croatian holiday
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Must See Croatia Highlights

You’re planning a Croatian holiday but not sure which of the remarkable landscapes, stunning beaches or historic sites to visit?….Well let us share with you some of our Croatian Holiday Hotspots.

Zagreb

Zagreb, usually overlooked and typically used as a stop over before touring the Dalmatian Coast, is a beautiful town. This town is filled with galleries, museums, historic monuments. The  picturesque cobbled streets lead to fresh markets and clothing boutiques.

Zagreb has both an Upper and Lower town; The Upper town known as Gornji Grad, a medieval town boasting historic churches and museums. A must see in Upper town is the Church of St. Marks.  See the infamous patriotic red, white and blue roof tiles bearing the coats of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, and Zagreb City. Another attraction you must see is the unique and appealing Museum of Broken Relationships. Here you will find exhibitions of compelling and heartbreaking stories of “broken relationships” told through personal belongings. In the lower town experience the sights, scents and sounds of the Dolac market, Ban Jelačić Square, Ilica street, the Zagreb cathedral and more.

 Istria

The stunning triangular peninsula in north-west Croatia, known as Istria is only a ferry ride away from Venice. This is the perfect destination for foodies, history buffs and beach lovers. The rolling hills of central Istria offer a scenic backdrop to its delightful medieval hilltop villages.

Istria is also home to the eastern seafront city of Pula with its’ spectacular beaches and ancient roman ruins. Here you will find the most popular of all roman ruins, the well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre.  This authentic space doubles as a venue for concerts and festivals in the summer. Another town not to be missed is the “smallest town in the world”: Hum. With only two streets and a population of just over 20 people, there isn’t very much to do in terms of tourist attractions. However, the scenery is breathtaking and you can’t go past trying the local brandy, Humska Biska, made with mistletoe. Other notable towns in Istria include the coastal town of Rovinj, and the town of Poreč which is home of the UNESCO site, Euphrasian Basilica.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

The most popular of all Croatia’s national parks; Plitvice Lakes National Park has sixteen interconnecting clear emerald blue lakes flowing into countless waterfalls. Set in dense forests of trees Plitvice is home to local wildlife including bears, wolves and over 120 species of birds.  Plitvice Lakes National Park boasts mesmerising waterfalls filling pristine lakes, surrounded by beautiful forests and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Experiencing the National Park on foot can take upwards of six hours.  There are 18 km of wooden walkways and footbridges winding through the park and along the edges of the lakes.  So it is worthwhile to try out the free bus and boat facilities.  These options can save you at least 2 hours, and still allow you to venture into the park on foot.

It doesn’t matter if you visit the lakes in summer or winter; the National Park is beautiful all year round. While in summer there are more activities to undertake and a lot more people about; in winter,  the sometimes frozen falls provide another kind of magic in this world famous park!

Split

Bordering the Adriatic Sea, is Croatia’s second largest city, Split. At the centre of the city you will find World Heritage Site, Diocletian’s Palace built by Roman Emperor Diocletian. The Palace is one of the most imposing Roman ruins in existence. Built as a military fortress, imperial residence and fortified town, the palace covers 38,700 square metres. Still within the Diocletian Palace walls, is the Peristyle square, the most popular among the Split attractions. Surrounded by columns, it is the centre of cultural life in Split, where the extraordinary acoustics provide a perfect location for the cultural and musical events of the Split Summer Festival.  Although the Palace takes up a large portion of the town, there is still so much more to see and do in Split.

Another great monument is the Cathedral of St Domnius; previously a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Diocletian which was destroyed in the 5th Century, and in its place a cathedral was built. The stunning cathedral has a bell tower and for a nominal fee, you can climb to the top and take in the spectacular view.

Dubrovnik

Situated in the south, fronting the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik has to be Croatia’s most enchanting seaside city. On UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Old city of Dubrovnik is the perfect place to begin your Dubrovnik adventure. Unrivalled with ancient city walls, scenic views, Baroque buildings, marble streets and picturesque squares, Dubrovnik is a city like no other with a celebrity status to match. Any Game of Thrones fan will recognise this stunning seaside locale and imposing walls as King’s Landing, the kingdom’s capital city and home of the Iron Throne.  Beyond the historic sites and recent claim to fame, Dubrovnik is the perfect place to undertake a sailing adventure.  Take to the Adriatic via yacht or gulet or simply stroll through this picture postcard town stopping along the way at the many restaurants and bars on offer.

References:  Thank you to Lonely Planet, Planetware, Split Attractions, more Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Passe Partout Homes, Chasing the Donkey and Adventuro Tourism
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