If you’re preparing for a Croatian holiday you’re probably overwhelmed by the number of islands there are to choose from. Although it’s commonly said that there are more than 1000 islands in the archipelago, in actuality only 79 of them are officially classified as islands, with the rest being small enough to be considered rocks or islets. Sill, that leaves you with more than six dozen islands on your list of places to see, so how do you decide where to begin your journey? If you’re operating under time constraints as most travellers do, you may want to start with the following seven Croatian attractions to make sure you’re covering the good stuff first:
1. Diocletian’s Palace
Since Split is home to the most popular airport and the most tourists every year, there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself checking out the majesty of Diocletian’s Palace before anything else. Although referred to as a palace, this surprisingly alive Roman architectural site was designed to serve as a fortified town and has an overall area of more than 38,000 square metres. Today the palace is a bustling masterpiece in the heart of Split’s historic district and one of the top attractions to see.
2. Plitvice Lakes National Park
Widely considered to be the jewel of the republic’s 8 national parks, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a remarkable sight to behold, with a total of 16 lakes that merge into each other via exotic cascades and waterfalls. Strolling along the park’s footbridges and paths provides for an unforgettably serene and surreal experience.
If culture and amenities are high on your list of priorities, then you may want to make Hvar the central base of your holiday. Loaded with 5-star local cuisine, exciting night life, top-notch hospitality venues, and hordes of friendly people, this city is an ideal Croatian destination for those who prefer action over secluded relaxation.
4. Krka National Park
Krka National Park is home to one of the last unaltered, unspoiled ecosystems in existence, as well as arguably the best river in the Dalmatians. Accented by amazing waterfalls and surrounded by some of the most beautiful forestry and wildlife the planet has to offer, the park is frequently visited.
Perched on steep sheer rock overlooking the sea, Lovrijenac was originally constructed as a fortress and was instrumental in protecting the west side of Dubrovnik. However, nowadays it is used as a venue for theatrical performances and tours of the structure are also provided.
6. Walls of Dubrovnik
After visiting Lovrijenac you might as well see the grand walls of Dubrovnik while you’re there. These defensive city walls are an impressive feat of architecture as they have managed to withstand the test of time while remaining in decent condition.
Finally, a less common yet incredible place worth visiting is Mljet – a densely forested paradise that is widely considered to be the most beautiful island in Croatia. This is usually the first stop along a south-to-north cruise of the Adriatic Sea, so if you want to stop here first be sure to opt for a southern start. If you want to experience this island at its best, it’s well worth looking in to luxury gulets in Croatia. These can be rented for the week, and offer a luxurious experience for groups of all sizes. You can learn more about them here.
The Best Way to See It All in One Trip
There are plenty of ways to sail around the Adriatic Sea, from catamarans and ferries to commercial cruise liners, but perhaps the best way is to take advantage of one of the many luxury Gulets in Croatia. These small boats provide a more intimate and personalised tour of the islands without crowding, plus Gulet tour guides tend to be more knowledgeable and friendly than the staff encountered on commercial cruises.