Located on the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a Mediterranean country full of charm and stunning beauty. Bridging central Europe and the Balkans, Croatia is one of Europe’s main tourist destinations. Consider snorkelling, kayaking or even sailing in its crystal clear blue waters, or simply spend a lazy day on one of Croatia’s golden sandy beaches. Croatia is full of beauty on the inside too, with the Dinaric Alps, waterfalls and lush rolling farmland, perfect for hiking trips.
Full of cultural heritage, Napoleonic, Roman, Slavic and Austro-Hungarian influences effortlessly snuggled side-by-side, the country is truely unique and you’ll need plenty of time to discover it all. With so much on offer, we at Auto Europe have picked the following four Croatian cities to focus your holidays on.
As the second largest Croatian city, Split is located in the Dalmatia region. The city is a popular tourist destination and full of wonder and charm. With a population of around 178,000 inhabitants, the city with its numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions, offers much to do and see. Following are a few examples:
Walking Tour of Split Old Town: For as little as 13€ you can take a walking tour of the Old Town with a knowledgeable and friendly tour guide. Walk down narrow cobbled streets and learn all about this city’s varied history and customs. Leisurely visit ancient monuments and discover its numerous medieval buildings.
Diocletian’s Palace: Visit the palace of the city’s founder, Roman Emperor Diocletian, who retired here. Learn who this emperor was, what he did and why he loved Split so much. Take a trip back in time as you walk through the palace rooms.
Galerija Mestrovic: If you enjoy the Arts, then a trip to Galerija Mestrovic is a must. Originally designed as a summer residence, this building now houses much of Ivan Meštrović marble, bronze and wood carvings. Surrounded by lush Mediterranean gardens, with a view out to sea, you will easily lose yourself in its charm.
Island of Brac & Hvar: As a great day trip option, visiting the islands of Brac and Hvar should be at the top of your list. With plenty of nightlife, bars and amazing beaches, these islands are only an hour’s ferry ride away from the mainland.
Located on the Adriatic Sea, the City of Dubrovnik is one of the main tourist hot spots of Croatia. Being a Mediterranean seaport, the city is full of charm and history. With a population of around 43,000 people, you will be pleasantly surprised by its hospitality. We would recommend the following:
Dubrovnik Cable Car: With amazing views over the city, a trip up the mountain by cable car is an absolute must. From high above, you will see the old town, docks, island and plenty of blue sea! Located at the top you will also find a restaurant with amazing views and excellent food. The cable car and restaurant can become very busy, so we advise to book well in advance.
Gornji Ugao Tower: A hidden gem within the city, this archaeological site takes you on a journey through a 16th Century fort, located at Gornji Ugao Tower. For 3€ an enthusiastic guide will take you through this attraction.
Museum of Croatian War of Independence: Located above the city and with amazing views, it is recommended to take the cable car up to visit this museum. With war time pictures, photographs and footage of Dubrovnik between 1991 and 1995, this museum will take you on a journey of what life was like during this time. On display, you will also find artefacts such as guns and shells.
Consisting of a population of around 57,000 and with the ancient cities of Porec, Rovinj and Medulin nearby, Pula is full of historical and architectural gems. Consider taking a trip to its many marketplaces or discover marine life first-hand. These are our must dos:
Pula’s Marketplace: A visit to Pula’s marketplace is ideal if you enjoy fresh local food. With an abundance of fruit and vegetables, meats and fish on offer, you’ll quickly find what you are looking for. A morning spent here with its awe-inspiring architecture, is a morning well spent and is highly recommended.
Aquarium Pula: With more than 200 species of marine life, from reptiles, amphibians to freshwater fish, Pula’s aquarium is a great place for learning about the marine world. The aquarium itself is located within an old converted fort, and is set over three mesmerizing floors.
Amphitheatre de Pula: Being the sixth largest Roman amphitheatre, this amazing structure dates back to the 1st century. Admission is around 6€ and it is recommended to visit during the summer time due to the numerous concerts and events on offer.
Located in Croatia’s northwest, Zagreb city is not only the country’s capital but also the largest city in Croatia. With an estimated 810,000 inhabitants, you will easily need a week or more to explore everything it has to offer. These are our recommendations:
Zagreb Must See Tour: Taking a guided tour of this wonderful city is recommended. For as little as 13€, you will quickly discover outstanding monuments, museums and vibrant markets. You will learn about Zagreb’s architectural gems and start to understand how this city has stood the test of time.
King Tomislav Square: This square is located approximately 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre and is a great retreat from the bustling city. Dedicated to a 10th Century Croatian King, the sheer size of the square will impress you. As a cultural meeting place, it can become packed during the summer months.
Tkalciceva: If you’re looking to do some shopping, then few places in Zagreb come close to Tkalciceva. A very vibrant and buzzing area full of shops, bars and cafes, here you can sit down and enjoy Croatian hospitality until the sun goes down – and then you can party the night away.
Museum of Illusions: As the biggest tourist attraction in the region, this museum is dedicated to the wonderful world of illusions. This unique museum, offering plenty of visual and educational experiences, is a place where nothing is as it seems.
Croatia is a beautiful country with much to see and do. By hiring a car in Croatia you are able to explore this wonderful country and its cities at your own pace. If you have visited Croatia recently, we would love to hear your comments below.