Must Visit Towns in Croatia

Dubrovnik

Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the old town. The walled city of Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most easily recognised and iconic city, baptised by Byron as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’.The  city  became  a  UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and survived the civil war in 1991, although received heavy shelling. You can still see the scars of war in the old town where the marble streets are chipped from the shrapnel. No visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk around the spectacular city walls, the finest in the world and the city's main claim to fame. From the top, the view over the old town and the shimmering Adriatic is sublime. You can get a good handle on the extent of the shelling damage by gazing over the rooftops: those sporting bright new terracotta roofs suffered damage and had to be replaced.

Split

Croatia’s second largest city, Split is a beautiful ancient town perched on the Adriatic coast. Built around a Roman palace, the city has been thriving since the fourth century, and life continues to this day within the old palace walls and beyond. Bustling and lively, the heart of Split belongs within the walls of Diocletian’s palace. It was built as a retreat for the Roman emperor, and has expanded ever since. Always buzzing, this exuberant city has just the right balance of tradition and modernity. The winding cobbled alleys, delightful architecture and narrow streets are a joy to explore, and getting lost is half the fun! A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, the palace has endless bars, restaurants and shops thriving amid the atmospheric old walls where Split life has been humming along for thousands of years.

Rovinj

Istria’s top tourist destinations, is a true gem, a picture-perfect small town with a beautiful façade crowned by one of the tallest church tower’s in Istria (61 m high). Rovinj was originally an island, but 250 years ago the narrow channel which separated it from the mainland was filled joining the island to the mainland. While walking through the narrow, winding, cobbled streets, admiring the beautifully crafted buildings and picturesque squares you cannot help the feeling of being on a small island, possibly an Italian one as Italians influenced this part of Croatia for many years and still this can be seen in everything from road signs to food & wine to way of life. A stunning replica of Venice’s St Mark’s campanile awaits in the coastal fishing port of Rovinj, sitting on its own peninsula in the Adriatic.

Zadar

Boasting a historic old town of Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan cafes and quality museums set on a small peninsula, Zadar is an intriguing city. Whiles it’s not a picture-postcard kind of place, the mix of ancient relics, Habsburg elegance, coastal setting and unsightly tower blocks is what gives Zadar so much character. Not too crowded, not overrun with tourists and has two unique attractions: the sound-and-light spectacle of the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation; need to be seen and heard to be believed. The popular cafes and bars are scattered through the narrow streets, always busy and buzzing with life, and only few steps away from places such as the Roman Forum which is in front of the church of Saint Donatus and the Archbishop´s Palace, the beautiful Zadar Cathedral, the largest one in Dalmatia not just the few places to visit and enjoy the rich heritage city has on offer.

Hvar

As a Croatian island located off the Dalmatian coast, Hvar is one of the most popular destinations in the Adriatic. The greenest of the Croatian islands, Hvar offers beautifully clear waters, secluded coves, small fishing villages and local vineyards. The trendy marina contrasts with the 13th century walls that surround the town, and the Spanjola Fortress that overlooks it, but the blend of old and new creates a fantastic atmosphere. Dubbed the St. Tropez of the Adriatic, the sunny island of Hvar offers plenty to discover such as the quaint medieval centre, strolls among lavender fields and vineyards, taste the famous pepper cakes, swim in warm cobalt waters around the Pakleni islets and dive to explore the underwater canyon.

Korčula

Of the many islands that dot the Dalmatian coastline, Korcula is certainly one of the most scenic, with crystal clear waters, pine clad hillsides and sun-bleached buildings steeped in history. Return to a slower pace of life as you step over the ancient drawbridge at the entrance to Korcula town. Inside the Old Town walls, tradition is still very much alive in this town that dates back over 1000 years. Folk music and ceremonial dances are still performed – keep an eye out for the dramatic traditional Moreska sword dance! Outside of Korcula town find pine forests, secluded coves, and the elusive Croatian sandy beaches in the south of the island, especially near Lumbarda.

Brač

This is the perfect location to unwind away from the crowds and to get back to nature in this authentically Croatian setting. Bol and Supetar are Brac's main towns, renowned for their superb beaches, in particular Bol's Golden Horn, one of Croatia's most iconic beaches. A few must-sees include the village of Pučišća, Dragon’s Cave near the village of Murvica on the southern side of island, the Vidova Gora Mountain which is famed for its views, and the Dominican Monastery in Bol.

Opatija

Opatija was an upmarket resort visited by many high-profile guests including Royal families, celebrities and many composers such as Mahler visited this town for inspiration, as well as European aristocracy for relaxation, parading on the beautiful lungomare and dining in some of the most famous restaurants. Unlike any other parts of Croatia, Opatija is different in every sense. You can see elegance & stylish sophistication everywhere from well-groomed, structured parks to beautiful 19th-century Astro-Hungarian era grandeur buildings, from the elegant promenade to waterside cafes & restaurants.

Šibenik

Set amid the wild beauty of white karstic rock and the azure sea, the Sibenik aquatorium is a yachting paradise, boasting as many as 240 isles and reefs, each of which with interesting features. Sibenik is best known for the largest and most precious sacral monument, the Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral, St. Jacob (15 & 16th Century) whose dome of white stone dominates the city. The original method of construction using large slabs of stone has earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This magnificent cathedral lies just underneath the fortress walls of the town in the old area of Sibenik.

Trogir

Trogir is a typically Venetian, ancient harbour town listed as one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe by UNESCO. The city was listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 1997 and is home to many beautiful historic sites best of which is the Cathedral St Lawrence. Part of the city walls of Trogir built between the 13th and 14th centuries, are visible today on the southern side of the city. In the middle of the city wall is the city gate, which was built in 1593 opening the narrow streets of Trogir to a beautiful marbles promenade. Life is at a slow pace here in Trogir, people take their time to enjoy the old city, relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants, stroll the water front promenade and absorb the natural beauty city has on offer.

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