CROATIA

Explore the Dalmatian coast

Adriatic Sea

If you’re looking for specific Croatia destinations, you’ve come to the right section!

Here we feature guides on all of the most popular and most visited places in Croatia, including the main interior and coastal cities and towns, resorts on the Adriatic, and the main islands.

Split is the second largest city in Croatia, with just over 200,000 inhabitants, and is the largest city on the Adriatic coast. Once merely considered by some as just transit point – with excellent transport connections by bus, sea, air and train, it’s easy to travel to and from the city – it is deservedly becoming a destination in its own right.

There are some fantastic sights in the city, both Roman and more modern, excellent options for dining, drinking and nightlife, plenty of beach opportunities and lots of choice for those wanting day trips. Split is much loved by visitors these days!

Istria is one of the most popular destinations for foreign visitors to Croatia and its towns of Umag and Porec continually top annual polls of the best holiday resorts in Croatia. With a strong Italian influence (the region in fact used to be part of Italy during the early part of the 20th century), this certainly is a beautiful region of Croatia both along the coast and inland, with its pretty hilltop towns.

George Bernard Shaw was enchanted by this beautiful city, about which he said “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik”, as well as, famously, describing it as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. It really is a stunning city with an amazing Old Town, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

But whatever we and others say, our words do not give justice to this dazzling place. So come soon and see it with your own eyes! As mentioned, the Old Town and its many sights (including the well-preserved city walls along which you can walk) is one of the top attractions here. The Old Town is also famous for Stradun (also known as Placa), the main thoroughfare – one of the greatest pleasures for many visitors is to have a drink in one of the nearby cafes and watch the world go by, whilst they themselves are being watched by the city patron, St. Blaise, or Sveti Vlaho as the locals call him.

Croatia’s dazzling coastline is home to more than one thousand islands – yes, you read that right! If you were to look out to sea from anywhere along the Croatian coastline, it would be unusual for you not to see a green speck in the distance! Most of the Croatian islands, however, are small and uninhabited and there are therefore only 20 or so larger islands which are popular with visitors. We will therefore provide a guide to some of these, starting from those just off Istria at the north of Croatia’s coastline and going all the way down to the islands near Dubrovnik in the south.

Hvar is the fourth largest of Croatia’s islands at 182 square miles (300 square km) in size. It is even sunnier than Brac, getting almost 2,800 hours of sunshine per year. There is however enough rain to keep the island green and to maintain the beautiful fields of lavender, rosemary, sage, marjoram and thyme and the carefully cultivated vineyards. For this reason, many people remark that in the spring the island smells like a herbalist’s shop! When visiting, you must purchase some lavender oil (or lavender itself), which is the main export of the island.var (and in particular, Hvar Town) is increasingly obtaining a reputation as something of an upmarket destination in Croatia. This is partly because it can be a little on the pricey side (everyone always exclaims how “expensive” the coffee is) compared to some other destinations, but it’s also favoured as a destination by the rich and famous (or fabulous) who sail into town on their amazing yachts.

Brac is the largest island in Dalmatia at 150 square miles (394 square km) in size (the third largest in the Adriatic). It is also one of the sunniest with 2,700 hours of sun annually. With its proximity to the mainland – to the city of Split in particular – the island is also very easy to reach. The island is known for its fishing and agricultural products with locals producing good wine, olive oil, figs, nectarines and other fruits. But the main export is, and has been from ancient times, the famous Brac stone. From this, many famous buildings in the world have been built, including the White House in Washington D.C., Berlin’s Reichstag, and the Catholic cathedral in Liverpool.

Zadar is the main city in North Dalmatia with over 76,000 inhabitants. Most famous for its Old Town, set in a peninsula that is completely pedestrianised, the town has numerous Roman and other wonderful sights – some rather modern – so is a delight to visit.

Sibenik is the oldest Slavic towns on the Croatian coast, possibly dating from the 11th century, although Croats had reached the surrounding area a few centuries earlier.

The town intermittently switched between Croatian and Venetian rule over the following few centuries, with the longest period being under the Venetians from 1412 to 1797. During this time, the town grew in importance and for a while during the 16th century, it became the largest town in Dalmatia.

After the fall of Venice, Sibenik briefly became French for eight years, before becoming part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until its break up after World War I. At this point, Sibenik became part of the newly-formed Yugoslavia.

During the war in Croatia in the early 1990s Sibenik was shelled and a number of buildings were damaged, including some historic ones. All were subsequently repaired.

Τhe national park of the island of Mljet is the perfect introduction to Croatia’s islands. Anchor for lunch at Polace, on the island’s north coast, before stepping ashore to explore the lush green interior with its saltwater lakes.

Mljet is well known for its white and red wine, olives and goat’s cheese. Whilst you’re ashore the chef will be busy preparing a delicious array of local flavours for you to try.

Moor alongside the Riva (harbour) at Trogir and wander along the palm-lined promenade that runs between the colourful buildings and the Adriatic sea, before raising a sundowner to your charter at one of the many cafés that line the waterfront.

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