Croatia is a land of a thousand islands, a few different regions, with a tremendous and complicated history as well as plenty of tourist attractions and landmarks that will leave you speechless and happy. We have the Adriatic coast, many amazing cities of even more fantastic culture, and with continental tourism on the rise, it’s hard to dissect what are the best tourist locations in the country. That’s why we decided to give it a go and select our Top 10 places in Croatia, but with geography on our mind, we made sure we show you the best locations from every corner of our homeland.
Zagreb Upper Town
Where else would we start but Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, more specifically the old part of the city? Walking around the Upper Town, you will understand why Zagreb was and still is a vital part of Croatia. You’ll see the St. Mark Square with a multi-coloured roof of the St. Marks Church, the Croatian Parliament, and the Ban’s Palace. You can enjoy Kaptol – the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Zagreb and don’t forget to stop on the Dolac market to buy some Croatian fruit and vegetables. After visiting the Upper Town take the funicular right next to the Lotršćak Tower to see the Lower Town with some more amazing landmarks.
Krapina Neanderthal site
Hušnjakovo hill on the western part of Krapina is one of the biggest Neanderthal sites in Europe discovered back in 1899, by the Croatian scientist Josip Gorjanović-Kramberger. Today this place has a museum dedicated to the Neanderthals who lived on this site 130.000 years ago. These archaic humans discovered fire and knew how to make sophisticated tools, gathered plants to survive, had religion, and a possible cannibal behaviour. The interior of the Museum is made of concrete to mimic stone, thus reinforcing the effect of a prehistoric habitat, while you, just like the Neanderthal man used to, can observe the surroundings.
Diocletian’s Palace in Split
The ancient Palace was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian around the year of 300 AD. The Palace is a monument of how deep and great the history of Dalmatia is and how important this area was for one of the greatest civilizations ever – Ancient Rome. The most exciting part of this landmark is how much it has been used and instilled with by the people of the city, and the Palace is not something that jumps out, it feels natural, nurtured, and loved through the years. Experience the beauty of St. Dominus Cathedral, the Peristyle, and many more landmarks in this memorial of ancient times.
State Stud Farm Đakovo and Lipik
Lipizzan breed of horses is the famous bread of the Habsburg Monarchy, while Đakovo is one of the most renowned places in the world where you can meet these wonderful royal animals. Explore numerous expert documentation containing authentic pedigrees of the most valuable horses and learn about the tradition of horse breeding in Đakovo, which dates back to over five centuries. Relax and embrace the plains of Slavonia with a little help from these magnificent Baroque horses.
Brijuni are not just your usual group of islands in western Istria, they are one of the most exciting and most visited islands in Croatia, and we plan to keep it that way. This group of 14 islands and islets are famous for being the summer residency of the lifelong communist President Josip Broz Tito, and this is where he would guest some of the most famous film stars and state leaders throughout his regime. In this paradise looking location, you can embrace yourself in the cultural and historical heritage of the past times, explore the fauna of the islands and learn about the dinosaur footprints from the Mesozoic.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in the region of Lika, and it is a real testament of beauty to Her Majesty Nature. In 1949, it was proclaimed Croatia’s first national park, because it was clear that this place must be preserved and nourished. Celebrate the Croatian landscape with 16 named and several unnamed lakes, plenty of waterfalls, and the most beautiful river source in the world – the Korana river source.
Want to feel like you’re in a fairytale? Who doesn’t? Well, that’s why you need to visit the jewel of the Croatian region of Zagorje – Trakošćan Castle. This place feels almost surreal with the beautiful forest park, a lake, and a castle rising above and looking down on the whole landscape. It was built in the 13th century as the observation fortress in the north of Croatia, later owned, preserved, and upgraded by the prominent Croatian noble family Drašković. The castle contains valuable examples of baroque furniture, different weapons used from the 15th to 19th century, and other small items. Pay a visit to all this scenery, nature, and history that will hopefully rekindle your belief in magic.
Dubrovnik City Walls
We were moving on to the most southern part of our incredible country where we can find the Dubrovnik City Walls. Those walls hide the Pearl of the Adriatic – the Old Town Dubrovnik, and the walls give us a fantastic view of the Pearl. The architecture is the combination of cultural taste, money, and defence mechanisms. Through exploring the Walls, you’ll encounter forts of Revelin, Bokar, St. John, and the highest of them all Minčeta. We urge you to experience the magnitude and the beauty of this historic city while enjoying the walk on the majestic City Walls.
The Roman theatre is located in Pula, Istria. The construction of this monument is mostly credited to the Roman emperor Vespasian in the first century AD. The Arena was throughout the years used for gladiator combats, as a source of stone, for medieval knight tournaments, and in the modern era for events, ceremonies, festivals, etc. The theatre is the best-preserved ancient monument in Croatia and the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have all four side towers preserved in the world. Make sure to book your trip to this testament to the ancient world.
Vukovar holds a special place in the modern history of the Croatian people; it played a significant role during the Croatian Independence War in the nineties. This country has plenty of different tourism branches to offer, and Vukovar has some unique “dark tourism” locations that strike you and make you think about the tragedy. Sites like Ovčara, Vukovar Hospital Memorial – where the war scenes are recreated with spooky dummies, the damaged water tower, the Homeland War Memorial Centre, Borovo factory, and plenty more spots to understand and feel what the war does to communities.