Walled Towns

Built for defence but breathtakingly picturesque, Croatia's walled towns are among the nation's greatest treasures.

Dubrovnik One of Europe’s most visually arresting cities, ringed by monumental defensive walls.

Ston Dubrovnik aside, this is Croatia's most impressive set of walls – stretching over a mountainside.

Trogir Pocket-sized island town full of well-preserved Romanesque and Renaissance buildings, plus a lovely cathedral.

Korčula Town One of Croatia's most charming old towns, jutting into the sea enclosed by sturdy walls.

Motovun The classic Istrian hill town, ringed with not one but two sets of fortifications.

Osor Small, unassuming and obscure, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Krk Town Walls still surround the labyrinthine old-town centre.

Rab Town A profusion of picturesque church towers rises above the walls on its seaward side.

Primošten Once a fortified islet, pretty Primošten is a gem of the Northern Dalmatian coast.

Hum Hidden in the Istrian hills, gorgeous wee Hum is nearly more wall than town.

Beaches

Get your kit off or don the latest designer swimsuit on one of the many gorgeous beaches that dot Croatia’s coastline and islands.

Zlatni Rat A protrusion of pebbles packed with beach bodies, bars and activities.

Pasjača A beauty hidden away under high cliffs at the very south of the Dalmatian coast.

Stiniva A spectacular and secluded cove of white pebbles within a circle of high cliffs.

Dubovica Blue waters dazzle against white pebbles in this isolated spot on the island of Hvar.

Pakleni Islands Pine-shaded beaches for naturists and swimsuit wearers alike.

Zrće Croatia’s summer clubbing capital.

Lubenice Small, secluded, sensational and difficult to reach.

Prapratno A pretty, sandy bay on the Pelješac Peninsula.

Brela A long string of pine-fringed, pebbled coves.

Cape Kamenjak Thirty wild kilometres of inlets, coves, pebbles and rocks.

Local Culinary Specialities

For a real taste of Croatia, hunt down the nation's best home-grown ingredients and traditional dishes.

Truffles Experience Istria's most famous culinary bounty on a truffle hunt with Karlić Tartufi.

Olive oil Take a scenic drive through the Istrian hills to sample Ipša Estate's award-winning olive oils.

Pršut Sample delicious local prosciutto while sipping on fine wine at Hvar Town's 3 Pršuta.

Pag cheese Learn about the cheese on a tour of Sirana Gligora, then shop for a picnic.

Octopus, fish or meat peka Roki's on Vis is a master of this traditional metal-dome cooking technique.

Dalmatian-style grilled fish A ubiquitous coastal dish, done exceptionally well at Split's Konoba Matejuška.

Pašticada Dalmatia's meaty stew finds its apotheosis at Trogir's Konoba Trs.

Brodet/brujet/brodetto We rate Stermasi's version of this classic Dalmatian fish stew.

Čobanac A traditional Slavonian meat stew; try it at Kod Ruže in Osijek.

Kremšnite U Prolazu is the best place to try Samobor's famous custard pies.

Roman Remains

Once positioned near the very heart of the Empire, Croatia has some of the very best Roman structures still standing today.

Split Diocletian's 4th-century palace, complete with an intact temple and mausoleum, remains the city's living heart.

Pula Along with its magnificent 1st-century amphitheatre, Pula has a complete temple and a triumphal arch.

Salona Ruins of an entire ancient city, including basilicas, baths, gates and an amphitheatre.

Zadar Roman ruins protrude from the most unlikely places in this ancient city.

Brač An intact domed mausoleum is hidden within a museum in the village of Škrip.

Mljet National Park The remains of a huge palace dominate the town of Polače.

Krka National Park A secluded corner contains the remains of a military amphitheatre and an aqueduct.

Poreč Wander through the remains of the forum, including the Temple of Neptune.

Varaždinske Toplice This still-popular spa centre contains the ruins of Aqua Iasae, a Roman bathhouse.

Outdoor Activities

There’s plenty for active and outdoorsy types to do in Croatia. Start with swimming in the Adriatic and progress to mountain biking, windsurfing, kayaking, climbing, rafting and more.

Paklenica National Park Croatia's prime rock-climbing destination, plus lots of hiking trails.

Bol Brilliant for windsurfing, swimming, sailing, diving and, in the hinterland, hiking and mountain biking.

Kopački Rit Nature Park Birdwatching, canoeing and a family-friendly adventure park with zip lines.

Rovinj Great for snorkelling, diving, kayaking, cycling and rock climbing.

Vis Fascinating sites for advanced divers, great beaches and superb hiking and kayaking.

Omiš Rafting on and zip-lining over the Cetina River, good beaches and mountain hikes.

Risnjak National Park Hiking through the forest, keeping an eye out for brown bears and lynx.

Split Sailing, kayaking, and hiking and rock climbing on Marjan Hill.

Dubrovnik Picturesque kayaking, brilliant beaches, bungee jumping and a cable-car ride to a dusty buggy safari.

Mt Medvednica Hiking in summer and skiing in winter.

Nightlife

Croatia has become a hot ticket on Europe's nightlife circuit, pulsating with a variety of options – from beach parties to megaclubs.

Hvar Town A brilliant bar scene that starts pumping before sunset and doesn't let up.

Zrće Beach Croatia's answer to Ibiza, this summertime clubbing mecca provides round-the-clock beats.

Tisno Host to a series of high-profile music festivals in summer, but a sleepy place otherwise.

Split The palace walls throb with music, especially in the summer months.

Poreč Istria’s party capital has nightlife hawks coming to let loose in its late-night clubs.

Zagreb Croatia’s capital offers cafe-bars galore and a developing artsy music scene.

National Parks

Croatia’s appeal is grounded in nature – its waterfalls, forests, mountains and the dazzling Adriatic coast. Thankfully, much of it is protected – Croatia has eight national parks covering 961 sq km.

Plitvice Lakes This startling natural phenomenon contains forest-fringed waterfalls and turquoise lakes.

Krka Explore sublime waterfalls and visit a remote monastery.

Paklenica Experience nature on a big scale, hiking and climbing through mountains and canyons.

Risnjak Shady trails through dense forests and meadows rich in wildflowers.

Kornati Islands Stark otherworldly beauty makes this the ultimate resort-free Adriatic escape.

Mljet Island A green slice of paradise on a serene and unspoilt island.

Brijuni Islands This archipelago off the Istrian coast offers beaches and plenty of historical sites.

Islands

Croatia’s coast is speckled with a multitude of magnificent islands that range from tiny, verdant and unpopulated to massive, arid and buzzing.

Hvar People come to party on Croatia’s sunniest isle, thanks to its glam hub Hvar Town.

Vis Remote and off-limits to foreigners for decades, Vis has top beaches and delicious food.

Mljet A long, slender and beguiling island, with a lagoonlike saltwater lake, monastery and superb scenery.

Cres Among Croatia’s least touristy islands, with awe-inspiring landscapes, medieval villages and a pretty port.

Brač Boasts Croatia’s most famous beach, the alluring Zlatni Rat in the pretty town of Bol.

Rab The Kvarner isle with the most diverse landscapes, plus beaches and enchantingly ancient Rab Town.

Pag Sun-scorched lunar scenery, famously pungent cheese and beach clubs.

Korčula Rich in vineyards, olive groves and scenic hamlets, and featuring the marvellous medieval Korčula Town.

Kornati Comprised of 140 uninhabited islets and reefs, it’s the Adriatic’s largest and densest archipelago.

Lošinj Beautiful bays, lush vegetation and a pair of pretty port towns.

Low-Key Hideaways

Even in the peak season in touristy Croatia, there’s always some place to escape the hubbub.

Stari Grad A far quieter alternative to Hvar Town, on Hvar Island's opposite side.

Cavtat This pretty coastal town is a lot more ‘local’ than its neighbour Dubrovnik.

Konavle If you're after an even quieter Dubrovnik alternative, try this verdant wine-growing region.

Lumbarda A laid-back beach settlement that makes a quiet retreat from busy Korčula Town.

Beli Skip Cres Town for this ancient village that clings to a hill above a beach.

Bale Swap Rovinj for medieval Bale, an offbeat town and among Istria's best-kept secrets.

Samobor Escape Croatia's capital for the small-town vibe and delicious cakes of nearby Samobor.

Religious Buildings

Euphrasian Basilica World Heritage–listed 6th-century Byzantine church with dazzling mosaics.

Cathedral of St Domnius Built as a mausoleum for a Roman Emperor who persecuted Christians; now Split's cathedral.

St James' Cathedral A masterwork of medieval stonemasonry and another of Croatia's World Heritage Sites.

St Mark's Cathedral Korčula's extraordinary cathedral contains work by some of Venice's and Croatia's most famous artists.

The Church of Virgin Mary of Jerusalem A baroque fantasia in Krapina.

Krka Monastery Venerable Serbian Orthodox monastery with catacombs thought to date from biblical times.

Dubrovnik Synagogue The second-oldest still-functioning synagogue in Europe and the oldest Sephardic one.