Croatia is one of the most popular Mediterranean destinations, and it’s easy to see why. It has a beautiful coastline, epic waterfalls, stunning natural landscapes and a rich history.
I’ve been to Croatia three times, and every time I’ve loved exploring new parts of this beautiful country.
For this Croatia bucket list I have teamed up with other travel bloggers, to ensure we were covering all the very best places to visit in Croatia.
If you’re looking for the ultimate compilation of the best things to do in Croatia, this it the bucket list for you!
- 1 20 awesome things to do in Croatia
- 1.1 Walk on the Old Town walls of Dubrovnik
- 1.2 Go kayaking in Dubrovnik & around Lokrum Island
- 1.3 Do a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik
- 1.4 Discover Kupari, the bay of abandoned hotels
- 1.5 Relax at Zlatni Rat beach
- 1.6 Discover the island of Korcula
- 1.7 Visit the Croatian capital; Zagreb
- 1.8 Explore the town & island of Hvar
- 1.9 Go beyond Hvar & explore Stari Grad
- 1.10 Discover the Blue Cave in Bisevo
- 1.11 Go glamping in Obonjan
- 1.12 Go island hopping in the Kornati Islands
- 1.13 Discover Sibenik
- 1.14 Explore the Old Town of Split (& surroundings!)
- 1.15 Swim in the waterfalls of Krka National Park
- 1.16 Discover the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes
- 1.17 Zip-line in the Cetina Canyon
- 1.18 Visit Omis & climb Starigrad Fortress
- 1.19 Discover Istria
- 1.20 Visit the town of Trogir
- 1.21 Visit Varazdin
20 awesome things to do in Croatia
Walk on the Old Town walls of Dubrovnik
The Old Town is the highlight of Dubrovnik, and the Old Town walls are the main attraction. The Old Town is surrounded by tall walls, which back in the day were needed to keep invaders out.
Today it’s a must-see on any Dubrovnik itinerary and Croatia bucket list. Entrance to the walls costs 150 HRK, and it will take 2-3 hours to walk the whole loop.
From here you will see an incredible view over the red rooftops of Dubrovnik, the cobbled streets and the sea.
The walls can get very busy in the morning, when all the cruise visitors do their tours, but tend to be a bit quieter in the afternoons.
Go kayaking in Dubrovnik & around Lokrum Island
I’ve been to Dubrovnik twice, and on both occasions did a kayak tour around Lokrum Island.
Seeing the Old Town walls from a completely different perspective and exploring the coast of Dubrovnik is one of my favourite things.
Tours usually last 4-5 hours, and you can choose whether to do them during the day or as sunset tours.
Personally, I recommend doing a sunset tour, as the views over the sea and walls of Dubrovnik are simply magical.
If you’re not sure if you can kayak for four hours don’t worry, as there is also a long break scheduled in. You will stop for a mid-tour break at a beautiful beach hidden in a cave, where you can also do some cliff diving.
Do a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik
This is a bit of a niche one, which admittedly you might not really care about if you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, but I love the TV show and figured this deserved a spot on this Croatia bucket list.
Dubrovnik was one of the filming locations of Kings Landing, the main city of the Game of Thrones series. Avid watchers of the series will easily recognise some spots in Dubrovnik from their Westeros counterpart.
Even if you’re not a big fan of the TV show, it’s still a fun walking tour, as you get to learn lots of fun facts from the production of Game of Thrones, as well as some historical facts of Dubrovnik.
Discover Kupari, the bay of abandoned hotels
The bay of abandoned hotels in Kupari is one of the easiest day trips from Dubrovnik.
The place is located only 10 km away from the city and can be reached by the city bus no 10, from the bus stop it is a short walk to the hotels.
The complex of former hotels used to be one of the most popular holiday destinations in Croatia where some of the prominent Yugoslav officials spent their summer.
During the Yugoslav war in the 1990s, the place was heavily targeted and damaged. Today the hotels are left to decay and are a perfect place to visit for all the urbex fans.
You can freely explore all the abandoned hotels and what’s left of them and even go to the rooftop for a spectacular view of the bay and the surrounding mountains.
While it is possible and easy to explore the hotels keep in mind that this place has been abandoned for years so trust your intuition and be careful when you wander around – in return you will be rewarded with a fascinating place and beautiful views!
– by Kami, author of Kami & The Rest Of The World
Relax at Zlatni Rat beach
Zlatni Rat beach is located on the island of Bol and is listed as one of the top beaches in Europe. Its particular V shape is also known as the Golden Horn or Golden Cape.
This narrow piece of beach extends approximately 500 meters into the azure blue sea and is a perfect place for swimming and snorkelling.
It might look on some photos that the beach consists of white sand, but it is actually is made of fine tiny pebbles. But don’t worry, it is pleasant to walk on them but just in case you can bring water shoes or flip-flops.
There are a few fun water sports activities which can be done on Zlatni Rat Beach. An afternoon westerly winds makes it a perfect windsurfing spot and equipment can be rented at Big Blue Sport Windsurfing centre.
You can also rent a jet-ski or paddle board and in the summer months there is an aqua park on the water for children.
Several cafes and restaurants on the beach offer sun loungers and varied menus with drinks and food. Wait until sunset and enjoy the last bits of sunlight of the day while sipping your drink on this beautiful beach.
– by Ilse & Atiba, authors of Digital Travel Couple
Discover the island of Korcula
Less than two hours ferry ride from Dubrovnik lies the beautiful Croatian island of Korcula. Often referred to as mini Dubrovnik, Korcula definitely needs to be on your Croatia bucket list.
The medieval old town and its stone-walled streets are cleverly angled in a fishbone pattern. This allows the westerly sea breeze to pass through in summer; whilst offering protection from cold northeast winds in winter.
Sleepy Korcula is a welcome escape from the crowds and heat found in Dubrovnik. The charming little streets are pristine and the boutique shops and konoba’s (restaurants) are so inviting.
Climb the bell tower of St Mark’s Cathedral for spectacular views and visit the home and museum of Marco Polo, the world’s most famous traveller.
You don’t have to walk far from the old town to find the most beautiful little coves, perfect for a swim in the crystal clear sea. For more information, see our top things to do in Korcula.
– by Gemma, author of Families Can Travel
Visit the Croatian capital; Zagreb
When people go to Croatia, they rarely stop in Zagreb, choosing instead to visit the coastal towns and the beachfront location. But Zagreb has so much to offer, that it should not be overlooked.
The city has a laid-back vibe, and most of the attractions are grouped together, which makes it easy to explore the city.
With a booming restaurant scene, the biggest number of museums per square meter, and a ton of history, Zagreb should be on your Croatia bucket list!
Some of the best things to do in Zagreb are checking out the local Dolac Market, located by two impressive churches: the Zagreb Cathedral and St Mary’s Church.
Walk around Tkalčićeva, where you’ll find all the city’s best bars, restaurants, and boutiques.
Then, walk up to the Upper Town where you have a few more churches and squares, and where you can get an amazing view of the city below.
Just make sure you’re around Lotrščak Tower around noon, so you can see when they shoot the canon.
Walk around the Lenuci Horseshoe, where most of the city’s main museums are located. However, if you want to check out an unusual museum, you need to see The museum of broken relationships.
We spent 2 days in Zagreb in November. It was a perfect amount of time at the perfect time of year.
The weather was not too cold, and because it was the shoulder season, there were not too many tourists around. In 2 days, we were able to visit all the sights we wanted.
– by Carine & Derek, authors of We Dit It Our Way
Explore the town & island of Hvar
Croatia is famous for its beautiful islands and coastline, but Hvar always receives a special mention in all the Croatia bucket lists.
This beautiful island is home to gorgeous beaches, sweeping natural landscapes, an adorable Old Town centre and a lively nightlife.
Hvar is the perfect place in Croatia for those looking for a bit of chill island life.
You can relax at one of the hidden beaches on the island, wander around the streets of Hvar Town and enjoy a drink at one of the famous sunset beach bars.
One of the main attractions in Hvar is the Spanish Fortress, which towers above the town. The walk up is a bit steep, but the view is well worth it. From here you get an incredible view over the town, harbour and the sea.
Go beyond Hvar & explore Stari Grad
Stari Grad, on the island of Hvar, is often overlooked by travelers to Dubrovnik and even by travelers staying in Hvar Town, just 25 kilometers away.
The town is on Grad Bay, on the northern part of Hvar Island. Many travelers visit from Split, only an hour away on the ferry which makes 7 crossings each town.
Stari Grad is one of the very oldest towns in all of Europe. It was founded by Greeks in 384 BCE and it is full of ancient stone buildings, cobbled lanes, merchants and seaman’s homes, stores, and inns.
After the Greeks, Stari Grad was occupied by the Romans and then the Venetians, resulting in wonderful Baroque and Renaissance architecture in a stunning seaside location.
Above Stari Grad are extraordinarily fertile plains. The unique agricultural system used here has made the plains a UNESCO World Heritage protected site.
E-biking and walking through this area or taking food and wine tours is a great way to extend your visit to Stari Grad. Along the way you will find ancient stone ruins of towns, churches and towers.
The best things to see and do in Stari Grad include the strolling the picturesque Riva, and the 9th Century Dalmation Baroque Church of St. Stephen.
The 16th century Tvrdalj Palace and the 15th century Dominican Monastery are beautiful and fascinating examples of the waves of history and culture that make up this interesting and ancient town.
All of these sites can be visited by strolling the cobbled laneways such as Srinjo Kola or Middle Street, and through stone squares such as Skor Square, a Baroque square with Renaissance architecture.
– by Monique, author of Trip Anthropologist
Discover the Blue Cave in Bisevo
Visiting the Blue Cave (Modra špilja) is definitely one of the highlights of coastal Croatia. The Blue Cave is a narrow, water-filled opening in Balun Cove, on the eastern side of the island of Biševo.
Since ancient times, Croatian fishermen have entered the cave by diving under the rock wall in a particular place, however it’s only become accessible much more recently.
In 1884, an entrance was blasted out of the rock with dynamite, opening a small hole in the side of the cave which small boats can squeeze through.
Try and visit the cave between 11am and noon on a sunny day. At that time, sunlight reflects off the limestone floor of the cave and through the water, filling the cave with a ghostly blue light.
The effect is otherworldly and well worth the trip. Visiting the blue cave is usually only possible on a tour – private boats aren’t allowed in the cave.
In the summer, tours leave from Biševo, Vis or even Split, although the latter can be a long day.
– by Roxanne, author of Faraway Worlds
Go glamping in Obonjan
The adults-only clamping destination on the private island of Obonjan is a must on any Croatia bucket list.
There are few places in the world where you can arrange a stay on a private island, but Obonjan is one of those – and it’s affordable!
The island, which is located just a short ferry ride from the town of Šibenik is ery easy to get to with a regular dedicated ferry service and if you’ve hired a car, there are huge car parks in Šibenik port.
Obonjan is an adults-only boutique glamping destination with a wonderful spa and wellness offerings, it’s definitely somewhere a bit different to include on any trip to Croatia.
The island is open for the long European summer, with guests welcome to arrive as they wish and to stay for any length of time.
There’s an array of activities on every day, from yoga, stargazing, cookery classes and guests can get as involved as they like. Or do nothing but relax by the pool or the beach, if they fancy.
There’s also an exciting programme of visiting DJs and musicians too, performing in different areas of the island, from in the forest, on the helipad, at the beach, or around the pool.
The island itself is car-free, but there are forest tracks criss-crossing the island interior which are shaded and ideal for walking or running.
Many visitors don’t realise that the island was a Boy Scouts camp in the 1970s, and many of the facilities actually date back to this time.
For example, the old Olympic-size pool has been transformed into a modern pool party area with daybeds and a DJ deck. The old outdoor gym has been updated and you can also join daily football games on the pitch too.
In terms of the glamping accommodation, there are a number of options.
The least expensive option is the bell tent, which means sharing the communal bathroom facilities, or there are the Forest Lodges which are more luxurious tents, with air conditioning and an en-suite.
More recently, the island team has opened Sun Lodges which are air-conditioned wooden cabins.
There are several camping areas throughout the island, all under the shade of the pine forest and many of which stretch down to the water’s edge.
I recommend asking for a tent that faces the setting sun – it’s truly wonderful to sit back and relax with a drink or a beer outside of your glamping tent to watch the sun go down.
– by Claire, author of Stoked to Travel
Go island hopping in the Kornati Islands
Located in the northern part of Dalmatia, Kornati belongs to one of Croatia’s eight national parks.
It’s essentially a spread out archipelago made up of about 150 karst islands and islets. The name Kornati refers to the shape many of the islands take on – a crown.
Boat trips to Kornati take about an hour to reach the first islands, after which you cruise among the pretty crowns and stop at a few, which allow visitors. Most of the islands are privately owned and are used for farming.
Mana and Levrnaka are two islands many boats stop at. You can enjoy magnificent views, delicious meals at Konoba Levrnaka and even beach time.
The easiest way to get to Kornati is by a boat from Murter, which is just 30 minutes away from Šibenik.
There you can also find the Kornati office, where you can pay for the park entrance – €40 per adult (300 kn) – and arrange a boat.
– by Veronika, author of Travel Geekery
Sibenik is one of the oldest cities in Croatia. With such a long history, there are an impressive number of things to do in Sibenik. Start at the famous St. James Cathedral in Old town.
Walk up to the town’s highest point and explore the ancient St. Michael’s Fortress, one of four fortresses in the area. End your day at one of the many beautiful waterfront restaurants.
Sibenik is located between Split and Zadar. To get to Sibenik, you can take a bus straight into town from one of those airports or rent a car.
You can also arrive by ferry, incorporating Sibenik as part of a Croatia island hopping tour.
Sibenik can be toured easily in one day. However, this beautiful town is worth taking it slower and relaxing in before continuing your journey across the country.
– by Andy, author of Avrex Travel
Explore the Old Town of Split (& surroundings!)
The Old Town of Split isn’t as well defined as the one in Dubrovnik. There are no Old Town walls for you to walk around, and which distinguish the historical part from the surroundings.
That said, it will be pretty obvious which parts of the town are historical and which parts are modern. Diocletan’s Palace and Saint Domnius Cathedral are the main attraction of the Old Town.
It gets very busy during the day, but if you visit early in the morning you will have this magical spot all to yourself.
You can also visit the bell tower of the Cathedral, from which you get a gorgeous 360 view of the whole city and the sea.
Split has many attractions beyond the Old Town. You can spend some time exploring the gorgeous Marjan Forest Park, and relaxing at the many beaches in the city.
Swim in the waterfalls of Krka National Park
Krka National Park is one of the most famous attractions in Croatia, so it’s only natural that I had to include it in this Croatia guide.
Krka National Park is a huge 142km squared park, famous for its lush green vegetation and waterfalls.
The most popular area of the park is the one surrounding Skradinski Buk Falls, the beautiful waterfalls you see in all the iconic Krka National Park photos.
There is a trail that you can walk along and explore the park, with lots of picnic tables and shacks from which you can get food and relax.
You can swim in the river just by Skradisnki Buk Falls. There is a line of buoys stopping you from going too close to the waterfalls, but besides that you can swim freely in the emerald water.
Swimming in these waterfalls is a magical experience, which I highly recommend to everyone.
It gets very busy in summer, which is why it’s becoming a very popular destination also for those travelling to Europe in the fall.
Discover the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a must visit for everyone.
Despite the crowds that can be encountered at this spectacular place, it’s well worth the time to hike between the chain of 16 lakes and stunning waterfalls.
With 12 upper lakes and 4 lower lakes, it can easily take one to two days to explore all the boardwalks and hiking trails.
There are also electric boats and a train to make it easier for people to tour the area, especially for anyone with limited mobility or those visiting Plitvice Lakes with kids.
Plitvice Lakes NP can be visited as a day trip from either Split or Zagreb.
If possible, it’s best to visit Plitvice Lakes right as the park opens, as this will be the best chance of having some solitude while meandering the boardwalks and hiking trails.
The entrance fee to the park changes throughout the year, with the winter months being the cheapest at 75-80 HRK, June and up to 200 HRK in the summer months.
– by Celine, author of Family Can Travel
Zip-line in the Cetina Canyon
If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, this thrilling experience has to feature on your Croatia bucket list. It was my first time ever zip-lining, and I was in equal parts thrilled and absolutely terrified.
This zip-line over the Cetina Canyon in Croatia is particularly special. There is a total of eight wires, for a total overall length of 2,100 metres. The longest wire is 700m, and 150m above ground level!
You will soar high above the canyon and Cetina River, admiring the incredible views on every side. The other wires are some long and panoramic, and others shorter and through the Mediterranean forest.
Since then I’ve been zip-lining also in Costa Rica, but that was an entirely different experience exploring the canopy treetops.
The view and thrill you will get from zip-lining in the Cetina Canyon is something I believe should feature on everyone’s travel bucket list.
Visit Omis & climb Starigrad Fortress
Omis was one of my favourite places in Croatia. This cute town had all the highlights of the more famous Croatian cities, but without the huge tourist crowds.
Omis is located close to the Cetina Canyon, so you can easily visit it on the same day that you go zip-lining.
The town is built at the outlet of the Cetina River, with the tall cliffs of the canyon behind it. It makes for a very scenic location.
One of the must-sees in Omis is the local fort. From here you get a gorgeous view over the town, canyon and river.
Located between the Gulf of Trieste and Kvarner Bay in northwest Croatia, The Istrian Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Croatia.
From the beautiful scenery and medieval towns to ancient ruins and the picturesque coastline of the Adriatic Sea, the Istrian Peninsula has so many charming things to offer its visitors.
The fastest way to reach Istria is to take a flight from Zadar to Pula which will take around 35 minutes.
You can explore the scenic coastal towns and marinas along the coast. The colorful Venetian houses, pristine beaches, luxurious hotels, and seafood restaurants – the coastal area of Istria won’t disappoint you.
The inner areas of Istria are blessed with photogenic medieval towns, vineyards, olive groves, and agricultural landscape.
Pula and Rovinj are some of the most beautiful towns in the Istrian Peninsula. Pula is famous for its ancient Roman ruins and charming alleys.
Rovinj is filled with pastel-colored houses, a fishing harbor, restaurants, and art galleries. Istria’s food scene is also amazing and visitors can enjoy varieties of seafood, wine, and truffles.
Croatia is one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe. So, finding an affordable hotel in Istria won’t be big deal. I will recommend staying in Apartment Ben which is situated in Pula city and offers amazing service.
– by Trijit Mallick, author of BudgetTravelBuff
Visit the town of Trogir
Trogir is a small town on the Adriatic coast, quite close to Split. We visited it on the final day of our Croatia itinerary, so that we could see a new place and be closer to Split airport for our return flight.
It has many similarities with other Croatian towns, in that it has a well-preserved Old Town and a lively and friendly vibe.
Trogir is known for its mix of Renaissance, baroque and Romanesque buildings, which you can admire simply by walking around the town.
You can visit the bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, and from here enjoy a gorgeous view over the town, the sea and the nearby island of Ciovo.
It’s a beautiful place to see in Croatia, as well as one that doesn’t receive as many big tourist crowds.
Varazdin, with its gorgeous Baroque architecture, makes for one of the best day trips from Zagreb, the Croatian capital.
Once upon a time Varazdin actually used to be Croatia’s capital, so the buildings and churches here are quite spectacular.
One of the must-visit sights in Varazdin is Stari Grad, the stunning old castle at the edge of the town. It is a museum today and you can tour the interior.
Also a little outside the town in Varazdin’s beautiful cemetery, with sculptures and greenery. It is worth the extra walking!
In town, wander the streets to admire the facades. While you will see many gems along the way, the Sermage Palace, with its compelling Rococo exterior, will make you stop in your tracks.
Today it houses works of art. The Town Hall is also a great photo spot, as are the many churches you will see scattered about the town.
You can drive to Varazdin if you are on a road trip in Croatia, otherwise, take the bus from Zagreb for the day.
– by Dhara, author of It’s Not About the Miles
Final thoughts on the must visit places in Croatia
There you have it, the ultimate Croatia bucket list! In this guide we put together all the most awesome things to do and places to visit in Croatia, I hope you find it useful in planning your trip to Croatia!
Croatia is a gorgeous Mediterranean country, blessed with a stunning coastline, lush green nature and magical old towns. Visiting Croatia is a must on every Europe travel bucket list.
Are there other awesome things to do in Croatia that you think should feature on this list? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to expand on this Croatia bucket list!