Croatia’s Best! Your Big 5 Guide to Croatia

Croatia's best

Discover Croatia’s Best in our Big 5 Guide to Croatia!

I can honestly say…it blows me away how much we love Croatia. We had no idea that the beaches, waterfalls and parties would be such an amazing way to spend time in this Balkan beauty. Croatia’s best can keep you wanting to spend the rest of your days on the Adriatic Sea no matter what kind of traveler you are. Budget backpackers, holiday RV-ers, posh yachters, and EDM partiers will all find what they’re looking for in Croatia. From its’ stunning nature to its’ historic cities, Croatia doesn’t disappoint.

 1. Beaches & Islands

Croatia's bestFirst of all, there’s no shortage of beaches in Croatia. The entire coast line is beach after beach after beach. If that isn’t enough for you, Croatia has 79 islands..which means more beaches. If you count all the islets and rocks, technically, Croatia has over 1,000 islands. But I’m sure you’ll have your hands full with the 79 habitable ones.

As a result of all the beaches, we got a little caught up enjoying the island and coastal life of Croatia. We spent the better part of five weeks playing in Croatia’s crystal clear Adriatic waters. The water is basically irresistible when temps are in the 90s (upper 30’s for you Celcius people). Be prepared when heading there though, almost all the beaches are rocky, not sandy. A nice pair of water shoers and a foam beach mat are just as important as your swimsuit. Here are our recommendations for Croatia’s best beaches and islands.

* Cres Island

Croatia's bestOne of the largest islands in Croatia, Cres is an island packed with adventure. Its great beaches, hiking trails, ancient villages and excellent camping are second to none. With its large size (approx 406 km/sq) and small population (approx 3,100) you really feel off the beaten path when exploring Cres. This is because it’s not always convenient to get to. The most frequent ferry route (7-8 departures daily) leaves from Brestova which is an hour south of Rijeka. Luckily, it’s an extremely scenic drive down to Brestova with sweeping scapes of Kvarner Bay.

When you arrive at the ferry port in Porozina, you’ll know immediately that you’ve found  isolation. This part of the island is gorgeous and seldom visited as most visitors head to the central part of the island. We highly recommend the somewhat harrowing road out to the village of Beli. It’s well worth winding the cliff’s edge for a look at this quaint village. 

The “main hub” of Cres is Cres Town. It’s centrally located on the island on a small bay. While it is quaint, there are plenty of shops, restaurants and gelato stands to keep you full and entertained. Plus, the picturesque marina front town is beyond adorable. Accommodation here is mostly apartment and villa rentals. Don’t expect many hotel or hostel options. We stayed at an amazing campground walking distance to the town called Camp Kovačine. This is a fully equipped camping facility with supermarket, restaurants, and long stretches of private beach. There’s a huge swimming area equipped with diving boards for refreshing plunges into the Adriatic.

Croatia's best

* Exploring the rest of Cres

Croatia's bestThe best way to truly enjoy the island is to have your own set of wheels. This way you can just get lost winding your way down the narrow roads lined with carefully stacked stone walls. This is one of the reasons we absolutely loved our Renault EuroDrive lease. Not only did having our own car allow us to tote around camping gear, it gave us true freedom. We got to see so much more than most travelers, and do it at our own pace.

Heading southwest on Cres Island, it’s worth your time to visit the cliff top village of Lubenice. Perched 380 meters above sea level, the views are spectacular. The settlement dates back nearly 4,000 years. There are hiking trails that connect you to some of the other small villages in the area.  There’s even a trail down to a secluded alcove beach. Any of the local restaurants are an awesome place to grab lunch after a half day hike.

Croatia's bestMost of the island is small towns, villages, secluded bays and beaches. You can actually cross a short bridge at the town of Osor and get to another island, Lošinj for an extension of what Cres has to offer. There are villages and towns throughout. You can find supermarkets and accommodation near the town of Mali Lošinj and Veli Lošinj. Veli Lošinj Youth Hostel has a cool vibe.

The town also sports an epic rope swing that provides some adrenaline to the laid back environment. We camped between Mali and Veli Lošinj at Camping Čikat. In addition to RV & tent camping spots, beachfront swimming area, restaurants, equipment rentals and a supermarket, this campground features a full on waterpark!

You really can’t go wrong on Cres and Lošinj islands.

* Kamenjack National Park

Croatia's bestThe peninsula known to locals as Premantura, Kamenjack National Park is a fantastic off the beaten path location. Just south of Pula, a network of dirt tracks leads you through a windswept nature reserve down to a variety of beach areas. Some areas are rocky Mediterranean style beaches with lapping waves great for sunbathing and a refreshing dip. Other areas boast epic cliffs perfect for plunging into the cool blue of the Adriatic.

As you make your way around the cape, shutterbugs are treated with a plethora of picture opportunities across the rugged land & seascapes. Kamemjack also features an awesome and surprising beach bar. The Safari Bar sits atop the cliffs amongst the vegetation and seems to appear out of nowhere. The bar offers cold drink and a tasty food menu. The bohemian decor is something from another world. The grounds feature a crow’s nest for views of the ocean, ping pong tables, a slide made from beads strewn along rods, and swings for the kiddies. It’s really a funky a place and you’ll wonder what exactly it’s doing there. Or maybe you won’t wonder and you’ll just accept it’s existence and kick back with a cold beer in a one of a kind locale!

* Brac Island

Croatia's bestBrac island is home to the most famous beach in Croatia, Zlatni Rat. It’s a beautiful spit of pebbles that juts out into the sea forming a picture perfect beach. But it’s not easy to get to from the ferry. Located in the town of Bol, there are some public transportation options, but schedules vary. Bol’s a 35-40 minute drive on windy roads from the Brac Ferry terminal located at Sumartin. You can also reach Brac from Split and arrive at Supetar, which is also about 35-40 minute drive from Bol. While Brac boasts rugged landscapes and cool little villages, Zlantni Rat is the main attraction.

If you visit Brac, you’ll want to set up in Bol. Many, many, many apartments for rent here. We simply drove into town and stopped to chat with a guy holding a sign that said apartment. We rented the private, fully equipped apartment for 20€/night. It was a great deal as we were situated walking distance to Zlatni Rat and to the Bol city center. This was off season though – prices are much higher and vacancy much lower in peak season. Bol is small but a nice little spot to watch the water, boats and enjoy a drink along a beautiful waterfront promenade.

***Eating in Bol***

Croatia's bestBrac is also where we enjoyed Croatia’s best and most famous food dish…peka! Peka is a method of baking from the Dalmatia region. To make peka, meat and vegetables are placed in a cast iron or clay pot (similar to a Dutch Oven) and then covered with hot embers from a fire. This method slow cooks the ingredients to perfection. However, it takes hours. If you want to experience peka, you usually have to order the day before you wish to eat it. That’s what we did on Brac at Taverna Riva. We had octopus prepared peka style. Neither of us have ever had octopus that was so tender and succulent. The seasoning was perfect and the portion was massive! It was pretty pricey (by backpacker standards), but so worth every penny for this delicious dish.

Another great place to eat in Bol is Mali Raj. It’s a short drive form the city center but the food is INSANE! One of Croatia’s best restaurants. You’ll dine in a rustic yet beautiful garden. The squid ink risotto was exquisite. We suggest calling ahead for reservations.

Those are just some of our favorite beaches and islands in Croatia. Which one is Croatia’s best?  Hard to say. There’s so much variety, it’s impossible to choose. We didn’t even go to the very popular Hvar Island. So, we’re just scratchin’ the surface. We’ve got to save some room for the other glorious aspects of Croatia.

2. Cities

The cities of Croatia are not the highlight for most travelers, but a must nonetheless. For the most part they’re small and rather quiet in comparison to other European hubs. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth your time. As a matter of fact, they’re probably some of the prettiest cities in Europe as most of them accept lapping waves from the Adriatic. Here are the highlights of the major tourist cities in Croatia:

* Zagreb

It’s a cool city with most of what to do pretty localized in the CBD. It’s mostly restaurants, bars, churches…basic cool Euro city stuff. There’s an upper and lower area, both equally adorable. We stayed in Palmer’s Lodge Hostel on the edge of the CBD. It’s a great spot. Quiet clean, and close enough to walk to most of the main attractions.

Zagreb is also popular for street art. There are tours that take you to some of the more hidden gems. You can also hit up Art Park which is full of ever changing installments and murals. There’s plenty of street art throughout the CBD, so keep your eye out for iconic graffiti pieces around town. Don’t miss the one of a kind roof of St. Mark’s Church.

One highlight is the Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum displays artifacts and trinkets that symbolize a relationship that they once had that ended badly for one reason or another. It’s completely gripping and totally moving. This is an exhibit that started in Zagreb and has since become an international traveling exhibit with another permanent installation in Los Angeles, CA. If you haven’t experienced the Museum of Broken Relationships, it’s worth a trip.

Also, if you’re a weirdo like we are and like visiting cemeteries, the Mirogoj Cemetery is beautiful. It’s not too far from town and is simply massive. It was established in 1872 and is now home to many prominent Croatians who have passed away. The monuments and mausoleums make it Croatia’s most famous cemetery and one of the more ornate we’ve visited.

* Rijeka & Opatia

Croatia's bestLesser known Croatian gems, but nothing to scoff at are Rijeka and Opatija. These neighboring towns sit at the precipice of Hvarner Bay. Rijeka is mostly industrial, but is the biggest city in the region. It’s a great place to get supplies. It’s all about the water here. The shape of the bay makes for great windsurfing conditions. When winds are right, the bay is full of colorful sails skipping across the Adriatic. Therefore, if you’re headed here in summer, you may want to check and see if there are windsurfing events taking place. Autocamp Preluk (aka Opatija Circuit) is located between the two towns and is a great place to camp right on the water.

Opatija is the Beverly Hills of Rijeka…if not Croatia. It really reminded me of Montreax on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Old buildings housing hotels and restaurants in Opatija have been haunts of Europe’s upper class for generations. It’s a playground for the wealthy upon the bosom of the Adriatic. It doesn’t have great beach access beyond some concrete docs made for sunbathers, but the water is as clear as clear can be.

Opatija isn’t a spot for backpackers to post up with it’s swanky hotels and high prices. But it is worth a stop in for a meal and a stroll. Take a walk down the waterfront promenade and make your way up the main drag. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head for a konobo (kitchen in Croatian). We ate at Konobo Ribarnica Volosko. This is some of Croatia’s best seafood! Fresh, simply prepared, and delicious. This place is a hole in the wall where you’ll feel like a local taking your meal out on the sidewalk. Go ahead and wash the meal down with some of their house white wine.

* Zadar

Zadar is a beautiful old city on the water. The main tourist area is small, super manageable and immaculate. It’s a fine place to walk around, see some old buildings/ruins, eat ice cream, and souvenir shop. But outside of that, Zadar is not going to blow your socks off.

Zadar does have Morske orgulje, or the Sea Organ in English, which is super cool yet very crowded. This is one of Croatia’s best and most unique sights. The Adriatic enters a series of holes in the concrete steps along the seaside. This forces air out holes on top, creating a sound…like an organ. You should get some beers or wine and chill as the ocean serenades you. Pay attention when boats to pass, sending water rushing in and really getting it rockin’. It really is pretty neat!

Croatia's bestNext to the Sea Organ is the Sun Salutation, a solar powered light up floor. This multi-colored light show gets packed with tourists at sunset. Many people! Be prepared, as they’re all trying to take the same pics you are. Be OK with people in the background of your shot, or wait until dark. If you hang out for an hour or so, you’ll have it almost to yourself and you can get all the pics sans crowds.

You can also take day boat tours from the harbor or chill out on the promenades along the bay.

We stayed in an apartment outside of the city center called Apartment Katarina. Katarina is an amazing host and lives onsite. She’s easy to communicate with and easy going. The apartment is an excellent value if you’re looking for something quiet and private. Great spot for digital nomads to work out of!

* Split

Croatia's bestIMO…Split is a larger Zadar and not a must. Lots of cruise ships dock here. Hence, when the boats are in, the city center is crowded and bustling. When the ships are out, it’s much more relaxed. Regardless, anytime it’s pretty beautiful with all the boats in the harbor and the main tourist area right there by the water. Old town is the place to be with People’s Square, Diocleatian’s Palace, and the Cathedral of St. Domnius (be sure to climb the narrow stairs of the bell tower for the best view of the city). A fun spot to visit is the statue of Grgur Ninski (Gregory of Nin). It was sculpted by famous Croatian artist Ivan Meštrović. Legend has it, when you rub Gregory’s big toe  and make a wish, that your wish will come true.

There’s plenty to do and see as far as tourist sights and cool old towers, buildings etc. Lots of good food there, too. We ate at That’s all Woks…which prepares delicious Asian dishes. The whole of Split is pretty hipstery.

* Dubrovnik

I’m going to give you my unfiltered opinion on Dubrovnik and you might not like it. Dubrovnik is played out! It’s gorgeous, but it’s a tourist trap. Game of Thrones fans swarm the city used for Kings Landing, plus there are many cruise ships. Imagine White Walker-esque hordes coming off cruise ships and filling the maze-like narrow alleys of the walled old town. Dubrovnik is nearly unbearable during the day. The good news is, if you get up early and explore before the ships have come in for the day and/or wait until after sunset as the ships depart, you pretty much have the place to yourself. 

Croatia's best

We spent a fare bit of time seeking out the Game of Thrones filming locations. There are tours you can take, or just look them up online and hunt them down like our cheap asses did. A great time to walk the wall surrounding the old city is around sunset. You can also take the cable car up above the city. It’s a great vantage point. 

Staying outside the old city walls will save you some money, give you some views of the city and offer relief from the hordes, but your walk home will be a real buns buster. For a great budget option, we stayed up the hill at Guest House Banana. Run by an incredibly sweet family who live on site and serve juice and snacks upon arrival. There are also options upon options for places to dine in Dubrovnik. Everything from cheap eats to swanky dinners can be found inside the city walls.

The cities are great, but we couldn’t have stayed in Croatia for 5 weeks just city hopping. It’s the hiking and beaches we discovered camping throughout Croatia that made the country one of our favorites.

3. Camping Culture

Croatia's bestOne of the things we love most about Croatia is its camping culture. Amazing facilities in excellent locations kept us from having to book ahead of time and saved us countless dollars. We camped almost every night in Croatia. The money we saved staying in our tent made it possible for us to stay in Croatia weeks longer than we originally planned.

Camping is hugely popular throughout the country, so it’s no wonder the camp facilities are top notch. If you’re craving a wilderness vibe or hoping to freedom camp rather than camping in a complex, you might be disappointed. Most of the campgrounds are clean, well equipped and most notworthy, occupy prime beach access. In fact some of Croatia’s best beaches have been nabbed up by campground developers, meaning your private campground beach is usually better than any other beach around. Some campgrounds have even done away with the rock beaches and added more user friendly sand or pebble for happier campers.

***PRO TIP***

Croatia's bestAny campsites labeled “Naturist” are for NUDISTS!!! That’s right, naked campgrounds. Naturist campgrounds are found throughout Croatia and hence, so are naked people.

Here are some of Croatia’s best campsites that we totally recommend:

Camping Adriatic – A big company with prime real estate in Northern Croatia and Dubrovnik. Staying at their campsites, you’ll want for nothing, as amenities are abound. Supermarkets, fruit stands, restaurants, play areas, equipment rentals, wifi….the list goes on. It’s got tent and RV sites, cabins, suites…EVERYTHING! An awesome site run by this company is Camping Lanterna. If you venture out to Porec, try to stay here. It’s an excellent location with beach access and vast facilities. In high season, be sure you book ahead at all Camping Adriatic Locations.

Camping Arena Stoja in Pula – Great spot a short ride into the Pula city center. Great beach access, scuba shop and marina with water activities on offer.

Camp Kovačine on Cres – Went on about this campground earlier. We stayed here 4 nights because we loved it so much. Food, Beer, Wifi, diving boards into the Adriatic…what more do you need?

Croatia's bestCamping Ježevac on Krk Island – Another Camping Adriatic site. This one has a fantastic beach bar and is a short walk into Krk Town. Krk Town has an awesome walking path along the coastline. Krk Town also has some awesome places to eat and a shop where you can buy wine fresh from the cask.

Camping Čikat on Losinj – Great spot, popular for medical tourism. The water and air at this special place is supposedly great for a number of ailments from arthritis to respiratory disease.

Camping Porton Biondi – Occupying a hillside above the beach with stunning views of town. This is a short walk from adorable Rovinj and a great money saving option near this popular and expensive gem.

Camping in Croatia doesn’t exactly get you into wilderness, but it will save you mucho dinero and get you on primo beaches.

4. Waterfalls

Croatia’s famous waterfalls are the stuff dreams are made of. I’m referring to Plitvica Lakes and Krka National Parks. Both of these parks are truly special in their own different way and are an absolute must when visiting Croatia

* Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvica Jezera)

You’ve probably seen a million pictures on social media of Plitvica Jezera. That’s because it’s amazing. It could be Croatia’s best natural feature. Plitvice Lakes (in English) is a national park that’s UNESCO World Heritage listed. The confluence of crystal clear rivers and streams create an amazing landscape. It’s a piece of nature the government has protected and it’s immaculate. The park is well worth an entire day visit. Full day passes cost approximately $28 USD.  

Getting to Plitvice Lakes is a piece of cake from Zagreb. Buses and tours leave frequently. You can also rent a car in Zagreb and drive about 2 hours. There are plenty of place to stay around the park from apartments to campsites. Tours can be arranged from just about anywhere in Croatia, but it’s most convenient if you’re around Zagreb.

Exploring the park is a choose your own adventure depending on how much crystal clear water you care to look at. Programs for your visit to Plitvice Lakes range in length from 3.5 to 18 km. We did our best to follow program H – with a few additions. More simply, we started at entrance 3 and worked our way down to entrance 1 (if you’re following the map in the link). It’s about 8 km in total and takes in all the major lakes and falls in the park. This route includes numerous viewpoints and a nice ferry ride across one of the lakes which breaks up the walking nicely. There are some cafes near the ferry landing and a ton of picnic tables to enjoy lunch lakeside.

***PRO TIPS***  

Croatia's best1) IT IS FORBIDDEN TO GO IN THE WATER! There are rangers all around the park and they WILL write you a citation. Therefore, you must stay on the marked pathways.

2) START EARLY! No matter what program you choose, it’s probably going to be crowded. It’s a big draw in both summer and winter. If you can start your day early, you might get to enjoy some serenity.

3) Last but not least, there’s a lesser known hike to an awesome vantage point. Sure, go join the hordes of selfie stick toting tourists taking pics in front of the main waterfall. Then, if you are feeling ambitious, take this hike. 

Facing the waterfall, look up to the right, there are some cliffs. Now…looking at the waterfall, you’ll see a staircase that’s back and to your left. Go up and just keep following your nose around to get to those cliffs you saw from below. It’s the best view in the whole park. Plus, not too many folks venture up there, so you can finally enjoy some nature away from the crowds.

* Krka National Park

The first runner up as Croatia’s Best Waterfall, is Krka National Park.  Small in stature compared to Plitvice Lakes, but what keeps Krka in the running is that you can get in the water. Krka NP is an hour by car or bus from Split or Zadar. Entrance to the park is 180,00 Croatian Kuna (approx $28 USD). If you want to stay in the area, accommodation can be found in Skradin. From Skradin you take a ferry up the river to a landing well inside the park. The boat ride is part of your ticket price. You can walk or cycle into the park along an access road from Skradin, but the boat ride is very peaceful.

A dip in front of Skradinski Buk (Skradin Falls) at any time of day feels great. Swimming at he falls is somewhat challenging as the river moves pretty swiftly. You can’t get right up to the falls as it’s roped off about 100 feet away, but it’s a photo op nonetheless. The best picture opportunities with the fewest people in front of the falls requires being on the first boat from Skradin. Make a beeline to the swimming area, disrobe and get in the water. Have your photographer either come with you or take shots from the bridge. Be prepared for the loads of tourists not brave enough to get in themselves, use you as their falls model.

Beyond the Falls…

Once you’ve captured your waterfall pics, there is a short walking loop around the Skrandiski Buk area. There’s an old functioning mill above the falls. You can see how people were using the river’s hydropower back in the day.  Once you’ve seen all of this area, just a few hours at most depending on how long you swim, you can hop the boat back to Skradin.

If you’ve got a car, you can head off to other parts of the park including Roski Slap which is a gradual waterfall and wetland area. It’s very picturesque and worth the short drive through the park to see. Park your car and follow the path upstream until you find yourself looking down at all of Roski Slap. It’s about a 30-45 minute hike depending on your pace.

Just for fun…try saying Roski Slap the next time you smack your travel buddy on the bum. It’s super fun.

Along the way you can stop at an upper opening in the river to visit the church on Visovac Island. It’s a quiet place to walk around or have a picnic. You have to pay an extra fee for a ferry ticket to the island and there’s only the church and gardens to take in. It’s pretty, but in all honesty it’s skippable.

 We’ve probably wet your appetite with waterfalls and the heap of info about Croatia. Now it’s time to share our favorite part of Croatia. Istria, the northwestern region of Croatia, is one of the most stunning areas we’ve come upon in all our travels.

5. Istria

The thing that makes Istria so great isn’t just it’s pristine landscape and seaside. Istria has also been home to many cultures and nationalities over the decades…meaning great food! Croatian Istria has been part of Greek, Roman, Venetian, Austrian, French, Italian and Yugoslavian territories before finally arriving at Croatia. Each ruling group left it’s mark on the Istrian way of life. An extremely culturally rich region, it’s now part Eastern and part Western European. While Istrians indulge in the finer things like wine and food, they still prefer to do things the old way and preserve their lands and heritage. In fact, in many parts, residents still speak Italian or Istrian, a dialect of Croatian.

* Little Gems

Croatia's bestIstria is dotted with villages trapped in time. One of the best inland examples is the hilltop town of Motovun. A 20 minute walk from the parking area, it seems like you’ve passed through a time portal to a town of cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways. The views of the surrounding valley are sweeping and golden at sunset. Motovun boasts vendors hocking fresh organic produce, shops selling locally produced wine and beer, and restaurants offering delectable Istrian cuisine. For the foodies, the forests around Motovun are a prime area for truffle hunting in the fall. This is also where we first encountered one of Croatia’s best craft beers, San Servolo. The Premium Dark is fantastic!

So, take your time and stop into the little villages and towns of Istria. You’ll receive a warm welcome and I bet you’ll get some great local delicacies as well!

* Rovinj

Croatia's bestIf there was ever a town that looked like it was ripped from the pages of a storybook, it’s Rovinj. It sticks out into the Adriatic before the town seems to rise from the sea. The original settlement at Rovinj was actually built on an islet off the mainland. While under Venetian rule, the islet was connected to the mainland. This place has history and charm for days.

Rovinj is a beautiful spot to wander. It’s hilly cobblestone streets, some of which simply lead into the sea, is as picturesque as it gets. The main landmark in Rovinj is probably the Baroque style Church of St. Euphemia, built in the late 1700s. Truth is, it isn’t much to see, but the views from the church grounds are unbeatable.

Rovinj is worth a day or two. There isn’t much to see, but it’s a nice escape. Wandering the narrow cobbled alleyways, you’ll really feel as if you’ve been transported to another time. There’s plenty of vendors and restaurants in town and along the waterfront as it is a popular tourist destination. Because of the charming old world streets, accommodation here is either boutique hotels or vacation rentals and which there are plenty. We camped across the bay and rode our scooters to old town. Camping Porton Biondi is a solid campground that looks across the bay to old town Rovinj.

* Pula

Croatia's bestThis town on the tip of  Istria is incredible. Pula is now a bustling port for the region and center for shipbuilding. But, Pula has had many forms over the years. Archeological finds suggest settlements have existed here since 8,000 BC.

Pula’s most famous relic is a stunning Roman amphitheater. It is one of the largest remaining Roman arenas in the world, and Croatia’s best preserved ancient monument. The Arena was completed in the first century and has been used to entertain the population of the region ever since. It still hosts a number of musical and theatrical events today. Visitors can also take a tour around the interior of the Arena. After the sun goes down and the lights come on, the Arena really shines. 

The rest of Pula is very walkable. The central city center features a small Roman forum with some other ancient buildings, The Arco dei Sergi and Temple of Augustus. These places are in the vicinity of the Arena. There is also an old fortress above the city center.

Croatia's bestA unique feature in Pula is “Lighting Giants”. The “Giants” transition from active port cranes to colorful ‘robot dinosaurs’ starring in a nightly light show. It sounds much cooler than it actually is…but it is something unique and if you’re in Pula, it’s worth taking a nighttime stroll to see.

If you’re looking to camp, we recommend Camping Arena Stoja. It’s a bit away from the city on a dramatic point in a quiet little bay. There’s also an excellent restaurant close by called Gina. This spot serves up fresh, Istrian style seafood and other dishes in a bayview setting. The food’s very well priced and super delicious. Even if you’re staying in the city, it’s worth the trip for the fish soup and the view!

* Around Pula

Brijuni Island

Croatia's bestA short drive north of Pula takes you to a cute little town named Fazana. Fazana is cute. There you can catch the ferry to Brijuni Island. Part of a larger 14 island national park, Brijuni Island was once the personal playground for Yugoslavian leader (pronounced: dictator) Josip Tito. The island is immaculate, much as it was in Tito’s day. Your ferry ticket includes a tram tour of the island and entrance into a museum showcasing Tito’s treasures. We recommend starting your time on the island taking the tram tour , then spend the rest of your day exploring on your own. 

The island offers natural, archeological and historical sites. There are some nice beaches to just kick back on or go for a swim. The archeological superstar is an ancient Roman Villa. This huge site on Verige Bay are the remains of a massive Roman home. Some of the site is now under water in the bay. However, ruins are visible from the shoreline as well. There’s even a wildlife park featuring elephants and zebras which are holdovers from gifts to Tito from leaders around the world.

Kamenjak National Park (showcased already in Croatia’s best beaches)

If you make it to Pula, another great place that you should go the extra mile to see is Kamenjak National Park. Kamenjak, or Prematura, is on the extreme southern tip of the Peninsula. It’s as beautiful and rugged a place as you’ll find in Croatia. Because of this, it’s definitely worth a day of your Croatian travel schedule.

Croatia's bestIn Conclusion…

So, there’s a whole lot of information about Croatia. Probably more than you even care to know.  But, I had it inside me and I had to let it out! It feels good. For us, this is Croatia’s best.

The only problem is that if you read all of this, you almost know too much. Croatia may not take you by surprise the way it did Kari and I. It’s an amazing country with so much on offer. The people are kind, the cities are adorable, the food is delicious, and the wine is great. And, then there’s all the nature. Croatia is a can’t miss!


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