The 13 best places to visit in Croatia

 

Built in 1967 in the northern centre of the country, located to the south east of the capital, Zagreb, is the Monument To The Revolution Of The People Of Moslavina, a huge and unusual World War II Soviet memorial. The sculpture is one of many Brutalist style monuments within the Balkans region.

13. Spomenik Revolucije Naroda Moslavine

 

In the far south east of the country, close to the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina is the seasonal Blue Lake, lying within a deep sinkhole possibly created by the collapse of an enormous cave. The lake, surrounded by mountains and rolling hills has become a favourite among visiting hikers.

12. Modro Jezero

 

In the west of the country,​ covering an area of some 109 square kilometres (42 square miles) is the Northern Velebit National Park, encompassing the northern section of the Velebit Mountains, the largest range in Croatia. Such is the protected status of the park, visitors are restricted to the designated trails. Considered the best of these is the Premužić's Trail, running through what is regarded the most interesting and beautiful parts of the park. From its numerous peaks it offers magnificent views over the mountain forests, the Adriatic Sea and many Croatian Islands.

11. Nacionalni Park Sjeverni Velebit

 

On the extreme north eastern coast,​ north from the city of Pula on the Istrian Peninsual is the city of Rovinj, its old town situated on a headland in the Adriatic Sea. The old town is certainly the highlight of the city, the houses tightly packed down to the seafront, the narrow cobbled streets lined with tall colourful buildings, washing hanging from the balconies above the long alleyways of steps and arches. Dominating the skyline is the 60 metre (197 ft) tower of the Church Of St. Euphemia. Built in 1736 AD in a Baroque style, the view from the tower is the best in the city.

10. Rovinj

 

Slightly to the west of the city of Split lies the historic city of Trogir, the best preserved Romanesque Gothic complex in the whole of central Europe. Situated on a small island in the Adriatic Sea, connected to the mainland by a relatively small bridge, its preserved old town and medieval centre is known for its mix of Renaissance, Baroque, Gothic, Venetian and Romanesque buildings. Still surrounded by its ancient walls, the old town houses a well preserved castle, tower and a series of churches and palaces from various periods of history. The entire historic city of Trogir has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured from the bell tower of the 13th century Cathedral Of St. Lawrence.

9. Trogir

Lying off the Dalmatian coast in the Adriatic Sea, situated directly south of Split is the island of Hvar, home to the city of the same name. One of the oldest towns in Europe, its history as an important port town has seen it shaped by the Ancient Greeks, the Venetian Empire and Austrian Empire. Still encircled by the original 13th century defensive walls, the highlights of the city include the main square, St. Stephens Cathedral and bell tower, the Loggia and clock tower as well as the imposing hilltop Hvar Fortress. From its high vantage point the fortress offers visitors beautiful sweeping views over the city, the harbour and nearby islands.

8. Hvar

 

In the far northern centre of the country, close to the border with Slovenia is the capital and largest city of Croatia, Zagreb. Distinguished by its 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture, the historical part of the old city is a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and large imposing government buildings. The cities most notable landmarks are the twin spire Gothic Zagreb Cathedral and the 13th century St. Marks Church with its colourfully tiled roof. For the best view in town visitors should head to the 16th floor of the Zagreb Tower. For the cost of around £7.50 the Zagreb 360 Observation Deck allows for the finest panoramic view over the central square and rooftops of Zagreb.

Pictured from the Zagreb 360 Observation Deck.

7. Zagreb

Located on the Dalmatian coast between the cities of Zadar and Dubrovnik is the city of Split, the second largest city in the country it is considered one of the most picturesque in Croatia. Home to Diocletian's Palace, built in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor of the same name, the complex of white stone walls and courtyards was once home to thousands of people, with its sprawling remains today including more than 200 buildings. So huge is the structure it accounts for over half of the old town. One of the most visited locations in Croatia, Diocletian's Palace at the historical heart of Split has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

6. Split

 

In the far north west of the country, located at the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula is the seafront city of Pula, known for its Roman ruins. Notable and well preserved Roman structures include the Arch of The Sergii and the Temple Of Augustus, both built as part of the ancient Roman forum in the 1st century AD during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. The jewel of the city though is undoubtedly Pula Arena, constructed around 27 BC it is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have all four side towers still intact, and is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world. It is the single best preserved monument in the country.

5. Pula

North east from the city of Zadar is the 95 square kilometre (36 square mile) Paklenica National Park, a protected area that encompasses the southern slopes of the Velebit Mountains. The most notable sights in the park include the impressive canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, surrounded by mountains and covered in forest, the steep cliffs of the gorges can reach up to 700 metres (2,296 ft) above the valley floor.

4. Nacionalni Park Paklenica

 

Between the cities of Zadar and Split is the 109 square kilometre (42 square mile) Krka National Park, the second most visited natural site in Croatia. Named after the Krka River, it is a place of exceptional beauty famed for its huge, clear natural pools fed by cascading waterfalls. Another place to note within the park is the Visovac Island. A small island within a lake that houses a monastery, a scene reminiscent of Bled Island in Slovenia.

3. Nacionalni Park Krka

In the extreme south of the country, situated on the Dalmatian coast is the city of Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl Of The Adriatic it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. An important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onward, the city achieved a high level of wealth and development during the 15th and 16th centuries, much of which has survived to modern day. Although severely damaged by the earthquake of 1667 AD and the armed conflict of the 1990's, Dubrovnik has managed to preserve many beautiful Gothic, Renaissance, Venetian and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. The narrow tightly knit streets still surrounded by 2 kilometres of its ancient walls has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Dubrovnik

 

In the northern centre of the country, covering a highly protected area of some 295 square kilometres (114 square miles) close to the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina is the world famous Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of the oldest national parks in southern Europe, as well as the largest and most visited in Croatia. Mostly made up of forest reserve, it has become world famous for its chain of 16 cascading terraced lakes joined by waterfalls renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey to blue, changing constantly depending on the mineral content and angle of sunlight. Often cited as the ultimate must see national park of Europe, it is certainly one of the finest locations on the continent. A jewel of nature, a protected natural wonder of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Nacionalni Park Plitvicka Jezera

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