Your Guide to What to Do in Croatia

Prepare to dive into an unparalleled adventure as we unveil Croatia's myriad wonders. Beyond its awe-inspiring vistas and tantalizing cuisine lies a country steeped in rich history and brimming with unforgettable experiences. From the vibrant streets of Zagreb to the tranquil coves of the Dalmatian coast, Croatia offers a wealth of opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Envision yourself island-hopping through picturesque archipelagos, each boasting its own unique allure. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you kayak along the rugged Dalmatian coastline or hike the legendary Premuzic Trail, immersing yourself in the untouched beauty of nature.

Venture further to uncover the coastal gems of Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Split, and Dubrovnik, where ancient cities and cultural landmarks await your exploration. Indulge your senses in the gastronomic delights of Istria, sampling exquisite wines in the Peljesac peninsula, and savoring the culinary delights of the island of Pag.

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Hvar or bask in the serenity of Croatia's picturesque lighthouses, offering a glimpse into a bygone era. From the historic significance of Vukovar to the natural beauty of Kopački Rit Nature Park, Croatia offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered.

So, whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, let Croatia be your guide to an unforgettable journey filled with endless possibilities. Get ready to discover the top activities and experiences that await you in this stunning destination.

Walls of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Walls of Dubrovnik - Photo by Matthias Mullie on Unsplash

Table of Contents


1. Explore the Capital Zagreb

Zagreb Cathedral and Ban Jelačić Square - Croatia
Zagreb Cathedral and Ban Jelačić Square - Nick Savchenko from Kiev, Ukraine, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Zagreb, Croatia's dynamic capital, stands as a captivating fusion of history, culture, and urban sophistication. Tucked away in the heart of Central Europe, this ancient city beckons visitors with its rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be unravelled. With an extensive public transportation network and a plethora of guided tours,  Zagreb offers endless avenues for exploration. Stroll through its winding streets, where centuries-old architecture whispers tales of bygone eras, and hidden courtyards invite peaceful reflection. Delve into Zagreb's vibrant museum scene, where treasures ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary art pieces await discovery. Sample the city's culinary delights, from hearty traditional Croatian dishes to innovative gastronomic creations, all served up in its bustling cafes and restaurants.

Beyond its historical charm, Zagreb boasts a thriving cultural landscape, with an array of theaters, galleries, and music venues to delight the senses. Step into its lively squares, where street performers entertain passersby and local artisans showcase their crafts. Explore Zagreb's verdant parks and gardens, perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics amidst nature's splendor. As the day fades into night, immerse yourself in the city's vibrant nightlife, where trendy bars and clubs pulse with energy until the early hours.

Zagreb's allure lies not only in its tangible charms but also in the warmth and hospitality of its people, who welcome visitors with open arms. Whether you're a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or simply seeking an unforgettable adventure, Zagreb promises an experience like no other. So come, wander its streets, soak in its atmosphere, and discover the magic of Zagreb – where past and present collide in a symphony of sights, sounds, and sensations.

2. Island Hopping

Map of the Croatian islands
Public Domain, Link

In Croatia, island hopping offers an enchanting voyage through the vibrant tapestry of the Adriatic Sea, where over a thousand islands await exploration, each bearing its own unique charm and allure. Beginning along the northern seacoast, adventurers can embark on a journey of discovery, hopping from the verdant landscapes of the  Brijuni Islands, a national park renowned for its natural beauty and historical significance, to the captivating shores of  Krk and  Cres, the largest islands in the region, where ancient towns and inviting beaches beckon visitors to bask in their tranquil ambiance.

Continuing southwards, the central Dalmatian islands emerge as vibrant hubs of activity and excitement. Here, the cosmopolitan allure of  Brač, with its iconic  Zlatni Rat beach, and the picturesque beauty of  Hvar, famed for its lavender fields and bustling nightlife, draw travelers from around the world. Nearby, the historic  island of Vis offers a glimpse into Croatia's rich maritime heritage, with its ancient ruins and secluded bays providing a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

For those seeking a more secluded retreat, the southern Dalmatian islands offer an idyllic sanctuary amidst pristine nature and secluded coves. On the tranquil shores of  Mljet, visitors can explore the island's lush national park, home to pristine forests, serene lakes, and ancient monasteries, while the historic town of  Korčula, birthplace of  Marco Polo, invites travelers to wander through its winding streets and soak in its rich cultural heritage. Further south, the remote island of  Lastovo captivates with its untouched landscapes and authentic charm, offering a glimpse into a way of life untouched by time.

As travelers hop from island to island, they'll discover a world of enchantment and wonder, where each destination reveals its own unique treasures and tales. Whether it's savoring fresh seafood on the shores of  Pag, exploring the hidden caves of  Biševo, or soaking in the sun on the sandy beaches of  Šolta, island hopping in Croatia promises an unforgettable adventure filled with discovery, relaxation, and endless possibilities. So pack your bags, chart your course, and set sail for the Adriatic—the journey of a lifetime awaits, with each island offering a new story, a new secret, and a new slice of paradise to uncover.

3. Visit the Brijuni Archipelago

Roman Ruins in Brijuni - Istria - Croatia
Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The  Brijuni Archipelago, a group of fourteen small islands nestled in the northern Adriatic Sea off the coast of the Istrian peninsula, is a haven of natural beauty and historical significance. The largest island, Veliki Brijun, adorned with lush greenery and surrounded by crystal-clear waters, serves as the centerpiece of this picturesque retreat. Steeped in history, the islands gained global attention in 1956 during the Brioni Meeting, where world leaders convened to form the  Brioni Declaration, a cornerstone of the Non-Aligned Movement. Since then, Brijuni has remained a symbol of diplomacy and cooperation. Today, as a Croatian National Park, the archipelago continues to captivate visitors with its stunning scenery and rich biodiversity. From archaeological sites dating back to Roman times to an array of flora and fauna from around the world, Brijuni offers a glimpse into the natural and cultural heritage of the Adriatic region. Whether exploring ancient ruins, basking in the sun on pristine beaches, or marveling at the vibrant underwater world, a visit to the Brijuni Archipelago promises an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

4. Visit One of the Many Stunning Waterfalls

Sastavci Waterfalls - Plitvice Lakes National Park - Plitvička Jezera - Croatia
Marie Thérèse Hébert & Jean Robert Thibault from Québec, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Croatia is renowned for its stunning islands, gorgeous beaches, and delectable cuisine, but don't overlook its breathtaking waterfalls. As the country's rivers carve their paths to the Adriatic Sea, they create cascading waterfalls that rival Europe's finest. Whether it's the iconic cascades of Plitvice Lakes or lesser-known gems waiting to be discovered, Croatia's waterfalls offer a captivating spectacle of nature's beauty. Venture inland to explore the country's sensational national parks, where cascading waterfalls await amidst serene settings of lakes, rivers, forests, and canyons. Visit this page to get a map of the locations of the most impressive waterfalls in Croatia.

5. Sailing the Adriatic

Croatia's Adriatic coast is a sailor's paradise, offering a myriad of sailing options to suit every taste and preference. Here are some enticing ways to experience the Adriatic while sailing in Croatia:

1. Island Hopping: Set sail on an island-hopping escapade through the breathtaking Dalmatian archipelago. Popular routes, like Split to Dubrovnik or vice versa, beckon travelers to uncover the charms of islands such as Hvar, Korčula, Brač, and Mljet. Each stop promises a unique blend of medieval towns, secluded coves, and pristine beaches.

2. Sailing Charters: Opt for a sailboat, catamaran, or gulet charter to tailor your sailing adventure to your liking. Craft your own itinerary and explore hidden gems at your leisure. Choose to hire a skipper or take the helm yourself if you're an experienced sailor.

3. Sailing Tours and Cruises: Join a sailing tour or cruise and let seasoned crews navigate while you soak in the sights. These excursions typically visit must-see destinations like Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, and Korčula, offering a blend of sailing, sightseeing, and cultural immersion.

4. Sailing Courses and Schools: Enroll in a sailing course or school to hone your skills or learn the ropes as a beginner. Croatia's schools offer comprehensive training programs, providing hands-on experience while traversing the Adriatic waters.

5. Luxury Yacht Charters: Indulge in the ultimate sailing experience with a luxury yacht or catamaran charter. Pamper yourself with upscale amenities and personalized service as you explore secluded bays and coves inaccessible by land.

Whether you're drawn to the thrill of sailing, the tranquility of island exploration, or the allure of luxury yachting, Croatia's Adriatic has it all. Prepare to be captivated by breathtaking scenery, crystal-clear waters, and a rich tapestry of history and culture awaiting discovery from the deck of your vessel.

6. Paddle the Dalmatian Coastline

Kayaking in the Adriatic Sea along the Croatian coast and islands offers a unique and immersive way to explore the region's natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Here are some key details about kayaking in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia:

- Popular kayaking destinations include the Dalmatian islands like Hvar, Korčula, Brač, Mljet, and the Elafiti Islands near Dubrovnik. These islands boast secluded coves, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters ideal for paddling.[1][2][4]

- Multi-day kayaking tours are a great way to island-hop and experience the authentic island life. These tours typically last 6-8 days, covering distances of around 15-30 kilometers per day, with overnight stays in local accommodations.[2][4][5]

- Guided kayaking tours are offered by various adventure companies, providing experienced guides, high-quality equipment, and logistical support. Guides share insights into the local history, culture, and ecology, enhancing the overall experience.[3][4]

- Kayaking routes often include visits to hidden caves, snorkeling spots, and opportunities to explore charming coastal towns and villages, allowing you to immerse yourself in the region's rich heritage.[1][4]

- Depending on your skill level and preferences, you can choose from half-day, full-day, or multi-day kayaking tours, catering to both beginners and experienced paddlers.[3][4][5]

- The best time for kayaking in the Adriatic Sea is typically from May to October, when the weather is warm and sunny, with calm waters ideal for paddling.[2][4]

Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or a unique way to explore Croatia's stunning coastline and islands, kayaking in the Adriatic Sea offers an unforgettable experience that combines natural beauty, cultural immersion, and outdoor adventure.[1][2][3][4][5]

7. Explore Croatia's Coastal Cities: Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Split, Dubrovnik

Split - Croatia
Split - Tatyana Peshkova, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dive into the vibrant tapestry of Croatia's coastal cities, each unveiling a unique tale of history, culture, and boundless allure.

 Rijeka: Immerse yourself in Rijeka's captivating fusion of past and present. From its ancient roots to the echoes of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, every corner narrates a story. Traverse the historic Trsat, home to Croatia's oldest Marian shrine, and wander along the pulsating Korzo promenade. Indulge in the city's dynamic rhythm, whether savoring gastronomic delights in quaint cafes or dancing into the night in vibrant clubs.

 Zadar: Step into a living museum where time intertwines with Mediterranean charm. Witness the enchanting spectacle of Zadar's famed sunset and let the sea organ serenade your senses. Stroll through the kaleidoscopic Kalelarga street, where history dances to the rhythm of the waves, and immerse yourself in a city brimming with passion and vitality.

 Šibenik: Nestled along the picturesque Adriatic coast, Šibenik beckons with its breathtaking landscapes and rich heritage. Explore the labyrinthine bay adorned with 242 islands, including the renowned Kornati archipelago. Marvel at UNESCO-protected treasures like the Cathedral of St. James and St. Nicholas' fortress, amidst a backdrop of Mediterranean splendor.

 Split: Journey through 17 centuries of history as you roam the ancient streets of Split. From the grandeur of Diocletian's Palace to the bustling markets of the Riva waterfront, every step unveils a new chapter in this living masterpiece. Indulge in gourmet delights, cultural extravaganzas, and sun-kissed beaches, all nestled beneath the majestic Marjan hill.

 Dubrovnik: Surrender to the allure of Dubrovnik, where the sun-drenched shores meet azure waters in perfect harmony. Bask in the Mediterranean bliss of more than 250 sunny days a year, as you explore the city's timeless beauty. From the historic Old Town to the idyllic coastal panoramas, Dubrovnik casts an enchanting spell that lingers long after you depart.

Embark on a coastal odyssey through Croatia's mesmerizing cities, where every moment is a symphony of history, culture, and natural splendor.

8. Hike the Premužić Trail

Typical Velebit landscape - Croatia
Typical Velebit landscape - Tkrajina, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Step into a realm of unparalleled natural beauty as you traverse the renowned  Premužić Trail, a testament to human ingenuity and passion for  Velebit. Conceived in the 1920s and brought to life through the dedication of Dr. Ivan Krajač and the craftsmanship of forestry engineer Ante Premužić, this trail weaves through the rugged terrain of north Velebit with grace and precision.

Constructed using the ancient drystone technique, the Premužić Trail stands as a masterpiece of trail building, offering seamless access to the most breathtaking vistas of Hajdučki and Rožanski Kukovi. Spanning 57 kilometers along the mountain ridge from Zavižan to Baške Oštarije, this route beckons adventurers of all levels with its gentle slopes and panoramic views.

Branching off from the main trail are paths leading to some of Velebit's most majestic peaks, including Gromovača, Crikvena, and Šatorina. Along the way, hikers are greeted by Rossi's shelter, a welcoming haven amidst the wilderness.

In 2009, the Premužić Trail was rightfully designated as a cultural asset of national importance, ensuring its preservation for generations to come. Information boards strategically placed along the trail enhance the experience, offering insights into the park's rugged beauty and rich history.

9. Visit Međimurje the smallest county in Croatia

Vineyards at Železna Gora village in Međimurje wine subregion, northern Croatia
Vineyards at Železna Gora village in Međimurje wine subregion - Silverije, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled between the majestic rivers Mura and Drava lies  Međimurje, a picturesque gem in northern Croatia. This idyllic region boasts a landscape reminiscent of its neighboring countries, Slovenia and Hungary, as well as the nearby Podravina and Varaždin County.

The rhythmic flow of the Mura and Drava rivers has shaped the lifestyle and culture of  Međimurje throughout history, infusing it with a unique charm that continues to captivate visitors today. Just a two-hour drive from Zagreb, Međimurje has emerged as a vibrant tourist destination, offering a perfect blend of natural wonders and cultural heritage.

Experience the tranquility and rejuvenation at the Sveti Martin thermal spa, renowned for its wellness facilities and serene surroundings. As the old saying goes, "the holy land is where the soil is bounded by water," and Međimurje embodies this sentiment with its enchanting riverside scenery.

One of the region's most cherished attractions is the Mlin na Muri, or the Mill over the Mura River, a romantic testament to the area's rich history. This charming relic from the early 20th century harkens back to a time when dozens of mills dotted the Mura's banks, serving as vital hubs of community life.

While the era of milling may have faded, Međimurje's allure only continues to grow, offering visitors a plethora of new experiences to cherish and explore. From its verdant vineyards to its quaint villages, Međimurje invites you to embark on a journey of discovery in Croatia's smallest county.

10. Explore Istria

Poreč - Istria - Croatia
Poreč - Ekaterina Polischuk, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Istria, a region of breathtaking beauty, unfolds its wonders at every turn. Its landscape is a blend of rolling hills, meandering streams, and charming towns, offering a picturesque backdrop for exploration. From the towering mountains to the sun-drenched coastline, Istria showcases the best of Croatia's natural treasures.

For food enthusiasts, Istria is a paradise of gastronomic delights. Indulge in the region's renowned cuisine, characterized by fresh seafood, truffles, and aromatic herbs. Pair your meal with a glass of locally-produced wine or olive oil for a truly authentic experience.

Sun-seekers will find endless enjoyment along Istria's stunning coastline. From sandy beaches to secluded coves, there's no shortage of places to soak up the sun and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.

For those with a spirit of adventure, Istria offers a myriad of outdoor activities to enjoy. Explore hiking trails that wind through lush forests, cycle along scenic routes, or embark on a kayaking adventure along the coast.

Immerse yourself in Istria's rich cultural heritage by visiting its historic sites, museums, and art galleries. Wander through charming towns adorned with centuries-old architecture, and discover the stories that have shaped this region throughout history.

Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural enrichment, Istria has something for everyone. Come and explore the diverse and enchanting landscapes of Croatia's most captivating region. Here you can access the interactive map of Istria.

11. Discover Croatia's Interior: Karlovac, Osijek, Varaždin

The citadel, known as
The citadel, known as "Old Town" [Stari Grad]. Varazdin - LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Karlovac, a town steeped in a rich and mystical history, lies at the confluence of four rivers: the Kupa, Korana, Mrežnica, and Dobra. Its origins date back to a time when dense fogs and mists enveloped the Earth. According to legend, a small star used its magic to dispel these fogs, giving birth to the town that would come to be known for its star-shaped old town and its enduring spirit through centuries of wars, plagues, and natural disasters. Founded officially on July 13, 1579, as a Renaissance military fort, Karlovac evolved into a prosperous free royal city by the 19th century. Today, it stands as a testament to resilience and cultural richness, with landmarks like the Dubovac Castle and vibrant public spaces that echo its storied past.

 Osijek invites visitors with the warmth of a local village and the vibrancy of a thriving city. Located in eastern Croatia, it boasts an array of classic sights, green spaces, and cultural landmarks. Highlights include the baroque fortress Tvrđa and the neo-baroque co-cathedral. The city’s extensive network of bicycle tracks and recreational fields encourages outdoor activities, while local culinary delights such as fish-paprikash and regional wines enhance the experience. Osijek’s blend of historical charm and modern energy makes it an enticing destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.

Nestled in the northwestern part of Croatia,  Varaždin is a city renowned for its unique cultural identity and historical significance. Mentioned in historical records as early as 1181, it became the first city in continental Croatia to be granted the status of a royal free city in 1209. This privilege spurred its development into a significant economic and social hub. In the mid-18th century, Varaždin was even designated the capital of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia. Today, it remains an influential cultural and educational center, celebrated for its well-preserved baroque architecture and vibrant local traditions.

12. Savor Peljesac Peninsula's Delightful Wines

View from St.Elijah Mountain towards east, Pelješac - Croatia
Aradic-es, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Peljesac Peninsula in southern Dalmatia, Croatia is renowned for its high-quality red wines made from the indigenous Plavac Mali grape variety. Here are the key details about Peljesac wines:

Plavac Mali Grape

- Plavac Mali is an ancient grape variety indigenous to the Peljesac region, likely a descendant of the Zinfandel grape.

- It produces rich, full-bodied red wines with deep color, high alcohol content (13-15%), and robust tannins.

- Plavac Mali is almost the sole grape variety planted on the Peljesac Peninsula.

Premier Wine Regions

- The two most famous and prestigious wine regions are Dingac and Postup, located on the steep southern slopes of the peninsula facing the Adriatic Sea.

- Dingac and Postup were among the first appellations established in Croatia in the 1960s due to their exceptional terroir.

- The arid conditions, sea breezes, and low-yielding old vines on these steep seaside vineyards produce intensely flavored Plavac Mali wines.


- Harvesting the precipitous vineyards of Dingac and Postup requires backbreaking labor, with pickers often harnessed to ropes.

- Many top Peljesac wineries like Korta Katarina and Saints Hills now have modern tasting rooms and visitor facilities for wine tourism.

- Small family wineries in villages like Potomje also offer cellar door sales and tastings of their Plavac Mali wines.

Wine Styles

- The best Peljesac reds from Dingac and Postup are deeply colored, full-bodied, rich, and tannic with notes of dark fruits.

- Inland Plavac Mali wines tend to be slightly lighter in body and flavor compared to the concentrated seaside examples.

The Peljesac Peninsula is Croatia's premier region for robust, age-worthy red wines made from the distinctive local Plavac Mali grape, with Dingac and Postup being the most prestigious appellations.


 Peljesac Wine Tours offers private wine tours in the Peljesac peninsula. The tours are focused on visiting small to medium-sized family-owned wineries that produce premium wines, especially the renowned red wines made from the indigenous Plavac Mali grape variety.

 Time Out Croatia - wineries and dining options in the Peljesac wine region of Croatia. - page dedicated to providing information about the wines produced on the Peljesac Peninsula. It highlights that Peljesac wines are considered among Croatia's finest.

13. Discover Kaštela Riviera: North of Split

Kaštel Gomilica (Kaštilac) - Kaštela Riviera - Croatia
Kaštel Gomilica (Kaštilac) - Ivan T., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The  Kaštela Riviera, a picturesque coastal strip in Central Dalmatia, has been a sought-after destination since prehistoric times. Nestled between the cities of Trogir and Split, this area is renowned for its seven coastal villages, each centered around 15th and 16th-century castles. These castles, built by wealthy families from Trogir and Split, served both as summer residences and fortifications against Turkish invasions.

The seven preserved castles—Kaštel Štafilić, Kaštel Novi, Kaštel Stari, Kaštel Lukšić, Kaštel Kambelovac, Kaštel Gomilica, and Kaštel Sućurac—are among the most fascinating sites in Central Dalmatia. Each castle village boasts unique attractions: from the ancient olive tree and pebble beaches of Kaštel Štafilić to the Renaissance church of St. Rochus and the vibrant markets of Kaštel Stari. Kaštel Lukšić, Kaštel Kambelovac, and Kaštel Gomilica feature impressive baroque and Renaissance churches and gardens with exotic plants. Kaštel Sućurac, the oldest and best-preserved castle, offers historical sites like the bishop’s summer house.

Surrounded by the  Kozjak Mountains, the Kaštela Riviera enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, perfect for sunbathing and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. Explore the rich history, stunning architecture, and natural beauty that make this riviera a captivating destination.

14. Experience the Wonder of Pakleni Islands

Picture from the Hvar's castle of the beautiful port/harbour of the town of Hvar and Pakleni islands
Picture from the Hvar's castle of the beautiful port/harbour of the town of Hvar and Pakleni islands - User: Stop_The_Lies, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Off the southwest coast of Hvar, Croatia, the Pakleni Islands, also known locally as Škoji, present visitors with breathtaking beauty and serene charm. This chain of rocky islets, stretching approximately 10 kilometers, is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear Adriatic waters, and lush pine forests.

The largest island, Sveti Klement, also referred to as Veliki otok or Big Island, boasts three quaint settlements: Palmižana, Momica Polje, and Vlaka. Palmižana, in particular, is notable for its well-protected yacht marina, making it a popular spot for sailors and yachting enthusiasts.

Formed from limestone, the islands feature a highly indented coastline with numerous peaceful coves perfect for diving, underwater fishing, swimming, and other water sports. The low pine forests, comprising black and Aleppo pine, add to the islands' picturesque landscape, with the highest point reaching 94 meters.

Just a short boat ride from Hvar town, the Pakleni Islands offer a variety of experiences. Visitors can explore picturesque coves, relax on stunning beaches, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of hip bars and beach clubs. With some of the best snorkeling spots in Croatia, the archipelago is a haven for underwater explorers.

Despite their name, which translates to Hell Islands, the Pakleni Islands are a slice of paradise. Their tranquil bays, clear waters, and scenic beauty make them a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Hvar. Whether you're looking to bask in the Mediterranean sun, discover new bays, or simply have a fantastic time, the Pakleni Islands are an essential part of any Hvar itinerary.

15. Visit Vukovar: Echoes of the Past, Signals of Rebirth

View of Vukovar from the Danube river - Croatia
View of Vukovar from the Danube river - Bybbisch94, Christian Gebhardt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Vukovar, the easternmost city in Croatia, lies on the Danube River, right at the border with Serbia in Vukovar-Syrmia County. With a population of just over 22,000, Vukovar has a rich history, marked by significant prosperity and intense turmoil, especially during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s. Despite its turbulent past, Vukovar has been beautifully rebuilt and stands as a testament to resilience and rebirth.

Founded in the 13th century, Vukovar became a prominent city in the Kingdom of Hungary. It experienced periods of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rule, with significant development under the German Eltz family in the 18th century. By the 19th century, it thrived in trade, craft, and agriculture, leveraging its strategic position on the Danube.

In the 20th century, Vukovar saw industrial growth with the Borovo shoe company. The city’s baroque center, characterized by historic architecture, remains a protected urban complex. Notable landmarks include the Grand Hotel, Eltz Palace, and the Syrmia County Palace, reflecting Vukovar's rich cultural heritage.

The Vučedol archaeological site, known as the Troy of the Danube, and the  Vučedol Culture Museum are essential for history enthusiasts. Vukovar’s educational and cultural traditions are profound, with schools and institutions dating back to the 18th century.

Today, Vukovar hosts two modern museums and numerous cultural events. The city honors its first Nobel laureate, Lavoslav Ružička, with a memorial center. Folk ensembles and minority communities enrich Vukovar’s vibrant cultural scene.

Visit Vukovar to experience a city where the echoes of the past resonate with signals of rebirth, and where every corner tells a story of resilience and renewal.

16. Immerse Yourself in Kopački Rit Nature Park

Wooden trail you can take through Kopački rit - Croatia
Wooden trail in Kopački rit - Misalalic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kopački Rit Nature Park, located at the confluence of the Danube and Drava rivers near Osijek, Croatia, is a stunning example of natural beauty and biodiversity. This park covers 238 hectares and is renowned for being one of Europe's best-preserved floodplains. The constant interplay of the two rivers creates a dynamic landscape of lakes, canals, ponds, floodplain forests, reed beds, and wet meadows.

The park is a haven for wildlife, featuring a Special Zoological Reserve that is its most prized section. Kopački Rit is home to numerous waterfowl, large herds of deer, and significant populations of wild boar. Among its most notable residents are the rare and protected white-tailed eagle, which serves as the park's symbol, and the black stork. In total, the park supports around 300 bird species, making it a paradise for bird watchers.

Visitors can explore the primeval wetlands, forests, and fields, which have remained largely untouched due to the area's inaccessibility. The park offers a unique way to experience its beauty through excursion boats that navigate the shallow, swampy backwaters. These tours provide an intimate look at the park's diverse habitats and wildlife.

Kopački Rit is not only a significant natural area within Croatia but also a candidate for the UNESCO List of Natural Heritage due to its ecological importance. Easily accessible by car from Osijek, the largest town in Slavonia, Kopački Rit invites visitors to immerse themselves in its serene and picturesque environment.

Whether you are touring by boat or enjoying a walk through its lush landscapes, Kopački Rit Nature Park offers an unforgettable experience of one of Europe's most remarkable wetlands.

17. Indulge in the Flavors of Pag Island

Pag Island - Croatia
Photo by Marino Linic on Unsplash

 Pag Island is a culinary paradise, offering unique flavors shaped by its distinctive landscape and climate. The famous  Pag cheese, Paški sir, crafted from the milk of sheep that graze on the island's aromatic herbs, owes its rich taste to the salt-laden bura winds. This hard cheese matures over several months, developing a complex flavor profile that ranges from savory and aromatic in its youth to sharp and tangy as it ages. When tasting Paški sir, allow it to reach room temperature to fully appreciate its nuanced flavors. Pair it with local wildflower honey, anchovies, or the traditional paške bubice bread rolls for a delightful experience.

Equally noteworthy is Pag lamb, renowned for its tender, flavorful meat. The lambs feed on the island’s wild herbs, which infuse the meat with a unique taste. When preparing Pag lamb, simple seasoning with salt and olive oil enhances its natural flavors. Roasting or grilling brings out the meat's juiciness and delicate texture. Serve it with roasted potatoes and a fresh salad to complement its richness. The simplicity of the preparation allows the lamb’s distinctive flavor to shine, making it a memorable dish.

Pag salt, another treasure of the island, is harvested from the pristine waters of the Adriatic Sea. Rich in minerals, this salt enhances the flavors of various dishes. Traditional methods of drying the salt in the sun have evolved into more modern processes, but the quality remains exceptional. Use Pag salt to season your food, and you’ll notice the difference it makes, particularly when sprinkled over fresh tomatoes or used to season seafood.

Exploring the culinary delights of Pag Island offers more than just a taste experience; it is a journey through the island’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Each local specialty, from the celebrated Paški sir to the succulent Pag lamb and the mineral-rich Pag salt, tells a story of the island’s unique environment and traditional practices. Embrace the opportunity to indulge in these flavors, and you’ll discover why Pag Island is a true gastronomic gem in the Adriatic.

18. Experience Hvar's Vibrant Nightlife

Island of Hvar panorama - Croatia
chensiyuan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hvar's nightlife is a thrilling spectacle, especially during the bustling summer months from June to September.  Hvar Town, the epicenter of this vibrant scene, transforms into a nonstop party hub with an array of venues catering to every taste. From the famous  Carpe Diem club to the lively beach parties on the nearby Pakleni Islands, there's always something exciting happening. Early risers can start their day with a serene coffee at Kofein or Loco Bar, while night owls can dance until dawn at hotspots like Veneranda. The town's unique charm, combined with its dynamic mix of restaurants, taverns, and bars, ensures an unforgettable experience. Even as the streets overflow with young revelers, quieter spots like Jelsa, Stari Grad, and Vrboska offer a more relaxed atmosphere for those seeking a peaceful retreat. Whether you're sipping cocktails at Hula Hula or enjoying a Latin beat at Carpe Diem Beach, Hvar's nightlife promises a captivating blend of energy and elegance.

19. Unwind in Croatia's Coastal Lighthouses

Lighthouse at Palagruža - Croatia
Palagruža Lighthouse - Adam Sporka, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For a truly unique and tranquil summer vacation, consider staying in one of Croatia's picturesque coastal lighthouses. These secluded sanctuaries offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, providing a serene environment where the gentle sound of waves and the warm morning sunshine greet you each day. Nestled in remote areas along the stunning Adriatic coastline, these lighthouses are perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat away from the typical tourist spots. Whether you're in Istria or Dalmatia, the experience of staying in these historic structures, surrounded by breathtaking sea views, is sure to be unforgettable. Embrace the charm and solitude of lighthouse living, and let the tranquil ambiance of Croatia's coast rejuvenate your spirit.

 Palagruža Lighthouse: Built in 1875, Palagruža Lighthouse is situated on Croatia's most remote island, located in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, between Italy and Croatia. The island, covered in Mediterranean vegetation, boasts stunning natural beauty and is 68 NM south of Split. The lighthouse sits atop the island at a height of 90 meters and offers two four-bed apartments. Visitors can enjoy well-maintained trails leading to beautiful pebble beaches, ideal for children. Transfers are organized from Korčula, but due to the island’s remoteness, guests must bring all provisions with them.

 Sućuraj Lighthouse: Constructed in 1889, Sućuraj Lighthouse is located on Hvar Island, surrounded by the sea on three sides and a rugged, rocky coast. This idyllic spot is perfect for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty. The lighthouse features a stone tower and a building with a ground floor and attic. Visitors can enjoy a boat dock, gazebo with barbecue, and breathtaking sunrises. The serene environment and stunning coastal views make Sućuraj an ideal escape from the stresses of daily life.

 Sušac Lighthouse: Perched on the highest point of Sušac Island's steep southern side, Sušac Lighthouse offers two double rooms with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and toilet. The location provides stunning views of the cliffs and crystal-clear sea. Accessible by stone steps, the water entry is suitable for both adults and children, although other beaches on the island may not be child-friendly. Transfers are arranged from Vela Luka by speedboat, and guests need to bring their own supplies, as there are no shops on the island.