4 Must-See Places in Croatia

4 stunning places to visit in Croatia and along the Dalmatian Coast

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*Guest Post

Year visited: 2009

Time of year: May

I’m usually jealous of my sister for having been (almost) everywhere. But when she can add places to my blog that I haven’t been, I guess I can forgive her.

I remember how excited she was when she first visited Croatia on a tour of eastern Europe (and the snow globe she brought me back for my collection!). Ever since, my mind has been full of pictures of the brilliant coastlines and crystal blue waters of Croatia.

It was the first place she wanted to write about for my blog (especially since we’ve been watching the World Cup!), so I will hand the reins over to her to show you some of the most beautiful places in Croatia.

Croatia History & Overview

Croatia has been very prominent on the soccer (football) pitch in the two most recent World Cups, but it’s not a country that tends to be prominent on people’s vacation lists (at least, not in the US). I’d like to give you a brief glimpse of the country to show you why it SHOULD be near the top of your list!

History of Croatia

Juxtaposition of Roman ruins with modern city

You’ll find both scenic beauty and immense history in Croatia, so there is something to appeal to all kinds of travelers.

Modern-day Croatia was part of the Western Roman Empire, and remnants of Roman architecture dot the landscape throughout the country. As a member of the former Yugoslavia, Croatia’s modern history is complex, and at times, tragic.

Yugoslavia was formed after World War I as a nation of multiple Slavic ethnic groups, including Croats. In 1991, Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia, leading to several years of conflict in the early 90s as different ethnic groups in the Balkans fought for independence (see NPR and BBC for more info on Croatia’s history).

For this blog, I will focus primarily on the coastline, a region of stunning views along the Adriatic Sea.

Tips for Traveling in Croatia

  • Most people in Croatia, at least in the places tourists frequent, speak English. Booking tours, buying souvenirs, ordering food, mailing postcards, etc. should not be an issue. 

  • The Croatian kuna is worth less than the American dollar (1 kuna = .14 USD in Dec 2022), so your money will go farther in Croatia.

  • If you’re a cat-lover, you’re in luck! Cats roam the streets along the coast and can make for cute pictures. If you’re like me and don’t like cats, not to worry; they are unlikely to bother you.

Plitvice National Park

View from Entrance 1 at Plitvice

Before we hit the coast, there is one breathtaking destination you shouldn’t miss farther inland, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Plitviče Lakes National Park, the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, offers an awe-inspiring journey through a picturesque setting of lakes, forest, and waterfalls.

If you use entrance 1 to enter the park, you will be met with a stunning view overlooking the park. As you wind your way down to the Lower Lakes, you will suddenly find yourself surrounded by a fairytale-like land of waterfalls.

When you experience this sight for yourself, you’ll understand how this park defies written description.

  • Entry price ranges from $4-$42 depending on age and time of year.

  • Children under 7 are free.


Roman amphitheater in Pula

On the northernmost area of the coastline, Pula offers both modern and historic outings.

The Roman amphitheater in Pula is the only remaining Roman amphitheater in the world with a fully intact circular wall. There is also a Roman temple (Temple of Augustus), both sites being well-preserved and worth visiting.

In addition to historical sites, there are plenty of recreational activities, cafes, and a national park off the coast. Any coastal Croatian city on this list is also wonderful for simply strolling around and taking in the sights!

The Dalmatian Coast

The final 2 stops on our trip are on the beautiful Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.

The Dalmatian Coast–situated across the Adriatic Sea from Italy–is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It is the first (though not the last) place I ever saw pure-blue water. Each stop I made along the coast was simply stunning. Two of the most popular destinations in the area are Split and Dubrovnik.

How did it get the name “the Dalmatian Coast”?

Dalmatia was named after its first inhabitants, an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae. Some people believe the name derives from the Illyrian word for sheep, delme, and that the people who lived there were shepherds, but it is mostly speculation.

While the official origins of the Dalmatian dog are unknown, some of the earliest records of the breed come from this region, for which the dogs were named.

The Dalmatian Coast-Split

Diocletian’s Palace

Next stop, Split.

Farther to the south, Split is known for its beaches, history, and rich culture. Great cafes abound along the water to get a bite to eat with an impressive view.

Check out Diocletian’s Palace right on the water, and wander around Split Old Town for a unique and beautiful experience.

  • Bonus: Diocletian’s Palace was used as a filming location in Game of Thrones.

The Dalmatian Coast-Dubrovnik

City Walls in Dubrovnik

Finally, the tour ends in the popular southern coastal town of Dubrovnik.

Once again, strolling around the Old Town is a unique cultural and historical experience. The ancient City Walls are iconic and picturesque.

And of course, take advantage of the beaches, the beautiful coastline, and the charming rows of red tile rooftops unique to the area!

  • Bonus: Scenes in King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros (Game of Thrones), were largely filmed in Dubrovnik.

Red tile rooftops in Old Town Dubrovnik

Planning a trip to Croatia?

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