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15 Best Things to Do In Croatia in 2022

15 Best Things to Do In Croatia in 2022

Many travelers have a bucket list of European destinations on their radar, filled with prominent Mediterranean travel hotspots like Greece, Italy, and Spain. But we think Croatia should top the list of any serious travel enthusiast.

Croatia faces the eastern shores of Italy and has a long coastline along the Adriatic Sea, stopping short of Montenegro, another country carved out of the former Yugoslavia. And trust us — there are countless awe-inspiring things to do once you get there.

15 Things to Do in Croatia in 2022

Croatia is an affordable travel destination with breathtaking shorelines, ancient castles and monuments, and scenic national parks. 

This comprehensive list navigates you through historical places that are must-see points of interest and which natural parks and secluded islands you should include on your travel agenda, like Unesco Heritage Sites in Trogir or Blue Cave on Biševo Island. 

1. Zagreb

Aerial view of Zagreb, one of the best things to do in Croatia

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Chances are likely that you’ll be landing in Croatia’s capital city. If your destination vacation starts and ends in Zagreb, you’ll have plenty of beautiful historical destinations to explore. 

Although this vibrant city is landlocked, anyone interested in architecture and history will get lost among the splendid collection of Austro-Hungarian and Gothic buildings.

Steeped in history, Zagreb is a metropolitan city to enjoy but inform yourself about its people and past before you go. Consider staying in private accommodations for as little as $25 per night or go off-season.

Points of Interest

  • St. Mark’s Church
  • Upper Town Gornji Grad (historic walking district)
  • Mirogoj Cemetery
  • Dolac Market
  • Cathedral of the Assumption

2. Plitvice National Park

Cool view of Plitvice National Park, one of the best things to do in Croatia

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It is a 74,000-acre nature reserve under the Unesco World Heritage Convention umbrella and is Croatia’s largest park. Nestled at the foot of the Dinaric Alps, the park is a sanctuary for animals, trees, and fauna. Sprawling lakes, waterfalls, and unique rock formations compete for photo ops.

Plitvice Park is a must-see destination for nature lovers, geologists, photographers, and conservationists. Book a day tour from Split or Zadar for as little as $50-75 for a guided tour (admission is $25).

Points of Interest

  • Cruise Lower lakes
  • Hike to Upper lakes for spectacular waterfalls
  • Enjoy a Croatian lunch

3. Old Town Dubrovnik

Cool view of Dubrovnik, one of the best things to do in Croatia, pictured during the day

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Anchored to the shores of the Adriatic Sea, OTD is also known as Dubrovnik Riviera. Enjoying the benefits of a mild Mediterranean climate, Dubrovnik traces its origins back to 6000 to 2000 BC.

Ancient Unesco protects buildings that sprout along the aquamarine shoreline in a breathtaking vista. Things to do in Old Town Dubrovnik and the surrounding area are impossible to do in one day.

Famous for its “Game of Thrones” film location, one of the best ways to explore the warren of quaint streets is on a guided foot tour.

Points of Interest

  • City Walls
  • Old Town Proper, Dubrovnik Cathedral, Lovrijenac Fort
  • View from Cable Car
  • Game of Throne walking tour

4. Split

Split, Croatia, pictured outside the Kastel Gomilica, one of the best things to do in Croatia

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It is the largest city in the Dalmatian region. Split is a complex mix of ancient history and modern conveniences and a mecca for seafood lovers. 

Also, as a film location for ‘Game of Thrones,’ Split gained an extra influx of tourists. Steeped in layers of historical influences dating back to the Roman Empire, deciding what to visit next is challenging.

Points of Interest

  • Diocletian’s Palace (Roman Emperor)
  • Climb Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral 
  • Explore the Old Town & Riva Promenade (impressive)
  • Klis Fortress (City of Meereen)

5. Korcula Island

Korcula Island, one of Croatia's best things to do, pictured from the air

Trabantos/Shutterstock

Italian heritage reflects itself in its red clay roof tile architecture that highly influenced Korcula and its inhabitants. The island is easily accessible via flights, buses, or ferries.

Located on the south Dalmatian coastline, Korcula is a picturesque village surrounded by breathtaking views. Korcula is the birthplace of merchant explorer Marco Polo, famous for his Silk Road adventures.

Points of Interest

  • Marco Polo House
  • Watch ancient sailboats languishing at anchor
  • Tour Old Town Korcula & city wall
  • Watch a performance of the Moreska Sword Dance

6. Blue Cave Grotto

Blue Cave Grotto, one of the best things to do in Croatia, pictured during the afternoon with blue water below the rocks

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This attraction is well-known for its unique water cave experience and spectacular phenomena. Situated in the Bay of Balun in Biševo along the Dalmatian Coast, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Due to the popularity of this natural attraction, book in advance.

Also, consider going off-season—on only guided tours. Entry tickets are $12. If the Blue Cave is out of the question, consider the Green Cave, which has a self-guided swimming option—located on the southern tip of Vis Island.

Points of Interest

  • Consider hiring a sailboat or charter boat guide
  • Relax on the beach at Salbunara Bay
  • Porat (Biševska Luka) is a tranquil beach

7. Trogir Town

Trogir Town pictured from the air, one of the best things to do in Croatia

Trabantos/Shutterstock

You probably think that the UNESCO World Heritage has a stake in Croatian tourist destinations. Trogir is a quaint historic town situated in a pristine location surrounded by an idyllic landscape.

Known as the City of Masters, Trogir has a long-reaching arm into Greek and Roman history. Writers, masters of architecture, sculpture, and art folk thrive here. For those with a taste for seafood, it’s your absolute must in culinary adventures.

Points of Interest

  • Historic City Tour & Central Square
  • St. Lawrence Cathedral
  • Fortress Kamerlengo
  • Waterfront Promenade

8. Zadar’s Sea Organ

Zadar's Sea Organ, one of the coolest things to do in Croatia

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For a unique experience, visit the Zadar region. The Sea Organ and Sun Salutation is a sound and visual art installation that combines the forces of ocean waves to create music, and sunlight orchestrates stunning color patterns as the sunsets.

Zadar is the oldest inhabited Croatian city yet is less crowded than other Croatian tourist hubs. Here prices drop dramatically, as do long lineups in this peaceful setting with an ocean view and mountainous backdrop.

Points of Interest

  • Sea Organ & Sun Salutation
  • Swim the Cascades
  • Enjoy authentic local seafood cuisine
  • Attend music festivals

9. Pula

Pula, one of the best things to do in Croatia, viewed from the air

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Many claims to fame include 2300 hours of sunshine, a Roman amphitheater, and an Augustus Temple. Pula is a pinnacle of Roman traditions, and you’ll likely come face to face with a Legion of Gladiators.

Pula is the largest city on the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula. Plan to spend a week taking it all in and enjoy it.

Points of Interest

  • Roman Amphitheater
  • Hilltop truffle and olive oil tour 
  • Kayak at night
  • Boat tour with swimming & snorkeling

10. Mljet National Park

Mljet National Park, one of Croatia's best things to do, pictured at night from a rocky overlook

novak.elcic/Shutterstock

This chain of densely forested islands in the Adriatic Sea is a top tourist must-see destination. Remains of the Illyrian period are strongly evident in Greek fortifications and tombs.

Affectionately dubbed Pearl of the Mediterranean, Mljet park is ideal for nature and history buffs. A great way to see Mljet is by boat tour. This spectacular collection of islands is a feast for the senses and ideal for a relaxed vacation destination.

Points of Interest

  • Boat tour of outlying islands
  • Mountain bike rental experience
  • Odysseus Cave
  • Blato Village
  • Diving Excursions

11. Rijeka

Image of Rijeka, one of the best places to visit in Croatia, pictured at night

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If Rijeka is the only stop on your itinerary to the Croatian Islands, you won’t be disappointed. Peruse the events calendar to plan your trip accordingly. There is something for everyone to explore, from bike to hike adventures, lounging on the beach, and visiting heritage attractions.

This stunning harbor city is ideal as a one-stop vacation destination and is popular with European visitors — a great way to interact on cultural exchanges.

Points of Interest

  • Trsat Castle
  • Kastav romantic city
  • Central Market
  • Sablicevo beach
  • St. Vitus Cathedral

12. Zlatni Rat Beach

Zlatni Rat Beach, one of our top picks for things to do in Croatia, pictured from the air with the mountains in the background

mislaw/Shutterstock

Also known as Golden Cape or Golden Horn, this is perhaps the most beautiful beach globally. It’s a government-protected geomorphological monument where navy blue water and aquamarine pools mingle with lazy waves running along the shore.

Visitors are in for a spiritual awakening. This immense strand of pure pebbles, not sand, can easily host 10,000 patrons.

The beach is a natural occurrence. An oil pine forest surrounds the beach, and there isn’t a high-rise hotel nearby. Bol is a charming little village; prepare to relax.

Points of Interest

  • The beach and your tanned skin
  • Aerial view from a hang-glider
  • Hire a boat or go diving
  • Rent windsurfing, stand up paddle, or kayaking equipment

13. Vineyards of Isteria

One of the must-do things in Croatia, the vineyards of Isteria, pictured with a wine glass on a barrel

Phant/Shutterstock

Indulge your wine nose in the finest wines. Croatia is one of the oldest wine regions in Europe. Greeks visited the area as early as the 6th Century BC. At one time, this region belonged to Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia, and many historical and cultural remnants still dominate the region.

The region’s vineyards benefit from Mediterranean and Alp climate influences and fertile soils, making this an ideal wine-growing environment.

Points of Interest

  • Old Town Rovinj
  • Town of Opatija and Slatina beach
  • Brijuni National Park Islands
  • Vineyard tours
  • Gastronomical adventures

14. Campervan Adventure

Camper van overlooking the Adriatic Sea, one of the best things to do in Croatia

Oksana.perkins/Shutterstock

One of the best ways to experience any country with a tiny footprint like Croatia is with your own transportation. Traveling in a camper saves on hotel accommodation and brings a new dimension to experiencing landscapes and cultures. 

Anyone who has traveled by camper method will tell you that getting lost is the most authentic experience you’ll ever have.

Points of Interest

  • Anywhere on this list
  • Discover memorable hotspots on route
  • Start in Venice and take in the beautiful Adriatic shoreline
  • Join a camper caravan

15. Pag Island

Waterfront town of Pag, one of the best things to do in Croatia, pictured on a sunny day

xbrchx/Shutterstock

For those who enjoy experiencing a slice of the unexpected, Pag is the perfect hidden gem for you. This unique yet vibrant moon-like landscape and a party vibe make Pag city an off-the-beaten-path hub and offers affordable accommodations.

Located in the northern portion of the Dalmatian region and accessed via bridge, Pag city has a circular beach right at its core.

Points of Interest

  • Pag & Pag city
  • Gothic church of St. Mary’s
  • The city promenade and Zrce beach
  • The prince’s palace

Things to Consider

If you’re on a budget, Croatia can accommodate you. Consider going into a private home or finding hotel accommodations under $75. Going off-season is a great way to get more intimate with your surroundings.

Consult the Croatian National Tourist Board for travel advice, destination tips, and culture and art programs for additional travel information. While Croatia isn’t yet on everyone’s radar, now is the time to explore the country’s scenic and historical highlights.

  • Keep your identification and money secured. Hotels need your passport to register your arrival with local authorities, but it’s yours, so protect it.
  • Don’t just show up. Plan ahead, read travel articles like this one as a starting point to orientate yourself.
  • Know some of the local customs and manners.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Flip flops and bare shoulders in churches are not appropriate.
  • Bring only the essentials, comfortable thick-soled shoes, sunscreen, and motion sickness tablets.
  • Learn essential words like please & thank you, and a smile is an international currency.
  • A bit of planning turns a good vacation into a great one.
  • Carry a bit of cash; remote places don’t always take credit.
  • Stay abreast of travel restrictions & guidelines.
  • Rent a car for a personal adventure but know there is a zero alcohol limit.
  • Music and cultural festivals are a great way to immerse yourself in the local vibe.
  • Remember, you are a guest; always be respectful.
  • If you’re attending crowded impromptu street performances, keep a close eye on your valuables. It’s a pick-pocket hotspot, and you won’t see them coming.
  • Finally, whenever you can, support local artisans and engage with locals. While a fancy souvenir is great, a cultural exchange with a stranger is timeless.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cool view of boats on a canal in Komiza, one of the best things to do in Croatia

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You’re set to go. But, here are a few more things you should know:

What language do people speak in Croatia?

The official language is Croatian, but Croats are multilingual, and 80% speak English.

What currency do they use in Croatia?

Croatia is part of the European Union but still uses the Kuna. However, many locations will accept the EURO €. A bit of cash goes a long way.

Do I need a Visa to travel to Croatia?

American citizens don’t require a Visa but a valid passport. There’s an ETIAS authorization coming in the next few years.

So, What’s the Best Thing to Do in Croatia?

Croatia is a beautiful and affordable vacation destination with something for everyone. As with any vacation, research where you’re going, mind your manners, and you’ll create unforgettable memories. 

If you only have one destination to choose from, go to Rijeka. You’ll have access to the ocean, the climate, the food, and a ton of culture and history.