Here’s your experience guide to Croatia – from island hopping to flyboarding.
Croatia may have a reputation for being a flop and drop destination but there’s a lot of flopping and dropping to fit in.
There are more than 1,000 island shorelines where you can sunbathe. And when you’re not basking in the sunshine, you have the country’s millenia-long timeline to explore.
There are many places in Croatia that are not to be missed. Here’s a round-up of must-see sights, from the most popular islands to the Game of Thrones filming locations.
Top things to do in Croatia
Ride Dubrovnik’s cable car
Get up close to the gods of Dubrovnik by riding the cable car up to Mount Srd. The ride takes four minutes and shoots you up to 405 metres above sea level. From the top, you can see for almost 60 kilometres on a clear day.
The panorama takes in Dubrovnik’s old town, which looks like a toy village from so far above.
There’s close to a day’s worth of activities and experiences to enjoy at the top. Go on an hour-long, off-road buggy ride, pop into the Ohrid pearl shop, or grab a table at Panorama restaurant and bar.
Set sail on an island cruise
More than 1,000 islands and islets can be found in the warm waters off Croatia’s coast. So you can’t really see everything the country has to offer without taking to the water. Day cruises come in all shapes and sizes in Croatia.
Popular cruises from Dubrovnik take in the Elaphiti Islands, which offer green countryside, sandy beaches and pre-Romanesque churches.
You can also cruise from Split to the Blue Cave where, as the name suggests, the waters are a brilliant blue.
These itineraries often include stops at five or six other islands like Budikovac or the Pakleni islands.
Get under Croatia’s skin on a guided tour
If you really want to understand what makes Croatia tick, you should take a guided tour. There are thousands to choose from across the country.
Really drill down into the history and culture of a town like Split or Dubrovnik on a guided walking tour. Or take the hassle out of getting into the Croatian countryside by letting a tour guide handle the logistics for you at places like Krka National Park and the Plitvice Lakes (featured image).
If you’re a foodie, meanwhile, you can book a food or wine tour to get the inside information on the country’s national dishes and drinks.
Get drenched with watersports
Approximately 130 square kilometres of Croatia are covered by water. So it should come as no surprise to discover that the country is a hot bed for watersports.
No matter where you are on Croatia's coast you’re never far from a place where you can hire a paddleboard, book onto a kayaking tour, or rent a jet ski. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Croatia is also home to a number of aqua obstacle parks, and some water sports companies offer you the opportunity to try flyboarding. If you’re game to give it a go, you get a piece of equipment that looks like a jet pack strapped to your back and you can learn to do stunts over the water.
Embark on a Game of Thrones tour
The Game of Thrones (GoT) directors may have you believing that the action you’re witnessing in their shows is unfolding on the continents of Westeros and Essos. However, in reality, many of the locations you’ll see on-screen can be found in Croatia.
From Split you can visit sites like the UNESCO World Heritage Diocletian’s Palace, which stood in for the city of Meereen in GoT. Most Game of Thrones tours also include a meal where the food is inspired by the series.
Go island hopping
You can’t talk about Croatia without mentioning island hopping. As mentioned above, you can tick off a few islands in a day by taking a cruise.
If you have more time on your hands, however, you can spend a day or two at each destination. From Split, a popular itinerary is Šolta, Hvar, Brač, Korčula then Vis, which can be visited using Croatia’s ferry service.
From Dubrovnik you can catch catamarans to Mljet, Lastovo, Korčula and Hvar.
Spend a late night clubbing
Croatia is rapidly climbing up through the ranks as far as Europe’s top nightlife destinations are concerned. The island of Hvar is one of the country’s party pulse points.
There are beach bars like Hula and Champagne bars like Pink Champagne. And there are places where you can do crazy shots like the tequila boom, which involves doing a tequila shot while donning a hard hat and being hit on the head with a hammer. There really is something for everyone!
Dubrovnik has its fair share of after dark drinking dens, too. This city is home to a cave bar, wine bars and jazz clubs, to name a few options.