Croatia: Main Sights
The New Riviera
The capital, Zagreb, has countless museums, including the Museum Mimara, which is one of the best art galleries in Europe. The most impressive sight in the city is undoubtedly the neo-gothic St Stephen's Cathedral, which incorporates some elements of the original Medieval structure. The thousand-year old Upper Town is home to the Presidential Palace, the parliament, museums and a labyrinth of cobbled streets.
Rovinj, Istria's ‘cultural mecca’ is crowned by the monumental baroque Crkva Sv Eufemije (Church of St. Euphemia), which has a typical Venetian bell tower topped by a gleaming bronze figure of St. Euphemia. Far below, a wide harbor is crowded with pleasure boats. Throughout the summer, the winding cobbled streets are crowded with vacationers from all reaches of Europe. South of the harbour lies the beautiful landscaped park of Zlatni Rt, planted with avenues of cedars and offering numerous secluded coves for bathing.
Plitvice is Croatia's most famous National Park. Its many lakes and waterfalls are ideal for hiking or trekking around. The Dalmatia region is full of untouched nature and thousands of islands. The island of Ciovo is only 25 kilometers from Split and is connected by a bridge to Trogir, a small town under the protection of UNESCO.
Korcula town (pronounced kor-chula) is a walled town on Korcula Island near some delightful beaches. Korcula Town is famous for its stone carvings and its historic old town and also because local legend has it that Marco Polo was born in Korcula Town. The town offers one of Croatia's most romantic views and has become a top sight for cruise lines on their way to or from Dubrovnik.
Trsat Castle, Rijeka
The medieval castle was built on the foundations of a prehistoric fort. Today it hosts a popular cafe, offering some stunning views of the Kvarner Bay; throughout the summer, open-air theatre performances and concerts take place here. Across the street, the pilgrimage church of Sveta Marija (St. Mary) was constructed in 1453 to commemorate the Miracle of Trsat, when angels carrying the humble house of the Virgin Mary are said to have landed here. Trsat remains a place of pilgrimage.
Croatian islands are small parallel worlds; each island has a life of its own, its own spirit and its own message. Among the Croatian islands, the Kornati islands, a masterpiece of nature, truly stand out, while the small Sibenik islands such as Krapanj are the best places for a secluded vacation. Near Split, is Hvar, the sunniest of all the islands and an island with the oldest theatre in Europe.
The island of Brac is famous for its two kilometer long sandy beach known as Zlatni Rat, heaven for surfers, while next to the island of Vis is Modra Spilja (Blue Grotto) – a natural phenomenon of the Adriatic.
Further south is the wooded island of Korcula, the home of Marco Polo as well as the green Elaphite islands close to Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is Croatia's top sight, and its most visited destination with a wide variety of accommodation to choose from. George Bernard Shaw baptised Dubrovnik "the pearl of the Adriatic" because of its incomparable architectural heritage. The gleaming marble streets of Dubrovnik are lined with baroque buildings punctuate by beautifully sculpted Renaissance fountains and facades. Dubrovnik's walls are the most undamaged and striking in the Adriatic and without a doubt head the long list of Dubrovnik's sights. It is no surprise that UNESCO named Dubrovnik a World Heritage Site!
Mljet is situated on the west Dalmatian coast. It is the most western island of all bigger Croatian islands. Mljet is well known for its two salted lakes Veliko and Malo Jezero on the north end of the island. The northern part of the island of Mljet is also one of Croatian National Parks, and is therefore, one of the favourite destinations for travellers. Mljet has regular ferry connections with Dubrovnik as well as with Peljesac Peninsula. Excursions to the island can be done from Korcula.
The Kornati archipelago consists of 140 islands, islets and cliffs, with 89 of them declared a National Park, due to its numerous coves and crystal clear blue waters. The maze of unspoiled islands scattered over 220 sq km in the Adriatic is a sailor's paradise. There are remains of Illyrian, Roman and medieval settlements and churches on some of the islands. There are no hotels on the Kornati Islands but there is a smattering of private accommodation that should be reserved before arrival.
Pula is situated at the southeast end of the Istrian peninsula and is 3 thousand years old. Many cultural and historical monuments dominate its panorama. Pula represents today the unique setting of various cultural and artistic events.The Roman Amphitheatre in Pula is one of the largest of its kind, and was built by Emperor Vespasian on the site of smaller amphitheatre.
A visit to Split won’t disappoint. The Palace of Diocletian is considered by many as the greatest Roman ruin in Western Europe. There are also many castles and forts located around the Croatian countryside. Dubrovnik, a city on the coast of the Adriatic Sea is one of the country's most beautiful places, with splendid and well preserved ancient fortresses, palaces and buildings.
Croatia's Islands - What does each island offer?
Vis island – the best local food and wines
Hvar – Croatian St.Tropez
Welcome to the island which declares of being the sunniest Dalmatian island often called Croatian Madeira. Medieval Hvar is a small town that lies between protective pine-covered slopes and the azure Adriatic Sea.
Kornati island – best for sailing and cruising. Take note however that there are no ferry connections to Kornati Islands. You can visit these islands by booking an organized excursion from Zadar, Sibenik Split and other coastal cities.
Brac (Bol) – best for water sports.
Mljet island - best for pristine nature - Mljet island has remained for centuries rather unknown island and rarely visited by tourist. Visit Saplunara sandy beach on the island Mljet is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Southern Dalmatia. Stay in Villa Mirosa near Saplunara a peaceful village on the south coast of the l island of Mljet. It is in the midst of pine woods on the coast. An ideal spot for those who love to swim in crystal clear waters. You can reach Mljet island via a ferry that goes from Dubrovnik every day and takes you to Sobra. There is fast catamaran service from Dubrovnik for passengers only, which takes less then one hour.
Pag island, Zrce beach - the best party beach - Zrce can be reached form Novalja by car or you can take a small shuttle bus operating during the summer.
Palagruza Island - the best island for relaxation - The complete isolation of this remote island makes Palagruza one of unique European tourist top destinations.
Island Murter - the best for sailing.
Island Lopud - the best for a one-day tour. Island Lopud makes a peaceful escape from touristy Dubrovnik. It makes a part of the Elafiti islands. The island can be reached by a boat from the new Dubrovnik's harbour Gruz during high season (June to August). Off season ferries operate only in the afternoon. Lopud is a car free island. The beautiful Sunj beach is only 20 minutes walk.