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The 8 best things to do in Croatia for an unforgettable trip

Navigate through our curated list of what to do in Croatia, including historical tours, nature explorations and thrilling adventures.

Published Jan 03, 2024
7 min. reading time
attractions in croatia on green background

Croatia, the land of a thousand islands, offers a unique blend of captivating history, breathtaking natural beauty, and exhilarating adventures. 

From the Walls of Dubrovnik to the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park, each experience offers a different aspect of Croatia waiting to be explored. 

So, what are you waiting for? Buckle up and let's dive into the top things to do in Croatia!

Read more: The 8 best travel backpacks for women

Croatia's top things to do

bedroom in the pucic palace in dubrovnik
Walk the walls of Dubrovnik
The Pucic Palace
hotel room at the Hotel Degenija
Take a guided tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Hotel Degenija
locus hotel in dubrovnik
Explore Dubrovnik with an Old Town walking tour
LOCUS Dubrovnik
carnaro hotel room
Visit the stunning Palazzo Di Diocleziano
Cornaro Hotel

Step back in time and get a glimpse into history at the walls of Dubrovnik. 

Built progressively over a half-millennium, these fortifications hold over 6000 feet of well-preserved tales, waiting for thrill-seekers and history buffs alike to explore. 

Not only do the walls give a view to a mesmerizing immersive window into the past, but they also offer breathtaking panoramas of the coastal city, making it a perfect spot for capturing those unforgettable holiday shots. You can book tickets to walk these historical walls with Trip Advisor

the walls of dubrovnik
Photo: Trip Advisor

Looking for where to stay when visiting Dubrovnik? When staying somewhere with such a rich history and distinctive architectural aesthetic, we think staying somewhere that embodies that is essential.

That’s why we love The Pucic Palace — it has all the charm and characteristics that Dubrovnik is famous for, is just a short walk from the walls, and has everything you could want from a hotel stay. 

There’s an on-site spa, bar and a rooftop terrace to look out over the skyline of Dubrovnik, and they’re pet-friendly too.

Take a guided tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park

Immerse yourself in nature's breathtaking beauty with a guided day trip to the majestic Plitvice Lakes National Park. 

As Croatia’s oldest and largest national park, this UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its dazzling array of 16 emerald lakes. Boasting spellbinding waterfalls like the Veliki Slap - the country's largest - this park captures the essence of raw, surreal beauty. 

For those with a taste for adventure, numerous hiking trails present the unmatched opportunity to soak in the park's grandeur at your own pace. Extend your enriching experience with a panoramic train ride whisking you through lush forests, adding depth to your exploration.

waterfall at plitvice lakes national park
Photo: Trip Advisor

To take full advantage of everything this stunning national park has to offer, we recommend staying for a few days — and what better place to stay than the Hotel Degenija. 

Just 2.5 miles away from the park, Hotel Degenija is the perfect place to relax after a day of hiking and sightseeing. The hotel boasts a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, restaurants and a bar, and even offers rental bikes if you’re looking to cycle to and from the park. 

Explore Dubrovnik with an Old Town walking tour

Immerse yourself in the vibrant history of Dubrovnik with this guided walking tour of the old town. This tour is more than just sightseeing - it's a look back in time, with over 1,400 years of rich history contained within these charming medieval walls. As you walk the roughly polished stone streets, your tour guide's expert commentary will help you fully appreciate the significant landmarks around you such as Onofrio’s Fountain, the Franciscan Monastery and the renowned city walls that have stood the test of time.

Whether you're a history buff, an architecture enthusiast or simply a curious traveler, this tour brings you a compelling, living history lesson that extends beyond just the guidebooks. 

Are you a fantasy buff? There is even a ‘Game of Thrones’ walking tour if you want to visit some iconic sites from the show. 

a street down dubrovnik on the walking tour
Photo: Trip Advisor

The LOCUS Dubrovnik Hotel, located in the old town, is the perfect place to stay when visiting the city. It has the classical charm that you’d expect to find within the city walls, and the units themselves are beautifully decorated, giving you a relaxing place to chill out at the end of the day. 

The roof terrace also provides a stunning view of the rooftops of Dubrovnik — we can imagine chilling here with a glass of wine, enjoying some peace and tranquility. 

Visit the stunning Palazzo Di Diocleziano

Dating back to 293AD, the Palazzo Di Diocleziano in the stunning city of Split, is an absolute must-visit site for everyone visiting Croatia. Built as a palace for the Roman emperor Diocletian, this site is littered with enough history to make any history buffs day. 

In this 90-minute walking tour, you’ll be inundated with knowledge about the palace from your guide, and wander through hidden alleys, including the ‘Let Me Pass’ street, one of the narrowest streets in the world. You’ll also stop at the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, the bell tower and some other iconic local spots with the opportunity to take some pictures to remember the moment. 

diocletian palance
Photo: Trip Advisor

For your stay in Split, we recommend staying at the Cornaro Hotel — this luxury hotel has everything you could want for your city break. 

With beautifully decorated rooms, a gym and a rooftop pool, there are plenty of ways to spend a lazy Sunday inside at this hotel. It’s even pet and family-friendly — who doesn’t love a family vacation? 

Enjoy nature with the Krka waterfalls cruise & Trogir walking tour

If you’re looking for a full-day nature trip, completely organized for you, then look no further than this Krka waterfalls cruise and Trogir walking tour. 

You’ll start your day with a guided tour of the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town of Trogir, where you can then explore freely, or even Kamerlengo Castle — we recommend a visit!

Then, you’ll jump onto your boat, for a wind down the Krka River through the Krka National Park before arriving at the Skradinski Buk waterfalls (we think this would be the highlight of your entire trip!). 

Don’t forget your camera, because this is the perfect setting for some stunning photos for budding photographers. Explore villages and watermills and stroll around the park, taking in all the natural beauty. 

krka waterfalls tour
Photo: Viator

Filled with contemporary features, this hotel is the perfect place to lay your head at the end of a long day of exploring. Situated right by the beautiful beaches, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed by the stunning views of the Adriatic Ocean — we can imagine sitting on a terrace, having our morning coffee. 

With an average rating of 9/10 with 1,500 reviews, we can’t imagine a better place to stay during your visit to Croatia. 

For those who have a penchant for natural beauty and adventurous shoreline exploration, the five-island speedboat tour featuring the Blue Cave and Hvar, should be on your bucket list.

The speedboat makes it possible to see much of the coastline in one day, touching base at five distinctive islands, each with its own charm and story. Revel in the crystal clear waters, experience local culture and history in the fishing village of Komiža and seek out the unique Stiniva Cove, famous for its unique coastal formation. The tour also includes a visit to Hvar, where you can explore the island's charming towns brimming with beautiful architecture, stunning vistas, and welcoming locals. Here, you have ample time for swimming, dining, or simply soaking up the radiant Croatian sun.

boats on water by some cliffs in Split, Croatia
Photo: Trip Advisor

Overlooking the Trogir Old Town and surrounding islands, this hotel is the perfect option for those embarking on this speedboat tour. The beautifully decorated rooms are just one aspect of this hotel that we love — with bike and walking tours arranged via the hotel, we’re sure your schedule will be jam-packed with fun activities. 

Just 50m from the Old Town, you’ll be free to explore and visit the seemingly limitless bars and restaurants, each giving you a different slice of taste and culture. 

Amphitheatre de Pula private walking tour

If you're a history buff, a fan of stunning architecture, or simply looking to explore Pula off the beaten path, the Amphitheatre de Pula private walking tour will be perfect for you.

One of the largest Roman amphitheaters in the world with a capacity of around 23,000, and built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, this would have been the setting for infamous gladiator fights. With the private tour, you can set the pace, ask as many questions as you want and skip the queue!

amfiteatar de Pula from the sky
Photo: Viator

Now, the amphitheater is the setting for concerts, operas and ballets — we suggest checking out what’s on when you're there, it will be an unforgettable experience. 

If being in the center of the town is a priority over anything else, then we can’t recommend this hotel enough. It’s more of a no-thrills vibe, but a great place to stay if you want to stay in the center. 

It’s a very short walk to the amphitheater, a 5-minute walk from Pula Cathedral and 10 minutes from the Pula Ferry Port — you couldn’t be closer!

Private walking tour of Zagreb with funicular experience

This private walking tour offers a rich introduction to the charming city of Zagreb and its iconic landmarks — you're given a personalized, immersive tour which is perfect for travel novices and city-lovers alike. 

This small-group experience is perfect for delving into Zagreb's rich history and fascinating culture, visiting key sites like Zrinjevac, Dolac Market, Zagreb Cathedral, and the gorgeous Strossmayer Promenade, all in just two hours. 

The real icing on the cake? The inclusion of the funicular experience in your tour! Slide up and down the city's slopes and witness the breathtaking landscape of beautiful Zagreb from a unique perspective. 

view of a horse statue from zagreb walking tour
Photo: Trip Advisor

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay during your trip to Zagreb, we suggest the Canopy by Hilton — the colorful, modern decor makes it an inviting place to hang out at the end of a long day, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy the authentic Croatian cuisine at the onsite restaurant, ReUnion. 

The hotel has a fitness center and a casino and is pet-friendly — it’s also just a short drive away from the beautiful Poljanice mountain, perfect for hikers and famous for its far-reaching views. 

How easy is it to travel around Croatia?

Traveling around Croatia is relatively easy. The country has an extensive network of buses and ferries and renting a car is also a popular option. English is widely spoken, particularly in tourist areas.

What is the best time to visit Croatia?

Croatia is a great destination to visit at any time of the year. The country offers a variety of things to do in Croatia that can be enjoyed regardless of the season — however, if you mainly want to be sightseeing, diving and seeing the surrounding islands, we would recommend going during spring or summer months. 

walls of dubrovnik as seen from the sea
Photo: Pexels

Our verdict: Which experiences get our stamp of approval?

There are a lot of experiences in Croatia you won’t want to miss, but if we had to narrow it down to three, we’d have to pick:

  • Walls of Dubrovnik: Perfect for history buffs, the Walls of Dubrovnik offers a look into the past, and the fact that they’ve stood the test of time highlights their significance — if you go to Dubrovnik, this is an unmissable experience. 

  • Plitvice Lakes National Park: All you have to do is look at one picture of this site and it’s obvious why we’ve put in our roundup of the best things to do in Croatia — it’s simply stunning. Visit the Barac caves, or simply stroll and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. 

  • Five Island Speedboat Tour: Dip your toes into the crystal clear waters, enjoy beautiful views and explore the Blue Cave, disembark in Hvar and experience all the food, culture and history the little towns on the island have to offer. 

Whichever experience you choose from this list, you're in for an unforgettable Croatian adventure. Pack your bags, put on your explorer's hat and dive into the wonders of Croatia. 

Bon voyage!

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Prices updated on 01/03/2024. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

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Written by
Phoebe Davenport

A book aficionado, you will always be able to rely on Phoebe Davenport for the best book recommendations. On the weekend, you’ll probably find Phoebe at a bottomless brunch in London, at a museum, or chilling at home with her two cats.