Croatia The Best Croatian Cities to Visit on Vacation

Best Croatian Cities to Visit: 18 Places To Go on Vacation in Croatia

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Croatia’s calling. Croatia keeps calling. Since we started our nomadic lifestyle in 2014, we have returned to Croatia so many times that we’ve lost count! On each trip, we seek out new cities in Croatia to visit – and become even more enamored with the country.

To help fellow travelers decide Where To Go in Croatia on Vacation, we have rounded up our top picks for the Best Croatian Cities to Visit.


How to Decide What Cities to Visit in Croatia

On our first trip to Croatia in 2011, we decided to visit the country’s star Dalmatian attractions: Hvar, Korcula and Dubrovnik. We were absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the Croatian coast and completely intrigued by the culture.

Since then, we’ve been lured back to familiar places and have spent ample time exploring some of the often-overlooked cities in Croatia, as well. 

Many first-time visitors follow a similar route to our initial Croatia trip – getting their first glimpse in the most popular Croatian destinations. While planning a Croatia trip to see the top rated destinations is a must for many travelers, there are off-the-beaten-path cities to visit in Croatia, too.

If asked to pick just one, we would be hard pressed to name a single place as the Best City in Croatia. Each location has its own charm and unique characteristics.


Planning a Trip to Croatian Cities

Travelers creating a Croatia 2 Week Itinerary or looking to spend 7 Days in Croatia will first have to  decide where to they want to go!

Choosing between Croatia beach cities, inland towns and the top Croatian islands to visit can be an undertaking – as there are several factors to consider.

In addition to determining the type of experience desired, visitors also need to consider time of year, length of trip and their Croatia travel budget. We will cover all that and more in our How To Plan a Croatian Vacation article. Now, let’s get to our suggestions for the Best Cities To Visit in Croatia!


Top Cities in Croatia to Visit

Best View View of Dubrovnik, Croatia

We have rounded up a ‘Best Cities Croatia’ list to help fellow travelers plan their vacation. We have organized our list of Croatian cities to see into categories – including Most Popular, Coastal Cities, Island Towns and Top Inland Croatian Places To See.

Additionally, to help you plan your trip to the best spots in Croatia, we have included a Map of Croatian Cities at the end of the article.


Most Popular Croatian Cities to Visit

While there are many cities to visit in Croatia, we are kicking off our list with three of the most popular. Because these 3 cities in Croatia are well-connected, most travelers will naturally include them in their trip plans as a point of arrival or departure.


#1 DUBROVNIK: Croatian Gem on the Adriatic Coast

Best Dubrovnik, Croatia View

Dubrovnik is one of the absolute hottest tourist spots in Croatia (and all of Europe). It has been coined ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic.’ The walled Old City of Dubrovnik, which is perched above the sea, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and understandably ranks as one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia.

Located on the southern Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is the most recognizable Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea. It also served as inspiration and filming location for King’s Landing in the Game of Thrones series.

Many visitors claim Dubrovnik is the best city in Croatia to visit – and it is easy to see why. The stunning Old Town is encircled by towering walls and comprised of preserved stone houses with classic, orange-tiled rooftops that line steep and narrow lanes. It is absolutely picture-perfect.


Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia

Peering through a hole in the bridge to Old Port in Dubrovnik, Croatia

In addition to Walking the City Walls, exploring Dubrovnik Old Town on a walking tour is one of the top things to do in the city center. Outside of the fortifications, however, travelers will find Pristine Dubrovnik Beaches and amazing views from Mt. Srd.

An important thing to keep in mind is that due to it’s popularity with travelers and cruise ships, Dubrovnik can get absolutely crushed with tourists in the peak summer season from June through September. We also want to mention that it is more expensive than other Croatia vacation destinations. Cost-conscious travelers should read our tips for Visiting Dubrovnik on a Budget.

Where To Stay in Dubrovnik: The prime place to stay in Dubrovnik is in the heart of the Old Town. Guests can choose to stay in a hotel or an Airbnb apartment in Dubrovnik. Before you book, have a peek at our Tips For Finding Great Accommodations.

Nearby Places to Visit in Croatia: Dubrovnik sits in the far south of Croatia and there are numerous great Day Trips from Dubrovnik. Some popular options include the medieval town of Ston, several close-by Dalmatian Islands and even across the border to Kotor, Montenegro or Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina – making Dubrovnik a great base while visiting Croatia.

Further Reading: What To Do in Dubrovnik


#2 SPLIT: Croatian Coast Best Places to Visit

View of Split, Croatia from Marjan Hill Hike

Founded in the 4th century by Roman Emperor Diocletian, Split, Croatia features a fascinating history, miles of shoreline, abundant nature and a delectable cuisine. The historic Old Town hugs the seaside, but Split sprawls in all other directions and ranks as the second-largest city in Croatia.

Split is one of the best Croatia cities to base yourself in along the Dalmatian Coast. In addition to the multitude of sights, Split is well-connected by flight, bus and ferry – which makes it easy to explore more of the incredible region.

Diocletian’s Palace marks the center of the Split Old Town and is another one of the famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia.


Visit the Croatian City of Split

The Waterfront Riva in Split, Croatia

Visitors will find that a Split Walking Tour is a great way to get acquainted with the oldest part of the city and Diocletian’s Palace. That said, there is a long list of Split City Sights to See – from scenic viewpoints to quirky museums.

As one of the best coastal towns in Croatia, the Split Beaches are not to be missed – and they are all connected by a seaside promenade to both the east and west of the city center. Active travelers can lace up their shoes and hike Marjan Hill for a nature walk and enjoy epic views of Split along the way.

Dining in Split covers a range of gastronomy – from fresh-caught seafood to meaty dishes. Use our guide to find your way to all the Top Split Restaurants. Additionally, the craft beer revolution has taken Croatia by storm; brew enthusiasts should read our guide to the Best Split Bars.

Where To Stay in Split: As one of the top cities in Croatia to visit, there are ample places to stay in the center and beyond. We recommend that visitors to Split stay close to (but not in) the Old Town in a holiday apartment – like the ones offered by Adiona Travel.

Best Places to Visit in Croatia Near Split: As we already mentioned, Split is an excellent base for taking day trips – both to inland sights (like Klis Fortress and Solin) and out to sea and the Blue Cave or Blue Lagoon. You can use our guide to choose your best Split Day Trips.

Further Reading: How To Plan 3 Days in Split


#3 ZAGREB: Croatia’s Best Cities

View of the Upper Town, Zagreb, Croatia

While there are few places in Croatia that feel like big cities – Zagreb is the notable exception. The Croatian capital is home to more than 800,000 residents and the country’s seat of government. The city is steeped in tradition and adorned with beautiful architecture, yet is also modern and efficient.

Zagreb – which consistently ranks as one of the best cities in Croatia – is distinctly different from the coastal towns in Dalmatia. Zagreb is cosmopolitan, vibrant and thriving.

Similar to other European capital cities, such as Budapest and Vienna, Zagreb was designed in a kaleidoscope of styles – from the Gothic and Baroque of the Austro-Hungarian time to Brutalist architecture dating to the Yugoslav era.


Visiting Zagreb

Art Pavilion and fountain on Green Horseshoe in Zagreb, Croatia

Although a big city in Croatia, Zagreb is charming and easy to navigate. Visitors can simply wander the streets buzzing with trams and then duck into the many inviting Zagreb Parks – or set off on a Free Zagreb Walking Tour.

Sights that are not to be missed are the Zagreb Cathedral, St. Mark’s Church, Dolac Market and Jelacic Square.

Museums – like the 80s Museum and the Museum of Broken Relationships – are fascinating places to visit while in Zagreb. However, those interested in an alternative scene can seek out Zagreb’s thriving street art.

Like most things in the city, Zagreb’s culinary offers are more modern than in other parts of Croatia, but still features meat-heavy dishes that are popular throughout the region. The craft beer in Zagreb is also exceptional – and we highly recommend fellow hop-heads get a taste.

Where To Stay in Zagreb: We enjoy staying in the heart of the Zagreb Old Town in one of the many vacation rentals available on Airbnb. However, travelers looking for a luxury stay should check rates and availability at the 5-Star Esplanade Zagreb Hotel.

Places to Visit in Croatia around Zagreb: There are several day trip destinations from Zagreb – including the smaller cities of Samobor, Krapina and Varazdin. Use our tips for the Top Day Trips from Zagreb for additional information.

Further Reading: Terrific Things To Do in Zagreb


Best Croatian Coastal Cities

Romantic Rovinj, Istria, Croatia

The Croatian coast extends for more than 1,100 miles along the mainland – and the entire length of it is dotted with small Croatian cities by the sea. These Croatian coastal cities are top destinations for summer travelers, but they are equally beautiful (although sometimes eerily quiet) in the winter months.

We have already mentioned two of the best cities to see in Croatia on the coast – Dubrovnik and Split – but we are highlighting a few of the top coastal Croatian towns to visit.



Boat and Old Town Rovinj, Croatia

Romantic and serene, Rovinj is an idyllic city along the Croatian Adriatic coast on the Istrian Peninsula. Once an island and surrounded by protective walls, the town is comprised of narrow, twisting cobblestone walkways and stacked, pastel-painted buildings.

Unlike in Dalmatia, Rovinj and other Croatian Istria towns still display a very strong and obvious Italian influence. Croatian and Italian flags flying alongside one another are a common sight, as well as street signs in both languages.


Why Visit Rovinj

Seaside Table at end of cobblestone lane, Rovinj, Istria, Croatia

Rovinj is one of the best Croatian coastal towns for relaxing vacations. Visitors can stretch their legs on a climb to St. Euphemia Church, then saunter downhill to cool off in the sea by jumping into the crystal-clear waters from the shoreline boulders.

Evenings are marked by tasting the local Istrian Wine and then watching a romantic Rovinj Sunset over the water.

More of the peninsula can be explored on excursions or boat trips. Active travelers can spend a day riding bikes through forests, across vineyards and along the water.

Where To Stay in Rovinj: The Melegran, a 4-star hotel situated in the Old Town just steps from the beach with included breakfast.

Further Reading: Amazing Things To Do in Rovinj



Pula, Croatia Arena

Located on the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula, Pula is one of the bigger Croatian coastal towns to visit. An important settlement since the days of Julius Caesar, Pula has long been one of the vital port cities in Croatia.


Visit Pula

View of Pula, Croatia

There are many Fun Things To Do in Pula that make it a great place to stay for a few days. Beaches and boating are a good reason to visit any coastal city in Croatia, but Pula has something even more enticing: Spectacular Roman Ruins.

A 1st-century amphitheater still stands nearly intact in Pula – as does parts of the Forum, including a temple and arch. Ancient, tiled floors and the remains of a Roman Theater have also been unearthed.

Where To Stay in Pula: Park Plaza Histria Pula, a beach resort not far from the Pula Old Town center is ideal for a beach vacation in Croatia, and family-run Hotel Galija is the pick for the city center.

Further Reading: Top Places To See in Istria



Walking Tour Zadar, Croatia

Zadar is a city in Croatia that is also marked by it’s ancient history, yet it exudes a youthful vibe (mostly in thanks to the local university). In fact, it is believed that this coastal Croatian city is the longest inhabited area in the country, with roots that stretch back to 9th century BC.


Visit Zadar, Croatia

2-week Croatia Itinerary Zadar JetSetting Fools

Like other Croatian cities on Adriatic Sea, Zadar has a mishmash of architecture – and was also once a fortified town. Today, visitors can Explore Zadar on Foot to discover pieces of the Roman past and the fanciful flourishes left by the Venetians.

The waterfront promenade – and the unique Zadar Sea Organ, which is played by the splashes of the ocean – are not to be missed.

Of course, the nearby beaches are a top draw in the summertime. However, we highly recommend getting out on the water when staying in Zadar. Just offshore, there are numerous islands that can be explored on guided tours or DIY Zadar Day Trips

Where To Stay in Zadar: Art Hotel Kalelarge has an amazing location with a modern space.

Further Reading: Using Zadar Ferries to Visit Nearby Islands



View of Fortresses of Sibenik, Croatia

Sitting in a deep bay and accessed from the sea by a long, narrow channel, Sibenik is a naturally protected city on the Adriatic. The compact Sibenik Old Town sits on a steep grade – and old stone dwellings climb up the hillside to not one, but three dominating fortresses.

Although smaller in size, Sibenik is one of the best Croatian cities offering a variety of attractions and activities.


Why Visit Sibenik

Welcome to Sibenik sign, Croatia

Many travelers breeze through Sibenik in a few hours while touring other Dalmatian Coast sights, but there are several reasons to stay for a couple of days or longer!

The top attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Sibenik Cathedral. Take a look inside, but don’t miss the unusual 70+ stone heads protruding from the back of the church. Other things to see are the hilltop St. Michael Fortress, the picturesque St. Ana Cemetery and the peaceful St. Lawrence Monastery.

What makes Sibenik one of the best coastal cities in Croatia, however, is the easy access to several islands and nearby villages. Tourists can choose to hop aboard a local ferry or set sail on a private boat tour.

Travelers who like to explore can set off an adventure through the St. Anthony Canal and follow a trail that leads to the UNESCO St. Nicholas Fortress as well as an abandoned submarine bunker.

Where To Stay in Sibenik: Bellevue Superior City Hotel, featuring modern sea-facing rooms at reasonable prices.

Further Reading: Great Things To Do in Sibenik



View of Old Town, Trogir, Croatia

Technically an island but only separated from the mainland by a narrow canal, Trogir is one of the popular Croatian towns to visit. While it dates to the 3rd century, the stunning architecture – for which it is UNESCO listed – was built when Trogir was under Venetian rule.


Visiting Trogir

Boat on the Waterfront, Trogir, Croatia

Although Trogir is one of the prime Croatian cities to visit, there are just a handful of sights on the small island. It is possible to see the entire town on a day trip adventure (either from Split or Sibenik), but guests who choose to stay longer can really soak up the charm. 

The top attractions are the 13th century St. Lawrence Cathedral on the main square and the 15th century Kamerlengo Castle. However, we think the true beauty of Trogir lies in the twisting lanes and wide seaside promenade. 

Where To Stay in Trogir: Tiramola, a boutique accommodation in Old Town Trogir with lovely hosts.

Further Reading: Check out this article for more Things To Do in Trogir.



Stunning coastal views from the fortress, Omis, Croatia

Located south of Split where the Cetina River flows into the Adriatic Sea, Omis is situated at the base of a mountain on the edge of the water. Once ruled by pirates, it is now one of the most beautiful Croatian cities along the coastline – and a prime spot for adventurous activities.


Visit to Omis

Church in the Old Town of Omis, Croatia

Some may find that Omis is a splendid Croatian coastal town for simply wandering. The winding cobblestone lanes lead to historic churches (there are eight!), an old fortress and quaint squares.

The reason most visitors end up in Omis, however, is for the thrill-seeking activities. Top attractions are ziplining, white water rafting, river kayaking, hiking and canyoning.

There is plenty of opportunity for lazy days at the beaches, too. Omis has sandy beaches, pebble beaches and secluded coves – so there is something for everyone.

Where To Stay in Omis: Hotel Plaza, a modern hotel in the heart of Omis, just a short 1-minute walk to the beach.

Further Reading: Top Omis Things To Do



Best Beach, Makarska, Croatia

Makarska is located along the Dalmatian Coast between Split and Dubrovnik at the base of the towering Biokovo Mountain.

Although many tourists traverse between the two most popular Croatian cities, they often skip Makarska – either because they are traveling by ferry or pass straight through on the highway. It’s a shame, because Makarska is truly one of the best beach cities in Croatia to visit!

The Makarska Riviera – a 40-mile stretch of coastline – is known for its long, sandy beaches and walkways lined with towering evergreen trees. Several of beaches on the Makarska Riviera have been awarded the Blue Flag for the impeccably clean water.


Visit Makarska, Croatia

Sand Up Paddle, SUP, Makarska, Croatia

While beaches are what Makarska is most known for, the city is also well regarded for its historical sights, nature reserves and Croatian gastronomy.

Some of the highlights of Makarska include a 500-year-old monastery, a Croatia nightclub in a cave and hiking trails that lead up the nearby mountains and down to secluded coves. Additionally, a great variety of Croatian cuisine – from seafood to sweets – can be sampled at cafes and restaurants that ring the Makarska main square.

Where To Stay in Makarska: Hotel Osejava, a 4-star hotel with a spa and outstanding water views.

Further Reading: Fun Things To Do in Makarska


Top Towns to Visit on the Best Islands in Croatia

How to Relax in Hvar Town, Hvar Island, Croatia

Croatia claims more than 1,200 islands and islets in the Adriatic Sea. Therefore, choosing which Croatian islands to visit can be perplexing. Don’t fret! We are outlining the most popular and a few hidden gems.

We’ll also show you how to build a Croatia Island Hopping Itinerary that visits multiple destinations. Even on a short 1-Week Trip to Croatia, you can still have an exceptional island holiday!



View of Hvar Town from the Adriatic Sea

Hvar is the most popular Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea. There are many reasons why Hvar is a famous Croatian island to visit – and Hvar Town tops the list.

The posh town is surrounded by bright blue water and overlooked by the towering Spanish Fortress. Hvar is popular with partying Croatian tourists and the “I’m on a Boat” crowd  – but ultimately attracts a variety of travelers. All summer long mega-yachts, small cruise ships and sailboats line the harbor and their passengers pack the clubs until dawn.

Even if that’s not your scene, it’s pretty easy to fall in love with Hvar, which manages to be stylish and historic at the same time. In fact, the first time we visited Croatia, we docked in Hvar Town and our love affair with the country truly began!


Visit Hvar Town

View of the boats in the Harbor, Hvar Town, Hvar Island, Croatia

Not only is Hvar one of the best island towns, it also ranks as one of the overall best cities to visit in Croatia.

Top things to do are to discover the intriguing Old Town sights on foot, spend idle days at the beautiful Hvar beaches and indulge in delicious Croatian seafood meals.

Tourists spending ample time in Hvar can set off hikes to nearby villages, rent a boat to explore the Pakleni Islands or join a day trip overland to the famous lavender fields or by sea to the iconic Blue Cave.

Where To Stay in Hvar Town: The Amfora Grand Beach Resort, a luxury hotel on beachfront with multiple pools.

Further Reading: Super Things To Do in Hvar Town



Sailing into Stari Grad, Hvar Island, Croatia aboard the Almissa with Sail Croatia

While Hvar Island is arguably the best Croatian island to stay on – it’s not just because of Hvar Town. Stari Grad is another star destination on the island. Located on the north side of Hvar Island, Stari Grad has a completely different vibe than Hvar Town. 

Stari Grad – literally meaning Old Town – is one of the truly ancient areas in Croatia. Founded more than 2,400 years ago, it also claims to be the oldest city in Croatia.


Visit Stari Grad on Hvar Island

View of Historic Stari Grad Old Town from Glavica Hill on Hvar Island, Croatia

The quaint Croatian town is tucked into a deep bay and boasts narrow lanes, stone houses, historic churches and a famous estate, the Tvrdalj Castle.

The nearby Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO Heritage Site for its outstanding universal value, is a preserved agricultural system that dates to the 4th century B.C. The land is still used today to grow Croatian olives for wonderful oil and grapes for amazing Croatian wine.

Stari Grad offers loads of small-town charm. Visitors can explore the secluded coves along the shore, ride bikes through the historic Stari Grad Plain, hike to the hill-topping church and discover abandoned Croatian villages and military tunnels.

Where To Stay in Stari Grad: Hidden House, a top-rated boutique property in the center of historic Stari Grad with exceptional hosts.

Further Reading: Why Stari Grad is Our Favorite Town on Hvar



Korcula Town Gate on Korcula Island, Croatia

Many travelers land on Korcula when deciding which Croatian island to visit – and for good reason. It is simply stunning!

The main attraction is Korcula Town – which some say resembles a miniature Dubrovnik due to it being a walled city perched on the edge of the sea.


Visit Korcula Town

Water views of lovely Korcula Town, Croatia

All of the sights in Korcula Old Town can be visited in just a few hours. However, it is a great place to stay to see more of Korcula Island.

Top attractions in the Korcula Old Town are the impressive Land Gate and the Marco Polo House, where it is claimed that the famous explorer was born. Shoreline walks, forest hikes and seaside dining round out the list of the must-do things to do in Korcula.

Keep in mind, however, that Korcula Town is just one of the many fun Croatia places to go on the island of the same name. Lumbarda is another Adriatic Island town on Korcula that is well-known for its Grk white wine production. Vela Luka is Korcula’s main port city, and offers unique attractions, like a prehistoric cave, tiled street mosaics as well as challenging hiking opportunities.

Where To Stay in Korcula: Aminess Korcula Heritage Hotel, a prominent location with sea-facing rooms and excellent service.

Further Reading: What To Do on Korcula Island



View of Komiza Town on Vis Island, Croatia

Vis is the furthest inhabited island from the Croatian mainland – and cozy Komiza on the far west coast ranks as one of the top cities to visit in Croatia to really get away.

More a village than a town or city, Komiza is a fantastic place to go in Croatia when you want to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery and breathe in the sea air.


Visit Komiza

Amazing view of Komiza Town, Vis Island, Croatia

Komiza does rank as one of the best Croatia beach towns – but there isn’t a big checklist of sights to see. Instead, visitors spend long days lounging on the shore. However, if adventure calls, hiking trails from Komiza lead to hidden coves on both the north and south of the town.

Boat trips to the nearby Blue Cave is a top water activity, but there are other excursions to choose from.

Evenings are spent at family-run restaurants that face the pristine blue sea – and naturally, fresh-caught fish features prominently on every menu.

Ambitious travelers can tackle a trek up into the hills behind Komiza. Several of the trails lead to churches that offer sublime views over the aqueous landscape.

Komiza is also a good base to explore more of the island – although a car or scooter is necessary to get anywhere besides the port town of Vis (which is accessibly by bus). Some interesting things to see are the famous Stiniva Beach, Tito’s submarine cave, and local Croatian wineries.

Where To Stay in Komiza: Hotel Bisevo is nicely situated at the edge of town on the beach. However, there are numerous family-run guesthouses that are best suited for a Komiza, Croatia vacation.

Further Reading: Why Visit Vis Island, Croatia



Green channel marker in Bol, Brac, Croatia

One of the largest Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea, Brac is famous for its white stone – which is used in most of the area’s structures, as well as to build Diocletian’s Palace in Split and, supposedly, the columns of the United States’ White House.

The reason tourists flock to Brac Island – and specifically the town of Bol – however, is Croatia’s most famous beach of all: Zlatni Rat.


Visit Bol, Croatia

Zlatni Rat Beach from Vidova Gora Peak, Bol, Brac, Croatia

Zlatni Rat – or Golden Horn – is a long spit of pebbly beach that reforms with the currents and tides of the sea. The ever-changing beach surrounded by turquoise water is undeniably gorgeous and is popular with both sunbathers and boaters.

Although Zlatni Rat is the claim to fame that makes Bol the best beach town in Croatia, there are a few more things to do in the area.

The towering mountain, Vidova Gora, that stands over Bol is one of the best places to hike in Croatia (but you can drive to the top, as well). Views extend across the Adriatic to five other Croatian islands and the vantage point down to Zlatni Rat is phenomenal.

The 16th century Blaca Monastery, which is only accessible via a 1.5-mile hike is another gem in Bol. While not easy to get to, it’s well worth the effort.

Another great Croatian town to visit on Brac Island is Supetar (easily reached by ferry from Split) and the villages of Milna, Sutivan and Skirp.

Where to Stay in Bol: Boutique Hotel Bol gets superb reviews and is located within walking distance to Zlatni Rat Beach and the Vidova Gora trailhead.

Further Reading: Tips for Hiking Vidova Gora


Places in Croatia to Visit Inland

Tumbling waterfall next to wood steps at Plitvice Lakes NP in Croatia

While many tourists in Croatia stick to the alluring seaside locales, we highly recommend venturing off the coast to see more of the country. Spectacular waterfalls are a top inland Croatian destination, but the eastern countryside is delightful, too!



Looking down at Plitvice Lakes boardwalk in Croatia

The streaming and tumbling waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes are, without a doubt, one of the most magnificent sights in Croatia. One of eight national parks in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes ranks supreme.

That said, the park’s location is remote and requires a long drive (or bus ride) from any of the other top Croatia destinations. Even so, Plitvice remains one of the top Croatian places to visit – but travelers who want to see it need to plan ahead.


Visit Plitvice Lakes NP

Wooden boardwalk through Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

Plitvice is a series of 16 lakes nestled in a deep canyon. The vivid turquoise water spills from one lake to the next – and minerals are left behind, eventually creating tufts. The naturally occurring process is what created the separate lakes and series of impressive waterfalls at Plitvice.

Park visitors follow a route that provides an up-close view. Raised wooden boardwalks meander just above the water, offering guests the best viewpoints of the natural wonder.

Because of Plitvice’s popularity, it is required buy tickets online in advance (as there are entry limits) – or join one of the popular tours from Zagreb, from Zadar or from Split.

Plitvice NP is open year-round, but Plitvice Lakes Winter visitors are limited to seeing just the lower lakes. That said, they may have them nearly to themselves and it’s magic with a fresh dusting of snow!

Where To Stay in Plitvice Lakes: Hotel Jezero, located at the park entrance, has rooms with lake views and an on-site spa. 

Further Reading: Visiting Plitvice Lakes in Autumn



An afternoon sun highlights the gushing Skradinski buk waterfall at Krka National Park

The Krka Waterfalls are another one of the must-see places in Croatia for nature…and it is more convenient than Plitvice Lakes. Located inland from Sibenik near the village of Skradin, the sprawling park has multiple entry points – and can even be accessed via boat.


Visit Krka NP

Rainbow over Krka National Park

Created by the same geological phenomena as Plitvice Lakes, the water at Krka Falls glides smoothly over tufts and rocks, culminating in a thunderous flow at Skradinski Buk, the largest waterfall in the park.

Boardwalks provide visitors access to the most scenic sections – and there are rocks, benches and a long bridge that offers the best views of Skradinski Buk. However, swimming at Krka Waterfalls is no longer permitted.

Additionally, a small historic village – complete with a mill and church – illustrates the importance of the falls to past inhabitants.

Tourists can plan their own day trip to Krka NP (by driving or taking a bus to Skradin) – or join one of the highly rated tours from Split, from Zadar and from Sibenik.

Where To Stay when Visiting Krka: Skradin Hotel Bonaca, a 4-start hotel with outdoor pool.

Further Reading: Fun Things To Do in Skradin



Bell tower of Co-Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in Osijek, Croatia

Travelers to Croatia rarely look inland past the waterfalls and Zagreb, thus completely missing the eastern Slavonia region and the city of Osijek. Nearly devoid of tourists, Osijek is one of the largest cities in Croatia (4th biggest in the country) and is one of the best unknown Croatian cities to visit.

Osijek is located in the Croatian countryside and there are many reasons to visit Slavonia. This Croatia off-the-beaten-path city offers a drastically different landscape, cuisine and history than Croatian coastal cities. 


Visit Osijek, Croatia

Field of Baranja, Slavonia, Croatia

Osijek is known for exceptional gastronomy and wine…and it does not disappoint! The farm-to-table food concept is a way of life in Osijek. The cuisine features local products – like river fish and in-season produce – and is also influenced by neighboring Hungary.

The city of Osijek itself has a handful of interesting sights. Top attractions are the fortress and cathedral, but architecture fans will delight in simply strolling down the streets of Osijek.

On the other hand, nature lovers will not want to miss the opportunity to get outdoors. While seeing vineyards and family-run farms is a must, the highlight is the Kopacki Rit Nature Park, one of the largest wetlands in Europe.

Where To Stay in Osijek: Hotel Waldinger, a 4-star, boutique hotel in the city center.

Further Reading: Top Reasons to Visit Osijek

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Map of Croatia Cities to Visit

Use this link to Google for our Map of the Best Cities to Visit in Croatia online. Use this Croatia map to help plan your vacation!

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Croatia Best Cities: Travel Tips

Choosing where to vacation in Croatia is just one aspect of any trip to the country. We have a few basic Croatia travel tips that will help you plan your visit.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to Planning A Trip to Croatia – and use our helpful Vacation Planner to stay organized!

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How Long To Stay in Each City in Croatia

How long you decide to stay in each location during your trip will depend on your travel style, length of trip and overall interest.

Typically, we recommend staying in one place for at least three days – but if you are short on time, you could easily get a feel for most Croatian cities – especially smaller ones – and see the sights in just one day.

Because of the distance between many Croatia destinations, we don’t usually recommend staying only one night in a place (although there are exceptions, like Plitvice Lakes and Krka Waterfalls). Rather than packing up and moving frequently, we recommend planning day trips from a base if possible.


Planning Day Trips in Croatia

In addition to our list of the top Croatia places to visit, there are small towns in Croatia that are well worth a day trip – and many serve as an excellent escape from the summertime crowds.

It is fairly easy to plan day trips on your own, but some tours – like a combined Krka, Sibenik and Local Lunch tour – from Split are an exceptional value.


Getting Around: Car, Bus or Tour

In all the times we have visited Croatia, we have never rented a car. There is ample affordable bus transport (and some trains) that can be used to get around to the top Croatia destinations.

That said, renting a car would allow for more independent travel and could be useful in getting to some of the more obscure locations. However, finding parking is problematic nearly everywhere in Croatia, so bear that in mind.

Tours are another good way to get to the top places to see in Croatia – and are useful when on a short trip. Most excursions are not overly expensive and you can search for tours that appeal the most to you (and read fellow traveler reviews) on Viator.


What To Pack for your Trip to Croatia

Relax on a Sailboat, Hvar, Croatia

We have a few packing hacks to help you prepare for your trip to Croatia. You can also find all of our packing advice on our dedicated Packing Tips page. 


Comfortable Walking Shoes

One of the beautiful things about Croatia is the cobblestone lanes in the old city centers. However, because the old town streets are often uneven and slick, you will want to pack a pair of shoes with good soles (and I would recommend leaving the heels at home!).

Read our detailed breakdown for the Best Travel Shoes for any trip!


Travel Camera

Croatia is stunningly beautiful – and it is best to capture the sights and landscapes with a real camera. We use a Canon Rebel with a 18-135mm lens. The DSLR camera takes excellent photos – and is fantastic budget camera for beginners and comes with heaps of accessories.


Day Pack

Traveling in Croatia lends itself to long days of sightseeing. You will want to be prepared with everything you need for your daily adventures. Whether you typically travel with a backpack or a suitcase, we recommend bringing a good day bag where you can stow and secure all your everyday travel items.


Croatia Travel Insurance

Trip insurance may provide protection for flight delays and lost luggage, and could also come in handy for injuries and illnesses abroad. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Croatia, check rates and coverage with a reputable company.


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Can you feel the Croatian sunshine on your skin and the Adriatic Sea breeze in your hair? Are you dreaming of the tantalizing taste of fresh food and local wine. Then it’s time to plan a trip to the best cities in Croatia!


Find all of our Croatia Destination Guides on our Croatia Travel Guides page.


We want to know: What are your favorite Croatian cities? Do you have any recommendations for more places in Croatia to visit? Share with us your advice in the comments below!


Planning a complete European Vacation? Be sure to get our Top Tips for Planning a Trip to Europe as well!


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The Best Croatian Cities to Visit on Vacation to Croatia

23 thoughts on “Best Croatian Cities to Visit: 18 Places To Go on Vacation in Croatia

  1. Stari Grad looks like my kind of place, I’ve yet to make it to Croatia but reading this post has definitely nudged it up a few places on my list of places to visit. It looks and sounds a great country to visit for a good amount of time.

  2. Nice post! I really want to visit Croatia this year and go a little further than the typical tourist spots, so this was helpful. Thanks for the pointers. I also loved the photos! By the way, I spotted a typo: “European Best Destinataions”.

  3. All three cities in Croatia has its own charm. I have been dreaming of visiting this country. Now after this post , it made me craving for it more. I personally liked Ston because of its breathtaking landscape and history. Great post.

  4. I too was surprised you were not heading to Mali Ston for the oysters. We’ve stopped there a couple of times on our trips in Croatia just to have another dozen! We also spent a week in Starigrad during our seven week trip there. You will love it. Much quieter than Hvar but with its own charm. What a great time you will have!

    • I guess we were so focused on the wall we didn’t even get to the food – haha! We are so looking forward to all of it – as we always are with Croatia 😉 Thanks for the tips!

  5. Jon Dunn

    First time I can recall seeing Ston (or Mali Ston) mentioned – without a single reference to oysters and / or mussels!
    Like you, I passed through on a coach from Korčula to Dubrovnik, pausing briefly to let someone get off…but long enough to whet my appetite to explore the walls and salt pans.
    Can I recommend Šibenik for the next time you get Croatian wanderlust – or have you already been there?
    Happy Croatian travels in 2017 – to a beautiful, friendly and diverse country <3

    • Hi Jon! Great tips about the oysters and mussels in Ston ~ we can’t wait to try them!!
      We have been to Sibenik, but only on a day trip from Zadar, so not long enough 😉 We hope to return for a longer stay in the future. Do you have any travel plans for 2017?

  6. Dan

    I love Croatia and like yourself have been a number of times from Australia in the last 10 years. I really recommend you visit the following hidden treasures. Pucisca on the island of Brac, Island Murter and the town of Betina together with the Kornati archipelago, Mali Losinj on the Island Losinj. Oh and the island of Vis with Stiniva cove is a gem.

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