Best Things to do in Croatia

The 25 Best Things to do in Croatia

The place where age-old walled towns stand side-by-side with sandy golden bays and dazzling sapphire waters, Croatia is a place brimming with beauty. The sea here is staggeringly clear and hosts a number of rocky islets where you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of life back home.

Whether you want to spend your time exploring magnificent palaces and wandering through centuries-old streets or getting back to nature at stunning national parks and dreamy blond beaches, you’ll never be stuck for amazing things to do in Croatia!

Visit during summer, and you’ll have the chance to celebrate at some of the most amazing beach parties and music festivals in the world. Or, plan your trip for winter for the chance to discover majestic frozen waterfalls, cool ski resorts, and festive Christmas markets.

With such a fantastic choice of things to see and do, it can be a challenge to know where to begin. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the absolute best things to do in Croatia. Add these activities and attractions to your Croatia bucket list, and you’re guaranteed to have an incredible time exploring this gorgeous part of the world!

25 Fun and Unique Things to Do In Croatia

1. Visit the Quirky Museum of Broken Relationships

Best Things to do in Croatia: Museum of Broken Relationships

For one of the most unique things to do in Croatia, visit the Museum of Broken Relationships. Located in Zagreb, this museum opened in 2010 and is full of items from failed relationships, whether they were between family members, friends, or partners.

The Museum of Broken Relationships originally started out as a traveling museum with a small number of donated items. The displays became so popular, and so many donations were made that the museum found a permanent home in Zagreb before long.

Here you’ll find all sorts of trinkets, from photos and drawings of couples to more symbolic items, such as a “Number 2” donated by a woman whose partner never made her his number one. There are personal stories to accompany each piece, and some of them can be truly heartbreaking. 

If you need a little cheering up after the museum, check out the gift shop. Here you’ll find cute and quirky items such as a bad memories eraser. There’s also a bistro and a cafe if you need even more comfort.

Book a Museum of Broken Relationships Ticket

2. Be Part of an Amazing Beach Party at Hideout Festival

Fun Things to do in Croatia: Hideout Festival

If you’re looking for something exciting and dynamic to do during your summer trip to Croatia, check out Hideout Festival. Held every July on the island of Pag, this amazing festival takes place over five stages located directly on the beach and over the sea.

While the lineup changes every year, you can be sure to see some of the most incredible dance music DJs, artists, and bands from all over the world perform. CamelPhat, Sonny Fodera, Jamie Jones, Skream, and Bad Boy Chiller Crew are just some of the famous names that have taken to the stage.

The incredible music festival has sold out every single year since it began in 2011. To avoid disappointment, we definitely suggest you check out the website and grab tickets as soon as you can.

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3. Take a Boat Trip to the Blue Cave

Croatia Things to do: Blue Cave

For some of the best sights in Croatia, sign up for a boat trip and head out to the Blue Cave. Also known as the Blue Grotto, this stunning natural attraction is found in the bay of Balun on the island of Biševo and looks like something from another planet!

When the sun is in just the right place, it shines through natural cracks in the cave, lighting up the waters in brilliant blue. For the most stunning view, plan your boat trip on a sunny day around noon. This is when the light and colors will look most spectacular.

You can’t visit the Blue Cave on your own – you’ve got to sign up for a guided tour. If you’re traveling from Split, we recommend this tour. You’ll stop by the Blue Cave first before heading to Stiniva Cove, famous for its crystal-clear waters. Here you can relax and swim before getting back on the boat and checking out some of Croatia’s other gorgeous islands. 

Book a Blue Cave and Islands Tour

4. Hike to the Legendary Odysseus Cave

Best Things to do in Croatia: Odysseus Cave

Hiking to the amazing Odysseus Cave on Mljet Island is one of the coolest things to do in Croatia if you want to get back to nature and get in a good workout at the same time! The hike takes about an hour to get there, plus another hour to get back to the starting point. If you’re in relatively fit condition with a decent pair of sneakers or hiking boots, you’ll be able to do it with no problems.

The hike will take you along rough terrain and along rocky edges with steep cliffs. The views along the entire journey are dazzling, but remember to look where you’re stepping! After 60 minutes of beautiful sea views, you’ll arrive at Odysseus Cave.

It’s important you pack a towel and your swimming gear because the only way you can reach the cave is if you jump into the water and swim. The water is super salty, which helps you stay afloat easily. Inside the cave, you’ll find some pink rocks you can climb onto for a break before heading back. You’ll also see countless tiny fish in the water and may even hear bats overhead.

Book an Odysseus Cave Islands Tour

5. Test Your Taste Buds With Black Risotto

Croatia Bucket List: Black Risotto

If you’re a fan of seafood, one of the must-do things in Croatia is to try black risotto. Known locally as crni rižot, this dish is made with squid or cuttlefish, garlic, olive oil, red wine, risotto rice, and squid ink. The unique final ingredient gives the dish its iconic color, as well as an intense and addictive seafood flavor.

You’ll find this dish in almost every restaurant along Croatia’s coastline. If you order it, it will temporarily turn your mouth and teeth black – but it’s worth it for the chance to try something so special and delicious!

Dalmatino Dubrovnik serves some of the very best black risotto we’ve ever had. The restaurant specializes in traditional fish and seafood dishes with a modern twist. It’s served with cuttlefish and has the most amazing texture and flavor combo. If you’re not too sure about the squid ink, the restaurant also serves a white risotto with shrimp, zucchini, and white wine.

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6. Stroll in the Footsteps of Royalty at Diocletian’s Palace

What to do in Croatia: Diocletian’s Palace

An ancient palace built for the Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century, Diocletian’s Palace is a remarkable place to explore. Located along the harbor in Split, the extraordinary complex isn’t actually an honored palace or museum. It’s the beating heart of the city, with labyrinthine streets lined with cafes, bars, restaurants, and stores.

Despite its modern use, Diocletian’s Palace is still classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and takes up most of Split’s Old Town. It was once reserved for the Diocletian and his entire military garrison, but today it’s home to around 3,000 people and countless visitors. 

With all the bustle of the area, it’s easy to forget where you actually are. Take the time to admire the centuries-old architecture when you’re there. You can easily see the original columns and arches above the stores and restaurants. If you’re fascinated by the area, you can even head underground and explore the palace’s substructure.

Book a Diocletian’s Palace Walking Tour

7. Relax on Croatia’s Best Beach

Unique Things to do in Croatia: Best Beach

When you need a break from all the Croatia sightseeing, spend a few hours at Zlatni Rat Beach on the island of Brač. Easily the best beach in Croatia, this glamorous bay boasts a V-shaped golden shore, with aquamarine waters on one side and a thick forest on the other.

The beach stretches on for 0.5 kilometers, and there’s a huge number of sun loungers and umbrellas available to hire, so you’ll never struggle to get a spot. If you don’t want to pay extra for a lounger, you can always lay your towel down close to the trees and enjoy the natural shade.

One of the most interesting things about Zlatni Rat Beach is that it changes depending on the tide, current, and wind. Sometimes the tip of the shore becomes displaced and forms a small pool where you can bathe. 

While the beach can sometimes get windy, its unique shape means that one side is always calm and pleasant. If you’re looking for beautiful Croatia attractions, Zlatni Rat Beach won’t disappoint.

Book a Zlatni Rat Beach Trip

8. Go Rafting on the Cetina River

Must do things in Croatia: Cetina River

Whether you’re an experienced rafter looking for high-speed thrills or a newbie searching for something a little calmer, you’ll find just what you’re looking for on the Cetina River. This stunning body of water features everything from gentle sections where the water hardly moves up to third-grade rapids guaranteed to excite even the most adventurous rafters. 

The recommended rafting route follows an 11-kilometer course with a difference in altitude of 30 meters. If you know what you’re doing, you can hire gear and go rafting independently. But if you’re not an expert, we recommend signing up for a tour instead.

This Cetina River rafting tour includes high-speed whitewater rafting, plus the chance to explore a mysterious cave, shower under a thundering waterfall, and go cliff jumping off 5-meter-tall rocks. It’s the perfect tour if you want to explore Croatia’s natural side while pushing yourself to the limit!

Book a Cetina River Rafting Tour

9. Explore one of the Oldest Towns in Europe

Best Things to do in Croatia: Oldest Town in Europe

Make your way over to Stari Grad for one of the coolest things to do in Croatia. One of the oldest towns in Europe, Stari Grad is often skipped by visitors who are more intrigued by Hvar town’s party scene. But if you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply exploring beautiful places, you’ll have a fantastic time here.

Boasting a distinctly local vibe, Stari Grad offers loads of things to see and do. Wander along the palm tree-fringed promenade lined with Venetian Renaissance buildings, al fresco restaurants, and rustic tavernas. Take a stroll through Srinjo Kola and check out all the souvenir stores and delis. Or admire the magnificent Tvrdalj Palace, with its manicured gardens, flower-clad terraces, and saltwater pools.

If you’re planning on being in Stari Grad at sunset, we suggest you make your way to Glavica Hill. This is the highest point in the town and is the absolute best place to watch the sun dip into the horizon.

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10. Try the One-of-a-Kind Peka

Best Things to do in Croatia: Peka

For a true taste of Croatia, find a local restaurant and order peka. This classic dish is made of meat and vegetables, which are cooked over burning embers in a fireplace. An iron or terracotta lid is then placed on top to keep the heat in as everything slowly bakes for around 2 hours. 

Peka can be made with any meat, although chicken, lamb, and veal are the most common. Seafood is sometimes used, too. Peka made with octopus is particularly great because it comes out really tender and succulent after cooking for so long.

Because so much work goes into making it, some restaurants require you to pre-order peka in advance. If you’re prepared, we definitely recommend you do because it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted before!

Konoba Dubrava is one of the best places in Croatia to try peka. This restaurant serves traditional food from Dubrovnik and specializes in this ancient dish. You need to order each portion at least 3 hours in advance here. They make it the traditional way and you can really tell!

Book a Dalmatian Foodies Tour

11. Snap Photos of the Stunning Lavender Fields

Unique Things to do in Croatia: Lavender Fields

If you’re into photography, one of the best things to do in Croatia is to take a trip to a lavender farm. You’ll find countless fields of blooming lavender all along Croatia’s coast, especially on the island of Hvar. July and August are the best times to admire the flowers, but you can often see them in the late spring and early fall, too.

The sight of thousands of lavender flowers spread out as far as the eye can see is so phenomenal you’ll definitely want to capture it on film. The smell is honestly out of this world. It’s such a shame that you can’t experience smells from pictures!

Just 50 years ago, Hvar was responsible for 8% of the world’s lavender production. Today you can still buy all kinds of lavender souvenirs, which have been produced on the island. Decorative lavender, lavender essential oils, and lavender flavoring for baking are three of the best gifts to take home with you.

12. Hunt for Truffles in Istria

Croatia Bucket List: Hunt for Truffles

Hunting for truffles is an amazing experience if you like to get creative in the kitchen. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, searching for truffles on your own can be difficult (and dangerous if you’re not a fungi expert), so we suggest you join this group truffle hunting tour for the best experience.

When you sign up for a tour, not only will you be able to relax, knowing you’re in great hands. But you’ll also be accompanied by a couple of truffle-sniffing dogs who will do all the hard work for you!

You’ll head out into the Motovun forest on a guided walking tour with other truffle-enthusiasts in search of the pricey gourmet ingredients. The dogs will sniff out the general location of the truffles, and then it’s time for you to search the soil to uncover them. 

At the end of the trip, you’ll also get the chance to stop by a local restaurant and dig into a traditional dish featuring truffles.

Book a Truffle Hunting Walking Tour

13. Party for Days at the InMusic Festival

Croatia Things to do: InMusic Festival

One of the most fun things to do in Croatia in June is to check out the InMusic Festival. The biggest open-air rock festival in the country, this giant music event is held each summer on the isles of Lake Jarun over the course of 2 to 4 days.

Although rock is the main music theme, you’ll hear everything from electronica and pop to indie rock and heavy metal here. The lineup changes each year, but it’s always spectacular and features the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, the Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Billy Idol, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the Deftones.

Performances are held simultaneously across a number of stages, so whatever type of music you’re into, there’ll always be something interesting going on. Tickets for individual days are available to buy. But for a truly immersive experience, consider splashing out on a 7-day festival camping ticket, so you never have to leave!

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14. Wander around Dubrovnik’s Old Town

Croatia Bucket List: Dubrovnik’s Old Town

There are plenty of ancient places to explore in Croatia, but Dubrovnik’s Old Town is one of the most enchanting and alluring. Reaching out into the Adriatic Sea with the magnificent rugged limestone mountains as its backdrop, this historic town is bursting with things to see and do.

Just taking a gentle stroll through the town’s streets is a wonderful experience. There are countless alleyways to explore, ancient white limestone buildings to admire, and rustic terracotta roofs reminiscent of a time gone by.

If you prefer to follow an itinerary, take a walk around the walls that surround the city – they date back to the 12th century and are declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You should also ride the cable car up to Mount Srđ for amazing views, visit the Old Pharmacy Museum (a medieval pharmacy that’s been operating for more than 700 years!), and explore Rector’s Palace, the most historic monument in Dubrovnik.

Book a Dubrovnik Old Town Walking Tour

15. Stroll through the Bay of Abandoned Hotels

What to do in Croatia: Bay of Abandoned Hotels

If you’re a fan of quirky, off-the-beaten-track things to do while you’re on vacation, check out the Bay of Abandoned Hotels. One of the most unusual Croatia attractions, this place is just over 9 kilometers from Dubrovnik and can easily be reached from the city by catching bus number 10.

The Bay of Abandoned Buildings is a deserted complex of hotels that were once some of the most popular vacation destinations in Croatia. Many prominent Yugoslav officials used to spend their summer here. During the Yugoslav war in the 1990s, the area was heavily damaged and left to rot. 

As every building here has been completely neglected and forgotten, you’re free to wander wherever you like without running the risk of trespassing. You can even climb to the top of the most intact buildings and enjoy spectacular views of the sea and mountains.

If you need a break, relax at the small beach. Because it’s so out of the way from the rest of the cities and resorts, there’s a good chance you’ll be the only one there!

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16. Lose Yourself in the Plitvice Lakes National Park

Best Things to do in Croatia: Plitvice Lakes National Park

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of those places that you need to see to believe. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park is the largest in Croatia and covers almost 30,000 hectares of pure, natural beauty.

Here you’ll find 16 glittering turquoise lakes, more than 90 cascading waterfalls, a huge number of fascinating hiking trails, and more panoramic views than you could ever imagine. A wonderful place to connect with nature, the park is also home to rare birds, boars, wolves, bears, and deer – so be on the lookout!

Here you can wander around one of the most stunning places in Croatia for as long as you like. Follow one of the recommended routes or do your own thing and walk along whichever paths take your fancy.

Although the Plitvice Lakes National Park is best visited in summer, it’s a magical place to visit in the colder months, too. When it’s covered in ice and snow, the park turns into a real winter wonderland full of incredible photo opportunities.

Book a Plitvice Lakes National Park Tour

17. Tour the ‘Game of Thrones’ Sites

Croatia Bucket List: Game of Thrones

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, one of the top things to do in Croatia is to take a tour to see the famous filming sites. Some of the most memorable parts of the series were filmed in Split, Dubrovnik, and Lokrum Island, where you’ll find many different tours led by expert fans.

On this walking tour, you’ll stop by all the major filming locations and have the chance to relive the biggest and most impressive scenes. The guided walking tour stops by places such as Cersei’s Walk of Shame, Red Keep, Blackwater Bay, and more. You’ll find out about many behind-the-scenes secrets and even get to take a picture on the Iron Throne with Dragon.

For something even better, check out this Game of Thrones cruise tour. You’ll get to sail on the same ship that Daenerys Targaryen sailed on and sip a Game of Thrones cocktail while you get all the insider info.

18. Check Out Ancient Roman Ruins in Pula

What to do in Croatia: Ancient Roman Ruins in Pula

There are many dramatic Roman buildings scattered along Croatia’s coastline that are in great shape, despite many being more than 2,000 years old. You’ll find some of the most impressive examples in the city of Pula in Istria.

The Roman amphitheater is one of the biggest and most spectacular attractions in Pula. It’s incredibly well-preserved and is made from limestone from the 1st century BCE. It hosted animal and gladiator fights, just like the Colosseum in Rome.

If you’ve got time, we also recommend checking out the Temple of Augustus. This dramatic building is so huge and ancient that it’s hard to believe it’s still standing. It features six towering Corinthian columns and was created between 2 BC and 14 BCE.

Nearby you’ll find the ruins of the once grandiose Roman Forum. This part of the city is totally free to explore, and being here feels like walking around an open-air museum.

Book a Pula Historic Sites Walking Tour

19. Go Ziplining over the Cetina Canyon

Unique Things to do in Croatia: Cetina Canyon

Visit the Cetina Canyon and sign up for a ziplining experience when you’re in the mood for one of the most adventurous and high-speed things to do in Croatia. The incredible ziplining park is made up of eight individual ziplines which zip and zag across the river. The longest is almost 0.8 kilometers long!

You’ll soar almost 152 meters above the ground, high over the trees which look tiny when you’re so high up. From this viewpoint, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramas of the Croatian countryside and its limestone cliffs and aquamarine river.

Whether you’ve been ziplining 100 times or you’ve never even heard of it before, you’ve got to try it. The views from the top of the Cetina Canyon are some of the best we’ve ever seen, and the thrill of ziplining over the water is too spectacular to describe.

Pro tip: Make sure you wear sturdy sneakers and some thick shorts, leggings, or trousers, so the zipline harness doesn’t dig into you.

Book a Cetina Zipline Experience

20. Sip Malvazija Istarska in the Sunshine

Malvazija Istarska (also known as Malvasia Istriana) is one of the most delicious and easy-drinking white wines in Croatia. If you think you’re not a fan of wines, this is the one that will totally change your mind!

If you’re not sure which type of wine to order at a restaurant, Malvasia Istriana is always a great choice because it’s so subtle and pleasant. It goes wonderfully with grilled fish, seafood, chicken, risottos, and pastas, making it really versatile. 

The ideal thing to sip on a hot summer’s day, Malvasia Istriana has distinctive notes of apple, apricot, and peach. It’s got a wonderful freshness to liven up balmy afternoons and, when served ice-cold, will leave you feeling fantastically refreshed, no matter how hot it is.

This type of wine is so popular that you’ll find it available absolutely everywhere, from grocery stores and wine stores to cafes, bars, and restaurants.

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21. Be Amazed By Frozen Waterfalls

Must do things in Croatia: Frozen Waterfalls

One of the best winter Croatia activities is to check out the frozen waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park. Although this place is best enjoyed in the summer when the flowers and trees are in full bloom, the national park is still a charming place in winter. 

If you’ve never seen a frozen waterfall, you’re in for a real treat. They look like dramatic science experiments – as if the water was flowing as normal before someone clicked their fingers to stop time. 

Countless shades of rusty brown, cool gray, frosty white, and pale blue can be found all across the waterfalls, making the place feel more like an open-air art gallery than a national park.

There are loads of stunning hiking trails to explore, but the temperatures can get really low. Make sure you take suitable hiking boots or sneakers and enough layers to keep you warm so you can really enjoy yourself and your surroundings.

22. Attend the Oldest Street Festival in Croatia

What to do in Croatia: Oldest Street Festival

When it comes to family-friendly festivals in Croatia, Špancirfest has got to be one of the best. The oldest street festival in the country, this event has been going strong since 1991 and is spread out over 10 fantastic days.

The festival is a bright and colorful celebration of theater, music, creative arts, and food, all blended together with a lively party atmosphere. During the celebrations, the usually quiet and sleepy streets of Varaždin’s historic center are transformed into a dynamic and high-octane location for incredible performances.

Here you can witness remarkable open-air exhibitions, dance recitals, music concerts, theatrical performances, artistic studios, and delicious food as you join in with the locals to say goodbye to summer. Even after all the main performances and exhibitions have ended, the town square is still buzzing with life, as after-parties continue until the early hours of the next day.

Some of the performances are totally free to enjoy, while you’ll need to snap up tickets for others. Check out the website and find out what’s available before you go.

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23. Witness the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation

Cool Things to do in Croatia: Sea Organ and Sun Salutation

For one of the most unique things to do in Croatia, head to Zadar and admire the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation art installations. Two of the most popular attractions in the area, these pieces of art are sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

The Sea Organ is a musical instrument creatively fashioned out of holes and pipes which pierce the stone steps that descend into the water. Every time the waves crash onto the steps, they push air through the pipes, creating beautiful music similar to an organ. Plan to get there just before sunset, and you’ll get to watch the sun dipping into the horizon while listening to nature’s orchestra!

Just a few steps away, you’ll find the Sun Salutation installation. This work of art is a series of circles made from glass panels that are set into the pavement. Throughout the day, each of the panels collects solar energy. After sunset, they come to life, lighting elements below the glass panels, creating a majestic display that simulates the solar system.

Book a Zadar Sunset Tour

24. Hike in the Krka National Park

Fun Things to do in Croatia: Krka National Park

Croatia is filled with unbelievably beautiful places, and the Krka National Park is one of them you’ve absolutely got to visit. Named after the Krka River, the park covers just over 14 square kilometers and incorporates two-thirds of the river.

There are countless stunning sights to witness here, including a number of waterfalls, ranging from incredible, thunderous falls to calm, gentle falls. The most famous and dramatic waterfall is the Skradinski Buk waterfall, which is definitely worth seeking out. 

This waterfall is actually a collection of 17 waterfalls that range from less than a meter tall to an impressive 45 meters tall. Sadly, you can no longer swim in the falls, but they’re still spectacular to hike to and look at.

Some of the other parts of the park worth checking out include the tiny island of Visovac, which contains a church built in 1576. You’ll need to sign up for a boat trip to get there, which is a great excuse to see many other parts of the stunning park from a new perspective.

Book a Krka National Park Day Trip

25. Celebrate Christmas With Fritule

What to do in Croatia: Fritule

If you’re planning on visiting in the run-up to Christmas, you’re in luck! During winter, one of the best things to do in Croatia is to indulge in fritule. A traditional local dessert, this dish is made up of tiny fried balls of pastry, similar to donuts, which are stuffed full of rich rum and sweet raisins.

Fritule is considered to be a special dessert, which is why it’s usually reserved for Christmas. When you order them from a restaurant, bakery, or street food stall, you’ll often find them dusted with powdered sugar and served with lemon zest, orange peel, and sometimes even chocolate sauce.

For the ultimate festive experience, we recommend ordering some fritule from a Croatian Christmas market. The Dubrovnik Winter Festival, Advent in Zagreb, and Advent in Split are our top three favorites. There’s nothing like biting into a sweet, fluffy fritule as you wander around glittering Christmas market stalls as beautiful snowflakes fall all around you!

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There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Croatia. What’s your favorite thing to do in Croatia? 

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