Well, my friend, this is the blog post for you! In this post, I am going to share some of the best things to do in Croatia with you, some of which I have done and some that are still high on my Croatia bucket list.
From sunset kayaking around Dubrovnik castle to hiring a boat and travelling around some of the islands, all the way to dancing the night away during the Yacht Week or Underground Market in the cellar of Diocletian Palace in Split, you aren’t short of things to do in this diverse European country.
I’ve been to Croatia a few times over the years, including with the Yacht Week and with the Global Travellers family, and Croatia really is full of adventure. Whether you want a city break in Split or Dubrovnik, to go Croatia island hopping along the Dalmatian Coast, to go hiking in the Plitvice Lakes National Park or go swimming under the Krka waterfall, Croatia really has adventure to offer everyone.
Blog posts and travel guides you may find useful:
- Europe: The ultimate travel guide
- An 8-day itinerary through Croatia
- A guide to exploring Dubrovnik
- A guide to exploring Split
- My guide to the Yacht Week in Croatia
- 10 reasons you should join the Yacht Week in Croatia
- My Dalmatian island guide to Hvar, Vis & Brac
- A day trip guide to Krka National Park
Get your bucket list at the ready, by the end of this post you’re going to know the best things to do in Croatia, the best places to eat in Croatia and the best adventure to go on in Croatia.
The best things to do in Croatia...
1. Sunset kayaking around Dubrovnik city walls
For an alternative perspective of this famous Croatian city, you can go kayaking around Dubrovnik’s city walls and Lokrum Island. Stop off for a dip in the water and a snorkel… you won’t want to miss the opportunity to jump into the crystal clear waters that Croatia has to offer. We booked our sunset kayaking tour in Dubrovnik through Adventure Dalmatia.
2. Visit one (or many) of the Game of Thrones filming locations
One of the most popular things to do in Croatia for GOT fans is to visit the filming locations. Maybe you won’t see any dragons or whitewalkers as you are exploring this beautiful country, but you can use your imagination to see yourself in and amongst the action. Some of the most famous GOT filming locations in Croatia include:
- The city itself (King’s Landing)
- Minceta Tower (House of the Undying)
- Pile (Blackwater Bay)
- Fort Lovrijenac (Red Keep)
- Jesuits Staircase (Steps of the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing)
- Trsteno Arboretum (Palace Gardens of King’s Landing)
- Diocletian’s Palace (Daenerys’ Throne Room)
- Klis Fortress (City of Meereen)
3. Swim under the Krka waterfall.
Once you’re in the Krka National Park you walk 15-20 minutes through beautiful forests and lakes until you reach the waterfalls themselves. Once you’re there you can splash in and out of the crystal clear water, hike in the surrounding forests, and enjoy a lakeside picnic for lunch. Krka National Park is only 86km from Split, making it a great day trip.
4. Go hiking in Plitvice National Park.
Plitvice National Park is one of the best and most popular places to visit in Croatia. With kilometres of walking and hiking trails, and boardwalks that allow you to be ‘suspended’ over the turquoise waters of the world famous lakes, it’s not surprise as to why. The Plitvice National Park has 16 lakes and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. Because it’s a protected site, swimming in Plitvice is not permitted (so if you want to swim in a waterfall, head to Krka).
It’s easiest to get to Plitvice from Zadar or Zagreb (just over 2 hours in the car), but you can drive to Plitvice from Split in about 3 hours. It’s best to visit Plitvice National Park in spring (you can avoid the summer crowds and still enjoy the roaring waterfalls), and always try to get there at opening time to maximise your time in the park and to avoid the crowds.
5. Dance the night away during the Yacht Week.
If you’re looking for one of the most fun, party-filled, happiness-inducing weeks of your life then the Yacht Week, a floating festival, is for you! Croatia is the original route for the Yacht Week. Prepare yourself for a week full of headline DJs, sunsets on board, snorkelling in beautiful bays, and even more. Get your Yacht Week tickets here.
6. Go white water rafting on the Cetina River.
White water rafting on the Cetina River is a great way to experience the nature that Croatia has to offer and get an adrenaline rush and have fun all at the same time! There are different levels of difficulty for the rafting, and you don’t need prior rafting experience to do all of them, so it’s a beginner-friendly experience too. Take in the views as you weave between the rocks and rapids, dash under the waterfalls, and look out for the local wildlife too.
7. Explore the markets within the Diocletian Palace.
The stunning architecture of the Diocletian Palace cellars is enough to impress any visitor, whether you’re a fan of Roman culture or history or not. The cellars of this fortress, maze-like with their multiple areas, fuel the imagination and get you thinking about what life must have been like in the Roman times.A walking tour will tell you everything that you need to know about the history of Split, and the Underground Market is a great place to go to buy souvenirs and explore.
While you’re in Split, head to the Old Town at night to catch the live music in the square by the bell tower where people dance under the stars with cocktails from the local restaurants.
8. Explore Croatia's wine regions and go wine tasting.
Croatia isn’t somewhere that I immediately think of when it comes to famous wine, but when I was there, the homemade, local wine was pretty good! Istria in the north and Dalmatia in the south have an almost perfect climate for growing grapes and produce some excellent varieties of wine. In Istria consider visiting Damjanić winery, Agrolaguna, Vina Fakin or Clai winery (especially for the orange wine). In Dalmatia, add visiting Degarra Winery, Aherane Vino or Vicelić Winery. Plavac Mali is the best red wine is Dalmatia, so make sure you try that variety!
9. Pick up some lavender goodies.
Croatia is famous for it’s lavender, and the oils, bath salts and pillows will not disappoint; you’ll find lavender goodies sold all over Croatia. One of the best things to do in Croatia if you love lavender is to go on a cycling tour of the lavender fields in Hvar!
Lavender is really important in terms of its medicinal and wellness properties. Explore wellness further on my blog here.
10. Enjoy a weekend in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb.
Despite being the capital of Croatia, Zagreb doesn’t attract the same tourist crowds as the likes of Dubrovnik and therefore tends to be a more enjoyable, less crowded city break than other places in Croatia. Wander in and around the Old Town, get involved in Croatian cafe culture on Tkalciceva Street, and with the nearby Medvednica Mountain, you’re never too far from a breath of fresh air.
11. Explore the old town of Hvar and hike to the fortress.
Hvar has a gorgeous old town really worth exploring, even if you just go over from the mainland for a day trip. In the height of summer the island is popular with young people due to its party lifestyle (hello, Carpe Diem!) and the luxury yachts that pull into the harbour. There’s a multitude of restaurants and eateries along the waterfront (the Riva) St.Stephens Square, where you’ll find the main restaurants, shops and little walkways leading you into Hvar’s hidden wanders.
The walk up to Hvar fortress is about 20 minutes and there are plenty of places to stop for a breather along the way. If you want to go inside, there’s a small fee, and there’s also a cafe inside. The view is particularly beautiful at sunset, although there will be more people around at this time!
12. Combine mountain life in the Biokovo mountains with beach life on the Makarska Riviera.
Biokovo Mountains National Park overlooks the Makarska riviera, making it perfectly located for those of you who want some mountain time and some beach time during your trip to Croatia. Makarksa is very close to Split, and known for its beautiful beaches and relatively lively nightlife. For the mountain lovers out there, whether you try the new Biokovo Skywalk or hike to the top of one of the many peaks in this National Park, you’re sure to witness some spectacular views across the Croatian coastline if you explore Biokovo National Park. Make sure you pack your hiking boots before you leave for Croatia!
13. Explore Brac island and visit Zlatni Rat beach on a moped.
Zlatni Rat beach is one of the most popular beaches in Croatia, located on the island of Brac in a town called Bol. Visiting it is one of the most popular things to do in Croatia, but why not make a whole day of exploring the island at your leisure by hiring a moped!?
14. Try Croatia's fastest zipline above the Cetina canyon.
Just outside the town of Omiš is the Cetina canyon, where you can experience Croatia’s fastest zipline. The zipline polygon is made up of 8 cables, the longest being 700m where you can reach speeds of 65km/hour! Spend 3 hours getting an adrenaline rush in the middle of nature as you experience and witness the beauty of Croatia from above. Check out the zipline here.
15. Walk the city walls of Dubrovnik.
Take in the views of the Dubrovnik coastline and the city itself, as well as the architecture of the city walls, as you get some gentle exercise. I’d recommend going first thing in the morning (they open at 8am in the summer, 10am in the winter) as it gets busy very quickly, and it’s best enjoyed without the heavy crowds.
16. Explore the island of Korcula.
17. Take a gentle hike through Marjan Park in Split for wonderful views.
One of the best things to do in Croatia is to hike Marjan Park. It’s quite a relaxed hike which takes about an hour each way, and perfect for views overlooking the Old Town and Harbour.
18. Visit one of Croatia's coolest cities, Zadar.
One of the best places to visit in Croatia is Zadar. This up and coming city is yet to attract the same crowds as bigger places, but still offers just as much in terms of adventure, culture and things to do. From learning about Croatian history on a walking tour to discovering hidden beaches and walking trails, all the way to listening to the sea organ play tunes at sunset and learning to blow glass in the Museum of Ancient Glass, Zadar is definitely a unique place for your Croatia bucket list.
19. Hire a boat for a day and go Croatia island hopping.
Did I hear someone say, ‘Boat Day!’?! This was the absolute highlight of the Global Traveller’s trip to Croatia and one of my favourite travel memories to date. Hire a boat or book yourself onto a boat trip to explore some of the Croatian Islands and coastline. From the famous Blue Cave to the lesser-known bays and restaurants that you can only reach by boat, it’s a guaranteed day of fun and one of the top things to do in Croatia.
20. Get lost in the backstreets of Trojir.
The town of Trojir, a UNESCO World Heritage site located close to Split, is an absolute must on any Croatia bucket list. From visiting the Cipiko Palaces and the Cathedral of St Lawrence to exploring the city walls, as well as meandering the cobbled backstreets, visiting local, independent shops and cafes, and enjoying the sunshine on the waterfront, make this the perfect day trip from Split.
21. Witness some of the best sunsets in Europe.
Sunsets are beautiful all over the world, but I think they are particularly beautiful in Croatia. One of the best things to do in Croatia is to grab a couple of drinks, walk to a beautiful spot to watch the sun go down, and spend an evening watching the sky turn from blue, to orange and pink, through to darkness. My favourite places to see the sunset in Croatia are:
- The fortress in Hvar
- Marjan Hill in Split
- Srd Hill in Dubrovnik (you can watch sunset over dinner at the Panorama restaurant).
22. Get into the water!
The crystal clear waters in Croatia are absolutely wonderful for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving in… and even rock/cliff jumping! All the beaches in the country are beautiful (even the beaches closer to cities such as Split and Dubrovnik), but I found the clearest waters to be surrounding the island of Brac, which is furthest from the mainland. Grab your swim suit and dive in!
23. Marvel at the amphitheatre of Pula.
What are your favourite things to do in Croatia?
Where are your favourite places to visit in Croatia? Anything you’d add to this Croatia bucket list?
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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