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Where to go in Croatia – Our holiday comparison guide

Looking where to go in Croatia for your holiday this year? Croatia is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations in Europe for UK tourists and for good reason. It offers beautiful summer weather, historic seaside towns, delicious seafood and there is lots to do. It’s also much cheaper than a lot of other European holiday destinations (think Tuscany or the Cote d’Azure but without the Euro).

The options for where to go in Croatia will all depend on your personal preferences, the dates you’re visiting, your budget and other person specific considerations. As such, we’ve put together a brief snapshot of what some of the most popular areas of Croatia have to offer so you can decide for yourself which is the one for you. And you can check out the rest next time as we’re sure that you’ll be back!

Zadar

Where to go in Croatia - Shows an old bell tower and Roman ruins in the city centre

Zadar is a small historic seaside town meeting the Adriatic sea. It is quiet, pretty and has enough to do within the town and nearby for a relaxing week away. The iconic UNESCO heritage site of Krka National Park is only a short drive away and it’s a must see attraction for anyone visiting Croatia. Zadar just so happens to be the most convenient place to get there.

Cathedrals, museums and narrow ancient streets, combined with quaint restaurants and beautiful seaside views, make Zadar an ideal place for those who like a cultural city break of the relaxed nature. Zadar is a less visited area of the Croatian coastline which appeals to couples and families looking for a quiet but eventful experience of seaside living. We’d recommend visiting for a short city break or one week trip.

Highlights:

  • Krka national park – an iconic collection of waterfalls, relaxation areas and viewpoints
  • Excellently priced luxury apartment accommodation. Being a less frequented resort keeps pricing relatively low and you get more for your money
  • Rich in culture and lots of historical attractions. Check out Zadar City Gate, the unique Sea Organ attraction and join a history walking tour

Split

Shows the historic centre of Split

Split attracts tourist of all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking for a cultural and quiet break with great food and activities or well known music festivals and clubbing to rival Northern Europe, Split appeals to both. It’s slightly cheaper than Dubrovnik but offers an equal assortment of historic landmarks, a pretty harbour and picturesque old town. Diocletian’s Palace is at the centre of the old town, surrounded by 4 tall stone walls which encompass a collection of winding narrow streets, hidden restaurants and boutique shops.

It has its very own city beach and is close by to a selection of seaside resorts, where many tourists opt to rent and apartment and only visit the historic town centre (rather than stay there). Split is at its busiest in the summer months when flocks of tourists visit for ‘Yacht week’ but can also be a great place to visit in Spring and early Autumn.

Another bonus to the largest city in the Dalmatia area is the close proximity to the islands of Brac and Hvar, an idyllic setting of beaches, luxury hotels and seaside towns.

We’d recommend Split for all ages and interests, however it’s a small city and we’d recommend staying for a few days and moving on to the islands or staying in a nearby seaside resort and visiting for day trips.

Highlights:

  • The historic old town centre is the perfect place to relax on an evening and has a plethora of delicious fresh seafood restaurants. Our favourites are Konoba Marjan and Bistro Toc, set back slightly from the main tourist areas but close enough to walk to
  • Split is the ultimate party town and hosts Ultra Europe dance music festival every summer. Experience lively bars and clubs at the beach or a more chilled live music and performance atmosphere in the old town centre/harbour area
  • Excellently located for nearby seaside resorts and the islands of Brac and Hvar can easily be accessed via the Split ferry port – which you should definitely visit

Hvar & Brac

Shows a scenic view of Hvar island

If you’re looking where to go in Croatia for a relaxing beach holiday that also has boat trip adventures, panoramic island views and hidden retreats, this duo of Andaman Islands is the perfect choice. Located a short 1hr30 ferry ride from the city of Split, these small islands are an escape away from the busy mainland. Both luxury hotels and simple apartment accommodation is available to spend your holiday and each island is home to world class pebble beaches.

Enjoy boat tours and boutique shopping during the day and pass the night away in marina side seafood restaurants and buzzing beach bars. Carpe Diem beach bar was one of our favourite spots. It’s located on a secluded island which can be accessed by a boat transfer from Hvar marina. During the day, it’s a relaxed place to swim and enjoy cocktails, but it comes alive at night.

We’d recommend Brac as a destination for families or those wanting a quieter and slightly cheaper holiday. It has a beach resort allure and plenty of fun family activities. Check out our family holiday recommendation for Brac here. Hvar on the other hand is quite an all-rounder of a holiday retreat but can be a little bit more expensive. It appeals to those looking for a good nightlife, but the Amfora Grand Beach Resort can also be great for families.

Highlights:

  • Excellent for nightlife and festivals in the summer
  • Some of the best beaches in the Croatia, including the famous Zlatni Rat beach strip on Brac
  • Caters to both luxury and budget holidays

Dubrovnik

Where to go in Croatia - Shows street in Dubrovnik

Notably famous as the setting for King’s Landing in HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series, Dubrovnik is a towering city by the sea surrounded by castles and tall city walls. It’s arguably the most popular destination option for where to go in Croatia for UK holiday makers and more UK flights are jetting off for the city than ever.

Dubrovnik has plenty of things to see and do, consisting of fortresses, an iconic old town, picturesque views from the city walls and boat trips to nearby islands. It appeals to those looking for a short city break or longer one week holiday and has a number of nearby beach resorts for those looking to stay slightly out of the city. Check out our recommended family beach resorts in the Dubrovnik area here. Alternatively, if you’re only staying for a short city break and want to make the most out of your trip, browse our 3 day Dubrovnik itinerary here.

One negative to Dubrovnik is the higher cost compared to other areas of Croatia, however that also brings with it a selection of top 5 star resorts and the best luxury accommodation in the country.

Visit this impressive city if you want excellent views, history and plenty of activities.

Highlights:

  • One of the most impressive coastal cities in the world – high rise castle walls, luxury yachts and stunning views
  • There’s plenty to do – whether you’re looking for museums and history, wine tasting or relaxing island visits, there’s lots going on in the Dubrovnik area
  • This area features some of the best 5 star hotels in Croatia. Prices are significantly cheaper compared to similar quality hotels in other European resorts

Zagreb

Where to go in Croatia - Shows a church in Zagreb

As the capital of Croatia, Zagreb is the busiest city in the country and an increasingly popular short city break destination. It is located deep into the mainland of Croatia and offers a different experience to the coastal resorts, but same rich culture and plenty of things to do.

Trendy cafes, theatres, museums, galleries and modern art exhibitions set Zagreb apart from other areas of Croatia and where other places are very quiet out of the summer season, Zagreb offers an all year-round appeal. In the spring and summer, tourists flock to the lakeside area of Jarun to enjoy a picnic and take a break from sightseeing, whilst Mount Medvednica offers an authentic skiing experience in the winter.

If you like a good nightlife on holiday, Zagrab ticks this box to the tee. Alternative to the outdoor beach parties of the islands, it offers a traditional city clubbing experience, with a variety of large venues and plenty of bar areas.

To see a different side of Croatia in a short city break, Zagreb is ideal, especially when visiting during the winter or early spring when the seaside resorts are too cold to enjoy to the fullest.

Highlights:

  • A totally different experience to other Croatian towns and more in line with traditional European big cities
  • A haven for museum, theatre and gallery enthusiasts, with plenty to keep you entertained during your visit
  • The best Croatian holiday destination for year-round visits. We’d recommend visiting for 3-4 days or combining Zagreb with another Croatia destination
Croatia holiday guide banner - croatia sunset

The above are among some of the most popular ideas for where to go in Croatia and are great for first timers or those wanting lots to do. If you’re looking for somewhere more ‘off the beaten’ track and don’t mind travelling a little bit longer (flights may not be available from UK airports), there are plenty of other amazing places to visit. These include:

  • Novalja
  • Pula
  • Trogir
  • Rovinj

Use our advice and do your own research before booking to ensure your trip is perfect for you, although we’re sure you’ll love the country regardless of where you stay.

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