The Ultimate Guide to Holidays in Croatia

Book your dream Croatian escape with Culture Trip this summer
Book your dream Croatian escape with Culture Trip this summer | Milica Spasojevic / Unsplash
Gethin Morgan

Content and CRM Executive

From its glorious hidden beaches and tiny little islands to some of the oldest towns in all of Europe, this gem of a destination is just waiting to be explored. Here’s everything you need to know and holidaying in Croatia.

Browse the full itinerary for our eight-day Coastal Croatia trip here.

Best time to visit Croatia

Like much of Europe’s Mediterranean nations, it’s hard to argue against summer as the best time to visit Croatia. Anytime between May and August offers you the kind of sun-drenched weather that should always accompany gorgeous seaside towns, shimmering ocean waters and glowing sandy beaches. That said, if you’re not too bothered about the quality of weather, shoulder seasons remain pleasant enough as a lower cost, crowd-free alternative. Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park are both particularly beautiful in March, April, September and October. If you’re more interested in exploring culturally rich cities like Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb, then winter can be a real cost saver. Do just bear in mind that this country’s tourist season very much revolves around summer, so flights might be harder to come by and some resorts will close off-season.

What to do in Croatia

You can roughly divide Croatia’s main attractions into three categories – the coast, inland nature and old medieval cities. The seaside here is stupendously beautiful, and there’s an awful lot of it for a relatively small country. You can’t really go wrong with tracing as much of the coastline as you can, discovering hidden coves, sandy beaches and charming little seaside towns along the way. There are also dozens of islands and hundreds of islets dotted along the Dalmatian Coast, making Croatia an incredible sailing destination. Even if you don’t want to turn it into a yachting trip, visits to the overgrown former military base on Vis, or the gorgeous beaches of Korcula, are well worth scheduling in.

So much focus is placed on the sea that Croatia’s inland beauty is often overlooked. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most uniquely beautiful parks in all of Europe, characterised by cascading waterfalls, limestone canyons and emerald green terraced lakes. Krka National Park also has its fair share of beautiful waterfalls, most famously Skradinski Buk, one of Croatia’s most beloved sights. A hike in Plitvice or a boat tour through Krka will show you a totally different layer to this country’s natural beauty.

Krka National Park proves that inland Croatia is just as pretty as the coast

No visit to Croatia is complete, meanwhile, without at least one medieval old town being explored. Dubrovnik is the most popular, thanks to Game of Thrones. While the tourist levels post GoT have reached almost unsustainable levels, it is still more than worth visiting thanks to the stunning architecture on display. Split offers a slightly more laid-back feel, with an open-space marina full of charming little bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for somewhere a little different, check out Pula, with its utterly magical amphitheatre.

Best beaches in Croatia

The Dalmatian Coast is lined with hundreds of incredible beaches, many of which remain largely undiscovered. This is especially true of the country’s many islands and islets which, due to their remote nature, welcome far fewer visitors than the coastlines surrounding major cities. Head to Hvar, Korcula and Vis for an excellent range of quaint beaches, such as Palmižana, Badija and Stiniva. Makarska is a mainland town with plenty of lovely stretches of sand, while Split, Pula and Dubrovnik are all surrounded by nice beaches too – just expect those to be a little busier. Read our full guide to the best beaches in Croatia to find out more.

Croatia tour – the ultimate holiday package with Culture Trip

If you want the complete Croatia experience, your best bet is booking a trip with a ready-made itinerary. There’s so much to see here, but public transport isn’t amazing, so if you want to experience multiple islands, towns and cities in one go, you’ve got a bit of a logistical nightmare on your hands. That’s where we come in with our highly knowledgable Travel Experts, who take care of all the planning and logistics, while on-the-ground Local Insiders will be there to guide you from arrival.

Are you ready to explore the Dalmatian Coast with us?

Our trip starts in Split, before winding down the coast to Dubrovnik. You’ll get a guided tour of Split’s ancient old town, as well as a night of stargazing from the city’s hilltop observatory, before we embark on an island-hopping adventure. First there’s Vis, the former Yugoslavian military base, covered in pretty beaches and Venetian courtyards, not to mention old remnants of the military, now taken over by Mother Nature. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the island for yourself in between a guided tour of the old base and a cave-spotting boat tour, before we hop onto our next island, Korcula, famous for its spectacular medieval walled city on the oceanfront. You’ll visit a local museum, explore densely forested landscapes and cycle to Lumbarda for a wine tasting before returning to the mainland.

En route back to the mainland we’ll stop off at Ston, famous for having some of the best oysters on the planet. After slurping down a fresh batch, we’ll finally make our way to Dubrovnik, for a walking tour of the city’s narrow alleyways and many hidden secrets. Not bad for just eight days’ work!

Sold on our Coastal Croatia tour? Browse the full itinerary and book your spot on a trip today!

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