By Ciaran Brooks
Ancient cities, breathtaking scenery, and the sparkling Adriatic sea – Croatia offers one of the most stunning holiday backdrops in Europe. Whether you want to dive into history, sail between islands, or relax on the beach, you’re bound to find your ideal getaway here.
Not sure where to stay in Croatia, or what kind of accommodation to choose? To pack as much as possible into your trip for a truly memorable experience, a self-catering rental provides the perfect base. The money you’ll save over purchasing a package holiday can go towards excursions and experiences – not to mention the delicious local produce!
North, south, inland, or on the coast, Croatia is bursting with things to see and do. Here are some suggestions:
Image by fjakone, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)
Explore Dubrovnik’s Old Town
It’s hard not to fall in love with Dubrovnik’s charming streets. The old town dates from the 13th century, and you’ll be surprised by how little has changed. This makes it a great place to soak up Croatian history. Stroll along the elegant Strada shopping street, or walk the medieval city walls. Make sure and stop at the Rector’s Palace, which you might recognise from its appearance on Game of Thrones!
Image by 29cm, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)
Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park
This national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located inland, in the northern half of the country, it is an absolute must-see if you’re staying within driving distance. The park boasts sixteen stunning lakes, countless waterfalls, and lush forests. You can explore on foot, by bus, or even go rowing on one of its lakes.
Lounge on stunning Adriatic beaches
Croatia is home to some picture-perfect beaches. Golden Horn Beach on the island of Brac is perhaps the most famous, known for its unique horn shape. Mountains and forests rise high behind this idyllic sunbathing spot. It’s also pebble beach, which means that the waters are crystal clear, and perfect for snorkelling.
Eat, drink, and shop inside a Roman palace
In southern Croatia, the city of Split is remarkable because it’s old town lies inside the walls of the 4th century Diocletian’s Palace. You’ll find shops, cafes, restaurants, and even apartments nestled inside these ancient walls. Make sure and visit at night when the ambient lighting and street performances bring the area to life.
Go hiking in Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a region of outstanding natural beauty. With a choice of rugged mountains, lush valleys, rivers, and lakes to explore, it is a hiker’s dream destination. Near Split, the Mosor Mountain offers a climb that all levels of expertise will enjoy. And those that make the trek are rewarded with incredible panoramic views from the top.
Hop between islands
There are thousands of islands scattered along the Croatian coastline, making it the perfect place to go if you’re looking for that perfect island paradise. One archipelago, the Elaphite Islands, lies off the coast near Dubrovnik. A short boat trip will take you to Sipan, Kolocep, or Lopud, the three main islands. Here, you can hike, sunbathe, or take to the waters in one of Croatia’s most serene areas.
Inspired? Browse our selection of Croatian villas and take the first step towards the holiday of your dreams.
A former history graduate, Ciaran Brooks’ love for old stories has led him around the world. A self-confessed adventurer, he fell into travel writing after his blog chronicling his year in Thailand was picked up by a national paper.