Are you ready to discover 12 incredible places in Croatia? Did you know? This country has a rich historical heritage, with ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian influences. In particular, the country suffered a war of independence between 1990 and 1995, which took place in near indifference, just after the collapse of the former Yugoslav federation, and which still leaves its mark on the landscape. But it is only recently that Croatia has become a popular tourist destination, largely thanks to the Game of Thrones TV series!
Le incredibles places in Croatia to visit
Zadar is a fortified city bordered by the Adriatic Sea and mountains. Its architecture is strongly influenced by the Romans, the Venetians and the Austro-Hungarians. We had a crush on a unique work of art: the sea organs, which generate random sounds from the winds and waves of the sea as they hit the stairs that are punctured with holes.
A few kilometers from Zadar lies Nin, the first Croatian capital. With its 1256 inhabitants (2001 census), it is a very small town located on a very small island in the heart of a lagoon, but with a 3000-year history! In the cradle of Croatia and royal city, you can visit the ruins of the largest Roman temple of the Adriatic Sea, as well as the Church of the Holy Cross, which is also the smallest cathedral in the world. The kids enjoyed the sandy beach on the Nin lagoon with an exceptional view over the mountains.
Among the many national parks that we have had the opportunity to visit, Plitviče Lakes National Park is among the most beautiful. The park is composed of sixteen lakes, linked together by 92 natural waterfalls, and a water of outstanding clarity with a color ranging from emerald green to turquoise blue. It is a true natural masterpiece and a must-see in Croatia. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Founded in the 8th century, the fortress of Klis is truly impressive. From its heights, we were able to admire a superb panoramic view of the city of Split.
Split, the second largest city in the country, has the singularity of having been built from inside and then around the enormous palace of Diocletian, the Roman emperor. This site is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historic city of Trogir, another UNESCO site, was built on an island and boasts one of the highest densities of churches in the world and beautiful architectural buildings with Roman, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
In Šibenik, we were able to visit the Cathedral of Saint James (UNESCO site), a Renaissance (Italian) monument that has the particularity of being built entirely of stone, including the vault.
Novi Vinodolski is a quiet little town with a breathtaking view over the sea. That’s where we spent our last 4 nights in Croatia.
Pula is a seaside town located at the end of the Istrian peninsula. It is known for its protected harbor, its coastline with beaches and its Roman ruins, including its perfectly preserved and majestic Roman amphitheater.
One of our favorite cities of Croatia was Rovinj, nicknamed the “Little Venice of Croatia”. Originally built on an island, the city was then connected to the mainland. It offers a sublime panorama and gives the feeling of an Italian city when you walk in it.
Selce, Krk, Senj
Finally, in the vicinity of Novi Vinodolski, we enjoyed beautiful beaches with clear, turquoise waters in Selce and on the island of Krk. They were crowded with people like nowhere else in the world but Europe. The Nehaj fortress, which overlooks the sea in Senj, is also worth a visit.
For a better preparation
We used Zadar and Novi Vinodolski as base camps for trips through the coastal regions of Croatia. This is how we were able to visit Nin, Plitviče, Split, Trogir, Šibenik (pronounced chibenik), Pula, Rovinj and the island of Krk (pronounced “kelk”).
We rented Airbnb places in Zadar (6 nights) and Novi Vinodolski (4 nights). In Zadar, we stayed in a beautiful house with a very attentive owner who would treat us to fruits, vegetables and eggs every morning.
In Croatia, we were driving the car we had rented in Italy.
Croatian cuisine is very heterogeneous, each region has its own culinary traditions with influences from neighboring countries (Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Italy and the Balkans). The Croats eat a lot of meat. We enjoyed Čevapčići, a dish originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina but adopted by the Croats.
As truffle is widespread in the Istrian region, we have often seen it incorporated into pasta dishes.
We also saw a lot of Odojak, or roasted suckling pig, cooking along the roads.
Croatia is not cheap but is usually not very expensive either. The cost of our stay for our family of 4 is:
- 9411 HRK (1448 USD);
- 1046 HRK (161 USD) per day;
- 261 HRK (40 USD) per person and per day.
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Flights||0 HRK (0 USD)|
|Accomodation||3952 HRK (608 USD)|
|Transport (including gas, toll, parking)||2749 HRK (423 USD)|
|Eating out||1317 HRK (203 USD)|
|Groceries||843 HRK (130 USD)|
|Activities||550 HRK (84 USD)|
|Total||9411 HRK (1448 USD)|
In a nutshell
|Dates||2019-07-10 to 2019-07-20|
|Number of days||9|
|Cities we visited||Zadar, Split, Trogir, Sibenik, Pula, Rovinj|
|Inbound||Italy by car|
|Outbound||Italy by car|
|Mode of transport||Rental car|
|Distance travelled (car & foot)||1776 km|
|Number of photos taken||3530 (392 per day)|
|Currency||The Croatian Kuna (1 USD = 6.5 HRK)|
We left Croatia with unforgettable impressions! The quality of life along the coast is incredibly wonderful and the Croatians we met were extremely warm. We would go back there without hesitation, especially since we still have a lot of sites to discover – especially Zagreb, Dubrovnik, as well as the islands of Brač, Hvar, Vis, Korčula and Mljet – but which we hadn’t been able to do because of lack of time.
So much for Croatia! We are now looking forward to Spain!