When traveling to Croatia, you’re spoilt for choice with places to go and things to do. Where to start can be the hardest part – do you visit one of the many stunning beaches? Or, do you immerse yourself in the culture by visiting a village in Istria? The answer is up for debate, and while there is no ‘right’ way to explore Croatia, we wanted to highlight some destinations that are off the beaten track, undiscovered and exciting for visitors.
Here are 7 hidden gems that you should add to your itinerary when planning a trip to Croatia!
Hidden Gem #1: Pakleni Islands
Just off the coast of Hvar, this archipelago consists of 16 small and uninhabited islands that are surrounded by some tranquil and hidden beaches of their own! The crystal clear waters are a haven for snorkeling opportunities and swimming but a boat trip around the Pakleni Islands is also definitely recommended.
Hidden Gem #2: Trogir
The dreamy town of Trogir is the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex in all of Central Europe and deserves a spot on your travel itinerary! Even if history doesn’t tickle your fancy, Trogir will charm you with its beautiful architecture, old streets perfect for wandering, and relaxing at one of the many restaurants dotted along the waterfront promenade which is ideal for sipping some coffee and enjoying the stunning views.
Hidden Gem #3: Zadar
Zadar, once Croatia’s capital, is the second largest city on the Dalmatian coast. This vibrant city is home to a wealth of historical attractions such as Roman ruins, medieval churches and captivating Sea Organ which plays music by the sea at its waterfront promenade. Said to be the home of the best sunset in the world, Zadar is an unmissable location!
Hidden Gem #4: Sibenik
Sibenik is a small city located just north of Split and is the oldest native Croatian city on the Adriatic. It’s well known for its beautiful churches, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, St James Cathedral. The city also has a generous network of hidden streets, cobblestoned laneways and prime viewpoints for incredible views of the city and waterfront!
Hidden Gem #5: Rovinj
Rovinj is a romantic and coastal town on the Istrian peninsula. The Old Town is enclosed by a beautiful kaleidoscope of colorful houses offering dramatic and picturesque views of the harbor. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy, including the option to dine on the waterfront, as well as a vibrant nightlife. Don’t miss the chance to explore the many beautiful beaches it has as well!
Hidden Gem #6: Split
Split is an ancient hub, and whilst not completely a ‘hidden gem’, what lies beneath and outside its Old Town walls will deserve a spot on this list. It’s well known for its beautiful Diocletian’s Palace and stunning Riva, but Old Town Split is a labyrinth of cobbled alleyways with something new to discover around every corner – and every season it’s something new!
Outside the Old Town, take a small trek to Marjan Hill which delivers incredible views of Split in the distance. Split also has a great nightlife for those ready to let their hair down with plenty of bars and nightclubs within the city walls.
Hidden Gem #7: Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik needs no introduction. It’s one of the most popular destinations in Croatia and for good reason. The city is surrounded by ancient walls and is perched on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Aside from it’s iconic walls, Dubrovnik is also home to some lovely beaches, such as Banje Beach which is nestled just to the side and offers amazing views of the sea and town, as well as secret cliff-side bars found in a literal hole in the wall.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to explore hidden gems like these, island hopping with Sail Croatia will take you to 7 different destinations over 7 nights! Whilst the list could go on and on, these 7 hidden gems are a great starting place for any traveler looking to see Croatia off the beaten track. From the north to the south, Croatia is sure to leave you speechless.