Winters are slow here, but there are still small pleasures of life to be enjoyed. We like taking long walks by the sea, visiting villages in Istrian hinterland, having a lunch in remote countryside taverns, or strolling streets of Trieste on Saturday.
This reminded us how wonderful some villages in Croatia truly are. We've decided to introduce to you 14 enchanting villages in Croatia.
Villages in Istrian region are the nicest of all. Here, we tried to think beyond Istria and make a list of beautiful villages from all over Croatia. Enjoy!
Charming villages in Croatia
1 | Groznjan
This medieval hilltop village is our favorite village in all Istria. Groznjan is full of artists and galleries, and offers stunning views over the vineyards and olive groves. Entire village is built of a dark stone, typical for this part of the region.
Walk the cobblestone streets, explore local arts and crafts stores, have a glass of wine in Kaya Energy & Design bar.
2 | Rastoke
Located just 20 minute north of Plitvice Lakes, Rastoke is a small village of watermills, streams, and rapids. Old watermills are perfectly preserved, and today many of them house restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops. Highly recommended to visit if you are visiting Plitvice.
Explore Rastoke, enjoy the sound of water, and have a picnic at small grass area by the rapids.
3 | Skrip
The oldest settlement on the island of Brac, Skrip is small, but it's a mandatory stop on every island tour. Skrip is a home of the Museum of Brac, and Museum of Olive Oil.
3 | Lubenice
A tiny, half-abandoned village of Lubenice, sits on a 378 m high cliff, above one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia – Sv. Ivaan Beach.
The village is reachable via a narrow road. After a sightseeing (it won't take long), sit for a nice lunch at one of village's restaurants. Lamb is popular here.
4 | Lastovo
With 500 inhabitants, a village of Lastovo is the largest settlement on the island of the same name. A village is located on south slopes of the highest hill on the island. The republic of Dubrovnik ruled the island for many years.
The village still has many Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance houses. The parish church of Sveti Kuzma i Damjan was built in 14th century. Old village houses have very interesting chimneys, a distinctive symbol of the village, and a reason many people visit the village.
5 | Moscenice
A small hilltop village built in Middle Ages, Moscenice is located above popular coastal village of Moscenicka Draga (also nice to visit). Houses are built close one to another, with houses at the outer part of the village, serving as a defense wall.
Have a walk, enjoy views over the sea, islands of Krk and Cres, and Kvarner Bay, visit the St. Andrew Church, a small etnographic museum, and an old olive mill, and have a lunch in a local tavern.
You can reach the village by car, or on foot from Moscenicka Draga.
6 | Podobuce
A small settlement amidst a wine growing region of Postup on the Peljesac peninsula, Podobuce consists of only a dozen of houses built around a wonderful pebble beach, and surrounded by vineyards.
Relax, swim, read, and kick back with a glass of red wine. Podobuce doesn't get better than that.
7 | Humac
A tiny village located on south shores of the Hvar Island, Humac is for the better part uninhabited for the last few centuries.
The people of Humac moved to other, more accessible, villages on the island, but return to the village regularly to farm the land. People here grow grapes, olives, veggies, and lavander.
Humac consists of well-preserved simple stone houses considered today a monument of rural architecture. There is only one tavern in a village, and it's open only in summer.
8 | Cigoc
This small village, located in continental Croatia, 100 km southeast of Zagreb, is the first European village of storks. This might sound spooky but there are more storks in Cigoc than people. Over 200 storks live in 45 active nests. The village is located in the nature park Lonjsko Polje, and there is a small info center in the village, as well as a privately owned ethnographic museum.
You'll encounter almost no foreign tourists here. Yet, the village is nice, the surrounding is wonderful especially for nature aficionados, and look, to see storks, it doesn't hurt.
9 | Kumrovec
A birth place of Yogoslavian communist leader, Tito, Kumrovec is today a well preserved ethno village, where along with Tito's memorial house, you can also visit other houses and experience the life of village people at the turn of the last century.
There is also a restaurant and a gift shop at the premises. The village is just a short drive from Zagreb.
10 | Veli Losinj
At the island of Losinj, you can find two villages named Losinj – Veli and Mali Losinj. Funnily enough Veli means Big, and Mali means Small in Croatian. However, Veli Losinj is the smaller of the two.
The village is scattered around a small, colorful harbor. The oldest part of the city was built in 13th and 14th century.
Take a leisury stroll by the sea to the village of Rovenska, and have a dinner there at one of seafront restaurants. Visit the defensive tower dating back to 15th century. Stop by the Church of Our Lady of Angels from 15th century. Have a drink in the harbor.
11 | Motovun
Motovun is a medieval hilltop village located in the heart of Istria. The old town is car-free, and offers wonderful vistas over the Mirna Valley, rolling hills, and field full of vineyards and olive orchads.
Motovun is the most visited town in Istrian hinterland. You'll find here a couple of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, few hotels, B&B, vacation rentals, and even one campsite.
The town gets pretty crowded during the Motovun Film Festival, held every year in July, and during the truffle season in October.
12 | Novigrad
Not to be confused with Novigrad in Istria, Novigrad near Zadar is a small Dalmatian village located on the shores of the Novigrad Sea, a deep lake-like bay.
The town is built below a medieval fortress, that once even served as a prison. In 14th century the Hungarian queen Elisabeth was imprisoned and killed in this fortress.
Today, Novigrad is a popular fishing town, and its proximity to Zrmanja river and Velebit Mountain make it an interesting spot for outdoor adventure seekers.
13 | Vrbnik
This small hilltop village is the center of Krk's wine country, where a local grape sort – Zlahtina Vrbnicka grows. The village is small, and it takes a max of half an hour to explore its tiny cobbled stone streets.
Enjoy the typical architecture, pass through allegdly the narrowest street in the world, enjoy the views over the sea and the mainland, have a lunch at the restaurant Nada, taste some local wines and spirits, and have a swim at the lovely pebble beach beneath the village.
14 | Valun
Valun is a small fishing village located on the island of Cres. It's a popular stops for many boat excursions departing from neighboring town of Cres, Rabac on the mainland, and the Krk Island.
The village is famed for its restaurants serving fresh fish and other seafood. It also has a very nice pebble beach.
The Valun Plate, dating back to the 9th century, is an important historical artifact, and it can be seen at the wall of the Parochial Church of St. Mary.
We hope you've enjoyed discovering these enchanting villages in Croatia. As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, leave them in the comments below.