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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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.