20 Must-Visit Attractions in Croatiaairport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Croatia

Dubrovnik | © Ivan Ivankovic/Flickr
Dubrovnik | © Ivan Ivankovic/Flickr
Stunning national parks, historic cathedrals and Roman palaces are among the essential attractions to be found in Croatia, from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Displaying striking natural or man-made beauty, some were created in relatively recent times, adding to Croatia’s current status as one of Europe’s prime tourist destinations.

Diocletian’s Palace

A retirement home for a Roman emperor and a garrison for his troops, Diocletian’s Palace is a warren of exquisite stonework and historic treasure centrepiecing Croatia’s second city, Split. This is not a palace where you pay admission and admire. It’s a living entity open to all – albeit 2,000 years old.

Diocletian’s Palace, Split, Croatia

Pula Amphitheatre

In the centre of Pula, the Amphitheatre is a Roman colosseum with a near intact circle of stadium walls dating from the time of Claudius. Hosting gladiatorial battles 2,000 years ago, the Pula Arena today stages an annual film Festival, live concerts and a music festival.

Pula Arena, Flavijevska ulica, Pula, Croatia

Plitvice

Croatia’s biggest and most popular national park is Plitvice, a verdant complex of 16 cascading lakes, waters of ever-changing colours, and lush woods. Visiting Plitvice also allows you to admire the 100-plus plant species identified here and maybe glimpse a rare lynx, brown bear or wild cat.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, +385 53 751 015

Euphrasian Basilica

Commissioned in the 6th century by the Bishop Euphrasius, whose likeness appears amid the superb iconography, the Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč is a sumptuous example of Byzantine art and architecture. It stands on the site of a former Roman villa, whose floor mosaic is displayed in the Basilica garden.

Euphrasian Basilica, Eufrazijeva, Poreč, Croatia, +385 52 451 784

Brijuni

Brijuni near Pula is a national park of rare attractions found on the island of Veliki Brijuni. Best visited on an excursion, it reveals dinosaur footprints, Roman ruins and botanical gardens from Habsburg times. Former leader Tito’s menagerie is also open to the public.

Brijuni National Park, Croatia

Mljet

Legend has it that Odysseus was so enchanted by Mljet he stayed for seven years. An idyllic island in south Dalmatia, Mljet is two-thirds pine forest and one-third National Park, where saltwater lakes are centrepieced by a 12th-century monastery on an islet. Excursions may also involve hiking and cycling.

Mljet, Croatia

Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum, Shop
Display at the Museum of Broken Relationships
Display at the Museum of Broken Relationships | © Robert Nyman/WikiCommons
Zagreb’s most talked-about tourist attraction started out an art installation. The Museum of Broken Relationships displays unusual souvenirs, personal letters and strange artefacts, debris from someone’s doomed romantic liaison. Conceived by a former couple, the concept struck such a chord that a permanent home was found in Zagreb’s Upper Town.
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Salona

When Diocletian’s Palace was being built in nearby Split, Salona was a thriving community of 60,000 under Roman rule. What is left today after Salona was sacked by hostile tribes are the base of the amphitheatre, trunks of columns and gravestone carvings scattered around an extensive archaeological park.

Roman City Ruins, Solin, Croatia

Trogir Cathedral

Cathedral
Trogir Cathedral
Trogir Cathedral | © Gilles/Flickr
Dominating this historic island town, Trogir Cathedral dates back to the 1200s. You can tell, because ‘1240’ was carved into its elaborate portal by its creator, Master Radovan. The rest of this overpowering construction, built over 400 years, shows various ages of Dalmatian ecclesiastical architecture, Romanesque intertwined with Gothic.
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Rector’s Palace

Museum
Rector's Palace
Rector's Palace | © Jennifer Boyer/Flickr
A historic monument and fascinating city museum, the Rector’s Palace by the main square in Dubrovnik combines Venetian-Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Artefacts belonging to the elected Rector include sedan chairs, robes and clocks, set at quarter to six, the time when Napoleon’s troops entered the city in 1806.
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Meštrović Gallery

The great sculptor Ivan Meštrović designed this sea-facing building outside Split to be a family villa, studio and exhibition space. Today it houses the Meštrović Gallery, with two floors of his sculptures, drawings, paintings and architectural plans, and even furniture that Meštrović designed. Outside is a small sculpture park.

Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46, Split, Croatia, +385 21 340 800

Zagreb Cathedral

Building, Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral | © Mr.FF9900/Flickr
The neo-Gothic twin towers of the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary provide Croatia’s capital with a visual identity. Rebuilt after an earthquake in the late 1800s, Zagreb Cathedral is also known for its relief by Ivan Meštrović, marking the resting place of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac.
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