DISCOVER CROATIA – 20 Best Tourist Attractions in Croatia That You Must Visit Once in a Lifetime!
Croatia is truly a wonderful country when it comes to natural beauties and cultural heritages. So, there are many places you can visit that will simply enchant you in all parts of Croatia; from Dalmatia and Istria to Slavonia, Zagorje and Gorski kotar. We bring you Croatia’s top 20 best attractions that you must visit once in a lifetime. If you’ve already visited some of them, just continue with those you haven’t or revisit them again, they are so spectacular that they will inspire you over and over. The list is compounded by Croatia’s National parks, Nature parks, best beaches, cultural monuments, adrenaline tourism and many more. So, let as take you on a journey around Croatia.
National Park Plitvice Lakes
We will start with the most famous one, National Park Plitvice Lakes are the most famous tourist attraction in Croatia that attracts visitors form all around the world. Plitvice Lakes are the first Croatian National Park pronounced in 1949 and are under UNESCO protection since 1979. Most part of the park is covered with forests, some with pastures and just 1% percent with lakes that are most attractable to tourists. 16 of them are the home to many animal and plant species that you can watch from a safe distance. Besides hospitality offer that is wide, visitors can hike, cycle and sledge in winter months. The best time to visit the lakes is late spring and early autumn.
Amfiteatar in Pula
City Pula is the center of Istria County and is located on the south of Istria peninsula. Pula is famous by its sandy beaches in surrounding and National Park Brijuni that is located in nearness. But, the greatest association to Pula is the Amfiteatar. Built in the 1st century, it is one of the oldest monuments in Croatia and surely the most beautiful one. It was built as an arena meant for gladiator fights in the beginning. Later it was used for knight fights and fairs and today for film festivals, operas, concerts etc. It is now a tourist attraction open all year long that seizes views of admiration because of its elliptic shape with axis 130 meters long. A true construction miracle in the heart of Pula!
Sea Organs and Greeting to the Sun in Zadar
Our next stop is town Zadar located in north Dalmatia. Positioned by the sea it is famous for its Old Town full of walking points and important monuments with a wonderful footbridge that connects the old part with the new part of town. The famous tourist destination is the place of our new attraction, actually two new, located one by each other. They are a part of new attractions built just a few years ago. By the sea on Riva, you can therefor enjoy in a unique “song” of the sea through Sea Organs, a special stairway designed to make sounds with waves. Stand by them, listen what nature has to say to you and relax your thoughts. When you’ve finished, continue to the Greeting to the Sun, a place with the best sunrises and sunsets. Expect it to be crowdy in summer months.
Castle Trakošćan in Varaždin County
The most beautiful castle in Croatia, Trakošćan, is bounded with buildings by the castle, a garden and forest-park making it an ideal “escape” from city centers in wonderful natural surrounding. It was built in 13th century as a part of defense system. Today it is owned by Croatia who informs it visitors about its important history through its museum. Its halls and furniture that décor it will astonish you with design and preservation while presenting you the nobleman life. The castle has a lower and upper ground floor and first and second floor. It is opened throughout the whole year for visitation.
The Walls of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has become the most popular tourist city in Croatia mostly because of its stunning architecture. It is one of the cities that records visitations throughout the whole year. How come that it is so popular? Its position on the very south of Croatia contributes to that, large restaurant offer also and the big impact have the people living in Dubrovnik that are considered one of the best in Croatia. But, one attraction singles out the most and that are Dubrovnik Walls. They date back to the 8th century and are decorated with towers and fortresses. The walls were used for defending the city mostly from sea attacks and today they are visited by millions of people wanting to “overlook” the city like the soldiers did once. You can enter the walls on three ways: on Stradun by the doors of Pila, by the fortress St. Ivana and by the fortress St. Luka. You can visit them them throughout the whole year.
Vineyards in Ilok
It is time that we mention one of the favorite alcohol drinks in the world, wine. Croatia is full of places with domestic wine sorts, from island Pelješac, Istrian ones, Zagorje etc., but there is one place on the very East, in town Ilok, that has its own story and experience. Ilok is situated just by river Dunav and is the final spot towards the neighbor country Serbia. Ilok is full of cultural monuments that we highly suggest that you visit but Ilok is mostly associated with wine. With tradition for more than 1800 years it can be said that their recipes are perfect and we suggest you visit wine basements in company Iločki podrumi. Their Traminac, Graševina, Pinot Bijeli, Rajnski Rizling and Chardonnay are world famous wines and are winners of plenty awards like Decanter, International challenge, Citadelles Du Vin, Vianlies Internationales and many more. The city and surrounding are also full of family farms with production of their own wine and when you add local Slavonian kitchen, Ilok will surely become your favorite wine and gastro destinations.
National Park Krka by Skradin
Ever wondered how it is to bath just by a large waterfall? Fantastic, believe us! And you can do that near Skradin just a few kilometers away Šibenik. The national park extends on 109 km2 of land and is located in the most beautiful flow of river Krka and lower flow of river Čikola. Interesting spots for visitation are surely the Skradin waterfall, footpath and locations Stinice – Roški waterfall – Oziđana pećina, monastery Krka, other waterfalls and souvenir shops. The park is full of animal and plant life and its connection by foot or with bicycles gives a special lure to the whole place. Bathing is allowed to all visitor on marked places but it is forbidden to disturb in any way the eco-system of the park. How spectacular it is to bath by a waterfall, just look on the picture. You can visit Krka at any time of the year but catch the summer months if you want to bath.
Diocletian’s Palace in Split
The second largest city exudes with brightness and relaxation. Split’s Riva is one of the most beautiful ones in Croatia on which many events and concerts are being held. Split is also a summer party and gastro destination with many clubs by the beach and with plenty of restaurants offering first-class Mediterranean food. Also, beach Bačvice, one of the most famous in Croatia where Split’s favorite water sport is being played, “picigin”, is a location which is always crowded in summer days. Town Split as all in Dalmatia is full of cultural and historical sights and the Diocletian’s Palace, that is next on our list is what you need for an interesting historical education. It was built during the Roman Empire around 300 year for emperor Diocletian which in fact was his country-life villa where he came to rest together with the army and guards watching him from towers. Today it is a piece of Split’s culture and a part of touristic offer. The impact of the palace is enormous and there isn’t a person that doesn’t associate Split with it. Its architecture, its influence and symbolism will surely delight you. It’s on the UNESCO list of protected cultural heritages since 1979.
Beach Zlatni rat (Golden Horn) on island Brač
Next attraction on our list is beach from the postcard when Croatia is being mentioned as a summer destination. Beach Zlatni rat (Golden Horn) in Bol on island Brač with its unique position inside the sea will intrigue you on first sight. Incurred by sedimentation of golden pebble and shaped by wind, waves and sea current, it got a shape that can’t be found nowhere in the world. It changes its shape daily depending on natural effects and is attractable to surfers from all around the world. Right beside is a forest that gives a nice shade in hot days making a special ambient to the whole place. It is island’s Brač biggest touristic natural beauty with touristic trains and boats even leading to it. Also, you can reach it by foot from city Bol. It’s the only beach on our list of attractions and surely worthwhile visiting.
Uspinjača (Funicular) in Zagreb
The capital of Croatia records in every year in tourist arrival. But, the city isn’t just a staging area for continuing to the Adriatic, it is the center of nightlife and gastronomy in Croatia and one particular attraction got the most attention in the city. Uspinjača (Funicular) is already a cult place for discovering Zagreb. It connects the Upper and Lower part of the town. It is also one of the shortest cableways in the world being only 66 meters long and is protected by law because it kept it aboriginal design and construction. It can carry 28 passengers and is opened throughout the whole year.
Fortress Tvrđa in Osijek
The central city of Slavonia is what you need after magical views on to Slavonian plains in the surrounding. Osijek is positioned right by river Drava that had large influence on lives of Osijek inhabitants and on the city’s gastronomy. Fish specialties with unavoidable Slavonian specialties like kulen, cracklings and “čobanac” stew etc. are the highlight. Also, Osijek offers lots of attractions but the famous Fortress Tvrđa is the most popular one. In its history it was the most modern military fort built in baroque style. Today it is an unavoidable part of touristic offer of the town.
Nature Park Kopački Rit near Osijek
After visiting Tvrđa and other places in Osijek, one Nature Park just near Osijek waits to be discovered. Kopački Rit in fact is a flooded area incurred by rivers action of Dunav and Drava. The park is full of ponds (dents) and landscape elevations that occurred by the effect of all waters making a unique wavy field of the whole area. That field is of course fit for the development of special animal and plant species. A true natural trademark are white lilies that “swim” on water and Siberian Iris that is extremely rare on European soil when we talk about plants. When we talk about animals, birds are the highlight with 293 species that can be found in the park. Storks, herons, ducks, pheasants and many other are a small paradise for all bird lovers. The park is opened throughout the whole year with special offer of visitation through seasons and tours with boats and canoes for even better study of particular species.
Kraneamus Krapina Neanderthal Museum in Krapina
Kraneamus Neanderthal was discovered in 1899 when almost 1000 bones of human were found in the place. It is one of the biggest bone collections of Neanderthal humans. With human bones, bones of animals were found like bear, wolf, moose, deer, rhino and all of them you can see in the museum in Krapina. The bones are approximately 125 000 years old. Because of the importance, the area of the museum is protected as the first paleontological nature monument in Croatia and included in one of the richest paleontological habitats of Neanderthal human in Croatia and Europe. Museum is opened throughout the whole year with guides on 8 different languages. It is decorated and presented to show you the reality with which an Early Man encountered, how he lived, how did he feed and what was his level of intelligence.
Rafting in Karlovac
One of the most interesting ways to discover nature is rafting, and Karlovac that is located on the delta of four rivers (Kupa, Korana, Mrežnica, Dobra) is ideal to do it. Adventure on rivers is a part of Adrenaline tourism that is becoming very popular and rafting is on the top of that list. Try to find out more about Safari rafting Karlovac tour on website Croatia Open Land that was rewarded by Croatian’s Ministry of Tourism. The route includes a starting point from Turanj, it passes through the center of Karlovac, includes descending down waterfalls, a stop point by the bath place Foginovo and a passing point by the famous hotel Srakovčić. Find rafting routes that best suit you but be sure to put rafting on your “to do” list in Croatia.
Rastoke near Slunj
Rastoke are a true little paradise on earth. A place full of wonderful waterfalls, greenery and plant and animal world lives through all four seasons and offers spectacular views. The locals explain Rastoke as “the nature’s game” that played with waters of river Slunjčica that crosses rocks before basin in river Korana meanwhile making a bunch of waterfalls, fast currents, small lakes and cascades. In history, Rastoke were inhabited with peasants that milled grains there and today people from all around the world come to witness this unique “game of nature”. The area around Rastoke and town Slunj exudes with naturalness and many activities are organized like cycling, rafting, horse-riding, Nordic walking and hiking. Old watermills are another attraction and it were used for milling grains while today they are opened for visitation and decorated that they look as in the past. Restaurants with homemade specialties are today near or within them. If you are looking for active and green, Rastoke are your place for visitation.
National Park Northern Velebit
Velebit as one of the biggest mountains in Croatia and surely the most famous one is a true bate for those in love with hiking and exploring the “unknown”. Diversity is what classified this part of Velebit among National Parks where you will meet with forests, pastures, rocks, water stops etc. The animal and plant world is here extremely important because it is a habitat to some endemic species and species that we don’t bump into so often. Bear, wolf and lynx are one of the rare ones and also protected. One of the endemics are Velebit’s Leech and Velebit’s Degenia. But, the highest values of the park are its pot holes located in reservations Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi. There are about 400 of them and three attract attention the most because of their depth: Lukina pot hole–Trojama (-1431 m), Slovačka pot hole (-1320 m) and Pot hole Velebita (-1026 m). The area inside them is completely covered with darkness and animals like insects, snails, centipedes, spiders, crabs, bivalves and others inhabit it. Northern Velebit is close to town Senj and is definitely your nm. 1 location when it comes to hiking in Croatia.
Paklinski Islands near island Hvar
Locals call them “Forski škoji” and Paklinski Islands are in fact composed by 20 little islands and reefs stuck together with wonderful sandy beaches, forests, heavenly bays and sky-blue clean sea. Hvar is anyway one of the most popular touristic destinations in Croatia and the islands are on the western part of the Island, just under town Hvar. Large part of the islands is intact nature that just waits to be revealed. The parts meant for bathing have a large gastronomic offer with a bunch of beach bars. The most famous islands for visitation are Jerolim, Stipanska, Ždrilca, Vlaka and Palmižana. Look for all boats heading to Paklinski otoci in Hvar’s port.
Memorial Centrum Vukovar
At the beginning of the nineties in 20th century Croatia was overtaken with war and Vukovar, a city on the very east of the country was the most struck with it. It heroically defended for three months when eventually being concurred by aggressors. Later it was freed with liberation missions in whole Croatia but with large casualties – human and material. On behalf of its victims, the city built a Memorial Centrum with which a great number of Croats have a special bond. The Memorial Centrum is compounded by a series of locations that are an important part of war and one of the most important ones are MCDR Vukovar, Water Tower and Memorial Area Ovčara. Today Vukovar is a city full of historical locations and an important touristic place. With location near river Dunav, its gastronomy offers many river food specialties. Also, many bicycle routs and forests are popular for those seeking for active tourism.
Nature Park Telašćica
Located on Dugi Otok, just by National Park Kornati, Nature Park Telašćica is one of the favorite destinations of boat tours in Zadar county. Telašćica is in fact a bay surrounded with 13 little islands and is graced with quiet beaches, forests, olive fields and vineyards. Also, Telašćica is a natural port and is considered to be one of the safest, biggest and prettiest of that kind. With Mediterranean climate, farmed lands and extremely wide sea world it has all that you need. Hunting is organized on the area of Telašćica as a part of hunting tourism so those eager for hunting animals surely need to visit park Telašćica.
Summer party Destination Zrće in Novalja
Croatia has become extremely famous by festivals of electronic music, and location that singles out as a place where party never stops is beach Zrće in Novalja on island Pag. Wonderful beaches, big night clubs, cocktails, afterparties and unforgettable night parties attract visitors from all around the world for the hottest party in Croatia. Clubs are opened during summer days, from May to September and make an unforgettable ambient. Hideout, Love International, Sonus and many other festival names have already intrigued you we believe and there are a reason more to start planning your summer party adventure on Croatia’s best party beach.