Once you decide to travel to Croatia, you start planning where to go in Croatia. This decision can seem more complicated, as there are so many places to visit in Croatia. Croatia is a diverse country, full of charming historical towns, karst mountains, dramatic landscapes, blue Adriatic Sea, amazing waterfalls, wonderful national parks, and enticing history.
Each of its regions is unique in its own way, and offers various things to do and see for all family members. We’ll try to give you a short overview of each region, its characteristics, and strengths in order to help you choose your destination in Croatia.
Contents For Where to go in Croatia
- 1 Croatian Regions
- 2 Where to go in Croatia: popular places to visit in Croatia
- 3 Off the beaten path suggested destinations
- 4 Type of holidays
- 5 Recommended multi-day tours
- 6 Recommended travel guides
- 7 Further reading:
1 | Istria
The most visited region in Croatia, Istria is a heart-shaped peninsula located in the northern Adriatic.
Istria is rolling hills, charming hilltop towns, colorful coastal towns, rocky coast, vineyards, and olive groves. Many visitors compared it with Tuscany, and sometimes call it “Tuscany with colors”. More about Istria …
2 | Dalmatian Coast
Dalmatian Coast stretches from Zadar in the north to Peljesac peninsula in the south.
Dalmatia is rugged mountains, pebbly beaches, hidden coves and bays, dramatic landscapes, thousands islands, UNESCO’s world heritage sites (5 out of 7 are in Dalmatia), national parks (4 out of 8 are located along Dalmatian Coast), and ancient towns. More about Dalmatian Coast …
3 | Croatian Islands
Croatian side of the Adriatic is dotted with thousand islands, islets and reefs. Only a small number of them are inhabited.
Islands are small villages, fishing boats, wonderful, secluded beaches, terraced vineyards, sheep and goats grazing on the meadows, fresh veggies, and super tasty fruit.
But each island is a world for itself. Some offer a very laid back vibe, some are perfect family destinations, some attract young and restless. Read more about Croatian Islands …
4 | Dubrovnik Riviera
The southernmost part of Croatia, Dubrovnik Riviera stretches from the Peljesac peninsula to Konavle.
Dubrovnik Riviera is history and culture, salt pans, wonderful architecture, preserved coast, vineyards, citrus and orange orchards, scenic roads, fresh seafood and lovely beaches. More about Dubrovnik Riviera …
5 | Zagreb & surroundings
A Croatian capital town, Zagreb is the largest town in Croatia, administrative, and economical center of the country.
Zagreb are myths and legends, river Sava, hills of Kaptol and Gric, buzzing caffes with street-side terraces, lovely restaurants, cool hostels, clubbing, its green spaces, parks and forests. More about Zagreb …
6 | Gorski Kotar & Lika
The least visited part of Croatia, these two continental regions are perfect for those in search of peace and quiet.
Gorski Kotar & Lika are mountains and pastures, natural wonders of Plitvice and Risnjak, emerald rivers, streams, creeks and rapids, snow-covered peaks, vast spaces, and very little crowds (except for Plitvice Lakes).
7 | Slavonia & Baranja
Very few tourists wander to this part of Croatia.
Slavonia is golden plains, centuries-old forests, beautiful Danube, Drava, and Sava rivers, spicy food, folklore festivals, and becarac, a traditional song that made it to the UNESCO’s list of an intangible cultural heritage.
Where to go in Croatia: popular places to visit in Croatia
1 | Zagreb
Many visitors to Croatia, take a day or two to explore the capital. Zagreb doesn’t have allure of other big European capitals, like Paris, Rome, or London. But the town has a cool vibe, interesting sights, lots of green spaces, and quirky museums. A town center is car-free, and full of locals lounging at the pavement cafes.
2 | Dubrovnik
Often called “A Pearl of Adriatic”, Dubrovnik is the most popular, and best known town in Croatia.
It’s on itinerary of every traveler to Croatia. Dubrovnik is gorgeous, and while the old town and the city walls are town’s main attraction, we dare you to explore Dubrovnik beyond the city walls. More about Dubrovnik …
3 | Rovinj
The most romantic town in Croatia, Rovinj will charm you with its narrow cobbled streets and piazzas, top-notch restaurants, hip hotels, and stunning nature. More about Rovinj …
4 | Porec
Year after year, loads of tourists from all over Europe come to Porec to spend their summer holidays. Porec is town of culture and history, that are nicely blended with exciting activities, decent nightlife, and overall good value for money. More about Porec …
5 | Opatija
The lady got old, but she’s still charming. Opatija was built in the late 19th century into one of the most fashionable resorts for international elite, artists, writers, and Austrian nobility.
Historical hotels, and villas, maintained gardens and parks, 12 km long seaside promenade, and first-class gastronomy make Opatija one of the most popular destinations in Croatia. More about Opatija …
6 | Split
The largest town in Dalmatia, Split is a true Mediterrenean city: colourful and lively, with a nice balance of ancient and modern. Over 1.700 year old Diocletian Palace is the heart of the city, an open-air museum, a living and breathing place where you can feel Split’s past and present. More about Split …
7 | Sibenik
Known more as a gateway to the Krka Waterfalls, and the Kornati Islands, Sibenik has been gaining popularity in the last years. Sibenik offers a perfect balance of city fun, beach life, and nautical wonders.
8 | Mali Losinj
“An Island of Vitality”, Mali Losinj is famed for its lush vegetation, and thick pine forests, and it has always been popular among camping aficionados, nature lovers, and those looking for a piece and quiet.
9 | Zadar
Set on a small peninsula, and still not overrun with tourists, Zadar is famed for its two main attractions: Sea Organ, and Sun Salutation. Zadar is also a perfect base to explore nearby islands, and partake in outdoor adventures like rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, and hiking. More about Zadar …
10 | Rabac
The largest beach resort on the east coast of Istria, Rabac is set in a bay, at the foot of high rising mountain. Rabac are white pebbly beaches, hiking, boat tours to Cres, lounge bars, mountain biking, affordable accommodation, evening promenaded, and family time. More about Rabac …
11 | Plitvice Lake
A single most visited site in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes are a wonderful set of lakes and waterfalls. Plitvice Lakes are the first Croatian national park, founded in 1949, and they are also UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. More about Plitvice Lakes …
12 | Hvar Town
A playground of rich and famous, the town of Hvar is located on the south side of the island, in a small bay. Hvar Town are winding cobbled streets, yachts-lined seafront, beaches, a day spent on the Pakleni Islands, restaurants, and partying until wee-hours.
13 | Makarska
Located halfway between Split and Dubrovnik, Makarska is a small beach town with lovely town square, seafront promenade lined with bars, cafes, and restaurants, and pebbly beaches.
Makarska boasts beautiful white pebbly beaches (beaches along Makarska Riviera are the best in all Croatia), crystal clear sea, secluded coves, and bays, while the Biokovo Mountain creates a perfect backdrop.
14 | Krk
The second largest Croatian island, Krk is connected to the mainland with a bridge. And thus, easily accessible. The island of Krk has many nice secluded beaches only accessible by boat or on foot, good restaurants, and a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy.
15 | Brac
Located in central Dalmatia, island of Brac is less than an hour ferry ride either from Split or Makarska. Brac is famed for the Zlatni Rat beach, the most photographed and the best known beach in Croatia. More about the island of Brac …
16 | Korcula Island
A wonderful southern Croatian island, Korcula is located just 15 minute ferry ride from Peljesac peninsula. Terraced vineyards, olive groves, secluded beaches, pinewoods, small villages, and historical towns, good food, local white wines Posip and Grk, characterize the island of Korcula.
Off the beaten path suggested destinations
1 | Peljesac peninsula
Croatia’s second largest peninsula, Peljesac is our favorite place in all Croatia. You’ll find here intact nature, wonderful coves, bays, pebbly and sandy beaches, wine-growing hills, and olive groves, the best croatian red wine – Plavac mali, yummy seafood, particularly shellfish, windsurfing and hiking. More about Peljesac peninsula …
2 | Komarna
Komarna is a small coastal village, located 70 km north of Dubrovnik. Komarna is best suited for those in search of piece and quiet, beach time, awesome views, and daily trips to interesting nearby sites.
3 | Mljet
The greenest Croatian island, Mljet is a perfect place to enjoy the nature and unwind. National park covers one-third of the island, and this is where majority of tourists wander. The southern part of the island receives very few crowds, but hides some of the nicest beaches on the island.
4 | Elaphiti Islands
Located off the coast of Dubrovnik, Elaphiti Islands are an archipelago consisting of over 12 small islands. The inhabited ones are: car-free islands of Kolocep, and Lopud, and the largest Sipan Island.
5 | Vis
The furthest inhabited island in Croatia, Vis is a peaceful oasis, and it feels very authentic. Vis has lots of hidden coves, pebbly beaches, and crystal clear sea. It’s perfect place to visit if you like hanging out on a beach, sea kayaking, chilling with a glass of local wine, untouched nature, small villages, and little crowds.
6 | Lastovo
The small island of Lastovo is almost devoid of tourists. It takes 4 hours to reach the island by catamaran from Dubrovnik, and 3 hours from Split. Lastovo is popular among sailing aficionados for its wonderful archipelago consisting of 46 small islands. You’ll like it for its stunning nature, rocky coast, thick forests, and outdoor activities like cycling, swimming and walking.
7 | Solta
Just a short hop by ferry from Split, Solta Island is still overlooked by tourists who rather flock to more popular islands of Brac and Hvar. However, Solta is a good place to stay if you just like to relax away from the crowds, and big tourist attractions.
8 | Milna
Although the island of Brac is very popular among island-hoppers, majority of visitors to the island head either to Bol or Supetar. Other places on the island stay pretty quiet even in high season. A small village of Milna, located in the southwest part of the Brac Island, remains pretty quiet even in high season.
Set in a lovely bay, Milna is popular sailing port, and has the largest marina on the island.
9 | Dubovica
A vacation on the island of Hvar, doesn’t have to be crazily expensive, and crowded. This is basically only the case in the town of Hvar.
Hvar is a beautiful island, and we highly recommend visiting it. To escape the crowds, and spend quiet beach time on the island, head to Dubovica, a small bay with a gorgeous pebbly beach, and only a couple of houses.
10 | Dugi Otok
If you like beaches, intact nature, small villages, very few visitors even in high season, and authentic island lufe style, consider visiting Dugi Otok.
Famed for its sandy beach Sakarun, and nature park Telasica, the island of Dugi Otok has a laid-back vibe, lovely lighthouse, rocky coast, forests and vineyard.
Read more: 14 enchanting villages in Croatia
Type of holidays
1 | Beach holidays
For the ultimate beach holidays check Rabac in Istria, northern Croatian Islands like Krk, Cres, and Rab, and wonderful Makarska Riviera.
2 | Party
Although Croatia isn’t Ibiza, in last years few destinations in Croatia turned into clubbing hot spots with excellent clubbing scene, load of music festivals, and pretty much partying 24/7. Zrce Beach near Novalja on the island of Pag is the best known party destination in Croatia, followed by Tisno on the island of Murter, and Pula in Istria. Tisno and Pula organize many festivals throughout the summer.
3 | Outdoor adventure
In Croatia, you’ll have lots of opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities. But when it comes to ultimate adventures, twp places in Croatia stand out from the crowd – Paklenica and Omis.
4 | Away from it all
You like long, quiet walks, secluded beaches, mingling with locals rather than tourists, slow pace of life, and basically not much to do except relax, look for places on the northern & southern Croatian Islands, like Iz, Pasman, Silba, Mljet, or Lastovo; small villages along central Dalmatian islands and Peljesac peninsula.
5 | Family holidays
A nice balance of beach time, activities for the whole family, family-friendly hotels, and overall good value for money, you’ll find in Porec, Rabac, Losinj, Petricane, Sibenik, and Bol.
6 | Couples
Good destinations for couples with romantic towns, good choice of restaurants, and cozy accommodation you’ll find in Rovinj, Opatija, Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik.
8 | Centrally located
If you would like to find a good base from where you can explore many Croatian top sights, even by public transport, consider staying in Split, or Zadar.
Recommended multi-day tours
Below you’ll find few of tours that give you a chance to explore some of Croatian highlights.
1 | Best of Croatia Tour
This tour takes you to Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Split, Hvar and Korcula Islands, and Dubrovnik. You can choose between 7- and 9-night tours. The 9-night tour gives you and additional two nights in Dubrovnik where you can take more time to explore this magnificent city, and its surroundings. Transport between towns is with an air-conditioned coach, and all overnights are in a 3- and 4-star hotels, with breakfast included. More info …
2 | Croatian Gastronomy & Wine Tour
This wonderful 11-day tour gives you plenty time to discover all corners of Croatia, including Istria, Zagreb, Plitvice, Zadar, Split, Trogir, Hvar Island, and Dubrovnik. And all that while indulging in top Croatian food, and wine. Accommodation in 5-star hotels with breakfast included. Dinners and lunches provided in best Croatian restaurants, as well as many wine tastings along the way. Transfer between towns is by luxury vehicles. More info …
3 | Southern Croatia Cruise Tour
This 8-day cruise departs from Dubrovnik and it includes visits to several Croatian island: Lopud, Mljet, Korcula, and Brac, and also Makarska, and Peljesac peninsula. Accommodation is provided on-board a passenger boat with a capacity of 40 passengers. The tour also includes some meals on-board a ship. All shore excursions are optional, and charges may apply. More info …
Recommended travel guides
- Fodor’s Croatia Travel Guide (we are co-authors!).
- Lonely Planet Croatia Travel Guide
- Rick Steves’ Croatia & Slovenia
- Croatia Travel Guide: 26 Things To Know Before Traveling To Croatia
- Things To Do In Croatia
- Ultimate Guide To Accommodation In Croatia
- Packing List For Vacation In Croatia
- How To Choose Your Destination In Croatia
- Outdoor Activities in Croatia
- 49 Awesome Beaches In Croatia
- Snorkeling In Croatia
- White Water Rafting In Croatia
- 20 Must-Try Foods In Croatia
We hope you get a better idea of where to go to Croatia after reading this post. As always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.