Dubrovnik & Southern Dalmatia
From big cities to islands to forested mountains, the Gulf of Kvarner (‘Quarnero’ in Italian) offers an incredible range of holiday experiences. Covering 3300 sq km between Rijeka and Pag Island in the south, the region is known for its mild climate and wide range of vegetation as well as a healthy sampling of seaside resorts.
Zagreb & Around
Too often overlooked by tourists making a beeline for the coast, Zagreb is a fascinating destination on its own, combining the best of Eastern and Western Europe. As the political, economic and cultural capital of Croatia, the city throbs with energy but has retained a good deal of old-world graciousness.
Sometimes called the ‘new Tuscany’, Istria (Istra to Croatians) is the heart-shaped 3600-sq-km peninsula just south of Trieste, Italy, with a landscape of green rolling hills, drowned valleys and fertile plains.
Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe and beauty when you set eyes on the Stradun never fades.
Occupying the central 375km of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, Dalmatia offers a matchless combination of hedonism and historical discovery. The jagged coast is speckled with lush offshore islands that are part of the reason the region has become one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations.
The second-largest city in Croatia, Split (Spalato in Italian) is a great place to see Dalmatian life as it’s really lived. Always buzzing, this exuberant city has just the right balance of tradition and modernity.
The Istrian Coast
At the tip of the Istrian peninsula is Pula, the coast’s largest city. The Brijuni Islands, Tito's former playground, are an easy day trip from here. The east coast of Istria centres on the modern seaside resort of Rabac, just below the ancient hilltop town of Labin. The west coast is the tourist showcase.
This area, loaded with appeal, includes the cosmopolitan town of Zadar and amazing national parks of Plitvice and Paklenica.
Lošinj & Cres Islands
Separated by an 11m-wide canal, these two sparsely populated and highly scenic islands in the Kvarner archipelago are often treated as a single entity. Although their topography is different, the islands’ identities are blurred by a shared history. On Lošinj the pretty ports of Mali Lošinj and Veli Lošinj attract plenty of tourists in summer.
The Istrian Interior
Head inland from the Istrian coast and you’ll notice that crowds dissipate, hotel complexes disappear and what emerges is an unspoiled countryside of medieval hilltop towns, pine forests, fertile valleys and vineyard-dotted hills.
Hvar is the number-one holder of Croatia’s superlatives: it’s the most luxurious island, the sunniest place in the country (2724 sunny hours each year) and, along with Dubrovnik, the most popular tourist destination.