It sits in a valley carved by the Kupa River at the edge of the Pannonian Basin, where it meets the Dinaric Alps. Karlovac is surrounded by low forested mountains and linked via major roads and rail lines to Zagreb, Rijeka and Split on the Adriatic Coast. Karlovac originated in 1579 when the Habsburgs constructed a new six-pointed star fortress to defend their empire against Ottoman invasion. It was named after Archduke Charles II of Austria. The fort attracted settlers and developed into a market town. It withstood several Ottoman sieges during the 16th and 17th centuries. After 1693, the threat declined and defensive walls were torn down to allow expansion.
Karlovac, a city in central Croatia, boasts several attractions and landmarks to explore. The Old Town historic center has a Renaissance layout and buildings like Holy Trinity Church, Dubovac Castle – a 13th-century castle on a hill above town with a museum and restaurant, Karlovac City Museum, Korana Rive, Homeland War Museum, Beer Fountain with Karlovačko Brewery beer, Confluence lookout point of 4 rivers, Zorin Dom Theater and concerts and Medieval Frankopan Tower ruin are some of the top attractions and landmarks that one can visit and explore in Karlovac.
Karlovac has a population of around 41,128 residents. The GPS coordinates pinpointing the center of Karlovac, Croatia, are approximately 45.4929° N, 15.5553° E. The nearest international airport is Zagreb Airport, about 67 km (42 miles) southwest of downtown Karlovac. Croatia's capital and largest city, Zagreb, is around 55 km (34 miles) northeast of central Karlovac. Most visitors arrive by rental car/taxi, taking the A1 Motorway directly from Zagreb International Airport in just over 30 minutes. Another option is the local commuter trains, which run frequently daily between Zagreb and Karlovac's central train station in about 50 minutes.
The best time to visit Karlovac is late spring through early autumn, which are considered peak seasons. Months like May, June, September and October see average highs around 18-24 °C (65-75°F), ideal for strolling the old town district or exploring Karlovac's riverside nature spots. Karlovac can be seen in 1-2 days. Its compact old town and top sites like Dubovac Castle can be seen for a full day. Allowing a second day gives you more time to relax at Korana River beaches, take a bike ride, enjoy parks and museums or visit nearby wineries.
Varazdin is located in northwest Croatia's continental region, north of Zagreb. It serves as the county seat and largest city of Varazdin County. Varazdin has developed on the Drava River and at the base of the Ivanscica mountain range. It features well-preserved medieval fortifications and Baroque architecture in its old town center, leading to its being known as “Little Vienna”. Varazdin is located in northwest Croatia's continental region, on the Drava River about 81 km (50 miles) northeast of Zagreb and 15 km (9 miles) from the Croatian-Hungarian border.
Varazdin's history traces back to the 12th century, when it was first mentioned as a fortified castle in 1181. King Andrew II declared it a free royal borough in 1209, allowing Varazdin to develop into an important military, economic and cultural center over the following centuries. During the 16th century, it evolved into a critical fortress defending Croatia's northern frontier. Although the capital moved back to Zagreb, Varazdin was rebuilt and expanded with graceful Baroque architecture during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Some top sites include the Old Town (Stari Grad), a preserved medieval fortress with Gothic-Renaissance architecture that houses the City Museum. King Tomislav Square is the city's central plaza and features the historic Baroque Town Hall, while the Baroque palaces and mansions, such as Sermage Palace and Patačić Palace, are also worth a visit. Other must-see sites include the Varazdin Cathedral, Franciscan Church and Monastery, Croatian National Theater and Concert Hall, Gallery of Old and Modern Masters art museum and the Zagreb County Museum.
Varazdin has an estimated population of around 35,546 residents. Varazdin features a moderate continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. The Drava River runs along the southern edge of the city. Varazdin is an economic and transportation hub for northwest Croatia and counties like Međimurje. The GPS coordinates for central Varazdin, Croatia, are 46.3057° N and 16.3366° E. Varazdin is about 81 km (50 miles) northeast of Zagreb. The nearest major international airport is Zagreb Airport, approximately 67 km (42 miles) southwest of downtown Varazdin. Varazdin is about 15 km (9 miles) East of Croatia's border with Hungary. The most convenient way to reach Varazdin is by rental car or rideshare service, taking the A4 motorway from Zagreb International Airport directly east. Varazdin's train station connects with Zagreb's Main Train Station via a regional line, taking 2-3 hours.
The best times to visit Varazdin are late spring through early autumn, especially May, June, September and early October are the best times to visit Varazdin. Summers are warm, with average highs around 24°C (75°F), perfect for strolling the old town.
Varazdin can be seen in just a single day, but 2-3 days allow visitors to see more at a more leisurely pace. In one full day, you could explore the compact old town district, view the top sights like the Stari Grad fortress and the Baroque Square, visit a museum or two and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Šibenik is a historic coastal city located in central Dalmatia, Croatia. It sits at the mouth of the Krka River and Šibenik Bay, along the Adriatic Sea. Šibenik is known for its well-preserved medieval core and historic fortifications like the UNESCO-listed St. James’ Cathedral and St. Michael’s Fortress. Today, it continues to be a commercial, administrative and cultural center of the region while focusing more on tourism. Šibenik also serves as a gateway to the nearby Krka National Park. Šibenik is situated in central Dalmatia, along Croatia’s Adriatic coastline. It sits about 43 km (27 miles) north of Split and 90 km (56 miles) south of Zadar.
Šibenik’s history dates back over a thousand years. It was first mentioned in 1066 as an established town but initially was just a settlement. Control over Šibenik frequently shifted between Venice, Hungary and Byzantine powers. The city prospered as part of the Venetian Republic and became the seat of the local diocese. After Venice fell, Šibenik was occupied by various forces before joining Yugoslavia in 1918. It was heavily damaged during World War II. Since Croatia’s independence, Šibenik emerged as an industrial and increasingly tourist-oriented city. One of the top attractions is St. James' Cathedral, a UNESCO-listed church famous for its stone dome and ornate stone carvings. Another must-see landmark is St. Michael's Fortress, a sprawling fort with four terraces that offers stunning views of Šibenik and the sea. For those interested in local history and culture, the Šibenik City Museum is a must-visit. Visitors can also explore St. Nicholas Fortress at the sea entrance to Šibenik Bay and nearby Krka National Park.
Šibenik has a population of around 30564 residents. The historic part of Šibenik lies on a narrow peninsula bordered by the Krka River and various channels. The GPS coordinates pinpointing the center of Šibenik are 43.7350° N, 15.8952° E. This places Croatia's Šibenik along the Dalmatian coastline at 43°43'48” North, 15°54'0″ East. The nearest international airport to Šibenik is Split Airport, located 43 km (27 miles) to the south. Šibenik is a 90 km (56 miles) driving distance from Zadar to the North. The national capital, Zagreb, is around 300 km (186 miles) away. Most visitors reach Šibenik by rental car or bus, taking the Adriatic motorway south from Zadar or north from Split. The drive from either city is around an hour.
The best times to visit Šibenik are late spring, summer and early fall, especially May, June, September and October. Average temperatures range from 15-27°C (60-80°F), comfortable for exploring Šibenik's outdoor sights. Šibenik can be seen in 2-3 days. Its Old Town and top attractions like St. James' Cathedral can be seen in 1-2 days. Allowing a 3rd day gives time to relax or travel to Krka National Park.
Sisak is an industrial city in central Croatia, about 57 km (35 miles) southeast of the capital, Zagreb, on the confluence of the Kupa, Odra and Sava Rivers. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times due to its location on important trade routes. Sisak emerged as a significant Roman settlement called Siscia, the capital of the Pannonia province. In the Middle Ages, Sisak was contested between regional powers like the Kingdom of Croatia and the Ottoman Empire. It remains an important river port and industrial center, especially for oil refining and metallurgy. The city features a well-preserved historic core from the 18th to 19th centuries after much of it was destroyed in the 16th century.
Sisak offers an array of attractions and landmarks for visitors to explore. Some notable interests in Sisak include the Old Town Sisak with Stari Most Bridge, the Baroque St. Mary's Church and the Sisak Fortress. Sisak Cathedral, the most enormous in Croatia, is also a tourist must-see attraction. The remains of the Roman town of Siscia, including the forum, temples and necropolis, can be explored by history enthusiasts. Art lovers can visit the Galerija Striegl, a modern art gallery featuring contemporary works of art. The Sisak Summer Carnival, held annually in June, is a famous festival that offers visitors a glimpse into the city's culture and traditions.
Sisak has a population of around 27365 residents. The city is located in the Pannonian Basin and on the edge of the Dinaric Alps foothills. Sisak serves as an essential transport and economic hub for central Croatia. Sisak's GPS coordinates are 45.4851° N and 16.3731° E. The nearest international airport is Zagreb Airport, about 57 km (35 miles) northwest of downtown Sisak. Croatia's capital, Zagreb, sits 90 km (56 miles) northwest of Sisak. Most visitors reach Sisak by rental car, bus or train. It sits right along the A11 motorway, about an hour's drive southeast of Zagreb Airport.
The best times for visiting Sisak are late spring through early fall, especially in May, June, September and October. Summers are generally hot, around 27°C (80°F). Sisak can be seen in 1-2 days. Sisak is an industrial city with limited significant tourist sights, making it ideal for a quick day or weekend trip.
13. Velika Gorica
Velika Gorica is located in Zagreb County in central Croatia, about 18 km (11 miles) south of the capital Zagreb. Velika Gorica has good transportation links with Zagreb and serves partly as a commuter town. It features a historic old town center, modern suburbs and industrial zones. The city has increased since the 1960s as Zagreb expanded. Velika Gorica has a long history dating back to the 13th century when a local nobleman built the Old Town fortification. Over the following centuries, it was controlled by regional powers like the Habsburgs and Ottoman Empire. Velika Gorica remained a modest town until experiencing rapid expansion after World War II. Its population boomed starting in the 1960s as the Zagreb area grew. Farmland quickly transformed into housing areas and factories.
Some top attractions in Velika Gorica include the old town nucleus with the Gothic St. Martin’s Church and ancient fortification, the Turopolje Museum exhibiting local ethnography and traditions, the Mansion Patačić-Puttar for cultural events, recreation opportunities like Lake Čiče for swimming and fishing, the annual Turopolje Jurjevo fair celebrating local heritage and Pleso Airport for planespotting. The city also serves as a base to explore Zagreb County highlights like medieval castles and natural areas.
Velika Gorica has a population of over 29,504 residents, similar to historic coastal cities like Zadar or Šibenik. Velika Gorica mainly contains urban neighborhoods, industrial zones and some farmland. The historic part lies in a lowland basin surrounded by wooded hills. The GPS coordinates pinpointing the center of Velika Gorica are 45.7142° N and 16.0752° E. Zagreb International Airport, is located just 8 km (5 miles) west of central Velika Gorica. Meanwhile, downtown Zagreb sits about 18 km (11 miles) north. The best way to reach Velika Gorica is by renting a car, bus or train from Zagreb. The A11 motorway, frequent inter-city buses and commuter railway lines connect the city to Zagreb's center.
The best weather for visiting Velika GoriLate spring through early autumn provides ca and enjoying outdoor sights. High temperatures average around 24°C (75°F) from May-September. Velika Gorica can be seen on a single day or weekend trip. Top attractions in the old town area include the fortification, church and museum, which can be covered in a few hours. Having a second day allows more time to relax at Lake Čiče, explore suburbs like Mičevec or even take a side trip into Zagreb County for sights like medieval castles. As a compact city, Velika Gorica works well as an easy day or weekend trip from Zagreb.
Vinkovci is located in the Vukovar-Srijem County of eastern Croatia. Vinkovci dates back to the Neolithic period and grew to prominence as a Roman colony called Colonia Aurelia Cibalae. Evidence of Neolithic settlements has been found in the Vinkovci area for over 8,000 years. It emerged as an important town called Colonia Aurelia Cibalae when the Romans conquered the region in the 1st century AD. Positioned on the road between the Sava and Drava Rivers, Roman Cibalae prospered for centuries but was eventually destroyed. The town was later rebuilt and controlled by various empires, such as the Byzantines, Ottoman Empire and Habsburgs. It continued to develop as a regional military stronghold and trade center. Vinkovci was modernized in the 19th century but damaged during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s before emerging revitalized.
Vinkovci is a city in Croatia that offers a variety of attractions. Some of the top attractions in the town include Roman ruins such as Cibalae's old forum, temples, necropolis and museums. St. Euzebius and Polion Church's 90-meter bell tower is also a must-see attraction. Visitors can also explore the baroque buildings and palaces around the central square. Vinkovci Municipal Museum is home to an extensive ethnographic collection, while The House of Changes is an interactive science museum that will fascinate children and adults.
Vinkovci has a population of around 29,504 residents. Vinkovci has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. The Bosut River runs along the southern part of the city, while farms and vineyards make up much of the outskirts. The GPS coordinates pinpointing the center of Vinkovci are 45.2879° N, 18.8057° E. The nearest international airport is Osijek Airport, located 60 km (37 miles) south of downtown Vinkovci. Croatia's capital, Zagreb, is about 208 km (129 miles) west of Vinkovci. Most visitors reach Vinkovci by rental car/bus via the A3 motorway, taking exit 18 to get to the city in just over 3 hours from Zagreb. Inter-city buses also connect Vinkovci to critical towns in Croatia and Serbia.
The best time to visit Vinkovci is Late spring through early autumn, which provides the best weather, with average temperatures ideal for comfortable sightseeing. Key annual events also occur from May to September, like the Vinkovačke Jeseni festival spanning September to October. Vinkovci can be seen in 1-2 days. Allowing a second day provides more time to relax, visit museums, explore suburbs or attend a festival event. As a small city, Vinkovci offers limited tourist highlights, making it ideal for a quick day or weekend trip.
Vukovar is located in eastern Croatia on the Danube River, close to the border with Serbia. Its location on the Danube has been vital for trade and transport connections. Vukovar has road and river access west towards Zagreb and east into neighboring Serbia. Vukovar's history traces back to at least the 10th century when the Kingdom of Hungary mentioned it as a town called Valkóvár. It later developed as an important river port and market town named Vukovar in the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia. Control over Vukovar shifted between regional powers like the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. In 1918, Vukovar became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During World War II, it was occupied by Axis forces and annexed by Hungary before being liberated in 1945.
Some of the main attractions include the iconic Vukovar Water Tower that symbolizes the city's resilience, the 18th-century Eltz Castle situated on the banks of the Danube, the Franciscan Monastery and Church, the Vukovar Municipal Museum exhibiting local history, the Vučedol Culture Museum showcasing ancient artifacts and the Danube riverfront promenade and beaches. Vukovar has a population of around 21861. It sits on the Danube River, which flows along the southern part of the city and serves as an international border. The GPS coordinates pinpointing the center of Vukovar are approximately 45.3452° N, 19.0010° E. The nearest international airport is Osijek Airport, located 60 km (37 miles) south of downtown Vukovar. Croatia's capital, Zagreb, sits about 204 km (127 miles) driving distance west of central Vukovar.
Most visitors reach Vukovar by rental car or bus, taking major highways east from Zagreb or south from Osijek. Another option is arriving via the Danube River cruise. Once in Vukovar, the town center and top attractions can be easily explored on foot. Biking or local buses provide access to outer neighborhoods. The best time to visit Vukovar is late spring through early autumn, which provides the best weather, with average temperatures ideal for comfortable sightseeing. Vukovar can be seen in 1-2 days. As a small city rebuilding after the war, Vukovar offers a limited number of tourist highlights compared to coastal Croatia.
Dubrovnik, also known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, is a historic walled city on Croatia's Dalmatian coast. It is one of Croatia's most prominent tourist destinations, rich in history and cultural heritage. Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century and became an essential maritime power in the Mediterranean by the Late Middle Ages. The Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture of palaces, churches, monasteries and fountains within the walls create a splendid sight. Dubrovnik is located 218 kilometers (135 miles) southeast of Split and 310 kilometers (193 miles) southeast of the capital Zagreb.
The history of Dubrovnik dates back over 1,300 years. It was founded in the 7th century as a Byzantine settlement named Ragusa. Over the centuries, it came under the sovereignty of powers like Venice and the Kingdom of Hungary. By the 1200s, Ragusa had evolved into the Republic of Ragusa, an independent merchant republic and maritime power. However, a catastrophic earthquake in 1667 and Napoleon ending the republic in 1808 led to decline. The city was later part of Yugoslavia before war broke out in 1991 with Croatia's independence. Dubrovnik was besieged and damaged during the Croatian War of Independence but has since been repaired.
Dubrovnik is a popular tourist destination that offers various landmarks and attractions. Some of the top attractions include the City Walls, fortified walls encircling the old town, offering stunning views. Stradun is a marble-paved main street running through the ancient city. The Rector's Palace showcases elegant Gothic architecture. The Dubrovnik Cathedral and Treasury houses relics like a fragment of the True Cross. Fort Lovrijenac is a medieval fortress that hosts theater performances in summer. The War Photo Limited is a museum/gallery that exhibits war photography. The Cable car ride provides panoramic views of Dubrovnik and the sea.
Dubrovnik has a population of around 26445. It features a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The historic old town center sits on a rocky peninsula protruding into the Adriatic Sea. The GPS coordinates pinpointing Dubrovnik's old town district are 42.6507° N and 18.0944° E. Dubrovnik Airport is about 22 km (14 miles) southeast of the old town district. Croatia's capital, Zagreb, sits over 310 km (193 miles) driving distance to the northwest of Dubrovnik. Most visitors reach Dubrovnik by airplane, landing at Dubrovnik International Airport just southeast of the city in Čilipi. The airport is on flights from across Europe. Buses run frequently from the airport to Dubrovnik's old town, taking around 40 minutes. Other options for getting to Dubrovnik include driving or taking a bus from nearby cities like Split.
The best time to visit Dubrovnik is from late April to early October when average temperatures are comfortable for exploring, around 18-27°C (65-80°F). The summer months also bring cultural festivals and events. Most visitors spend 2-3 days exploring Dubrovnik, which allows enough time to see the top sites. Three full days allow extra day trips to nearby islands and villages for a more complete Dubrovnik experience.
Bjelovar is located in central Croatia, about 50 km (31 miles) north of Zagreb's capital. Bjelovar is located in the Pannonian Basin of inland Croatia, about 50 km (31 miles) north of Zagreb on the Bilogora River. Its central location between major Croatian cities has aided its growth. Bjelovar is connected via highways and railways to Zagreb and cities like Virovitica, Koprivnica and Križevci. The town is about 60 km (37 miles) from the Hungarian border. Bjelovar emerged in the 14th century but only developed into a substantial settlement when the Habsburg Empire made it a regional military headquarters in the 18th century. They constructed new Baroque-style buildings, streets and infrastructure. This growth continued into the 19th century. Today, Bjelovar is a commercial and cultural hub known for its food production, chemical and construction material industries, trade fairs and events like the Bjelovar Fair.
One of the most popular is Central King Tomislav Square, which features stunning Baroque, Secessionist and Art Nouveau buildings. Another must-see is the Cathedral of St. Theresa, a neo-Gothic church built in the 19th century. The Ethnographic Museum displays traditional costumes and crafts, while the Gallery of Fine Arts showcases works by Croatian artists. Visitors can also relax in Terezijana, a park and promenade along the Bilogora River or attend events like the Bjelovar Fair trade shows.
Bjelovar has a population of around 23,959. The Bilogora River runs through the city, while the terrain is mainly flat agricultural land. As the seat of Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Bjelovar is an essential economic and cultural hub for inland central Croatia. The GPS coordinates pinpointing the center of Bjelovar are 45.8988° N, 16.8423° E. The nearest international airport is Zagreb Airport, about 85 km (53 miles) southwest of downtown Bjelovar. Croatia's capital, Zagreb, is 50 km (31 miles) south of central Bjelovar. Most visitors reach Bjelovar by rental car or bus, taking the A12 motorway north and east from Zagreb Airport and going directly to the city in under an hour. Another option is the local trains, which connect Bjelovar to Zagreb Main Station several times daily.
The best time to visit Bjelovar is late spring through early autumn, especially May, June, September and October. Winters can be bitterly cold, while summers are hot. Visiting during shoulder seasons means missing the peak summer crowds. Bjelovar can be seen in 1-2 days. Its downtown and top sites like the Cathedral, museums and central square can be covered in a single day. Allowing a second day gives more time to relax, ride a bike or visit nearby villages.
Koprivnica is located in northwest Croatia's Podravina region. It grew into an important trade and military stronghold, with fortifications and a Renaissance layout still in the historic core today. Koprivnica is located in the fertile plains of northwest Croatia's Podravina region, about 90 km (56 miles) driving distance northeast of Zagreb. It has a continental climate and is connected via highways and rail lines to other cities in Croatia. Koprivnica was first mentioned as a settlement in 1272 but gained importance when King Ludovic I declared it a free royal borough in 1356. Control over Koprivnica shifted between regional powers like the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. In the 16th century, Renaissance walls and towers were constructed around the town center. After the 17th century, the threat declined and walls were demolished to allow expansion. Koprivnica boasts several top attractions and landmarks worth visiting. These include the central Zrinski Square, the Town Museum and the Church and Monastery of the Franciscan Third Order. Other notable places of interest include the birthhouse of Croatian writer Antun Nemčić Gostovinski, the Drava River promenade and cultural events like the Podravski Motivi festival celebrating folklore traditions.
Koprivnica has a population of around 21868. The terrain is mainly flat farmland dotted with small forests. The Drava River flows along the southern edge of Koprivnica. As the administrative capital, Koprivnica is an economic and cultural focal point. The GPS coordinates pinpointing the center of Koprivnica are 46.1639° N, 16.8335° E. The nearest international airport is Zagreb Airport, about 90 km (56 miles) southwest of downtown Koprivnica. Meanwhile, Croatia's capital, Zagreb, is 90 km (56 miles) from the southwest. Most visitors reach Koprivnica by rental car or bus, taking highways northeast from Zagreb and going directly to the city in just over an hour. Another option is the local trains connecting Koprivnica to Zagreb Main Station several times daily.
The best time to visit late spring through early autumn, especially May, June, September and October, which provide pleasant weather for exploring Koprivnica. Visiting during shoulder seasons means missing peak summer crowds. Koprivnica can sufficiently be seen in 1-2 days. Allowing a second day gives more time to bike or walk along the Drava River, explore the suburbs or attend a festival event. As a small city, Koprivnica offers a limited number of tourist highlights.
What is the best place to visit in Croatia during the summer?
The best place to visit in Croatia during the summer is Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik has a warm and sunny weather from June through September, with average highs around 27°C (80°F). Dubrovnik city is situated on the Adriatic Sea. Summertime also brings Dubrovnik's cultural scene alive, from the Dubrovnik Summer Festival showcasing theater and music on open-air stages to nightlife pulsing into the wee hours. The warmer months present opportunities to island hop to lush Lokrum Island, join sea kayaking tours or take a scenic boat ride to nearby villages. Other top places to consider in Croatia during summer include the islands of Hvar, Brač and Korčula which also promise stunning seascapes, nightlife and beach relaxation. The national parks of Plitvice Lakes and Krka boast refreshing lakes and waterfalls to counter the heat.
What is the best place to visit in Croatia during the winter?
The best destination to visit in Croatia during the winter is Zagreb. Zagreb offers an ideal winter city break with its historic streets and squares, museums, festivals and access to nearby ski slopes. A highlight is strolling through Zagreb's scenic old town, with sites like the Gothic Zagreb Cathedral and St. Mark's Church showcasing intricate architecture. Museums like the Museum of Broken Relationships and Zagreb City Museum provide indoor cultural attractions. Zagreb also hosts special events in winter, like the Zagreb Film Festival in November and Museum Night in January. Outdoor attractions like Zagreb's Botanical Garden and Maksimir Park are magical when snow-covered. The city comes alive with Christmas markets and festive decor in December.
What is the best place to visit in Croatia during Christmas time?
The best destination to visit in Croatia during Christmas time is Zagreb. Zagreb shines as a top Christmas destination in Croatia, offering charming markets, festive concerts and events, abundant holiday cheer and easy access to nearby winter sports. As the capital and largest city, Zagreb has the most extensive Christmas celebrations. Zagreb's Christmas markets spread throughout the city center, each with lights, festive decorations, local food/drink stalls and lively entertainment. Locals and tourists alike soak up the merry atmosphere while shopping for handmade ornaments, wines, baked goods and other holiday treats. In addition to the markets, the city hosts special events like the Zagreb Film Festival in November and Museum Night in January.
What are the Best Activities to do during the Summer in Croatia?
Listed below are the best activities to do during the Summer in Croatia.
- Explore Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-see destination. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the best ways to experience the park is by hiking on the wooden walkways and trails that wind around and across the emerald-green lakes and rumbling waterfalls. Popular routes include the upper lakes, lower lakes and a full-day loop. Make sure to see the tallest waterfall in Croatia, Veliki Slap, which has lower lakes. The park is home to diverse landscapes ranging from dense forests to meadows and lakes and visitors can spot wildlife like deer, bears, wolves, rare bird species and endemic fish.
- Party at Ultra Music Festival. Ultra Music Festival is the place to be. Held annually in July in Split, the festival features thumping EDM music performed by top international DJs on multiple stages along the Split harbor. The festival attracts over 100,000 attendees annually and runs for three days and nights. Visitors can expect flashing lights, eccentric fashions, dancing and more.
- Relax on Island Beaches. Croatia has over 1,000 islands, each with its unique charm. Visitors can find pristine turquoise waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling and coves and bays reachable only by boat. The beach clubs serve cocktails and Mediterranean cuisine and explore the quaint seaside villages.
- Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling. Sea kayaking tours are a great way to explore Croatia's Adriatic coastline and islands. Visitors can kayak along rocky coves and secluded bays, stop to snorkel and spot marine life and pull ashore on remote islands for swimming and sunbathing. Typical tours include a picnic lunch and require no prior kayaking experience. Some top spots include Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and the islands.
- Wine Tasting in Dalmatia. Wine tasting in Dalmatia is a great way to sample indigenous wines like Plavac Mali, grown on the sunny slopes along the coast. Visitors can tour family-owned wineries and vineyards above the sea, taste full-bodied reds, whites, rosés and sparkling wines, indulge in food pairings with winemakers to learn about local varietals and buy a bottle or case of favorite wines to take home. Wineries are concentrated in the Pelješac Peninsula, Korčula Island, Hvar Island and the Šibenik area.
- Explore Diocletian’s Palace. Diocletian's Palace is an ancient Roman palace built between 295-305 AD in Split as Emperor Diocletian's retirement residence. The palace complex is a well-preserved Roman ruins, including imperial apartments, three temples, a mausoleum, underground cellars, gates and walls. The palace has undergone Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural additions over the centuries, evolving into a medieval town. The palace occupies a significant portion of Split's old town and is intertwined with shops, houses and restaurants.
- Climb Biokovo Mountain. Biokovo Mountain is the second-highest mountain in Croatia, offering panoramic views of Makarska Riviera beaches and islands on one side and the Dalmatian hinterland on the other. The mountain has diverse ecosystems, including Mediterranean vegetation, pine forests and bare rock. There are hiking trails ranging from an easy botanical garden loop to a challenging ascent to Sv. Jure Peak. Key access points are Vošac, Ravna Vlaška and Sv. Jure and hikes are available for all fitness levels.
- Seafood Feasts. Seafood is prevalent in Croatia due to its long Adriatic coastline. Visitors can indulge in fresh dishes like fish, shellfish, octopus and scampi at seaside restaurants, taste seafood risottos, pasta, stews, grilled fish, fried calamari and order platters with just-caught fish, shellfish, calamari and more.
What are the best activities to do during the Winter in Croatia?
Listed below are the best activities to do during the Winter in Croatia.
- Visit Zagreb for Christmas Markets. The Christmas market scene in Zagreb beautifully transforms the city into a festive winter wonderland. Over 25 individual markets are set up across downtown Zagreb, each with charming wooden stalls selling local handicrafts, sweet treats and holiday decor. The main square features a large outdoor ice skating rink that attracts locals and visitors for holiday fun on the ice. An enchanting Ferris wheel and merry-go-round create a magical backdrop. Attend musical and dance performances at the nearby outdoor stage. Zagreb makes for an unforgettable winter break.
- See the Frozen Plitvice Lakes National Park Waterfalls. Plitvice Lakes National Park takes on a wintery landscape when icy temperatures cause frozen waterfalls and frost-covered forests. The 16 terraced lakes transform into wintry marvels while delicate icicle formations hang from rock walls and tree branches. The park sees fewer crowds, allowing more opportunities to appreciate the peaceful serenity. Famous sights include the frozen Great Waterfall and Veliki Slap, where ice and snow enhance their power and grandeur. The wooden walkways crossing the lakes make for picture-perfect vistas of the icy blue waters.
- Go Skiing or Snowboarding at Sljeme or Platak. Zagreb's nearby Mount Sljeme and Rijeka's Platak ski resorts offer downhill skiing and snowboarding with stunning vistas during Croatia's winter months. Sljeme features four ski runs, including one used for international competitions and multiple chair lifts to transport skiers up the mountain. Between the two resorts, options range from beginner runs to advanced terrain parks to satisfy skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Rent equipment if needed or sign up for lessons through the ski schools to master the technique.
- Relax in Hot Springs and Thermal Baths. Natural hot springs and thermal bath complexes provide the ideal winter refuge to soak sore muscles and bask in the warm mineral waters. Istarske Toplice features indoor and outdoor pools fed by a natural thermal spring set amidst peaceful nature. Other top wellness destinations include the hot springs of Topusko, Daruvar, Šibenik and Bizovac. Most thermal complexes offer spa treatments like massages, salt rooms and body wraps for ultimate rejuvenation. The warm air and steamy waters make even frigid winter days enjoyable. Spend a day pampering body and soul in the relaxing waters.
- The Hvar and Southern Islands. The Hvar and Southern Islands offer warmer, sunnier weather than continental Croatia, making them an ideal winter destination. These islands have picturesque ports and beaches without the summer crowds, providing a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Visitors can take in the stunning scenery, visit villages and enjoy the local cuisine.
What is the best time to visit Croatia?
The best time to visit Croatia is summer and spring. The peak summer months of July and August offer hot weather perfect for beach holidays, swimming, boating and island-hopping along the Adriatic coast and islands. However, this is also the most crowded and expensive period, with peak demand. Late spring from May to June and early fall from September to October are arguably the best times with warm weather, fewer tourists, lower prices and ideal conditions for sailing or hiking. Key events like Carnival, Easter and festivals mainly fall in spring and early summer. Yachters and families prefer summer while older visitors avoid the heat and crowds. Travelers on a budget or seeking culture over beaches could visit in winter or shoulder seasons.
What should you know before traveling to Croatia?
Listed below are the key things to know before traveling to Croatia.
- Weather. Croatia has a Mediterranean climate along the coast with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Inland areas have a continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. Spring and fall are mild and pleasant for sightseeing. Winters are cold in the interior with significant snow. The cooling breeze along the coast makes the summer heat more bearable.
- Transportation. Croatia has trains and buses connecting major cities but can be slow. Gasoline is expensive, so opt for an economy rental. Tolls are required on motorways. Carry an International Driving Permit and auto insurance. Seat belts are mandatory. Headlights must be on day and night. Follow speed limits carefully as fines are steep.
- Safety. Croatia is safe but normal travel precautions apply. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night. Only take marked taxis and ride-share services. Keep valuables secure as pickpocketing occurs in crowded tourist sites and on public transport. Follow the same street smarts as in other European destinations.
- Tipping. Tipping is appreciated in Croatia for good service though not required. Most bills don't include service charges. Round taxi fares up 5-10% or tip 10-15% at higher-end restaurants, if pleased with the service.
- Opening Hours. Standard business hours are weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. though some establishments open later at 9 a.m. Shops are also open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. with many closed on Sundays. Museums typically open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closing earlier at 4 or 5 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays. Grocery stores open even longer hours.
- Entry Requirements. Croatia is part of the European Union. Americans only need a passport valid for three months beyond the intended stay. No tourist visa is required for stays under 90 days. Those traveling from within the EU simply need a national ID card.
- Health. No vaccinations are mandatory though routine boosters are wise. Tap water is generally safe in Croatia though quality can vary so stick to sealed bottled water to avoid stomach issues. Heat waves occur in summer so stay hydrated and use sun protection. As a Mediterranean destination, some mosquitos and ticks exist so bring repellent containing DEET or Picaridin.
- Laws & Customs. Greetings of “Dobar dan” are warmly received. Approach locals with “Izvinite.”.. to politely ask questions. Casual dress is fine but cover shoulders and knees when entering churches per expectations. Be respectful when photographing individuals, religious sites, government buildings or the military.
- Driving. Driving in Croatia requires more defensive skills than in North America. Expect curvy narrow roads and fast-moving locals. Adhere to speed limits as radar traps exist. Headlight use is mandatory. Croatia recognizes foreign licenses for up to a year but International Driving Permits are wise support.
What is the best local food to eat in Croatia?
Listed below are the best local foods to eat in Croatia.
- Crni Rižot. Crni rižot or black risotto, is a popular dish along the Croatian coast made with rice, squid or cuttlefish, olive oil, garlic, red wine and squid ink. The addition of squid ink gives the risotto its distinctive black color and intense seafood flavor. This creamy rice dish is cooked until the rice is al dente and served warm as a main course or starter. Crni rižot is listed on nearly every Dalmatian menu and is far more flavorful than its appearance would suggest.
- Pašticada. Pašticada is a traditional beef stew from Dalmatia made by braising beef in red wine, vinegar, onion, carrot, celery, tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves, black pepper and cloves for several hours until tender. This flavorful and hearty stew is usually served with gnocchi or njoki (Dalmatian potato dumplings).
- Punjena Paprika. Punjena paprika refers to bell peppers stuffed with a savory filling, usually consisting of ground meat, rice, onions, carrots, parsley, eggs and various spices. The most common fillings are ground beef or pork mixed with rice, though vegetarian fillings are sometimes made. The stuffed peppers are braised in a tomato sauce until the peppers are completely soft and the filling is piping hot. Punjena paprika can be served as a main course or appetizer.
- Fritule. Fritule is a sweet pastry similar to doughnuts popular throughout the Croatian coastline. They are made from flour, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, raisins, brandy or grappa, milk and baking powder. The yeast dough rises before small portions are shaped into balls and deep-fried until golden. Fritules are sprinkled with powdered sugar and sometimes filled with jam or chocolate. They are a typical Christmas and Carnival sweet enjoyed across Croatia.
- Zagrebački Odrezak. The Zagreb steak is a popular veal dish originating from the capital city. It consists of a breaded veal cutlet stuffed with kajmak (a creamy dairy product) and pršut (prosciutto) fried until crispy and golden brown. The combination of the crunchy breaded veal cutlet filled with salty pršut and mild, buttery kajmak makes this dish so iconic. It is considered a more luxurious take on the Viennese Wiener schnitzel.
- Fuži. Fuži are hand-rolled pasta noodles typical of the Istrian peninsula. They have a distinctive shape that is something between tagliatelle and mafaldine. Fuži is traditionally served garnished with game meat ragù, mushroom sauce or simply topped with grated sheep's milk cheese. Fuži with wild boar or deer ragù is a beloved combination in Istrian cuisine.
- Čobanac. Čobanac is a hearty meat and vegetable stew, often called a shepherd's stew. Typical ingredients include beef, pork, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, hot paprika, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, parsley and seasoned with salt and pepper. Čobanac is characteristic of the continental regions of Croatia that border Hungary.
- Rožata. Rožata is a traditional Croatian crème brûlée-like dessert from Dubrovnik. It consists of egg yolks, sugar, milk cream, rum and vanilla, baked in the oven in individual ramekins. After baking, the custards are refrigerated to set. Rožata has a rich vanilla-rum flavor and lush, velvety texture similar to crème brûlée.
What are the facts about Croatia?
Listed below are the facts about Croatia.
- Currency. As of January 1, 2023, Croatia adopted the Euro (EUR) as its official currency, abandoning the Croatian kuna after entering the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) in 2020. Both euros and kunas were accepted during a dual circulation period from January 1st through January 14th, 2023, but only euros are now considered legal tender.
- Time Zone. Croatia observes the Central European Time Zone year-round, six hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. From late March through late October, Croatia follows Central European Summer Time, putting it seven hours ahead of EDT. Croatia uses the 24-hour clock conventionally, so a 5 p.m. appointment is expressed at 17.00 rather than 5 p.m. to avoid confusion.
- Language. Croatian is the official language in Croatia. Italian and German are also regional languages in some areas. English is spoken widely in cities and tourism centers but less in rural villages. Croatians appreciate when foreigners try simple phrases though most urban professionals and youth converse comfortably in English.
- Power Plugs. The electrical current in Croatia is 230V, 50Hz AC, as with the rest of Continental Europe. Croatia uses the Type C and Type F power plug design, so adapters will be needed for devices designed for North American sockets.
How do travelers get around in Croatia?
The main ways travelers get around Croatia are by bus, train, rental car, bike and ferry. Buses connect almost all destinations in Croatia and are affordable and convenient. Major bus companies like Arriva, FlixBus and Čazmatrans run regular routes between major cities and smaller towns. Tickets can be purchased at stations or online. Buses run frequently but can get crowded, especially in peak summer. Renting a car allows maximum flexibility to visit coastal towns, islands and destinations not well-served by public transportation. Driving is on the right side and roads are well-maintained, but beware of summer traffic around resorts. Cycling is popular, especially in Istria's hills and Dalmatia's coast and islands. Well-marked routes like the UNESCO 704 and EuroVelo 8 traverse scenic landscapes. Island hopping multi-day tours are available.
Is a road trip a good idea to explore Croatia?
Yes, a road trip is an excellent way to explore Croatia's natural beauty, history and delicious local cuisine. Visitors should base for a few nights in places like Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj and Zagreb to explore nearby sights before driving to the next destination.
Must-see nature destinations perfect for hiking include Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Parks, with breathtaking travertine waterfalls and turquoise lakes. Mljet National Park is a forested island oasis. Historic highlights not to miss are Dubrovnik's majestic medieval walls and the Diocletian Palace in Split. Poreč has a 6th-century basilica and Pula is a well-preserved Roman amphitheater.
Is driving in Croatia easy?
Yes, driving in Croatia is easy, safe and enjoyable. Croatia's roads are well-maintained, especially the highways and main routes connecting major cities and attractions. The roads along the scenic Dalmatian Coast can be narrow and winding but are usually not too crowded except during peak tourist season. Road rules in Croatia closely follow European standards – driving is on the right side, seatbelts are mandatory and mobile phone use while driving is prohibited. Stricter alcohol limits apply compared to some countries. Most rental cars have manual transmissions, so travelers should be comfortable driving stick shifts. Rental car insurance needs to be purchased as well. Having maps, mobile data, a toll pass and pre-arranged emergency roadside assistance is recommended for a smooth driving experience.
Can travelers rent a car in Croatia?
Yes, travelers can easily rent a car in Croatia. Renting a car is a very convenient and recommended way for travelers to explore Croatia's beautiful coastal towns, national parks, historic cities and idyllic islands. The standard minimum age to rent a car in Croatia is 21-22 years old, some companies may allow drivers as young as 18 to rent by charging extra fees. The maximum rental age is 80 years old. Drivers must have held a valid license for at least two years. An International Driving Permit is required along with your home country license. Croatia's well-maintained road infrastructure makes driving relatively safe and straightforward. Car rental rates in Croatia include basic vehicle insurance. Additional coverage, like CDW collision damage waiver, is recommended, along with roadside assistance in case issues arise. One-way rentals between cities are allowed, though cross-border fees apply for driving to neighboring non-EU countries.
What are the popular events and festivals in Croatia?
Listed below are the popular events and festivals in Croatia.
- Dubrovnik Summer Festival. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is one of Croatia's most prominent cultural events, held annually since 1950. The festival features open-air theater, classical music, dance and art exhibitions in venues like the city walls and fortresses. The festival takes place in July and August and draws over 60,000 visitors yearly. The festival celebrates Croatian culture with performances by some of the country's most talented artists and musicians. The festival is an opportunity to experience the beauty of Dubrovnik's historic architecture while enjoying world-class performances. The city's walls and fortresses provide a stunning backdrop to the festival's events. Visitors can expect to see a variety of performances, including theater productions, musical concerts and dance performances. Dubrovnik Summer Festival is one of the top Croatian festivals.
- Ultra Europe Music Festival. The Ultra Europe Music Festival is a large EDM festival held annually in Split. The festival showcases the world's top DJs and EDM artists and has multiple stages and parties that last for days. The festival takes place in July and draws an international crowd of over 100,000 people. The festival allows music lovers to see some of the biggest names in EDM perform live. The festival features multiple stages, each with its unique atmosphere and lineup of artists. Visitors can expect performances by some of the world's most famous DJs, including David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Armin van Buuren.
- INmusic Festival. The INmusic Festival is Croatia's biggest indie and alternative rock festival at Lake Jarun near Zagreb. The festival takes place in June and has hosted bands like The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The festival allows music lovers to see some of the best indie and alternative rock bands perform live. The festival features multiple stages, each with its unique atmosphere and lineup of artists. Visitors can expect performances by some of the world's most talented musicians, including up-and-coming artists and established bands.
- Motovun Film Festival. The Motovun Film Festival is a 5-day event held in the small hilltop town of Motovun in central Istria. The festival is dedicated to independent and art house films and premieres movies that often go on to win major awards. The festival allows film lovers to see some of the best independent and art house films worldwide. The festival features screenings of feature films, documentaries and short films, as well as panel discussions and workshops with filmmakers and film industry professionals.
- Rijeka Carnival. The Rijeka Carnival is Croatia's largest annual celebration in February. The carnival features parades, costumes, concerts and balls, with tens of thousands participating in this tradition with pagan roots. The carnival dates back over 600 years in Rijeka. The carnival is an opportunity to experience Croatian culture and tradition firsthand. The carnival's events celebrate life with colorful costumes, lively music and a festive atmosphere. Visitors can expect to see traditional dancers, musicians and modern acts and performers.
- Zadar Sea Organ. The Zadar Sea Organ is an experimental musical instrument playing sea wave music. The organ is located near the seafront with large marble steps and is a popular and relaxing spot to visit day or night. The Zadar Sea Organ provides a unique musical experience, with the sounds of the waves creating a soothing and peaceful atmosphere. Visitors can sit on the steps and listen to the organ's music while enjoying the beautiful sea view.
Is it expensive to visit Croatia?
Yes, Croatia is a moderately expensive country to visit compared to other European countries. However, costs can vary greatly depending on your travel style, time of year and the specific regions you visit. For an average mid-range traveler, daily costs in Croatia are around €88-132 ($100-150, £75-112) per person when accounting for lodging, food, attractions, transportation and other common expenses. So a typical 2-3 day trip would cost €176-396 ($200-450, £150-225) per person. Accommodation is one of the largest expenses. Hotel rates average €70-132 ($80-150, £60-112) per night, higher in popular areas like Dubrovnik. Apartments, villas and private rooms provide savings over hotels. Peak summer lodging rates are 50-100% higher. Food costs are reasonable, with most restaurant meals under €18 ($20, £15). Groceries from markets average €4-13 ($5-15, £4-11) per day. Alcohol like wine and beer is affordable, but cocktails and drinks in tourist hotspots are pricey. Attraction and activity costs add up too – major museums, boat trips, guided tours, etc, range €13-88 ($15-100+, £11-75) each. Entry to famous sites like Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park is €13-26 ($15-30, £11-22). Travelers willing to go outside peak season, stay in less touristy areas, use public transportation and limit expensive activities can visit Croatia quite affordably.
Is it cheaper to visit Croatia during Christmas?
Yes, visiting Croatia during the Christmas season in December is generally cheaper compared to the peak summer travel season. December room rates and holiday packages to Croatia can be up to 75% less expensive than summer prices. The exception is Christmas week itself, when rates increase slightly. Fewer tourists visit Croatia in December, making popular destinations less crowded. Travelers can more easily explore Dubrovnik's medieval old town, see the Christmas markets in Zagreb and attend concerts and shows without dealing with summer's hordes of visitors.
December is an ideal time for skiers to take advantage of Croatia's resorts and runs while avoiding the crowds that pack the Alps.
What are the best Christmas markets in Croatia?
Listed below are the best Christmas markets in Croatia.
- Advent Zagreb. Advent Zagreb is an annual Christmas market voted the “Best Christmas Market in Europe” for three consecutive years from 2016 to 2018. The market is spread throughout Zagreb's squares and promenades, with over 25 individual markets. The market is known for its artisan stalls, regional cuisine, mulled wine, lights and decorations. Visitors can enjoy daily open-air entertainment and cultural performances. Some of the market's highlights include the ice skating rink, decorated trees in Zrinjevac Park and the Upper Town markets. The market attracts many visitors every year from around the world.
- The Dubrovnik Christmas Market. The Dubrovnik Christmas Market is located along the picturesque pedestrian Stradun promenade. The market features wooden houses offering handicrafts, sweets, wine and seasonal produce. Visitors can enjoy live music and dance performances in the evenings. The market also offers a special children's program with costume parades and craft workshops. The market is far less crowded than in summer, allowing visitors to better explore the old town. The market provides a perfect opportunity for visitors to experience the festive spirit of the city and indulge in some local delicacies.
- The Split Christmas Market. The Split Christmas Market is situated along the Riva seaside promenade near Diocletian’s Palace. The market offers a unique backdrop with Roman architecture and history. Visitors can indulge in local souvenirs, Christmas decorations, sweets and hot drinks. The market also offers a stage with music performances and children's programs. The market attracts many visitors every year and the festive atmosphere provides a perfect opportunity for visitors to experience the Christmas spirit of Split.
- The Zadar Christmas Market. The Zadar Christmas Market takes place on the Zadar waterfront by the Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun. The market is combined with the Zadar Winter Festival, providing a lively atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy concerts, dancing, food, mulled wine and handicraft stalls. The market runs late into the night when performances and crowds peak. The market provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to explore the beauty of Zadar and indulge in some delicious local delicacies.
- The Šibenik Christmas Market. The Šibenik Christmas Market overlooks the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO site. The market features an ice sculpture show and an ice bar. Visitors can enjoy children's workshops, a petting zoo and a carousel. Local choirs and dance groups perform daily, providing a lively atmosphere. The market attracts a significant number of visitors every year who come to explore the beauty of Šibenik and experience its festive spirit.
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