13 Amazing Things to Do in Croatia: Coolest Attractions

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Croatia
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Are you dreaming of a European escape that combines ancient history, coastal beauty, and the thrill of adventure? Look no further than Croatia. Nestled along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a treasure trove of cultural richness, boasting a vibrant tapestry of traditions, flavors, and landscapes. Here are some of the most captivating, scenic, and unique things to do in Croatia that are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

There’s something undeniably magnetic about Croatia. The first time I set foot on its sun-drenched shores, I felt like I’d stumbled upon Europe’s best-kept secret. Here, along the Adriatic, where the sea meets ancient towns, I discovered a land that speaks to the soul.

From the medieval walls of Dubrovnik to the cascading waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park, there’s no shortage of wonders to explore and things to do in Croatia. I’ve been to Croatia many times, and the natural beauty and Adriatic charm keep drawing me back in.

With a blend of Mediterranean warmth and Slavic soul, Croatia invites you to dive into its crystal-clear waters, wander through its ancient alleys, and indulge in its delectable cuisine. To guide you on this unforgettable journey, I’ve curated a list of some of my personal favorite Croatian attractions. Buckle up as we embark on a captivating exploration of the most amazing things to do in Croatia.

The top places to visit in Croatia right now
This article on the best things to do in Croatia contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Places to Visit in Croatia

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Croatia? As noted above, there’s something for every traveler at this vacation destination in the Balkans. So keep reading to discover all these unique Croatia places to visit.

Are you looking for an immersive experience into the local culture and lifestyle? Or maybe you like exploring city attractions and historical sites? Or would you prefer a tranquil and relaxing vacation in nature? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Croatia can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Croatia that you should know about.

1. Dubrovnik

Looking to visit one of the best places in Croatia? Add this to your bucket list! Dubrovnik, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” is a must-see in Croatia. Walking along its ancient city walls is an experience like no other. These walls, which have protected the city for centuries, offer breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and the red-tiled roofs of the Old Town.

Start your journey at the Pile Gate and follow the path that leads you through forts, towers, and bastions. Along the way, you’ll discover hidden corners and vantage points that provide picture-perfect moments. Don’t miss the chance to climb the Minceta Tower, the highest point of the walls, for a panoramic view that will leave you speechless.

Take your time to soak in the views and learn about the city’s rich history. Feel the timeless charm of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. For history enthusiasts or even those simply looking for the coolest things to do in Croatia, exploring Dubrovnik’s walls is an unforgettable adventure.

After exploring the magnificent walls of Dubrovnik, you can further immerse yourself in the Adriatic’s beauty. For example, you can opt for Croatia cruises from Split to Dubrovnik by Sail Croatia, providing a seamless connection between two iconic Croatian cities. Such cruises let visitors experience the mesmerizing coastline dotted with idyllic islands and ancient harbor towns. It’s an excellent way to further understand Croatia’s maritime legacy and the integral role the sea has played in shaping its history and culture.

Visiting Dubrovnik is one of the best things to do in Croatia.
Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” where ancient city walls unveil breathtaking views of the sea and red-tiled roofs.

2. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Yearning for a getaway like no other? This thing to do in Croatia has got you covered. If you’re wondering where to visit in Croatia for a natural wonder, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the answer. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a mesmerizing blend of cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and lush greenery.

The park is home to 16 interconnected lakes, each with its unique shade of blue or green. Wooden walkways guide you through this watery wonderland. These allow you to get up close to the waterfalls and admire the vibrant fish and plant life.

One of the highlights of the park is the Veliki Slap, the largest waterfall in Croatia, plunging 78 meters into the depths below.

Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the magical reflections of the waterfalls on your camera. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh, fragrant air of the forest. Plitvice Lakes National Park is an experience that encapsulates the unique places in Croatia. This offers tranquility and inspiration in every step. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Croatia.

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia offers captivating waterfalls, pristine lakes, and lush scenery—a UNESCO gem.
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia offers captivating waterfalls, pristine lakes, and lush scenery—a UNESCO gem.

3. Sail the Stunning Islands of Hvar

A visit to Croatia would be incomplete without a trip to Hvar. Croatia’s coastline is dotted with over a thousand islands. Among them, Hvar stands out as a gem of the Adriatic. Known for its glamorous nightlife, historic sites, and breathtaking landscapes, Hvar offers a blend of excitement and relaxation that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Begin your adventure by exploring Hvar Town. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets, visit the majestic Hvar Fortress, and enjoy a meal at a seaside restaurant. The town’s lively atmosphere is contagious, and you’ll find yourself immersed in the local culture in no time.

But Hvar is also a paradise for nature lovers. Rent a boat or join a sailing tour to discover the secluded coves, crystal-clear waters, and hidden beaches that make Hvar one of the best places in Croatia.

Dancing the night away in a beach club or watching the sunset from a quiet spot on the shore? Hvar promises an unforgettable experience. If you’re looking for unique things to do in Croatia, sailing the stunning islands of Hvar should be at the top of your list.

Experience Croatia's essence in Hvar: nightlife, history, and stunning landscapes on an Adriatic gem.
Experience Croatia’s essence in Hvar: nightlife, history, and stunning landscapes on an Adriatic gem.

4. Zagreb

Looking for the best things to do in Croatia? Don’t overlook the capital city, Zagreb. This vibrant city is a blend of traditional European charm and modern energy. This offers a rich cultural experience for every traveler.

Start your exploration at Ban Jelačić Square, the heart of the city, where you can immerse yourself in the local hustle and bustle. From there, wander through the historic Upper Town, home to the iconic St. Mark’s Church with its colorful tiled roof.

Art enthusiasts will love the Museum of Broken Relationships. It’s a unique museum that tells stories of love and loss through personal artifacts. For a breath of fresh air, head to Maksimir Park, one of the oldest public parks in Europe, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic.

Zagreb’s café culture, lively markets, and diverse architecture make it one of the must-see Croatia attractions.  Zagreb offers a delightful taste of Croatian urban life. Sip coffee at a sidewalk café or explore hidden alleys filled with art and history. With so much charm and personality, Zagreb is one of the top places to visit in Croatia.

Don't miss Zagreb, a vibrant blend of European charm and modern energy, promising rich cultural experiences for all.
Don’t miss Zagreb, a vibrant blend of European charm and modern energy, promising rich cultural experiences for all.

5. Split

If you’re pondering what to do in Croatia that connects you with ancient history, a visit to Split is one of the top things to do, hands down. This coastal city is renowned for its well-preserved Roman architecture, particularly the Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built in the 4th century, the palace is a living part of the city. Wander through its labyrinthine streets, and you’ll find shops, cafes, and residences seamlessly integrated into the ancient walls.

Don’t miss the chance to climb the Bell Tower of St. Domnius for a panoramic view of the city and the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Explore the Peristyle Square, where you can enjoy live music performances in a setting that takes you back in time.

For a touch of nature, head to Marjan Hill, a green oasis offering hiking trails, viewpoints, and hidden coves. Split is a gateway to some of the coolest things to do in Croatia. Explore Roman ruins and enjoy the vibrant local life. It’s a destination that captures the essence of Croatia’s rich past and lively present. As such, this Croatia attraction is one of the most popular sights in this European region.

Experience Croatia's ancient history in Split. Discover the UNESCO-listed Diocletian's Palace and more.
Experience Croatia’s ancient history in Split. Discover the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace and more.

6. Relax on the Beaches of Zlatni Rat

When it comes to the best places in Croatia for beach lovers, Zlatni Rat tops the list. Often referred to as the Golden Horn, this stunning beach is located on the island of Brač and is famous for its unique shape that changes with the tides, currents, and wind.

The pebble beach is a haven for sunbathers, swimmers, and water sports enthusiasts. Zlatni Rat offers something for everyone from windsurfing, jet-skiing, or simply lounging under the sun.

Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, and you’ll be mesmerized by the crystal-clear turquoise waters that surround this beautiful spot in Croatia. The nearby pine tree grove provides a perfect place for shade and relaxation, adding to the beach’s allure.

For those looking to explore beyond the beach, the charming town of Bol is just a short walk away, offering delightful restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions.

Zlatni Rat is one of the unique places in Croatia where nature’s artistry is on full display. Visiting this destination is one of the top things to do in Croatia for anyone looking to experience the country’s coastal beauty at its finest.

Zlatni Rat, a.k.a. Golden Horn, is a unique beach on Brač Island that boasts a shape that shifts with tides and winds.

7. Blue Cave

One of the coolest things to do in Croatia is to explore the mystical Blue Cave on the island of Biševo. This natural wonder is famous for its glowing blue light that illuminates the cave’s interior, creating a magical and otherworldly atmosphere.

The phenomenon occurs when sunlight enters through an underwater opening and reflects off the limestone floor, casting a soft blue glow throughout the cave. The best time to visit is between 11 am and 12 pm when the sun is at the right angle to create this mesmerizing effect.

To reach the Blue Cave, you’ll need to take a boat tour from the nearby islands of Vis or Hvar. The journey itself is a delightful experience, offering stunning views of Croatia’s coastal landscapes.

Once inside the cave, you’ll have the opportunity to float in the ethereal blue waters and soak in the tranquility of this unique natural wonder. The Blue Cave is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that captures the essence of Croatia’s natural beauty and mystery. As one of the top Croatia attractions, you’ll definitely want to add this to your travel itinerary.

Blue Cave on Biševo Island's is one of the best things to do in Croatia.
Blue Cave on Biševo Island’s radiant blue light bathes the interior in a captivating and surreal ambiance.

8. Taste the Flavors of Istria

For an experience like no other, you’ll want to check out this top place to visit in Croatia. For food and wine enthusiasts, a culinary journey through the Istria region is one of the must-see Croatia attractions. Often referred to as Croatia’s “Tuscany,” Istria is renowned for its rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, and truffle-rich forests.

Start your gastronomic adventure in the charming town of Rovinj, where you can explore local markets and savor fresh seafood by the harbor. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Istrian pasta, known as “fuži,” often served with truffles, a local delicacy.

Venture into the countryside to visit family-owned wineries and olive oil producers. Here, you can enjoy guided tastings and learn about the traditional methods used to create some of Croatia’s finest wines and olive oils.

A visit to the medieval hilltop town of Motovun offers not only stunning views but also the chance to join a truffle hunting tour. Accompanied by trained dogs, you’ll search for this prized fungus, followed by a meal featuring your finds.

Istria’s culinary landscape is a feast for the senses, offering some of the best places in Croatia to indulge in local flavors and traditional cuisine. It’s a journey that will leave your taste buds dancing and your heart longing for more. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Croatia that you won’t soon forget.

Istria, akin to "Tuscany," invites food and wine enthusiasts to savor its rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, and truffle-filled forests.
Istria, akin to “Tuscany,” invites food and wine enthusiasts to savor its rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, and truffle-filled forests.

9. Krka National Park

Nestled in the heart of Croatia, Krka National Park showcases the country’s natural beauty and biodiversity. This sprawling park, covering over 142 square km, is a haven for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a serene escape from the hustle and bustle.

One of the top things to do in Croatia, the park is renowned for its cascading waterfalls. The Skradinski Buk waterfall, in particular, is a sight to behold, with its 17 cascades dropping over 45 meters. The roar of the water, combined with the lush greenery surrounding it, creates a mesmerizing spectacle.

Beyond the waterfalls, Krka is a sanctuary for various plant and animal species. It boasts over 800 species of flora and is home to diverse fauna, from amphibians to birds. For history buffs, the park also houses several archaeological sites, showcasing the rich history of the region.

Visitors can explore the park through its well-marked trails, which offer panoramic views of the landscape. Boat tours are also available, providing a unique perspective of the park’s waterways and lakes. And after a day of exploration, the Krka Monastery, an ancient spiritual site, offers a peaceful retreat.

In all, Krka National Park is not just a destination; it’s an experience. Its blend of natural wonders, rich biodiversity, and historical significance makes it a must-visit when in Croatia. So, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature and history, Krka National Park awaits.

Curious about what to do in Croatia for nature lovers? Krka National Park is the answer
Curious about what to do in Croatia for nature lovers? Krka National Park is the answer

10. Rijeka’s Street Art

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Croatia that blend culture and creativity, a visit to Rijeka is a must. Known as Croatia’s gateway to the Adriatic, Rijeka is a vibrant port city with a thriving street art scene.

Begin your exploration in the city center, where you’ll find colorful murals and graffiti that tell stories of Rijeka’s history, culture, and identity. Local and international artists have transformed ordinary walls into extraordinary canvases, adding a lively touch to the urban landscape.

Don’t miss the Gračani Street Art Gallery, an open-air gallery that showcases the works of various artists. Take a stroll along Molo Longo, a popular pier, where you’ll find intriguing sculptures and installations.

For those interested in diving deeper into Rijeka’s art scene, guided street art tours are available, offering insights into the artists’ inspirations and techniques.

Rijeka’s street art is more than just decoration; it’s a reflection of the city’s soul and a celebration of creativity. It’s one of the cool destinations in Croatia for art lovers and curious travelers alike, offering a fresh and unconventional way to experience Croatian culture. As such, I recommend this thing to do in Croatia to everyone I meet.

Rijeka is a vibrant port city with a thriving street art scene and Adriatic charm.
Rijeka is a vibrant port city with a thriving street art scene and Adriatic charm.

11. Pula Arena

As far as things to do in Croatia go, this activity is among the coolest! When exploring Croatia places to visit, history buffs will be thrilled to discover the Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Located in the coastal city of Pula, this ancient structure stands as a testament to Croatia’s rich Roman heritage.

Built in the 1st century AD, the Pula Arena once hosted gladiator fights and could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. Today, it serves as a venue for concerts, festivals, and other cultural events, bringing history to life in a unique way.

Take a guided tour to learn about the architecture, history, and significance of this remarkable site. Wander through the underground passages, where gladiators once prepared for battle, and explore the small museum that showcases artifacts from the Roman era.

Climb to the top tiers of the amphitheater for a panoramic view of Pula and the sparkling sea beyond. The Pula Arena is one of the must-see in Croatia attractions that connects you with the past in a tangible and awe-inspiring way.

For those who love attending a live performance or simply exploring the ancient stones, the Pula Arena is one of the best places in Croatia that offers a journey back in time that resonates with the echoes of history.

Explore Croatia's history at Pula Arena—an immaculate Roman amphitheater in Pula, a testament to the country's rich heritage.
Explore Croatia’s history at Pula Arena—an immaculate Roman amphitheater in Pula, a testament to the country’s rich heritage.

12. Zadar

Zadar, located on Croatia’s stunning Dalmatian coast, is a vibrant city full of history, culture, and natural beauty. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Croatia, and for good reasons. Here’s what makes Zadar a must-see destination.

The city’s Roman and Venetian ruins, including the Roman Forum and St. Donatus Church, offer a glimpse into its ancient past. But what truly sets Zadar apart is its contemporary installations like the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation.

Visitors to Zadar can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Riva, the city’s waterfront promenade, where they can listen to the unique melodies of the Sea Organ. The nearby islands, accessible by ferries, offer beautiful beaches and opportunities for snorkeling and diving. The local cuisine, featuring fresh seafood and traditional Croatian dishes, is a must-try experience in the many restaurants and taverns that line the city’s charming streets.

Zadar’s blend of ancient history and innovative modernity, coupled with its stunning coastal location, makes it a unique and appealing destination. Whether exploring the narrow alleys of the old town, enjoying the natural music of the sea, or indulging in the local culinary delights, Zadar offers a one-of-a-kind experience that captures the essence of Croatia’s diverse and enchanting culture.

Zadar is a Croatian city like no other
Zadar is a Croatian city like no other

13. Paklenica National Park

It would be a crime to write an article on the top things to do in Croatia without mentioning Paklenica National Park. For adventure seekers wondering where to go in Croatia, Paklenica National Park offers an exhilarating blend of natural beauty and outdoor activities. Nestled in the Velebit mountain range, this park is a paradise for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts.

The park’s two canyons, Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, are the main attractions, offering dramatic landscapes of cliffs, caves, and dense forests. Hiking trails of varying difficulty crisscross the park, leading you to breathtaking viewpoints and hidden gems.

Climbers will find a range of routes, from beginner-friendly to expert-level, all set against the stunning backdrop of the canyons. Guided climbing tours are available for those new to the sport or looking to enhance their skills.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Manita Peć Cave, a geological wonder filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The cave’s guided tours provide insights into its formation and the creatures that call it home.

Paklenica National Park is more than just a destination. It’s one of the Croatia attractions that invites you to challenge yourself, connect with nature, and discover the thrill of adventure. For those who enjoy scaling a cliff or wandering through a forest, Paklenica is one of the best places in Croatia that promises an experience that ignites the spirit and awakens the senses.

Paklenica National Park is nestled in Velebit mountains, it's a paradise for hikers, climbers, and nature lovers.
Paklenica National Park is nestled in Velebit mountains, it’s a paradise for hikers, climbers, and nature lovers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Croatia

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Croatia? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Croatia:

When is the best time to visit Croatia?

Croatia offers diverse experiences throughout the year. The summer months (June to August) are ideal for beach lovers and outdoor activities. Spring and fall provide pleasant weather for exploring cities and national parks. Winter is perfect for enjoying Christmas markets and winter sports in the mountain regions.

Do I need a visa to visit Croatia?

Visa requirements vary by nationality. Citizens of the EU, EEA, and many other countries can enter Croatia without a visa for short stays. It’s advisable to check the latest visa regulations with the Croatian embassy or consulate in your country.

What currency is used in Croatia?

Croatia uses the Croatian Kuna (HRK). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially in smaller towns and remote areas.

What not to miss when visiting Croatia?

When visiting Croatia, a country known for its stunning coastline, historic towns, and diverse landscapes, there are several must-see attractions and experiences that shouldn’t be missed:

  1. Dubrovnik’s Old Town: Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” this UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its well-preserved medieval walls and historic buildings. Walk the city walls for panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea.
  2. Plitvice Lakes National Park: A UNESCO site, this park is renowned for its 16 terraced lakes connected by waterfalls. Wooden pathways allow visitors to wander through and around the water.
  3. Hvar Island: Known for its vibrant nightlife, lavender fields, and historic sites, Hvar is a popular spot for both relaxation and adventure.
  4. Diocletian’s Palace in Split: This ancient palace is the heart of Split, with its maze-like streets filled with shops, restaurants, and historical sites.
  5. Rovinj: A picturesque coastal town in Istria, known for its Venetian architecture and cobblestone streets leading up to the Church of St. Euphemia.
  6. Zagreb: The capital city offers a mix of Austro-Hungarian architecture, vibrant street art, and numerous museums, including the unique Museum of Broken Relationships.
  7. Korčula: Often called “Little Dubrovnik,” this island boasts medieval squares, churches, and palaces.

Is Croatia safe for travelers?

Croatia is considered a safe destination for travelers. Common sense precautions, such as safeguarding valuables and being aware of your surroundings, apply as in any travel destination.

Street in Dubrovnik, Croatia at night.
Street in Dubrovnik, Croatia at night.

What is Croatia best known for?

Croatia is best known for its stunning coastline along the Adriatic Sea. It features over a thousand islands, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful beaches. The country’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved medieval cities, Roman ruins, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the Old City of Dubrovnik.

Croatian cuisine, influenced by Mediterranean and Italian flavors, is renowned for its seafood, olive oil, and wines. Croatia is also famous for its unique traditions. This includes the colorful annual Carnival in Rijeka and the traditional Dalmatian a cappella singing known as “klapa.”

In the sports world, Croatia is known for producing talented athletes. This is especially true in football, with the national team’s remarkable performance in the 2018 FIFA World Cup being a highlight. The country’s natural beauty, including its national parks like Plitvice Lakes and Krka, also makes Croatia a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Can I speak English in Croatia?

English is widely spoken in tourist areas, hotels, and major cities. Learning a few basic Croatian phrases can enhance your experience and is appreciated by locals.

What is the nicest part of Croatia to visit?

The nicest part of Croatia to visit depends on your interests and preferences. From the historical charm of Dubrovnik and the natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park to the vibrant street art in Rijeka and the serene lavender fields of Hvar, Croatia offers diverse destinations that cater to all types of travelers.

Is Croatia worth visiting?

Absolutely, Croatia is worth visiting for its stunning blend of historical sites, natural wonders, vibrant cities, and delectable cuisine. From exploring ancient Roman ruins to relaxing on pristine beaches, Croatia offers a rich and diverse travel experience that captivates the heart and soul of every visitor.

Closing Thoughts on Exploring Croatia

Croatia, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty, offers a travel experience like no other. From the ancient walls of Dubrovnik to the mystical allure of the Blue Cave, from the culinary delights of Istria to the adrenaline rush of Paklenica National Park, there’s something for every traveler in this Adriatic gem.

Croatia’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cities invite you to explore, indulge, and create unforgettable memories.

So pack your bags, embrace the wanderlust, and set sail for Croatia’s shores. The best places in Croatia await, each with its unique charm and story, ready to become a part of your travel journey.

The top things to do in Croatia for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the top things to do in Croatia? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment