Pula amphitheatre, Croatia – Image courtesy of Jenz Campe
Top Attractions in Croatia & the Dalmatian Coast
Discover some of Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast’s must-see attractions, including:
One of Europe’s oldest cities and the capital of Croatia since 1557, Zagreb offers a city rich in historical monuments, museums and galleries.
Wander the narrow cobblestone hillside streets of the preserved medieval Gradic district to see the iconic 14th century St Mark's Church, noted for its tiled roof depicting the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia.
Admire the Gradec Stone Gate and then, in nearby Kaptol, the restored Zagreb Cathedral, dating back to 1093, probably the most famous building in Zagreb. Examine medieval Croatian craftsmanship at the Museum of Arts and Crafts and explore the magnificent Mirogoj Cemetery, set in parkland surrounds with sculptures and tombstones dedicated to Croatians.
Browse the boutiques along Tkalciceva Street, people-watch over a café at the Dolac market and enjoy beautiful views over Zagreb with a climb to the medieval 13th century fortress of Medvedgrad, with its restored walls, towers, frescoes and the Shrine of the Homeland, a tribute to those who died for a free Croatia.
Explore the historic 12th century Veliki Tabor fortress and nearby 13th century Trakoscan castle north of Zagreb – one of Croatia's most impressive Gothic castles, complete with stone walls, dungeons, turrets and a drawbridge.
Discover the old town of Stari Grad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, enclosed by towering, fortified 13th century walls that overlook the Adriatic. Follow picturesque cobblestone streets that lead to marble-paved squares lined with churches, monasteries, museums and palaces.
Stroll the Stradun, once a channel that separated the island of Ragusa from the mainland, today Dubrovnik’s main street, crowded with shops and cafes.
People-watch at Onofrio's Fountain at Pile Gate, one of Dubrovnik's most famous landmarks; tour the elegant 15th century Rector's Palace, now a fascinating museum; or the 14th century Franciscan Monastery, home to a stunning Romanesque cloister and Europe's oldest pharmacy.
Check out the Gothic–Renaissance-style Dominican Monastery, which contains an impressive Croatian art collection or the 16th century Renaissance-style Sponza Palace, with its priceless collection of old manuscripts.
Visit the imposing St Blaise's church, built in the 18th century in honour of Dubrovnik's patron saint, and the 18th century cathedral, built on the site of a 7th century basilica and containing a treasury rich in religious relics, icons and paintings.
For superb views over the city’s red terracotta roofs, harbour and the sea, stroll the 2km-long, 25m-high walls that encircle the old town. Fortified with picturesque square forts, the wall varies from 3m wide on the seaward side to 6m wide on the land side.
If possible, plan your trip to coincide with the annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival, held from mid-July to late August and featuring open-air evening performances of theatre, jazz and classical music.
Famous for its national park, vineyards, saltwater lakes, pine forests and sandy bays, this lush green island is easily explored by bike or car or on foot. Visit the 12th century Benedictine monastery set on tiny St Mary's Island on Veliko Lake: swim or kayak in either of its two saltwater lakes or choose between two secluded sandy beaches surrounded by thick pine forest at Saplunara Bay.
Discover an island rich with scenic views, secluded beaches, vineyards and fishing villages. Explore the narrow alleyways of the old walled town of Korcula – a little Dubrovnik; visit the former home of explorer Marco Polo, who was born here; and admire icons and relics inside the Cathedral of St Marco and the beautiful Renaissance-style Gabrielis Palace. Don’t miss a performance of the famous 15th century Moreska sword dance.
Step back in time within the walls of Diocletian's Palace, a huge waterfront estate built in the 3rd century AD by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The palace stands at the heart of modern day Split and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stroll narrow cobbled alleyways past imposing Roman architecture of white limestone that houses cafes, restaurants and apartments.
Explore the courtyard, loggia and external staircase of the Papalic Palace; wander the Peristyle, the ancient entrance court to the imperial quarters, lined by granite columns and linked by arches; and discover a headless sphinx in black granite guarding the entrance to the Temple of Jupiter.
Examine examples of medieval Croatian rulers, including medieval tombstones, swords and jewellery at the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments.
Or head over to the Archaeological Museum to see artefacts from prehistoric times as well as Greek, Roman, Christian and Medieval periods. For unforgettable views over the city and nearby islands, stroll up to the peaks of Marjan Hill, a lush nature preserve crisscrossed with walking and jogging trails.
Stroll the maze of cobblestone streets past stunning Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque and Venetian Gothic architecture, home to countless restaurants, cafes, shops and private residences.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this picturesque medieval old walled town is accessed by interconnected bridges and stands on a small island located between the mainland and the island of Ciovo. Beyond the walls lies a medieval fortress as well as a waterfront promenade crowded with yachts.
Visit the splendid Romanesque-Gothic style church of St Lawrence, with its astonishing 13th century carvings depicting apostles and saints as well as everyday medieval workers. Take a boat trip to discover the nearby islands of Drvenik Mali and Drvenik Veli, with beaches and secluded coves perfect for sunbathing or swimming.
This immense Roman amphitheatre, built at the end of the 1st century BC, is the best-preserved ancient monument in Croatia and the sixth largest amphitheatre in the world. Walk beneath towering columns and explore the underground chambers that were used for securing wild animals before they met their deaths in the amphitheatre.
Discover wild mountainous scenery, tiny secluded beaches and one of Croatia's most famous natural wonders – the Blue Cave on the islet of Bisevo – which can only be reached by sea.
Plitvice Lakes National Park Discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting 16 lakes that are linked by countless waterfalls and surrounded by densely forested hills.
Explore the area on foot across an 18km network of wooden walkways that wander across cascades teeming with fish and water snakes. Bears, wolves and wild boar wander freely in the hillside forest beyond.
Paklenica National Park
Hike through a dramatic scene of towering cliffs, deep limestone gorges, stalactite-packed caverns and dense vegetation. Choose from several trails that wind up to a variety of craggy peaks. For spectacular views along the coast, climb up to Vidakov kuk at 800m or Vaganski vrh, the region’s highest peak at 1757m above sea level.
Krka National Park
Cruise the Krka River and discover a picturesque canyon, spectacular gorges, waterfalls, lakes and rapids. Don’t miss the spectacular multiple waterfalls of Skradinski buk, which drop 46m while cascading over 17 limestone steps, or the island of Visovac, home to a Franciscan Monastery on Lake Visovac.
The surrounding forest teems with more than 200 species of bird, including golden eagles, while the river is home to trout and salmon.