Croatia is one hell of a beautiful country and choosing where to spend your precious holiday days in this part of the Balkans can be tricky. I spent eight days road tripping around this stunning part of Southwest Europe with the girls(We also did Montenegro and Bosnia too- keep an eye out for posts). On reflection I have handpicked the top four must see places in Croatia, just for you (hey I wouldn’t want you to miss a pretty thing).
Krka National Park
Krka National Park is often second guessed when compared to the tourist treasure that is Plitvce Lakes National Park. If you aren’t aware of Plitive, pop Croatia into google and I assure you will receive an image back of the cascading waterfalls. None the less, Krka is a less tourist trampled beauty that you must see for yourself when in Croatia.
There are tonnes of opportunity to explore all the spectacular scenery and natures finest in the 142 square km park here at Krka. You will find seven waterfalls here with the most dramatic being the Scradinski Buk.
People swim at the base of this waterfall in the pristine waters, so don’t forget your swimwear when coming here! Aside from the beautiful waterfalls and gorges, there are over 800 species of fauna in Krka National Park. Other areas of interest within the park area are Visovac and Roski Slap.
How to get to Krka National Park
Krka is an ideal day trip from Split, in under two hours if you are travelling by car. You can also go on a day tour here. These organised tours usually start at 9am and finish at 6pm. Tickets should cost no more than €40.
Top tips for visiting Krka National Park
It goes without saying but wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking to be done in Krka and speaking from my own experience wandering round on the stony surfaces in gladiator sandals, well it isn’t exactly ideal.
Again bring your bikinis and swimming togs and enjoy what is defined as the best calcium carbonate waterfall in Europe.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s most famed national park boasting 16 terraced lakes joined with waterfalls. A truly impressive park that it comes as no surprise that it’s listed as a UNESCO world heritage site (well-deserved indeed). There is a plethora of wooden footbridges to stroll along and bask in the surrounding views at Plitvice. People spend on average six hours explore the Plitivice lakes although to fully take in the immense surroundings I suggest spending as long as possible.
How to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park
Getting to Plitvice from either Zagreb or Zadar is easy. Journey time from Zadar is two hours. It’s possible to do a day trip from Zadar to Plitvice however with the amount of time you need to spend in the park to fully appreciate it, it will be a very long day. It’s also an option to do a day trip from Split which will take eight hours in total.
Top tips for visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park
If you don’t like the sounds of strolling round the park for six hours straight then you can take advantage of the free buses and boats that transport people around the park. You can catch the bus up to the upper lakes and have yourself a stroll back down. Just an FYI the upper lakes were my favourite and are where you can see the most fascinating views.
If you want to avoid the crowds and claim those people free shots, it’s advisable to arrive as early as possible. Tour buses will start arriving shortly after 9am. Another wise suggestion is to visit off season like we did (mid-April) as the crowds will be smaller than peak summer time.
There is no swimming allowed at Plitvice despite all the waters here looking terribly inviting.
Is Plitvice Lakes National Park the most impressive thing you will see in Croatia? Well 15,000 people come here a DAY in peak season, so that’s saying something!
The walls of Dubrovnick
Think of those incredible rooftop scenes you watch on Game of Thrones, then get your ass up the walls of Dubrovnick(the biggest attraction here) and take in the sick views of the orange rooftops from a height. The walls stretch a distance of 1.2 miles and are the most important noted feature in all of Dubrovnick.
Walking along the medieval walls helps you grasp why Dubrovnick is better known as the pearl of the Adriatic. It’s not only walls you will see as you encircle the historic city because you will also witness many forts, bastions and towers.
How to get to the walls of Dubrovnick
The walls are located in the old town of Dubrovnick just inside Pile Gate, to the left. You will see many signs directing you there and the city walls themselves are pretty hard to miss, to be fair!
Tips for visiting the walls of Dubrovnick
Buy your tickets directly outside the entrance to the city walls. They cost 150 kuna which is about €20. Head to the walls as early as you can to avoid the crowds and to make it round the walls before it gets to the hottest part of the day. Bring bottled water with you as there is a lack of cafes/shops up at the walls.
Sea Organ and Greeting to the sun in Zadar
If Zadar is on your list when visiting Croatia, promise me you will not miss the opportunity to see the Sea Organ and Greeting to the sun, OK? The sea organ is built into the surface of the sea and is a set of musical pipes that create music once the waves crash off them. How impressive is that?
This is the best place to come to on the promenade in Zadar and watch the sun set while having music playing in the background. It kind of reminds me of the relaxing and soothing music that is played when you are at the beauticians. Sounds heavenly doesn’t it?
A stone’s throw away from the sea organ is another wonder in its own right, the greeting to the sun display. It is a spatial installation consisting of 300 multilayered glass panels. This is where it is said you will see the best sunset in the world (well apparently Alfred Hitchcock claimed this and I think we will have to agree with him there). Although as a side note, Santorini in Greece is another divine location to catch a world renowned sunset and I am torn as to which is my favourite.
How to get to the sea organ and the greeting to the sun
Both are located on Zadar waterfront in the old town, just follow the music and bright lights (oh and the crowds of course).
Top tips for visiting the sea organ and the greeting to the sun
Visit in the evening time before the sun sets as during the day it is less stunning. The evening time is when you will see the colorful displays light up the promenade on the greeting to the sun.
So there you have four equally amazing things to see on a trip to Croatia( i wish i could go back and do it all again). Realistically I could have easily included forty things on this must see list in Croatia, but these four are ones i know that everybody would love. So if you planning a trip to Croatia, you honestly shouldn’t miss any of the above!
Would these be your top picks in Croatia? Let me know in the comments below!
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