With over 1000 captivating islands tucked away along the Adriatic Coast, Croatia boasts some of Europe’s best kept secrets. There is simply no better way to explore these beautiful islands than by ship, and while we love all of Croatia, we’ve narrowed it down to 8 locations that you simply shouldn’t leave off your bucket list.1. Split
As Croatia’s second-largest city, Split boasts an authentic feel, with traditional culture dating back to Roman days, while also having an element of modern day influence. As the home of Diocletian’s Palace, Split has an abundance of shopping alleyways filled with boutique shops and cafes. By night, the city comes alive with an endless selection of nightclubs, live music venues, bars and restaurants.
Best known as Croatia’s summer resort and party island, Hvar is also famous for its gothic palaces, 13th-century walls and hilltop fortresses. Hvar Town is the hub of the island where thousands of tourists flock each year to enjoy the many restaurants, bars, hotels and beaches. If you’re looking to spend the day doing something a little more relaxing, then Stari Grad is the perfect place to be – indulge in a glass (or two) of fine Croatian wine at one of the many vineyards in the region.
Located between the cities of Split and Dubrovnik, along the Adriatic Coast, Makarska is home to crystal clear beaches, baroque palaces, medieval churches and 16th century monasteries. With a spectacular backdrop that is the Biokovo mountain range, the long waterfront promenade is enjoyed by thousands in the summer each year. Makarska is a favourite destination for active types, with plenty of hiking, climbing, paragliding, mountain biking, windsurfing and swimming opportunities.
As one of Croatia’s most beautiful islands, Mljet is rich in Mediterranean vegetation, clean waters, sandy shorelines and underwater sea life. Half of Mljet Island is a pristine National Park, which is made up of two inland saltwater lakes, connected to the ocean by a narrow canal. Visitors can enjoy walking or cycling along the water’s edge, swimming in the crystal clear waters or exploring the area by kayak.
A quirky city located in Northern Dalmatia, Zadar boasts a historic old town of ancient and medieval churches, ruins and museums. Relatively new on the tourist scene, it is not overly crowded with visitors and its two main attractions are the sound-and-light spectacle of the Sea Organ, and the Sun Salutation.
6. Stari Grad
Derived from a name meaning “Old Town”, Stari Grad is Hvar Town’s much quieter, little sister. Located on the northern side of Hvar Island, Stari Grad is one of Europe’s oldest towns and its plains are UNESCO protected World Heritage Sites. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Hvar Town, then Stari Grad is the perfect place to be. Take a hike up to Glavica Hill and look out over Hvar and the mainland, or take a stroll through Stari Grad Plain and visit the locals working in the vineyards.
One of Croatia’s most treasured islands, Korcula is often referred to by the locals as “little Dubrovnik” with its medieval squares, terracotta rooftops, churches and palaces. Local legend has it that Korcula Town is the birthplace of Marco Polo, with his rumoured house of birth being one of the primary attractions for visitors. The slim belltower of St Mark’s Cathedral stands tall in the town centre which is also home to quaint little alleyways, full of medieval treasures. After a long day of sightseeing, you can enjoy a cocktail at one of Korcula’s famous rooftop bars.
Last, but by no means least, Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most prominent tourist destinations. Affectionately known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik has an abundance of things to see including the city’s marble streets, baroque buildings, forts, monasteries and cathedrals. For the ultimate view of the terracotta-tiled rooftops from above, be sure to take the Dubrovnik Cable Car to the very top of Mt Srd.
However you choose to explore Croatia and it’s hidden gems, we’re certain the beauty, culture and friendly locals will have you coming back time and time again! Our cruises take the hassle out of your holiday and take you to the very best islands in Dalmatia, leaving you more time to relax and enjoy your stunning surrounds!
Want to see more of our favourite Croatia destinations? Check out our video below!