Croatia Tips

Top 10 Croatia points of interest and landmarks

For all those who haven’t already visited this amazing country, we wrote a top 10 Croatia points of interest and landmarks so that you can take them into consideration when choosing your next travel destination. Croatia has become one of the Europe’s most popular tourist destination, attracting millions of tourists with its spectacular coastline, more than 1200 islands, charming inland cities, and landscapes. This tiny country on the shores of the Adriatic Sea has so much to offer, you can easily program your next amazing active holidays, relaxing vacation or a stunning voyage through its rich history.

Croatia points of interest and landmarks

1. The Old City of Dubrovnik

Often called the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik is the most popular tourist destination in Croatia, attracting thousands of tourist from all over the world. Dubrovnik was founded in the 6th century, becoming a capital of Dubrovnik Republic a few centuries later and one of the most important mercantile and maritime centers on the Mediterranean. The old town is encircled by a 2 km complex of city walls from which you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the city and the nearby islands. Don’t forget to take a cable car from the city to the Srđ mountain for even more impressive views of Dubrovnik. The old town has many interesting locations you can visit like its famous main street, Stradun, paved in marble and limestone, the Church of St. Blaise, patron saint or the Duke’s palace, Fort Lovrijenac and many other. You will absolutely love wandering around its narrow streets finding something beautiful around every corner. The old city of Dubrovnik is also a popular filming location, as many famous TV series and movies like “Game of thrones” and “Star Trek” have been set in Dubrovnik. The city is a perfect tourist destination for all who want to enjoy some impressive history locations, amazing beaches, crystal clear sea and delicious local food.

Dubrovnik - Croatia points of interest

 2. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of eight Croatian National Parks. It is the most popular National Park in Croatia and it is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park is famous for its chain of lakes arranged in cascades with 16 lakes divided into two groups, upper and lower lakes divided by a long lake Kozjak. The length of connected lakes is over eight kilometers and the park covers an area of almost 300 square kilometers. The water exiting from the last lower lake forms the Korana river. Lakes are connected by amazing waterfalls and cascades. The biggest waterfall called “Veliki slap” is 70 m tall. During the centuries the water has flown over the natural limestone, creating these wonderful bigger and smaller lakes by the process of tufa development. The lakes are separated by the natural dams and travertine barriers and over some barriers, you can walk the wooden paths between the lakes and admire this beauty of nature. Its trademark is the brown bear and Plitvice Lakes are home to many animal species and many unique protected plant species.

Plitvice National Park - Croatia points of interest

3. Diocletian’s Palace, Split

Split is the second largest city in Croatia, situated in the center of the region of Dalmatia. The city was founded more than 1700 years ago by the Roman Emperor Diocletian and his imperial palace occupies the most important part of the old town. The Palace was built in 305 A.D. as a massive structure, with its 200 meters long and 20 meters high walls. Underneath the Palace, there are Diocletian’s cellars that lead from the Riva waterfront to the Imperial square Peristil, a colonnade ornamented plaza with two sphinxes from Egypt. The cellars were used to film certain scenes for the popular TV series Game of Thrones. On the eastern side of Peristil square, there is the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, the oldest cathedral in the world, built inside the old mausoleum of the Roman Emperor.  With the beachfront and palm trees right in front of the palace, Split offers the perfect Mediterranean postcard. During its long history, many cultures left their footprint still visible today on the squares and the alleys of the city center.

Split Katedrala

4. Zlatni rat beach, Bol

Zlatni rat (Golden Horn or Golden Cape) is one of the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean and a trademark of Croatian tourism. It is situated on the southern coast of the Island of Brac, less than 2 km from a lovely town of Bol. There is a charming promenade under the pine trees shade leading from the town to the beach, along which you can find many other small beaches, restaurants, bars and playgrounds for children. Zlatni rat’s elegance and allure have made it the symbol of both the island and Croatia. This fascinating 500 meters long pebble beach has a unique shape, like a tongue that stretches into the sea. The curiosity about this beach is that it changes its shape and position, depending on the wind, tide and the current. Zlatni rat beach is protected by the government of Croatia as a geomorphological monument. It offers perfect conditions for various sports activities like windsurfing and kitesurfing. Zlatni Rat also offers lots of other interesting things to do like beach volley, parachute rides which offers an amazing bird’s eye view of the beach and the charming town of Bol, jet ski, banana boat rides, water park children and adults and much more. There are two restaurants just a few steps from the beach, where you can enjoy local specialties under the shade of century-old pine trees.

Zlatni rat beach Bol Croatia

 5. Gornji Grad, Zagreb

Zagreb was in the shade of Croatian coastline as a tourist destination for many years, but thanks to its famous Christmas Market which was recognized as the best in Europe for two years in a row, it became a popular destination very quickly. Gornji Grad (Upper town) used to be the town for itself from which slowly emerged Zagreb as we know it today. There are many stories and legends connected to that part of the town, the story says that in the 18th century it used to be a meeting point for witches and most of them were ordered to be killed by the Church in Holy Office. List of witches’ names is exposed in the Zagreb City Museum. The central point of Upper town is St Mark Square with its Church adored by tourists because of its multicolored tile roof. It is also the site of Croatian Parliament and many years ago it used to be the Ban’s palace. Lose yourself in its narrow streets and try to sense the old town’s atmosphere. Visit also The ban Jelačić Square, from where you can easily start exploring the long list of city’s highlights, museums, fancy bars and numerous restaurants. Another important landmark of the capital of Croatia is the Cathedral, the most monumental sacral building in Gothic style southeast of the Alps.

6. Medieval town of Korčula

Korčula is a small fortified town located on the northeast coast of the island of Korčula. The form of this charming historic town is determined by the form of small peninsula protruding into the sea and its connection with the island was cut off by an artificial channel. It is surrounded by the walls, built in gothic style, reinforced at the strategic points like those near the port, where major attacks were expected. The streets of the town are arranged in a herringbone pattern in order to reduce the effects of the sun and wind. The old town is the main attraction with its walls, towers, narrow streets and the wondrous architecture mainly influenced by Venetian Renaissance. Almost all town’s narrow streets are stepped, except the Charity Street, often referred as the Street of Thoughts, as one did not have to worry about the steps. Korčula has many other interesting things to see and places to visit. Just by walking through the old town you can admire numerous arches, charming narrow streets, churches and seven towers.

Korcula main entrance

7. Croatia’s medieval castles

Croatia has many amazing medieval castles, most of them are located in the Central Croatia. Some of them built to protect the area from the Turkish invasion and others as manor houses. Most popular castles are Trakošćan and Varaždin castles located in the Varaždin county, Old Sušica castle located near the city of Rijeka, Medvedgrad located near Zagreb, Veliki Tabor castle in the Krapina-Zagorje County and Sisak Castle. Click here to read more about these castles.

Trakoscan castle

8. Hum, the smallest town in the world

Hum with its 30 (2011 Population Census) inhabitants is formally listed as the smallest town in the world. It is located in the center of Istria region, near the town of Buzet, know as a “town of truffles”. The city which is only 100 meters long and 30 meters wide holds so much of history. According to the legend, Hum was created by accident when the Giants did not have many stones left when building the cities in the valley of the Mirna River, so they decided to build this miniature city. The town’s history starts in early medieval age and it was first mentioned in documents dating back to the 12th century under the name of Cholm. The town was entirely enclosed by walls in the 11th century on the remains of an earlier fortification. The houses were constructed inside the walls and the interesting fact about Hum is that from its conception till this day almost nothing was built outside the walls, which makes Hum one of the rare well-preserved examples in the world of urban development completely within the walls of the medieval city. Hum is also known as the town of Biska, which is a traditional Istrian brandy made by a 2000 years old recipe. Another interesting fact about Hum is the custom that inhabitants preserved to this day, which is electing the mayor every year on 11th of June (The day of Hum) when all the men of the parish gather in the City Lodge engraving votes on the wooden stick.

Hum

9. Brijuni National Park

Brijuni Islands (Brionian Islands) are a group of fourteen small islands in northern Adriatic, separated from the west coast of the Istrian peninsula by the Fažana Strait. The largest island is Veliki Brijun Island and it kilometers off the coast. Popular for their impressive beauty, the islands are a famous holiday resort and a Croatian National Park. There is also a Safari Park on the island od Veliki Brijuni, home to a variety of exotic animals, many of them donated as gifts from Croatian diplomatic partners like the Asian elephant and zebu from India. The island has another interesting particularity, as it is home to four sites with over 200 dinosaur footprints from the last period of the Mesozoic Era, absolutely worth visiting. On the islands, there are also other sites worth seeing, such as the ruins in Verige Bay are possible remains of the imperial Roman summer residences of 1st century A.D, well-preserved remains of St. Mary’s basilica from the 5th century and of a small church of St. Peter from the 6th century, two ancient Roman villa remains, from the 2nd Century BC and remains of a Byzantine palace. Visit also the Hill’s Fort,  fortified Bronze Age settlement with preserved walls, entrance and necropolis, situated on a small hill near the Verige Bay.

Brijuni

10. Roman Arena and ruins, Pula

Pula is the largest city in Istria region, Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the peninsula. Known for its long tradition of shipbuilding, tourism, and winemaking, the city also stands out among other larger Croatian cities for the rich and well-preserved Roman architecture, the amphitheater being the most famous and dominant part of it.
Other than its interesting historical background, Pula is a busy city with mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches and a host to many exciting events and festivals, especially during the summer. The Arena is surely the most famous and important monument in Pula, but in Croatia as well, due to the fact that is is the sixth largest and one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. It is situated outside the old city walls because of its size and it hosts many events such as Film Festival, Opera Season, concerts and much more. Other than the Arena, don’t forget to visit other Roman ruins in Pula like the Temple of Augustus, constructed between the year 2 BC and AD 14 and situated in the Forum,  Arco dei Sergi, a triumphal arch that was originally a city gate, constructed as a symbol of victory at Actium and the Roman Floor Mosaic, an impressive floor mosaics, found in the remains of Roman houses after the World War II.

Pula Arena

 

 

04.03.2017 / by / in
Fascinating island of Vis in photos

Vis is a small island in Central Dalmatia, known for its stunning landscape, amazing caves, beautiful beaches like the Stiniva beach, cultural heritage and gourmet delights. It is a perfect place for those in search of relaxation, excellent food, and wine. The island’s two largest settlements are the town of Vis and Komiža, where you can discover the rich cultural heritage of the island as it has been inhabited since the Neolithic period.  In the 4th century BC, the Greek tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse founded the colony Issa on the island. After which the island became an independent polis founding its own colonies, but it didn’t last long. Just as other parts of Dalmatia, over the centuries, the island was under the rule of many different empires that have left a legacy which is still evident.

There are many amazing places to see and thing to do on the island other than enjoying in the sun on some of the island’s most beautiful beaches like Stiniva and Kamenica beach. You can visit the archaeological museum in the town of Vis and an interesting finishing museum in Komiža. Explore the cultural heritage of the island by visiting the rests of antique Issa (thermae, necropolis, theater, parts of the port), Hellenistic Necropolis, fortresses, impressive military tunnels built during the WWII or scuba dive near the wrecks of the tugboat Ursus or heavy bomber aircraft wreck.

One of the best ways you can immerse yourself in a culture of a state you are visiting is through the food. Local delicacies will answer many questions about the history, nature and the way people lived there. On the island, you can taste many fresh seafood specialties, like the famous Vis and Komiža flat cake (Viška or Komiška pogača), an ancient recipe brought on the island by Dionysius of Syracuse in 397 BC. There are two types, one is Viška pogača which is prepared with sardines and onions and the other one is Komiška pogača prepared with sardines, onions and tomato sauce. The island of Vis has also its own distinct grape vugava, cultivated since ancient times.

Town of vis aerial view

island Vis church

Vis fortress

Vis Hum

Vis lighthouse

Island Vis town Vis

Vis traditional house

Photo credit: Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock, Inc.

Vis terace view

Photo credit: Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock, Inc.

Vis promanade

Vis port

Vis military tunnel

Vis peka

Photo credit: Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock, Inc.

Vis grapes

Photo credit: Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock, Inc.

Monk Seal Cave Bisevo

Blue Cave

Photo Credit: Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock.com

Vis street

Photo credit: Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock, Inc.

Stiniva beach island Vis

Vis stiniva beach aerial view

Vis small beach

Vis town island of Vis

14.02.2017 / by / in ,
Croatia’s top adrenaline rushes

Croatia has numerous tourist resorts famous for amazing beaches, crystal clear sea, and rich cultural heritage, but it also has many nature and national parks, amazing mountains, and perfect sites for adrenaline junkies in search of strong emotions combined with impressive nature. Thrill seekers and adventure lovers will find that Croatia is the perfect place where to experience their passions.

Fantastic rafting experience on river Cetina

Adrenaline rush combined with nature at its best! On Cetina white water rafting trip you will experience moments of pure excitement, moments of total serenity and a deep connection with wild nature. It will be an amazing experience that will leave you with great lifelong memories. For its unspoiled nature and impressive canyon, parts of Cetina river were chosen as some of the filming locations of the famous Winnetou movie series (1962-1968). There are several other rivers where you can take rafting tours like Mrežnica, Una and Zrmanja river. Find out more information about this unique experience and reserve your tour here – Rafting “Pirate“.

Rock climbing in one of the most impressive national parks in Croatia

Paklenica is one of the eight national parks in Croatia, located near Starigrad in northern Dalmatia, at the southern slopes of Velebit mountain. It is also the most visited climbing site in Croatia and the largest one in Southern Europe. Hiking and climbing are really the only two ways to get to know impressive and unspoiled nature of Paklenica and in total there are over 350 routes on good quality limestone rock. Other rock climbing sites in Croatia can be found on the island of Brač, Hvar, and Vis, near the city of Omiš, Split, Rijeka, Buzet and Opatija.

Rock Climbing

Scuba dive and discover one of the most popular shipwrecks in the Adriatic

Croatia has a rich underwater life, sites, and wrecks to explore in the crystal clear sea. One of the most famous is the wreck of Baron Gautsch, Austro-Hungarian passenger ship that sank in 1914. It sank after running into a minefield that has been set by the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The ship, 84.5 meters long and 11.64 meters wide was transporting 306 passengers and crew, of which only 159 were rescued. The wreck of Baron Gautsch lies near Rovinj, on a sandy and stony bottom 40 meters deepovergrown with algae and sponges. It is one of the most popular diving destinations for wreck divers in the Adriatic. Other popular scuba diving sites in Croatia are tugboat Ursus (island of Vis), Lina cargoship (island of Cres), Boeing B-17 (island of Vis), Totonno cargo steamer (Dubrovnik) and Peltastis (island of Krk). Along the coast, there are numerous protected archaeological sites dating back to ancient times and many amazing places where to explore the magnificent underwater life of the Adriatic sea.

Scuba Diving in Croatia

Paragliding

Croatia offers some of the most spectacular landscapes on the Mediterranean and one of the best way to enjoy the views is definitely paragliding. So if you want to add some adrenaline to your vacation in Croatia and admire its impressive beauty from a different perspective, then paragliding is the right thing for you. There are numerous paragliding sites in Croatia and some of the best are in Tribalj (Rijeka), Osijek (Slavonia), Sljeme (Zagreb), Libinje (Zadar) and Biokovo (Makarska).

Paragliding

Windsurfing and kite surfing next to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world

There are quite a few windy destinations in Croatia, with Bol on island Brač being a true paradise for all fans of water sports as it offers great conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing. It is one of the best windsurfing destinations in Europe and many international races are organized in Bol during the summer. Strong thermic wind called “Maestral” (Mistral) blows on a regular basis during nice weather and it gives experienced windsurfers the adrenaline they need while kite surfers will love jumping next to the top of the beach showing off their tricks in front of a large crowd. There are several windsurfing and kite surfing centers where you can also rent the equipment or take lessons. Other great windsurfing and kite surfing destinations in Croatia are Viganj on the Peljesac peninsula, Premantura – small peninsula south in Istria, Jadrija near Šibenik and river Neretva mouth near the town of Blace.

Kite surfing in Croatia

Windsurfing in Croatia

More adventurous tourists can also practice canyoning or zipline across the impressive Cetina canyon 150 meters above the ground on 2 km long wires. Skydiving is also very popular and you can experience it many cities and islands in Croatia like Zagreb, Split, island Hvar etc. If you happen to be in Dubrovnik, take a safari tour in Konavle, a brilliant off-road experience. Maslenica bridge bungee jumping, quad tours, adventure parks and many other adventure tours will make your vacation more memorable, so don’t hesitate to give them a try!

13.02.2017 / by / in

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