6 Essential Croatian Destinations

By: Brea Elford

It seems like everyone and their dog is flocking to Croatia these days, and for good reason; this country is has everything- beaches, nightlife, history, culture, scenery… all at a relatively low price.  So naturally, it is hard to find a time of the year when Croatia is not overwhelmed with tourists.  But, there are still places you can go that are still undiscovered; little hidden pieces of paradise there just for you with all the wonders of Croatia and none of the crowds.


6. Istria

Located in Western Croatia, Istria is more remote than some of the other Croatian destinations, which is why it has remained hidden from the tourists for so long.  If you are feeling an Italian influence in this part of the country, you are not wrong; Istria has a heavy Italian population and is rich in vineyards, wine and olive oil, rolling hills and rustic hill towns.  Best reached by car, this mode of transportation gives you the chance to really soak in the atmosphere and the scenery; you can stay as long as you want, go where you feel, and you don’t have to be reliant on bus transportation. Istria has a plethora of small towns with friendly locals and amazing food- be sure to try a fresh pasta dish with truffles local to the area!


5. Losinj

Situated in the northern Adriatic, this small, relatively untouched island is less famous than its neighbours to the south, but it is just as beautiful.  It has a classic Mediterranean vibe, with a great fishing port town and beautiful waters, but it also has a slower, more peaceful way of life.  The beaches are empty and the prices far from hostile.  If you are searching for a true, Croatian experience, this island is definitely where you need to be.


4. Galesnjak

This a romantic destination, although it can absolutely be enjoyed as a single traveller.  The island itself is shaped like a heart, almost perfectly so, and thus, is accurately nicknamed “Lover’s Island”.  It is still relatively uncrowded, although crowds are growing.  It is small and completely surrounded by water and bush; most people enjoy camping here as the landscape is so unspoiled.

Hieronymus / Shutterstock.com
Hieronymus / Shutterstock.com

3. Cavtat

Just south of Dubrovnik is Cavtat, a quintessentially pretty village situated on an idyllic bay.  Tradition still reigns here; surrounding the village is miles of fields and red-roofed homes.  Catvat is a relatively close escape from the crowds of Dubrovnik; it maintains all the charm, but has a slightly less stressful atmosphere.



2. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Few places in the world evoke such magic that you feel as if you have stepped into another world.  Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of them.  Located about an hour from Zagreb is this stunning national park; if you were going to visit one place in Croatia, this should be it.  Miles and miles of waterfalls and rivers, lush green trees and crystal clear lakes are what you can expect when you step into the park.  Here, the water seems to effervesce; the trees bloom greener, the waterfalls run fuller; everything is almost indescribably breathtaking.   The crowds are common, so be sure to visit early in the day to get the most out of your visit, but in a place like this, crowds really don’t matter, it is that pretty of a place.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

1. Korcula

The only way to reach this island off of the Dalmation Coast is by ferry, which is perfect because you get the best view of Korcula and its walls and medieval towers this way.  The town is quaint and charming, although small, although it is the relaxing atmosphere people come here for.  As with most islands in Croatia, it is surrounded by the clearest of waters and the whitest of beaches, but here there are less crowds, so you can have the experience nearly all to yourself.

RnDmS / Shutterstock.com
RnDmS / Shutterstock.com