Experience Croatia in a meaningful way
Discover the most popular places in Croatia and find out what makes them so charming and magnetic for visitor from all around the world.
Take a scenic route to off-beat destinations, where people will greet you with a smile and feed you their best home cooked food. Few locals know those hidden gems: I am your gal.
Focus on these three treasures to have an experience of a lifetime
Forget a classic map of Croatia. Find travel experiences that match your sensibility. Only then you will cherish your holiday forever.
Croatian people are your best source of information. They will share all the hard-to-get intel and point you to places and events that rarely get advertised. Make friends with them and every place in Croatia will feel extra special.
We have stunning nature and gorgeous historic cities. But underneath this there is a wealth of stories and legends. When you hear this local lore, every building, street, mountain peak or a beach will shine in a different light.
Everything that gets advertised as a tourist sight is geared for the masses. It's a packaged tourist experience that has little to do with the local way of life. Find the uncharted: off-the-beaten-path places with the micro local vibe.
When you think Croatia, you think bright golden sun and crystal blue sea. Yes, all along our coast you will love our beaches and our fabulous Adriatic Sea. Try different places, such as Istria, Kvarner, countless islands and small inland towns.
Zagreb was for a long time a stop-over place en route to the Croatian coast. Not anymore. Our capital is an elegant mix of the central European architecture and the Mediterranean lifestyle. It teems with history and exciting outdoor events.
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From the hilly Međimurje, sweeping plains of Slavonia, to the rugged mountains of Lika and Gorski Kotar – continental Croatia is a true gem. There is no mass tourism; locals have time for you and the food is heavenly.
tips and tricks
Croatia is a slow burn destination. Not everything will be laid out and organized. You need to be resourceful and patient. So, here are some useful tips and tricks on how to have a great time and avoid unnecessary hassle.
Self-guided walks in Zagreb
The best way to really fall for Zagreb is to find all the nooks and crannies that are not listed in official guides. Try one of my self-guided walks that will take you on a journey to become a Zagreb native.
Why you should lose your to-do lists when travelling in Croatia and what to do instead
'Visit as few places as possible in Croatia', I usually advise people. 'Choose one destination and become a native there'. But guess what: most people don't believe me.
And I understand why.
You have limited vacation days and you look forward to your time in Croatia. It's perfectly normal to want to pack as many sights and experiences as possible. But here's the catch. The number of sights you whizz through diminishes the depth of your experience.
The absolute best way to travel in Croatia is to experience the way we live here. Pick one place and emulate our lifestyle.
Take roots, even for 10 days. Learn a few local words, make friends with a waiter in your local café, get to know your favourite vendors at the farmers' market, rise early and meet local fishermen who sell their catch at the docks.
Not only will these rituals become memorable experiences. These people will also embrace you as friends and show you more hidden gems.
I say without a doubt that each place in Croatia has so much history to keep you occupied for the entire length of your holiday. For example, when I took the course to become a certified tourist guide, my challenge was to make a small village in continental Croatia appealing to foreign visitors.
Once I started digging into the cultural history of the village and its surroundings, I found so many stories I had a hard time choosing only one.
Remember, even though Croatia is a popular tourist destination, much of our heritage is still underexplored. Or better said, it's not packaged and presented for visitors.
In my mind, this is the best thing about Croatia. Apart from Dubrovnik and Hvar, most places feel incredibly genuine. You won't find staged tourist areas that feel like a theme park. But equally, this means you will have to use your own initiative to uncover those precious experiences.
Stay put in one location and its character will slowly reveal itself to you.
How to choose your Croatian travel route
It's unofficial, but some people say there are three large areas you can focus on in Croatia. Istria, Dalmatia and the continent.
The reason behind this thinking is a peculiar geographical division of Croatia. For such a small country, Croatia is unbelievably diverse. We have the coast that is about 1000 km long, with more than a thousand islands.
The easiest route is to pick up a car and just drive along the Adriatic. This way you can visit our most popular cities, such as Dubrovnik, Split, Šibenik and Zadar. If you start your journey from Zagreb, you can stop and see the Plitvice Lakes in the mountainous area that separates the inland from the coast.
Istria is the largest peninsula in Croatia. It is often called little Tuscany for its amazing food and wine experiences. So, many people decide to spend their entire holiday just roaming around there.
Another option is to go island hopping. The busiest ferry port is Split, from where you can reach our most popular islands. Think Brač, Hvar, Korčula, Vis. But you shouldn't forget Zadar as your entry point either. The Zadar archipelago boasts Kornati national park and many smaller islands that are not so overcrowded.
Too often continental Croatia gets either overlooked or dumped into a single destination. Yes, Zagreb is drawing more and more crowds. And some even venture out to Zagorje – the hilly area north from the capital.
But there is also Međimurje in the northernmost corner of Croatia. There is Podravina as the cradle of the Croatian naïve art. There is the fascinating Lika region, home to Nikola Tesla and Ivana Brlić Mažuranić – Croatia's foremost writer of myths and legends.
Each of these micro locations has a character of their own. The food is different, the landscape is diverse and the activities are countless.
Finally, eastern Croatia is home to three regions: Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem. These places are so different from Zagreb that they really warrant a separate trip. Their sweeping fields that lie between the rivers Drava and Danube are home to some of our best food and wine. And they too are built on the remains of prehistoric cultures, such as the one from Vučedol.
Why you need a great guide and a personalized itinerary
My readers always ask me for travel advice. It goes something like this: I am planning a 10-day trip to Croatia, where should I go? For a person who travelled to every corner of Croatia, this question is impossible to answer.
Here is why.
Everyone has a different travel style. Some people love the busy urban vibe, hopping from city to city. Others just want to eat their way through Croatia. Nature lovers care little for the centenary stone cities and can't wait to row their kayak or reach a mountain summit.
When I write about places in Croatia, I am conscious of those diverse travel preferences. I like to send the right people to have the right experiences. My travelogues include the depth of information so you can get the feel for a place. Only then you can choose if this really is a somewhere where you should visit, or even take roots.
In my Croatia Insider Facebook group, I get questions from seasoned travellers. For example, they ask me which archeological sites are best to visit in Croatia. I love those questions because I know exactly what these people are looking for.
Someone is a wine lover. Hey, I love nothing better than to get into the nitty gritty of Croatia's wine regions. The list of our indigenous wines has no end. But I would never give that kind of advice to someone who is only after the sea and the sun.
Giving people travel advice is a two-way street. When I know who you are and what you love, I can serve you the Croatia that is best for you. The kind of experience you will never have if you only read a mainstream guidebook.
You could say I know too much about Croatia. Let me pick your brain about what you want and you can pick mine about how to get it.
So, let's start this journey with this super helpful quiz. Take it and you will get a good idea which places in Croatia should be on your itinerary.
Go to the quiz below!
Take the travel quiz and get your custom itinerary
Take this travel quiz and find out which places in Croatia you should visit. The answers will match your unique travel stye and sensibility. At the end of the quiz, I will send you a FREE guide with my personalized list of recommendations.