The Best Croatia Bucket List – 26+ Incredible Ideas for Your Croatia Itinerary

In recent years, Croatia has been creeping up the ranks as one of the top destinations to visit in the Mediterranean. A country blessed with warm, sunny days, the most delicious cuisine, jaw-dropping landscapes and bluest waters.

The country is also home to some of the most magnificent ancient towns, filled with an abundance of history. If you’re planning a visit, you’ll no doubt find a wealth of things to do in Croatia.

To date, I’ve had three separate visits to the country, once to the south, once in the north, and most recently; to the islands. And I can’t wait to go back again!

This Croatia bucket list features everything you need to know about visiting the best spots, including insider information about the top things to do in Croatia to make the most out of your visit.

If you’re looking for the definitive list of things to add to your Croatia to-do list, this is it. The only problem is choosing where to go first.

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Croatia Must-See Landmark: The Amphitheatre of Pula | Canva

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The Complete Croatia Bucket List

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Plitvice Lakes

Highlights: One of the top things to do in Croatia is to visit the stunning UNESCO listed Plitvice Lakes, frequently tipped as one of the top Croatia attractions. The lakes were Croatia’s first national park, as well as being the largest and were founded in 1949. Plitvice National Park became a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.  

Visitors are attracted in their hundreds of thousands every year to see the beautiful naturally formed lakes and cascades. The park consists of 16 azure blue, photogenic lakes at different levels. The lakes are connected through a series of cascades and waterfalls to create an enchanting setting. 

Around the park, over 8km of wooden boardwalks meander their way between the pools allowing you to literally, walk across water and get up close to them. This is a must see in Croatia, no picture can really do it justice.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the water is how vibrantly blue the lakes are. Different shades of water range from bright blue, to turquoise and greens. This colouring comes from the natural minerals in each of the lakes. Due to this careful natural balance, it is forbidden to swim in the lakes.  

The lakes are surrounded by over 29,482 dense woodland and forest which is home to a variety of Croatian wildlife such as deer, wild boar and birds. In the national park, there have also been sightings of bears and wolves. They are native to the region, however, they prefer to keep away from the noise of tourists.  

If you decide to visit, which you certainly should, you’ll discover for yourself why Plitvice lakes are the most visited attraction in Croatia.

birds eye view of the Plitvice lakes in Croatia. Worthy of a adding to your Croatia bucktet list. A wooden walk way brdige meandering through waterfalls and trees. The trees are vibrant green and the water is turquoise blue.
Plitvice Lakes | Canva

Tips for Visiting: Because the lakes are one of the best things to see in Croatia, they do get busy. It’s a good idea to purchase priority tickets in advance to save the hour-long queue at the onsite ticket office. 

Arrive early in the day, not only is it cooler if you’re visiting in the peak of summer, but you’ll also avoid the crowds.  

To get some of the best views of the lakes, do some of the cliff top walks. From the biggest waterfall, there is a stone staircase leading up to it. This trail has various vantage points where you can look down on the lakes. It gives you a sense of scale and perspective as to how big they are. 

The Old Town of Dubrovnik & The City Walls

Highlights: Dubbed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, the Old City of Dubrovnik has always been one of Croatia’s top places to visit. Then with the onset of Game of Thrones using the city as a backdrop, visitors to this southern city have boomed. 

The city gained its name in part because of the iconic walls. When viewed from above, you’ll see the circular shape of the confides of the city gleaming white in the bright sun. The now dry moat was once filled with the sapphire coloured sea. This surrounded the city giving the city the look of a pearl. 

Something to be sure to add to your Dubrovnik bucket list is a walk around the old city walls. The walls stretch for approximately 1940 metres (6365 feet) and the majority of the walls are still intact. The oldest parts of the wall dating back to the 13th century, with additions and repairs, made after earthquakes and war. The walls are intersected by lookout towers, complete with portholes and turrets which demonstrates how important the walls were in defending the city.   

Both Dubrovnik Old Town and City Walls became UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979. In 1991, during the breakup of Yugoslavia, the walls and iconic city were heavily shelled, causing detrimental damage to and destroying large chunks of the city. After the war, major, yet careful reconstruction and restoration took place to bring the city back to its full glory and bumping it here to the top of most people’s Croatia to-do list.

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One of the top things to do in Croatia – Dubrovnik City Walls | Canva

Tips for Visiting: The city is incredibly popular. Not only will you have tourists visiting Dubrovnik from land, but daily thousands of people arrive by ferry. The city can get insanely busy.  

If you’re planning on visiting the walls, purchase your ticket well in advance, and be there as soon as the gate opens. Start on the Ploče Gate on the eastern side of the wall, this is where the more interesting features are. 

Because the city is synonymous with Game of Thrones, it can be frustrating to navigate your way through the crowds to see the iconic landmarks that were used in filming. To see them more efficiently, join one of the Game of Thrones walking tours.  

If you are getting frustrated by the crowds, head over to nearby Lokrum island (you’ll be able to see the island on the city wall walk). Here you’ll find shady beaches under the shade of trees. Take the quick ferry ride over from the Old City Harbour.

Diocletian Palace, Split

Highlights: Amazing Diocletian Palace in Split is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman palaces in the world. Because of its historical importance, it is one of the best things to do in Croatia. Split historical core centre lies within the walls of the 4th century Diocletian Palace making up an incredibly beautiful historical complex.

The Palace of Diocletian is a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must, especially if you only have one day in Split.  It’s also no surprise that the amazing place was a filming location for Game of Thrones, fans of the series will love the Game of Thrones location tour of Split

The colossal palace was a summer house and a retirement residence of the Roman Emperor Diocletian who preferred Split more than Rome. The Diocletian Palace is one of the most unique Roman palaces ever built. One wing of the palace served as the splendid Emperor’s residence and the other wing as a mighty station for a military garrison. 

The magnificent palace was built with high-quality Croatian, Italian and Greek marble, and decorated with Egyptian columns and sphinxes. Diocletian’s Palace covers 30.000 square meters featuring the 

the impressive central square called Peristyle, the monumental Cathedral of St. Domnius (originally Diocletian’s mausoleum), the ancient Jupiter’s temple, the seafront emperor’s apartment, fantastic Vestibule, ancient cobbled alleys with four towers and four gates – one on every side.

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Diocletian's Palace, Split | World Travel Connector

Tips for Visiting: A few thousand people live within the walls of the majestic Diocletian palace, so inside you’ll find some of the cosiest coffee and wine bars, as well as some of the top restaurants and bistros in the city. You’ll also find quaint boutique shops within the walls of the the ancient palace as well.

The palace does get busy, and because of its sheer size, it can be difficult to find where everything is, let alone work out what you’re looking at. If you want to find out more about the palace, it’s certainly worth booking a guided tour of the Diocletian Palace.

Recommended by Milijana from World Travel Connecto

'Dream Beach', The Golden Horn Beach On Brac Island

Highlights: Croatia is blessed with kilometres of beautiful coastline, most often, however, what you will notice is that most of the beaches are pebble, rock or sharp sand. It’s not often they are the dreamy white soft sand.

If you’re after the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, then you’ll need to head to Brac Island and the town of Bol. Here is where you’ll find wide stretches of the most stunningly, soft golden sandy beaches.

One of the best is known as Zlatni Rat, Rat Beach or Golden Horn. It’s also dubbed as ‘dream beach’. Visit it, and you’ll know why!

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Dream Beach | Canva

Tips for Visiting: The island of Brac can be easily accessed from both Hvar island and Split. Once you’re in Brac town, it’s easy to get to the beach. There are plenty of amenities at the beach including places to eat, drink and pedal boats to hire

From the centre of Bol, you can walk to the Golden Horn, the walk along the promenade to the beach will take about 15 minutes. If you don’t want to walk then there’s the tourist train, it leaves about every half an hour.  

The Island of Vis

Highlights: Naturally, one of the best places to go in Croatia, is the islands. With more than 1000 of them along the coastline, you are spoiled for choice. After sightseeing in Hvar, take a ferry to Vis. This is the farthest inhabited island in the Adriatic Sea.

Between 1950 and 1989, Vis island served as the Yugoslav National Army’s base was off limits to foreign visitors. Roll on to today, and you’ll find the island has an authentically rustic feel to it.

For the more active and adventurous traveller, there are some great cycling routes which are popular on the island. Also, because of this unique history, Vis island has many interesting spots that can be visited as part of a Military tour. The Military Tour includes a visit to a nuclear bunker, which is highly recommended if you are not claustrophobic!

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Vis Island | Zest In A Tote

Tips for Visiting: Vis doesn’t have a direct ferry route from either Split or Dubrovnik, you have to go from Hvar. Once on the island stay in either Komiza village or in Vis town. 

There’s enough to do here for at least a couple of days. Enjoy the laid-back island life on the beautiful pristine beaches and eat at the waterfront restaurants.  

For the best views across Vis island, go right on top of Mount Hum. Go early in the day or late in the afternoon when the light is less harsh. You will thank me later for the panoramic vista!

Recommended by Shweta from Zest In A Tote

Lošinj - The Island of Vitality

Highlights:  The off the beaten track island of Lošinj is away from the main tourist trail, mostly because it can be a bit of a challenge to get to if you don’t have your own transportation. However, it’s 100% worth the effort. If you don’t have a car, then the Rhythm of the Senses tour is a great option, as they provide transportation to the island from mainland Croatia.

The island is located in the north part of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea. It’s known as the island of vitality, thanks to its abundance of herbs and vegetation that grow naturally on the island. All year round the air is filled with the scent of lavender, sage, pine, mint and more. 

The towns on Losinj are simply adorable and have changed very little for hundreds of years. There’s a real push for eco-tourism on the island with activities like plant awareness tours and hiking and walking in the stunning countryside, cycling is also a big sport here.

In the main town of Mali Lošinj, you’ll find The Museum of Apoxyomenos. This award-winning museum is home to a nearly complete 1st century B.C. bronze statue of a Roman athlete, recovered from the sea just off the shore of the island. 

In the waters surrounding the island, there are several colonies of bottle-nosed dolphins. The Blue World run tours daily from the harbour of Mali Losinj, they encourage the passive interaction of dolphins and actively campaign to protect their ecosystem. 

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Mail Lošinj Harbour | Canva

Tips for Visiting:  Lošinj is difficult to get around if you don’t have your own transport (whether it’s a bicycle, campervan, car or motorbike). There isn’t much in the way of a bus service, only a taxi.

Lošinj has two ferry ports Mali Losinj and Mrtvaska. Connections sail between smaller islands surrounding Croatia as well as mainland towns including Rijeka, Pula and Zadar. There are also connections from Italy 

Related Article:  Visiting north Croatia? Why not island-hop over to Losinj, Croatia’s Hidden Gem

Lokrum Island and Sunset Kayaking

Highlights: If you’re visiting the south of the country, then I highly recommend adding Lokrum island to your Croatia itinerary. The island is just a stone’s throw from the stunning city of Dubrovnik So close, in fact, you could even row a boat over the mere 600 metres or catch one of the quick 15-minute ferry boats from the port.

A great way to see the island, as well as the city of Dubrovnik, is at sunset on a kayak while viewing from the surrounding coves. This is one of the best things to do in Croatia in Summer, during the intense heat.

Lokrum island itself is a great place to head to find shade. The whole island is a nature reserve, covered with plenty of shaded walkways and places to sit and relax under the gigantic and fragrant pine, olive and cypress trees.

As you wander around, you’ll find colonies of friendly rabbits that will come and eat out of your hands. Although you could see most of the highlights of the island in a whirlwind, you could make this into an easy day trip from Dubrovnik and whittle away a whole day here. There are ample sunbathing spots, including a nudist beach! 

Lokrum island was used in Game of Thrones, so you’ll find references to this dotted about. The museum under the Monastery houses a giant throne from the series

View of Dubrovnik City Walls from a Kayak at sunset
Best Activities, Croatia - Sunset Kayak Around Dubrovnik

Tips for Visiting: There are only a handful of buildings on Lokrum island, the first you will see is a cute little cottage at the entrance. This is also where the ferry boat docks and departs from. Two other notable buildings are the remains of the Fort Royal and the Benedictine Monastery. 

There are a few small cafes on the island, but if you’re planning on spending a whole day here it’s certainly advisable to take a packed lunch.

When you’re buying your ferry ticket, most of the vendors at the Old Dubrovnik Harbour will try and sell you a full tour of several islands instead of just the ferry transfer. They are quite sneaky about this.

Sibenik Old Town

Highlights: Arguably one of the most visually stunning destinations in Croatia is Sibenik. It’s one of the most historical and charming cities in Dalmatia and conveniently located right on the coast. 

Of course, you’ll feel the draw of the gorgeous blue Adriatic Sea, but peel yourself away from the water to explore Sibenik. You’re guaranteed to fall in love with Sibenik’s Old Town, especially if you enjoy history. 

The Old Town starts at the Square of the Croatian Republic (Trg Republike Hrvatske) where the top landmark is located: St. James Cathedral. This UNESCO-listed masterpiece from the 15th century cannot be missed even if you tried as it dominates the square.

The cathedral combines the original Renaissance style with Gothic features. White and clean on the outside, it becomes strikingly more Gothic the moment you enter.

Interlocking stone slabs were used for its construction, even for the Cathedral’s dome. The architect, George the Dalmatian created his magnum opus using techniques he learned during his studies in Venice. Quite fittingly, a statue of him stands right next to the Cathedral, so he can keep an eye on it forever.

Other things to see in Sibenik Old Town are the beautiful stone-tiled areas and squares that are home to several small picturesque churches. Look out for the Church of Saint Barbara and the Church of Saint John, both are worth a visit.

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St James Cathedral, Sibenek | Travel Geekery

Tips for Visiting: For one of the best views of the city, find the stairs that lead up to St. Michaels Fortress. This is the lowest one of three fortresses in the city and marks the northern edge of the Old Town. From here there are wonderful views of the Cathedral and the sea below from it.

Like with lots of places in Croatia, any Game of Thrones fans will also Sibenik since many scenes of the first season were shot in the town.

Recommended by Veronika from Travel Geekery

Check Availability: Sibenik Old Town, Private Tour

Mljet National Park

Highlights: Just off the coast of Croatia, in north Dubrovnik, there’s a lush green island called Mljet. And at the western end of the island, is a National Park containing two stunning green lakes. In the middle of one of the lakes, you’ll find a tiny islet on which is a former Benedictine monastery. It’s an island within an island! And the stuff fairy tales are made of and a must-see in Croatia.

The town of Pomena is the entry to the National Park and one of the most picturesque attractions in Croatia. From there you can walk or cycle around the first lake, Malo Jezero. The water here is such a bright turquoise colour!

Where the two lakes join, at Mali Most, you can catch a boat that will take you across the larger lake, Veliko Jezero, out to the monastery island. The island is called Sveta Marija and its monastery was built in the 12th Century. You can explore the grounds and grab a bite to eat in a restaurant that is now in the former monastery building.

Alternatively, you could hire kayaks and enjoy paddling on the clear, still water – or take a hike into the hills around the lakes. There’s plenty of choice for adventure sports in Mljet National Park!

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Mljet Island | May Cause Wanderlust

Tips for Visiting:

It can be done as a day trip if you are sailing on the Dalmatian Coast or the easiest way is to take a day trip from Dubrovnik. Mljet island is located across the channel. 

It’s approximately 15 nautical miles from Dubrovnik and takes just under two hours to sail there on the fast catamaran ferry.

Recommended by Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

Canyoning in the Cetina Canyon

Highlights: If you’re an adrenalin junkie, then canyoning in the Cetina Canyon needs to appear somewhere on your Croatia Bucket List.

The turquoise waters of the Cetina River meander between the steep cliffs of the Cetina Canyon, making it an ideal place for white water rafting, climbing, and kayaking. Although all three of those are great fun, if you want more variety in your day, then opt for canyoning. 

If you’re not sure what Canyoning is, it’s a combination of walking, swimming or floating down the river and jumping off low cliff edges. It also involves cascading down natural water chutes and slides. Sometimes you even get to rappel down a waterfall! Basically, it’s a fully immersive experience, and guaranteed to get the adrenalin pumping 

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Canyoning | Canva

Tips for Visiting: If you do have a fear of heights and the idea of jumping off cliffs fills you with dread, there are easier options. You’ll be supplied with all the necessary safety gear like helmets and a life vest.

Ideally, leave your phone and any other valuables such as watches and jewellery at home. You’re going to get very wet and most likely stuff like that will get lost or damaged. If you want to record the day, then use an action camera with a body harness or helmet mount so you have your hands free.

Check Availability: Extreme Canyoning on Cetina River

Discover the Hidden Shipwreck Cove

Highlights: If you’re travelling in Croatia, you need to add the hidden shipwreck lagoon to your bucket list. This is one of the most unique things to do in Croatia, as this cove is not very well known, although daily tours are arranged to it from nearby towns. 

The cove is found near the pretty town of Jablanac, in the northwest of the country. There is parking nearby and, if you’re motor homing or camper vanning in Croatia, there is a great overnight spot just up the hill.

Once parked, walk to the harbour of Jablanac, put the sea on your right and start walking out of the town. You’ll see the path around the cliff just as the harbour ends; take this. It’s fairly flat and gravelled, it is a good 20-minute walk, although this is accompanied by fabulous views, so it will probably take you longer. 

You’ll pass through a couple of small tunnels and then suddenly emerge into the hidden cove. Because of its secluded location, this is one of the most cool places in Croatia.

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Shipwreck Cove | Wandering Bird

Tips for Visiting: Usually, there is a small charge to spend time here, however, the man in the payment cabin goes home between 5-5.30. If you’re lucky enough to arrive after charging hours, you can enjoy a long time here without spending anything. This is one of the top free things to do in Croatia. More importantly, without any other visitors.

It’s worth noting that there are no toilets or facilities, so make sure you bring everything you need with you. 

As you walk further into the cove, you’ll see the shipwreck close to the surface of the water. This is an old WW2 German ship that sunk during a storm. This is certainly one of Croatia’s hidden gems. You are allowed to swim and snorkel around the shallow waters of the wreck, but be careful not to get caught.

Recommended by Kat from Wandering Bird

Hvar Island and the Old Town

Highlights: If you’re looking to plan a trip to Croatia, be sure to add Hvar Island to your itinerary. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the country, in particular, Hvar Old Town especially if you’re planning on island hopping in Croatia.

One of the top things to do is to take a city walk through the historical centre, you can expect to see many interesting attractions, including photogenic squares and the picture-perfect ambience at the enchanting harbour. Here, you’ll also find one of the top things to see in Croatia, the Cathedral of St. Stephen, the City Loggia with the bell tower next to it, and the 13th-century Armoury.

Equally as wonderful, are the quaint alleys that lead across the old town and up to the fortress hill. At the top, you will be amazed by the Fortica Španjola.  This beautiful Spanish fortress dates from the 13th century and is the landmark of the island of Hvar.

The city centre is also full of many fantastic restaurants. There are numerous great places in the old town, that serve the best Croatian dishes. Try the excellent local wines which are made directly on the island. In the evening, the cool bars fill up and the nightclubs of the old town invite you to a party.

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Things to do, Croatia: Hvar Old Town | Places of Juma

Tips for Visiting: Because the fortress is located at about 90 meters above sea level, it offers an incredible view of the deep blue sea, the offshore island world and the red rooftops.

Recommended by Martina from Places of Juma

Zadar Promenade: The Sea Organ and Sun Salutation

Highlights: Croatia is a fantastic place to explore, with so many incredible places to visit. The problem is, that can easily mean you miss something!

One of the most popular places in Croatia is the waterfront city of Zadar. If you’re heading to Zadar, which you should, because it’s beautiful, then make sure you take the time to visit the unique and slightly quirky Zadar Sea Organ and Sun Salutation monuments.

This ‘Sea Organ’ is built into the stone steps around the side of the harbour. As the waves lap against the stone, they cause different pressure to be sent down tiny tubes, which then cause a sound to be emitted from holes at the top of the steps- causing it to play exactly like an organ. The sound is subtle, you won’t need earplugs, but it’s incredibly relaxing. 

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What to see, Croatia: The Sea Organ, Zadar | Canva

Tips for Visiting: It’s free to experience the Sea Organ and a great place to visit, especially if you’re with children where you can enjoy the warm sea breeze. You can spend several hours sitting on the steps listening to the music, eating ice cream and watching the city move around you. 

There’s plenty of parking in Zadar and if you’re motorcycling in Croatia, you can enjoy free parking, so take the time to explore the other attractions of the city before you leave. 

Recommended by Kat from Biker Girl Life

The Coastal City of Pula and its Roman Amphitheatre

Highlights: Pula is a city that should be on any itinerary for Croatia. It’s located at the southern point of the Istria Peninsula, in northwest Croatia. Pula is rich in Roman remains, which makes it one of the best destinations in Croatia for ruin addicts. The most important one is the Roman amphitheatre, also called the arena.

The Pula Arena is the 5th largest in the world. It’s 132 by 105 meters in shape and 32 meters in height. Other Roman remains in Pula are the forum, the arch of the Sergii, the temple of Augustus and the gate of Hercules.

It was built in 1AD during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It’s large enough to seat over 20.000 spectators. They could watch gladiators perform or people being thrown in front of wild animals. Thankfully, that’s not what modern-day spectators get to see at the arena. The amphitheatre is the perfect venue for performances of opera, classical music or pop music.

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Pula Amphitheatre | Canva

Tips for Visiting: It’s possible to visit the amphitheatre during the day. Wander around the arena and the dungeons. They have exhibitions about wine and olive oil in Roman times.

There are several parking lots in the city centre, close to the Roman ruins, so perfect for exploring Pula. 

You could easily base yourself for a while in the Istria peninsula. Camp Arena Stoja, a great campsite in Croatia, it’s just outside the city, but next to the sea. If you’re wondering what to do in Croatia for a week, Pula itself could take a couple of days, and then explore the region after. 

Recommended by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Island Hop and Visit the Odysseus Cave and Blue Cave

Highlights: With so many islands surrounding the country, it’s no surprise that island hopping is up there with the top things to do in Croatia. If you’re a fan of beaches, caves and snorkelling, then take a day tour that visits several islands, caves and beaches with ample spots to snorkel. This is a great destination if you’re looking to do day trips from Dubrovnik.

Two of the most beautiful caves are the Odysseus Cave with its pristine blue water making it perfect for snorkelling and spotting fish. There’s also the Blue Cave of Kolocep which features the blue waters reflecting and glistening off the walls of the cave, giving it a blueish hue. 

This is also a good place, if you can, to try to visit either Šipan island, one of the Elaphiti Islands, or even Blace Beach. 

Here are 10 of THE BEST day trips from Dubrovnik | How many of these are you adding to your Croatia Itinerary? | Croatia Travel | Dubrovnik Itinerary | Balkans Travel | Dalmatian Coast | Island Hopping in Dubrovnik | Mostar | Dubrovnik Day Trips | Things to see near Dubrovnik | What do in Dubrovnik | Sailing Dubrovnik | DayTrips Dubrovnik | Dubrovnki Bucket List | Wine Tour Dubrovnik | Adventure Sport Dubrovnik #Croatia #Dubrovnik #Balkans
Snokel the Blue Cave, Croatia | Canva

Tips for Visiting: The best way to see the islands in the shortest space of time is to book a speed boat tour from Dubrovnik. During high season, speedboats depart daily from Dubrovnik harbour for a full day island hopping tour. 

Although you can hire snorkel equipment, they don’t always have the best quality. If you’re planning on doing a bit of snorkelling in Croatia, which you should because the water is stunning – then it’s better to purchase your own mask and snorkel set. 

Wear sunscreen and lots of it. No doubt you’ll be in and out of the water all day, and along with the reflection of the sun on the sea, it’s easy to get sunburnt. It’s worth taking a lightweight shirt for on the boat too, the breeze can feel quite chilly, and make it feel like you’re not burning – you will. 

Makarska for Adventure Sport, National Parks & Beaches

Highlights: Makarska is a picturesque town and beach resort, located at the foot of the Biokovo Mountain range. It is part of the Makarska Riviera, a stunning coastline along the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. Besides beautiful beaches and a pretty city centre, the area offers activities such as hiking and mountain biking, which makes it the best place in Croatia for outdoor enthusiasts. 

One of the best things to do in Makarska town is to stroll around the waterfront promenade, explore the streets of the centre, and visit the little church of Katedrala St. Marko. The centre is a maze of little streets with so many restaurants and bars, that it is hard to choose from. 

It is also worth going for a short walk to the St Peter monument, on the other side of the bay. Especially in the evening, you have a beautiful view of Makarska, with hundreds of lights. 

If adventure sport isn’t your thing, then Makarska is also famous for its surrounding beaches, you’ll have no shortage to choose from. The closest beach to the town centre is the 1500-meter-long city beach, situated in Donja Luka Bay, about a 10 minutes walk. 

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Bucket List, Croatia: Makarska | Passport the World

Tips for Visiting: If you’re after a quieter beach, then visit the one in the Osejava Forest Park. It’s called Nugal Beach. Here, you’ll find high rocks, pine forests and incredible colours of blue and green. Because it can only be reached by a short hike it’s less busy than Donja Luka Bay.

If you have longer in the area, then make sure you visit the Biokovo Nature Park. Here you’ll find an abundance of hiking and cycling possibilities. 

Don’t feel like hiking? Then you can drive up to the Biokovo skywalk, a glass-floored, viewing deck on the edge of a mountain, with incredible views. You won’t find a better place to take pictures of the Dalmatian coast!

Recommended by Deborah from Passport the World

Explore Klis Fortress

Highlights: If you’re wondering what to see in Croatia and you’re interested in hidden gems, then you’ll love this idea. Located near Split, Klis fortress is one of those landmarks that are perfect for curious traveller who wants to get off the beaten track.

The historic records of Klis date back to the second century BC, when the area was settled by the Illyrian tribe called Delmati who built this fortress. The fortress is perched above the village of Klis, about 20 minutes north of Split and provides incredible panoramic views of Split and surrounding areas. 

Although this landmark is popular with domestic tourists, in recent years, it’s relatively unvisited by foreign tourists. However, it’s gained popularity recently thanks to Game of Thrones.  Scenes featuring the characters Meereen and Daenerys were filmed here in 2014.

Despite this, this fortress still sees surprisingly few visitors, perhaps due to its location away from the Old Town of Split and it’s still a wonderful historic landmark and a hidden gem without hordes of tourists.  

Regardless of whether you are a die-hard Games of Thrones fan visiting this fortress for this reason, or a nature or history buff looking to get a glimpse into Croatia’s history, you will love this place.

The historic records of Klis date back to the second century BC, when the area was settled by the Illyrian tribe called Delmati who built this fortress. The fortress is perched above the village of Klis, about 20 minutes north of Split and provides incredible panoramic views of Split and surrounding areas. 

Although this landmark is popular with domestic tourists, in recent years, it’s relatively unvisited by foreign tourists. However, it’s gained popularity recently thanks to Game of Thrones.  Scenes featuring the characters Meereen and Daenerys were filmed here in 2014.

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Klis Fortress | The Discovery Nut

Tips for Vising: If you have a car, then it’s an easy drive from Split to Klis fortress, and could be added in as a great stop on a road trip around the region. If you don’t have your own transportation, then you can get there by bus. 

Klis fortress is open every day from 8:30 AM until 8:30 PM. Always make sure to check the exact hours ahead of your visit to check for any changes to the opening hours. 

Recommended by Daria from The Discovery Nut

Book Tickets: Klis Fortress Entry

Zagreb, The Capital of Croatia & Mirogoj Cemetery

HighlightsOne of the top things to do in Croatia, naturally, is to visit the nation’s capital. And, though it’s by no means on the well-beaten tourist trail, the historic Mirogoj Cemetery (Groblje Mirogoj) in Zagreb is more than worthy of a place on your Croatia bucket list

Set on the northern outskirts of the city, Mirogoj is a hauntingly beautiful national landmark. It was constructed between 1876-1929 and is considered one of Croatia’s finest examples of Neoclassical architecture.

Designed by German architect Herman Bolle, the complex consists of open green spaces and rows of Italian-style arcades, interspersed with pavilions, domes and small chapels. Some of Croatia’s most illustrious artists, writers, scientists and politicians (of every ethnicity and creed) have been laid to rest in Mirogoj over the years. For this reason, it’s considered the national pantheon.

As you walk under the walls of ivy amongst sweet sculptures and crumbling columns, you feel transported to another world. 

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Mirogoj Cemetery, Zagrreb | Canva

Tips for Visiting: If you’re visiting Zagreb in the winter months,  you’ll likely have the cemetery all to yourself, which only heightens the feeling. The atmosphere is certainly solemn, but there’s a pleasure to be found in the elaborate gravestones, many lovingly tended by descendants or admirers.

This is an active cemetery and should be approached with respect, but rest assured it’s commonplace for visitors to wander the grounds and admire the heritage architecture. 

Photography is permitted. Mirogoj is free to enter and can be reached by city bus from the Kaptol district in around 30 minutes.

Recommended by Emily from Wander-Lush

Zadar's Ancient City Walls

Highlights: One of the must-see places in Croatia is the historical city centre of Zadar. It’s stunning, with its cobbled streets, medieval squares, and even a Roman forum dating back to the 3rd century. 

About half of the old town is surrounded by old city walls, which are actually on the UNESCO world heritage list. The walls were built between the 12th and 13th centuries and were impenetrable, defending the city against attackers.

Within the walls, you can still see some of the old city gates. The most beautiful gate is undoubtedly The Land Gate, which was built in 1543. It used to be the official entrance to the city. Nowadays, the walls are mostly used as a park and you’ll find locals and tourists relaxing and enjoying the shade of the trees.  

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Croatia must do: Walls of Zadar | Canva

Tips for Visiting: Look out for the motif on the Land Gate. In the centre of this gate, you can see a statue of the winged lion of Saint Mark. This is the symbol of Venice and it relic from the old days when Zadar used to be part of the Republic of Venice. Other gates are the Sea Gate and the New Gate. 

If you want to find out more about the history, then on the eastern side of the old town, there’s a big promenade on the walls. Here you can find information panels about the history of the city walls 

Recommended by Jacoba from Op Reis Met Co

Check Availability: Zadar Guided Walking Tour

The Old Town of Korcula - 'Mini Dubrovnik'

Highlights: Korcula Town, often affectionately called mini-Dubrovnik and should be on everyone’s Croatia bucket list itinerary. Encircled by ancient walls, Korcula town is located in the centre of Korcula island. It is also believed to be the birthplace of the famous explorer Marco Polo.

Even though the town is relatively small with few attractions to visit, it makes a great getaway destination from overcrowded Croatian cities. During the summer months, one can enjoy pristine waters and sandy beaches with a scenic fortified town in the background. Korcula is certianly a must-see in Croatia. 

One of the top things to do in Korcula is  to visit Marco Polo’s house and his museum to learn more about his life  and adventures around the globe. Afterwards, wander through the narrow cobblestone streets and pay attention to the architecture before you climb the steep stairs to the Bell Tower for some sweeping views of the town and the Adriatic Sea. 

In the evening, sit down at the outdoor cafe to indulge in Croatian cuisine and try local wine called Grk made from the white grape variety of the same name. If visiting wineries is your passion, you can even take a day trip to Lumbarda, where those grapes that make the local wine are grown. 

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Highlights of Croatia, Korcula | Canva

Tips for Visiting: It’s easy to get to Korcula town from any central city in Croatia. Daily ferries are running from Split, Dubrovnik, and nearby islands of Brac and Hvar. It’s a great place to base yourself for more Croatia island hopping.

During the peak seasons, ferries even run twice a day. However, in the shoulder or low season, check the ferry schedule in advance. 

Recommended by Baia from Red Fedora Diary 

Rovinj and the St. Euphemia Church

Highlights: Unarguably, one of the most beautiful places in Croatia, is Rovinj, the city is named after the patron Saint of Rovinj and is home to the Baroque Church of St. Euphemia which towers over the coastal city in Istrian Croatia.

The Old Town of Rovinj bears a strong resemblance to Venice, which makes sense considering the Venetians ruled here for over four centuries.

The three-nave church of St. Euphemia is perched high on the hill overlooking the town and was constructed in 1725 over the remains of an earlier structure. The Church is often at the centre of community and family events in Rovinj. If you’re lucky enough to catch a wedding in progress, you may even be invited to join in the celebration!

Next to the church is a 200-foot campanile bell tower modelled after St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, and is easily the most recognizable landmark in every photograph of the city.

Surrounded by the city’s original 12th-century wall, the church is a  must-see in Rovinj and is an easy walk up the hill. Climb the tower for the best view of the city or catch your photo op from the port of Valdibora at sunset.

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Croatia; What to do? Visit Rovinj | Canva

Tips for Visiting: When you visit the St. Euphemia church, don’t miss out on these two more notable things to see. The first is the sarcophagus behind the altar in which the relics of St. Euphemia are kept. 

The second, from the outside, look up and you’ll see the statue of St. Euphemia on the top of the bell tower, which revolves on its axis with the wind. 

Recommended by Lori from Travlinmad

Check Availability: Rovinj Guided Small Group Tour

The UNESCO City of Trogir & The Cathedral of St Lawrence

Highlights: Croatia hosts an abundance of UNESCO landmarks and the city of Trogir is one of them. In the heart of the city, you’ll find Trogir Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. It’s a Roman Catholic Cathedral. It was constructed in Romanesque-Gothic, in Trogir and features loads of carvings and statues.

It’s also not only a Cathedral, but also a Basilica, which is a title of honour given to religious buildings that hold a certain status of importance. This can include being an important international place of pilgrimage and worship or being a place known for its antiquity. The building is a very important monument in Trogir and was given the World Heritage Site title in 1997.

There are numerous things to do in Trogir. One of the must-see places is the UNESCO world heritage centre contained within medieval walls. The history of the city dates back 2300 years.

Aside from the historical landmarks, Trogir has a bustling array of boutique shops and cafes as well as some pretty impressive stone palaces. All of these can be found inside the medieval walls. Overall, the architecture in the city is outstanding.  

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Trogir | Canva

Tips for Visiting: For the best views over the city, climb to the top of the Cathedral, which is 150 feet tall, to see the light coloured building with their red roofs gleaming in the sun.

Recommended by Alice from Adventures of Alice

Chase Waterfalls at Krka National Park 

Highlights: Wondering about the best places to go, Croatia has numerous outstanding national parks. Krka National Park is a must for any Croatia bucket list. Located outside the city of Šibenik, Croatia, the 109+ km² protected area is named after the Krka River which flows through the region. 

The lower portion of the Čikola River also winds its way through the park. The park is home to some of the largest quantities of lavender in Europe,  and more than 800 other types of flowers, trees, and plants can be found here.  

Aside from the famed lavender, there are also several preserved landmarks within the park. These include the remains of the Krka Hydropower Plant, the Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy on Visovac Island, and the Krka Monastery. 

However, when you visit Krka, you’re coming to see the stunning waterfalls. Along with Plitvice Lakes National Park, Krka National Park has some truly magnificent lakes and waterfalls throughout.

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Krka National Park | The Purposely Lost

Tips for Visiting: Skradinski Buk is the longest and most popular waterfall to visit. So arrive early to avoid the majority of the crowds. It’s easily accessible from the Lozovac entrance into the park. You can get up close by walking along the designated paths over the water.

If you’re looking for something more energetic and enjoy hiking or biking, then explore more of the park, there are more than 22 marked walking trails and 470 kilometres of biking trails through Krka. 

A visit to Krka National Park is one of the best things to do in Croatia, especially for nature lovers and waterfall chasers.

Recommended by Lyndsay from The Purposely Lost

The Walls of Ston

Highlights: The defensive Walls of Ston originally consisted of over 7km of stonework. Today about 5km of the walls still stand and surround the town.

Construction on the walls started in the mid-1300s, and although not all of it survives to this day, it’s still one of the longest and most well-preserved defence walls in the world.

At the time of completion in the 1500s, the wall consisted of 40 towers and 5 fortresses. Today 20 of these towers survive dotted along with the pentagonal shaped structure.

You can walk along sections of Stons’ Walls which undulate up the hillside. The views from the uppermost section of the wall look down over the salt mines and muscle farms.

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A must do in Croatia, The Walls of Ston | Canva

Tips on Visiting: The walls undulate with the hillside, so wear a good pair of walking shoes with grippy soles. There is a handrail, but some of the routes can be a little uneven in places.

The best views of the city of Ston are from the top. So you’ll be rewarded for your legwork getting up there.

If you don’t’ want to stay in Ston (it’s quite a small town) then it’s an easy day trip from Dubrovnik.  

The Artisan Town of Groznjan

Highlights: If you’re looking for off the beaten track places to see in Croatia, you’ll love Groznjan. Grožnjan is a small town with just 150 inhabitants, located on the peninsula Istria in the northwest part of Croatia. It’s just half an hour ride from coastal cities Umag and Novigrad. 

From a position on top of the hill, you can experience the best views of the area with surrounding olive groves and vineyards. 

This walled town has a long history. There were Ancient Romans, later Venetian republic. Austro-Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavia, and today modern Croatia. The most remarkable building inside the walls is an 18th century Church of St. Vid, Modest, and Krešencije with a 36 meter  high bell tower that dominates the valley. 

The town is famous for its population of artists. In the ’60s, this almost ghost town was slowly taken over by artists that started squatting in empty houses. Today there are 20 galleries and art events. Spend some time walking along the cobbled streets while enjoying art exhibitions, music, and some local wine. If you have a sweet tooth, then try one of the sweet local pastries called fritule. Groznjan is certainly one of Croatia’s hidden gems.

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Croatia things to do, Groznjan cultural town | Canva

Tips for Visiting:  If you’re wondering what to do in Croatia in September, and you’re in the area, then your trip will coincide with the annual painting festival, the Ex Tempore. If you visit in the second half of July, then you’ll be able to experience the jazz festival: Jazz is Back. 

Recommended by Džangir from Dr Jam Travels 

Party at Zcre Beach, Novalja

Highlights: If you’re after somewhere with an abundance of things to see and do in Croatia, head to Novalja. There is no doubt that Croatia is a beautiful country, but did you know that it is also a hub for many international and world-class music festivals? 

Novalja in Croatia is a music hot spot with revellers travelling far and wide to see their favourite DJs and artists. Novalja is a district found in Pag, on the Adriatic part of the Croatian Sea. 

While this area is still a popular holiday destination, for festival-goers, the place to be is at Zrce beach close by. Like a lot of other beaches in Croatia, Zcre is a pebble beach, it’s approximately 2km long. 

In peak summer months, the Zcre coastline is alive with different events that cater to all types of musical tastes. Residence to 3 super clubs; Aquarius, Kalypso and Papaya, you can see why the location is so prominent. Expect lights, smoke machines, lasers and pool parties, just to name a few. 

When you’re not partying on Zcre beach, Novalja itself is an attractive town with several shops, bars and restaurants. There are also several fun water activities you can enjoy. If you’re someone who enjoys music festivals, add Zcre beach to your Croatia bucket list.

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Music Festivals at Zcre Beach | Canva

Tips for Visiting: A money saving tip is to go into the beach bars and food places across from the clubs. Here you’ll be able to get a table and relax while still enjoying the music without actually buying a ticket! 

There are numerous music festivals in the summer months, which tend to start from the end of May. However, if you’re looking for things to do in Croatia in June and July and festivals are your thing, then certainly put Zcre on your radar. 

Recommended by Kerry from Adrenaline Junkiez

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So, what’s on your Croatia Bucket List?

If you’ve made it to the end of this ultimate Croatian bucket list, well
done! So now the question begs, where to visit in Croatia? there’s so much choice!

How many of these outstanding things have you done? And how many are you adding to your Croatia travel itinerary? Download this FREE checklist here for offline viewing.

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Are there any Croatia experiences I missed? Or got a question about these? Ask below.

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. These all look amazing, but I’m a sucker for national parks. I would love to go to Mljet National Park! And I’d definitely take the kayak option to explore the waters 🙂

    1. Yes, the same. I love cities and the history that comes with them, but equally, I’ll never ditch the fact that I’m a country bumpkin at heart and love to get out into nature. I can 100% couch that Croatia has some of the most beautiful National Parks in southern Europe.

  2. Croatia is super high on my list – I was actually supposed to go last spring but it fell through. I’ll definitely be keeping this guide handy for when I finally get there!

    1. It’s an incredible country and certianly worth the wait. You won’t be disappointed!

  3. My favorite part of Croatia was meeting all the street cats in Dubrovnik, They are so sweet. I wish there wasn’t such a problem with overpopulation.

    1. Yes, the Dubrovnik’s Street cats are absolutely adorable. I took so many photos of them when I visited the city, I really should write a post purely dedicated to them!

  4. I’d really love to visit Croatia! I’ve read a lot about Dubrovnik, but I’d also love to visit some of the other places on your list. I really hope I can visit soon, it looks beautiful.

    1. Yes, it’s a beautiful country. Dubrovnik is the destination that seems to get all the glory, but there are so many other worthwhile places to visit. You’re going to love it!

  5. Croatia looks like an amazing place to visit with so much natural beauty, castles & cities. I think I will need several months there to make my way through this list. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Yes, I agree. I think on a short trip you could scratch the surface, or cover a small region in-depth, but there is so much to see in Croatia that you’d need several months to do it justice.

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