Croatia Travel Guide

Croatia has thousands of miles of seafront and more than a thousand islands, making Croatia’s coastline is Central Europe’s Riviera. Vacationers love its pebbly beaches, balmy summer weather, and dramatic mountains. But there’s history here as well: from ruined Roman arenas and Byzantine mosaics to Venetian bell towers, Habsburg villas, and even communist concrete, past rulers have left their mark. Most travelers head to the Dalmatian Coast, where dramatic cliffs rise from the deep and islands are scattered just offshore. But you will want to make time for more: the Venetian-flavored Kvarner Gulf and Istrian Peninsula, the stunning waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes, and Zagreb, the nation’s engaging capital. Visit some of the best beaches in Croatia here.

Croatia Weather – When to Visit

Coastal Croatia has warm to hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Croatia is in May and June or September and October when the weather is pleasant and sunny. This makes it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. It is also less crowded at these times than the summer months of July and August which are high season and can be very hot, especially in the afternoon. It is also a time when locals take their vacations. From October to March, the coast can be very quiet and a number of hotels and tourist attractions could be closed. However, the mild winters are good for sightseeing in the historic centers of Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar. Swimming should be in order from mid to late May. The rainiest month is December.

Croatia’s Best Beaches

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Stiniva Beach

Tiny Stiniva is Vis’ most perfect cove. The high cliffs surrounding it form an almost complete circle, with a gap of only about 10 m open to the sea. The beach is lined with large, smooth pebbles, which are a white contrast against the blue waters. Stiniva can be reached by an extremely steep and rough track, but it’s much more easily accessed by boat. Most excursion boats from Vis Town and Komiža.

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Colentum Beach

On Murter’s northern coast is one of Dalmatia’s most unusual beaches. Colentum Beach is a 200 m arc of sand with a very special attraction: tumbling into the sea at the southern end are the remains of a Roman villa that dates to the 1st century AD. It’s an evocative sight, not to mention a lovely place to swim.

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Obonjan Island

The tiny car-free island of Obonjan has been transformed into a holiday resort. Accommodations here are in safari-style tent lodges, some with views straight across the Adriatic, but the main attraction is the month-long cultural program, packed with DJs, film screenings, talks, workshops, art events and sport. There are also four restaurants, three bars, free yoga classes, and boat trips around the region.

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Paradise Beach

Paradise beach is one of Croatia’s best beaches. Backed by all sorts of attractions, from mini golf to ice-cream parlors, this is the ideal spot for a family holiday. The beach hardly shelves as it goes out into the warm Adriatic, and a small offshore island makes for a great swimming or kayaking destination.

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Stara Baška

For one of Krk’s best beaches, head south of Punat on the road to Stara Baška. It’s a wonderful drive, through steep hills and beautiful scenery. Stara Baška itself is a tourist sprawl of holiday homes and caravan parks, but 500 m before the first campsite there’s a series of gorgeous pebble-and-sand coves with wonderful swimming. Park on the road and then walk down one of the rocky paths for five minutes to get to the coast.

Zlatni Rat, Croatia, Croatia Travel Guide, Croatia Beaches, best Caribbean beaches, beach travel,  things to do in Croatia, Croatia attractions, Croatia tours, best Croatia hotels, best Croatia restaurants, best Croatia Bars

Zlatni Rat

Croatia’s most photographed beach extends out into the sea for about 400 m. Despite the hype and constant crowds, this ‘golden cape’ is a gorgeous place. The beach is made up of smooth white pebbles with a constant wind and waves. Pine trees provide shade and rocky cliffs rise sharply behind it, making the setting one of the loveliest in Dalmatia. There’s a small nudist section immediately west of the cape.

Croatia Tours & Activities

Five Island Speedboat Tour Featuring the Blue Cave and Hvar

Explore five islands near the Croatian coast during this full-day speedboat sightseeing excursion from Split or Trogir. Visit Hvar, Ravnik, Budikovac, Vis, and Biševo during your trip, stopping to enjoy highlights like the famous Blue Cave, the fishing village of Komiža, swimming and snorkeling in Stiniva Cove, and the historic town of Hvar, plus much more. Read more about Croatian Coast Island Speedboat Tour with Blue Cave and Hvar

Montenegro Full-Day Trip from Dubrovnik

Head south to diminutive coastal Montenegro on this day trip from Dubrovnik. Take a scenic drive on the southern Dalmatian Coast and experience small Adriatic villages and towns, including the UNESCO-listed Kotor, situated in Europe’s southernmost fjord. Admire Sveti Stefan, a medieval island turned luxury hotel, and spend some time in Budva, a walled medieval town on the sea, like a mini Dubrovnik. Finish with an optional ferry ride across the Bay of Kotor and then enjoy a final scenic drive on your way back to Dubrovnik. Read more about Montenegro Full-Day Trip from Dubrovnik

Full-Day Mega Catamaran Excursion to Hvar, Pakleni Islands, and Brac

Enjoy unforgettable adventures in coastal Croatia on this full-day catamaran excursion to Hvar, the Pakleni Islands and Brač from Split. Hop aboard your luxury catamaran and take to the waves with a guide. Sail across the Split Riviera toward the Pakleni Islands and soak up fine views over Brač and Šolta Islands. Swim and sunbathe at your leisure in peaceful bays around the Pakleni Islands, then savor a delicious lunch with wine. Explore the ancient town of Hvar, then return to Split as the sun sets on the horizon. Read more about Hvar, Pakleni Islands, and Brac Luxury Catamaran

Dubrovnik Sea Kayak Tour

See the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ from the water on a 2.5- to 3-hour kayak tour from Dubrovnik. Accompanied by a guide, paddle past the city’s medieval walls, leaving time for some snorkeling, swimming and snacks at a isolated beach cave along Dubrovnik’s coastline. For an extra perk, book the evening tour and enjoy the sunset with a chilled glass of wine. Read more about Dubrovnik Sea Kayak Tour

‘Game of Thrones’ Walking Tour of Dubrovnik

Discover ‘Game of Thrones’ film sites of Dubrovnik on this walking tour that takes in the real-life attractions used for some of the show’s locations. As you explore the city’s World Heritage-listed Old Town with your guide, enjoy views of the red-roofed skyline you know as King’s Landing. Follow in Joffrey’s footsteps at Lovrijenac Fortress, stand where Ayra Stark stood, and hear behind-the-scenes stories about filming in the city. When booking, you can choose to upgrade to include a tour to Trsteno Aboretum, which was used as the palace gardens. This Viator Exclusive is available nowhere else. Read more about Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Walking Tour

Plitvice Lakes National Park Small-Group Day Trip from Split

Lose yourself in the UNESCO-listed landscapes of the Plitvice Lakes National Park on this full-day tour from Split. Take a short hike around the magnificent tree-lined Upper Lakes (Gornja Jezera); stand in awe before Veliki Slap, Croatia’s biggest waterfall; and enjoy a thrilling cruise around the Lower Lakes (Donja Jezera). Read more about Plitvice Lakes National Park Trip

Best Croatia Restaurants

360˚ $31 – 60

Elegant dining room is a combination of historical stone walls and design pieces of decor with a view to the glassed-in kitchen. The restaurant serves dinner exclusively. There are two 5-courses Tasting Menus and abbreviated options through  A la Carte Menu. Dishes are inspired by flavors and ingredients of Dubrovnik & Mediterranean cuisine. Telephone: 385 20 322 222 Web: 360˚

Draga di Lovrana $31 – 60

Taste the Kvarner terroir, the fish and scampi from the Nikolac family’s own fishing boats and discover the colorful history of Opatija Riviera cuisine by enjoying the unique and theme specialties. Enjoy a modern twist of traditional, Mediterranean flavors with a hint of Italian and French cuisine.  Treat yourselves to a culinary delight complemented by exquisite Croatian wines, enjoying our terrace with a spectacular panoramic view of the Kvarner islands. Telephone: 385 51 294 166 Web: Draga di Lovrana

Monte $31 – 60

The cool, contemporary style of this softly lit, romantic restaurant comes as a contrast to the old town, in whose enchanting lanes it is hidden. Creative and occasionally theatrical, the cooking is also somewhat of a surprise using modern techniques to create beautifully presented, flavor-filled dishes. Telephone: 385 52 830 203 Web: Monte

Noel $11 – 30

A wonderful restaurant with soft lighting and trendy, internationally inspired furnishings, where guests can enjoy exciting, colorful cuisine prepared by the owner-chef. The delicious modern and creative dishes served here are accompanied by a selection of Croatian, French and Italian wines carefully chosen by the sommelier-partner. Telephone: 385 14 844 297 Web: Noel

Pelegrini $31 – 60

Situated opposite the beautiful cathedral of St James, this restaurant has a few small tables arranged outside on the steps in summer. The decor here is a light, elegant mix of old and new and the service excellent. “Rudi” Stefan, the self-taught owner-chef, creates modern meat and fish dishes from top-quality ingredients. The tasting menu allows you to create your own dining experience by choosing the exact number of courses you require and the individual dishes which tempt you. Telephone: 385 22 213 701 Web: Pelegrini

Best Croatia Bars

Buža II

The more well known of the cliff-face bars; tourists follow the ‘Cold Drinks’ sign from the open square of Rudjera Boškovića. Prices are a little steeper but you get a thatched roof and table service. Buža II also the same jaw-dropping view – if you can find a table in high season. Telephone: 385 98 361 934 Web: Buža II

D’Vino

D’Vino manages to stock more than 100 varieties of wines, 76 available by the glass. Every decent Istrian, Slavonian and Dalmatian label is here, including Grgić Plavac Mali and Zlatan Plavac. Savory meat-and-cheese platters are tailor-made to complement the wine. It’s a comfortable, modern, intimate space to enjoy a drink – with a few seats outside in summer. Telephone: 385 20 321 130 Web: D’vino

Sunset Lounge

The sunset view is in full panorama here in the chic surroundings of the five-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. On a clear day you can see Mljet. Afternoons mean happy-hour drinks, evenings a piano player. Cocktails comprise 35 standards, there are specialist Perković brandies and wines with the best local labels rarely found by the glass. Telephone: 385 20 430 531 Web: Sunset Lounge

Alcatraz

This place is a real locals’ hang-out and the interior is crowded with American number plates, beer flags, and mannequins – one of which wears a Mick Jagger mask and seems to be a part of the party. The weekends see it packed with locals, who stop by for a myriad of bottled beers – loads of Belgian specialty brews alongside the excellent local Velebitsko – and the DJs jamming rock and dance tunes. Telephone: 091 521 3703 Web: Alcatraz

Craft Room

Zagreb’s first real craft beer pub, this should be your first stop for new releases from regional breweries. There are 12 beers on tap – around half of these are local, with one or two from the UK and Germany. There are also more than 150 bottled options. A DJ plays from a catalog of funk, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, and the place fills up quickly. Telephone: 385 14 845 390 Web: Craft Room

Best Croatia Hotels

Hotel Villa Vera

Hotel Villa Vera is located in the heart of Lovran. The hotel is ideally situated near the beach and it is a perfect starting point for discovering the treasures of the Kvarner Gulf. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, their hotel staff will provide you with top-quality service. With individual care given to each and every guest, the romantic and intimate atmosphere of Hotel Villa Vera, together with its wellness oasis, becomes an excellent get away for those seeking privacy and relaxation.

Hotel Monte Mulini

Enjoy a serene view of the quiet cove from your own balcony, only 10 minutes away from Rovinj`s Old Town or put your feet up in the lush garden around the pool before exploring the refined cooking in the Wine Vault restaurant.

Arbiana Heritage Hotel

Imagine a small oasis of peace on this island, an oasis that will pamper all your senses and make your holiday an unforgettable experience, a place where you’ll feel at home even if you’re thousands of kilometers away.
Everything you imagined is waiting for you in the Arbiana Heritage Luxury Boutique Hotel on the island of Rab.

Esplanade Zagreb Hotel

Esplanade Zagreb Hotel built in 1925 for the passengers of the old Orient Express and completely renovated in 2004, features 208 spacious and lavishly furnished rooms and suites. This Zagreb hotel rooms and suites feature luxurious and convenient amenities such as marble bathrooms, fluffy bathrobes and free super fast Internet access. Esplanade Zagreb accommodations provide the best of both luxury and convenience and are ideal for busy travelers and those seeking rest and relaxation.

Hotel Jagerhorn

An intimate oasis of style, service and comfort in the very center of Zagreb, Croatia. The oldest standing hotel in the city, the Jägerhorn enjoys a truly privileged location at just a stone’s throw from the main Ban Jelačić square in the heart of Zagreb. Nestled in a passage connecting the historic upper town with the city center, the hotel houses 18 elegantly appointed rooms, a stylish café offering the finest beverages, and the most beautiful terraces and garden to be found in the city. A peaceful and relaxing oasis defying its urban surroundings, Hotel Jägerhorn provides the perfect platform from which to explore the city and its numerous attractions.

20 Comments

  1. Helen and Cleopatra

    OMG, thanks for the breakdown of all the different locations and the beaut pictures have really helped me to experience these locations before I even get there. I like how you also advised on the best times to visit and the different islands that are appropriate for couples and or families. Great site you have here, nice and easy to navigate. Cheers Helen

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Helen 🙂  I am glad you enjoyed.  Thanks for visiting my Croatia Travel Guide.

      Reply
  2. Henderson

    Wow, this is a really interesting travel guide about beautiful Croatia. I didn’t know that the country has so many Islands. I am already so eager to visit the country. It also has so many historical sites and wonders that are breath taking. I really want to see the location of the game of thrones set. With so much bars and beautiful hotels, Croatia is a must visit for

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Definitely a vacation location most would not think about, but so worth it.  The “Game of Thrones” tour is very popular.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  3. Michele

    Your article on Croatia is quite extensive and very knowledgeable! I definitely need to read again when I plan on visiting the islands!  I had never really thought about visiting Croatia to be honest, but after reading your Croatia travel guide, I have it on my bucket list.  Sounds so relaxing and looks so beautiful!  Thanks for putting all of this information together.

    Sincerely, 

    Michele

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed Michele!  Yes, Croatia does not cross most peoples minds when they think of a Caribbean getaway.  Yet it is a gem.  Please let me know if you need any additional information.  Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Abayomi

    Awesome article,very educative,I now have the deep understanding of the this country Croatia,the time to travel, The best time to visit Croatia is in May and June or September and October when the weather is pleasant and sunny. This makes it ideal for swimming and sunbathing.This article is very informative in order to plan ahead for any visitation.Great article.Thank you for this write-up.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome!  I am glad you enjoyed my Croatia Travel Guide.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinaitons.

      Reply
  5. Sharon

    Hello Leahrae,

    Full of information here! I love visiting places with lots of seafronts. I have been to Phuket, Thailand and my next planned trip is to Bali, Indonesia. The Maldives in on my radar. Now that I see Croatia, you had me thinking which should be my next holiday destination. Visting Croatia during the mild winter may be a good change from the hot and sunny weather. Well, lots to think about now. Firstly, let’s get the budget in order 🙂

    Thank you,

    Sharon

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You have some amazing places on your agenda Sharon!  I am glad I could help you add another desitnation to your bucket list.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  6. RoDarrick

    Fabulous article you have written up here concerning a guide through Croatia travel. Seriously, I never knew Croatia was this beautiful. Such haven of pure beauty I have seen through this post. Seriously, this is such a great place to have a vacation with its awestrucking magnificence. Looking at the various accommodations, things to try out and so much more. Seriously, it’s a perfect package. Great post

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Derrick, yes it definitely the perfect package.  It is really an amazing place.  I hope you can visit Croatia soon. 

      Reply
  7. Fiona

    Awesome post here. I would really love to travel to Croatia one day. It’s so beautiful with lots of nature.  I would love to try full-day catamaran excursion to Hvar, the Pakleni Islands and Brač from Split. Because I love adventure!

    There are waterfalls, country parks on these islands, I think these are fantastic.

    Among all of the restaurants you recommended there, I would pick  Draga di Lovrana. I love eating fish and there is a terrace to enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the Kvarner islands.

    What are special about Croatian cuisine? Is it a mix of French, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The catamaran trip to Hvar is a wonderful choice.  And I know you will love the food.  Traditional Croatian food has some similarity with Italian, Austrian, Hungarian, and Turkish food. Yet, Croatian dishes have their own distinct interpretation, and taste.

      Reply
  8. conweezy31

    This is a wonderful site. I love the beautiful pictures of the beaches. I know you mentioned one area that has fishing. Are you able to go deep-sea fishing there as well? I have done it twice so far and these look like nice places to try it out. I am also loving the hotels. I may have to convince my wife about taking a trip out there for our next vacation. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Of course you can go deep sea fishing, and I do believe it would not take much arm twisting to get your wife to go to Croatia.   Especially if she likes the beach and lots of sunshine 🙂

      Reply
  9. Lakeisha Collins

    I was so excited when I saw this website! For one thing I am well overdue for a vacation. So now I have some ideas at a glance of where I can go on my next vacay. The second thing is that I have never been out of the country. Alcatraz and a few other places here are making me think I may be breaking that record soon! Thanks for all of the information. These locations are amazing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Lakeisha!   I am glad you enjoyed and that I gave you some ideas.

      Reply
  10. Henry

    Hi! I have always wanted to visit Zagreb. But in this post, you have also called my attention on Istrian Peninsula, and Plitvice Lakes.

    Croatia has a similar weather to Italy and visiting during May and June or September and October are our best options. I’d like to visit Italy thisyear on September and from Italy go a week to Croatia. Your post has encouraged me.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Henry, I am glad you enjoyed learning something new about Croatia!  Happy travels!

      Reply

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