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5 Reasons To Visit Croatia

Updated: Apr 1

About the Author: Stefanie Lambert - I have spent years traveling around Europe and now I want to share my first hand knowledge and expertise to help others fall in love with it as well.


Dubrovnik, Croatia roof tops

One of the most common questions I am asked about travel in Europe is “What is your favorite European country?” That question is like asking which of my children is my favorite. I have truly loved every country I have visited. There is so much history, culture, and beauty everywhere you look in Europe and each country has unique and remarkable things to offer. While it is impossible to choose, Croatia would definitely be one of the top on my travel list. Croatia, with its mesmerizing coastline along the Adriatic Sea, numerous islands to explore, medieval towns steeped in history, stunning natural wonders, and a unique blend of Mediterranean and Central European influences, stands out as a must-visit destination for any avid traveler. 


Brief History of Croatia


Dubrovnik Croatia street

Croatia sits on the Adriatic directly across from Italy. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Greeks had settlements but by the late 1st century Romans controlled the area, followed by the Byzantines.  Croats from southern Poland and Western Ukraine began migrating to the area in the late 6th century. Since the 1100s parts of Croatia have  been under the rule of Hungary, Austria, the Ottoman Empire, and Italy. Croatia, of course, made up part of Yugoslavia until the brutal war in the 1990s where it gained its independence. All of these influences have formed a tapestry of culture, food and architecture that makes Croatia one of a kind. 


Here are 5 reasons to visit Croatia


  1. Enchanting Coastal Beauty 


view from Hvar Croatia

Croatia's coastline is nothing short of spectacular. The country boasts over 1,000 miles of coastline filled with stunning views. Whether from the land or the sea the coastline will not disappoint. The Dalmatian coastline (which runs between the Island of Rab and the Bay of Kotor), with its clear blue water, rocky shores and lush greenery will take your breath away.


coast of Dubrovnik Croatia

With over a thousand islands, Croatia beckons you to leave the mainland and island hop. Each island has its own personality. Renting a vespa to explore the island of Hvar, discovering tiny villages and buying lavender from a streetside stand was one of my favorite days in Croatia. You can spend days sailing the Adriatic, discovering ancient ruins, hidden coves, and charming fishing villages. Besides Hvar, other island favorites include Korcula, Brac and Vis.


2. Historical Marvels


Roman theater in Pula Croatia

For history enthusiasts, Croatia is a treasure trove of ancient wonders. Dubrovnik, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture. Wander through its labyrinthine streets, walk the walls encircling the entire city, and visit landmarks like the Rector's Palace and the Sponza Palace. 


Split, another historic gem, boasts the Roman-era Diocletian's Palace. The old town of Split is literally built into the ruins of the former Roman emperor’s palace. We found  a small chapel that is built between two palace walls that is so unique. We also loved having a drink and listening to live music in the evening on the steps of a Roman temple. 


The list of historic marvels in Croatia doesn’t stop there. The cathedral and St. Michael’s fortress in Sibinik, the Euphrasian Basilica in Porec, the Roman Amphitheater in Pula and the Kamerlengo castle  in Trogir are just a few more examples of the many historical sites worth a visit. 


3. Picturesque towns


Hill town Motovun Croatia

If you love strolling through quaint towns oozing with charm you will not be disappointed in Croatia. The country is teeming with a variety of gorgeous villages and characteristic towns. The Istria peninsula, which is in the northwest part of the country, has numerous hill towns worthy of your time. Groznjan, for example, is a must-see hill-top town with amazing views and Instagrammable lanes and buildings. Consider Motovun, Buzet or Hum - considered the smallest town in the world - for other delightful hill-top towns.


Rovinj Croatia

If you want to stay closer to the water you have many options to choose from as well. Rovinj is an

absolute must see. The old town stands on a headland, with houses tightly crowded down to the seafront. A tangle of cobbled streets leads to the hilltop church. Don’t forget Porec, Sibinik, and Trogir amongst others. There is no doubt you will be captivated as you explore these amazing towns and villages.


4. Breathtaking National Parks


waterfalls and walkways in Plitvice National park

Croatia's natural beauty extends beyond its coastline, with several national parks that showcase the country's diverse landscapes. Plitvice Lakes National Park, featuring a series of cascading lakes and waterfalls surrounded by lush forests is one of the most breathtaking and unique places I have ever visited. You can walk along miles of boardwalk through lakes, waterfalls and caves.

Plitvice National Lakes park Croatia

Krka National Park is equally mesmerizing, with its waterfalls, hiking trails, and vibrant flora. When planning a trip to Croatia do not miss out on some of these natural wonders. They are an absolute must. 





5. Unique history and culture


Historically Croatia has had many different influences. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans, each left their mark on Croatia's culture, language, architecture, and traditions. As a Slavic nation it, of course, has been strongly influenced by Slavic customs and traditions but its location on the Adriatic also lends a Mediterranean look and feel. From 1918-1992 it was part of the communist Yugoslavia which left an indelible mark on the country.  The horrific Yugoslav or Balkan wars in the 1990s, where it ultimately gained independence also shaped the nation. You can still see damage from this war on buildings and talk to locals who lived through it. Our segway guide in Dubrovnik remembers hiding in a back room of his home as shells were hitting the roof. Our Bed and breakfast owner near Plitvice national park had a husband who was a police officer until the war began and then became a soldier. All of these influences are woven together to create a uniquely Croatian culture. 



Klapa choir, Croatia

One uniquely Croatian experience is listening to a Klapa choir. Klapa music is traditionally an a cappella form of music and in 2012 klapa was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Klapa translates as “a group of friends”. It is made up of between 4 and 12 male singers, although in recent years females have begun to sing as well. Many times there will be Klapa choirs singing in squares but you can also attend more formal Klapa concerts. Every time we hear a Klapa choir we drop what we are doing and run to watch them.


There is a strong tradition of truffle hunting in Croatia. You will find this pungent fungi in many dishes throughout the country. You can also take part in this tradition by joining a truffle hunt. Dogs or pigs are used to sniff out the truffles before they are dug up and used in pasta, sauces, risotto or sliced over meat or seafood. 


Fruit market in Croatia

These 5 reasons to visit Croatia is just the beginning. It is a stunningly beautiful and wonderfully interesting country. It has everything you would want for an unforgettable European adventure and will leave you captivated with its blend of natural beauty, historical richness, and vibrant culture.  Add this jewel of the Adriatic to your travel bucket list, and you will never regret it. 


walking the walls of Dubrovnik Croatia

Want to learn more about Croatia? Read our guide to Dubrovnik here.


Ready to travel to Croatia? Contact us at www.eurotravelbydesign.com and let us make a custom itinerary that will be perfectly tailored for your ideal trip.

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