Croatia calling! Our guide to this summer's hottest destination

Croatia calling! From the best beaches to unforgettable experiences, our guide to this summer’s hottest destination

Ad Feature by Croatian National Tourist Board

If you want to book a summer holiday you’ll reminisce about for years to come, look no further than Croatia.

With islands scattered like jewels along the coast, breathtaking nature reserves and fairytale architecture, there’s a reason why it’s one of Europe’s most prized summer destinations.

This Mediterranean idyll offers something for everyone, whether you have your sights set on an adventurous family getaway, a languid beach holiday with friends or a romantic city break with that special someone.

Not to mention, Croatian summers are balmy and drenched in sunshine, giving every day an irresistible golden glow. In fact, in Croatia you can enjoy blissful sunshine year-round.

Want an adventure in the great outdoors? There are wildlife-filled national parks to hike through, glittering lakes to paraglide over and stunning mountain paths to bike along.

If you want to book a summer holiday you’ll never forget, look no further than Croatia. Above is the heavenly Sakarun beach on the island of Dugi Otok (Picture: Aleksandar Gospić)

Or opt for a sunny holiday like no other, stretching out on beautiful Blue Flag beaches and swimming in unspoilt bays and blue lagoons.

The country is also ideal for a culture-filled weekend away, with days spent discovering ancient ruins, winding through the streets of a magical city and checking out amazing works of art.

However you choose to explore Croatia, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable summer holiday – here’s how to make incredible memories there…


Lay eyes on Croatia’s turquoise waters, pristine beaches and tranquil coves and you’ll instantly fall under the country’s spell.

Many heavenly swimming spots, some with family friendly playgrounds and fun beach bars, can be found on Croatia’s islands – and there are more than 1,000 of these isles to explore.

Charter a sailing vessel – or captain one yourself – and go island-hopping, discovering secret bays and family-friendly beaches along the way.

Cruise from the likes of pretty Lokrum island near Dubrovnik to the island of Korčula, which is famed for its striking Medieval architecture, olive groves and abundance of vineyards.

For a Robinson-Crusoe adventure at sea, there are also many uninhabited islands to discover, like the famously heart-shaped Galešnjak island – an ideal picnic spot for sweethearts.

The iconic Zlatni Rat Beach on the island of Brac is a must-visit – its unusual shape has inspired many photographers, and it’s easy to see why (Picture: Ivo Biocina)

King Charles is among those who have admired the stunning scenery of the island of Mljet. Above is pretty St Mary’s Island in Mljet National Park (Picture: Darko Kesnjer)

Tour around the isle of Mljet and you’ll feel like you’re truly getting away from it all as you cycle through its canopy of trees and go for leisurely swims in its seawater lakes.

While away perfect afternoons sunbathing on Hvar island’s forest-fringed beaches, before taking a boat to the nearby isle of Dugi Otok. Here you’ll find marvellous hiking trails in the Telascica Nature Park and idyllic Saharun beach, which has earned the nickname of the ‘Caribbean of the Adriatic’ thanks to its white sands and oh-so-blue waters.

The iconic Zlatni Rat beach (also known as Golden Horn beach) on the island of Brac is a must-visit. The unusual shape and sapphire waters of this Blue Flag beach have inspired many photographers, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a treasured spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing, or you can round up your friends for a game of beach volleyball.

While away perfect afternoons sunbathing on Hvar island’s glorious beaches (Picture: Aleksandar Gospić)

There are restaurants dotted along the shore, so you can pick up snacks and refreshments before returning to the water or your place on the sands.

Hike down to the hidden gem that is Stiniva beach on the island of Vis. Famed for its spectacular high cliffs and turquoise waters, it was once voted the most beautiful beach in Europe.

Watch the sun set over the golden sands and crystal clear waters of Rajska beach on the Lopar peninsula, or throw down your beach towel on vast Queen’s Beach in the Nin lagoon, known for its shallow, warm waters.

Stay in Split on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and you can divide your time between the city and its heavenly beaches, which boast shallow waters ideal for little ones who are learning to swim.

Or plump for the bewitching walled city of Dubrovnik – some of the city’s swimming spots are hidden in rocky coves, offering calm waters and peace and quiet away from the bustle of the centre.

Love water sports? Rent a canoe and paddle around idyllic islands like Trogir, known for its stunning marriage of Renaissance, Baroque and Romanesque architecture, or the hilly isle of Šolta, known for its quiet, peaceful bays.

Stay in the glorious walled city of Dubrovnik and visit the pretty isle of Lokrum nearby (Picture: Luka Esenko)

Another leisurely way to explore Croatia’s coast is by stand-up paddle board – feel the sun on your shoulders as you take in amazing panoramas from the gentle waves of the Adriatic.

Divers are also in for a treat. You can glide through epic dive sites, spotting starfish, seahorses and swaying Posidonia grasses as you move. A must-visit is the Lošinj historical underwater park, an eye-opening sunken exhibition of cannons and WWII machine guns.

For aquatic fun of a different kind, set off on a day out to one of Croatia’s many waterparks, for epic free-fall waterslides and fun wave pools.

It’s the recipe for a perfect summer holiday. 


Croatia is perfect for those who don’t just want a holiday – but also an unforgettable adventure.

Protected areas encompass nearly 10 per cent of the country, which makes for an endless supply of spellbinding landscapes to discover.

Explore this otherworldly terrain on foot – Croatia is crisscrossed with incredible hiking trails for lovers of the great outdoors. Visit the UNESCO-listed Plitvice Lakes,  National Park, taking in enchanting waterfall views as you trek along leafy trails. 

Croatia is perfect for those who don’t just want a holiday – but also an unforgettable adventure. Try biking along the country’s epic cycling routes (Picture: Ivan Sardi)

If you feel up to a challenge, hike along the Via Adriatica Trail – or at least a portion of it. This epic route roams from Istria to the southern tip of the country, winding through misty mountain peaks and glorious coastal pathways.

Or rent a bike and explore the country on two wheels, peddling along the wine-and gastronomy-oriented routes of the nation’s sun-dappled vineyards.

You could even tackle the Tour of Croatia, an epic cycling route that takes you through the National Parks of Krka and Plitvice and the Nature Parks of Biokovo, Velebit and Učka.

Go horseback riding, feeling the wind in your hair as you thunder past rich farmland and sun-dappled vineyards or through the wild landscape of Velebit National Park.

For a thrill of a different kind, hop aboard a motorbike and zoom through windy coastal roads, with nothing but spellbinding nature rolling all around. Or why not take to the air to see this incredible landscape from above?

Get your blood pumping by white-water rafting down the extraordinarily beautiful Cetina river (Picture: Ivo Biocina) 

Try hang-gliding over Učka Nature Park – you’ll be rewarded with magical views of Kvarner Bay and the ancient city of Pula as you soar at a staggering height of 1,200 metres.

Fly past the medieval castle of Pazin and the echoing chambers of Pazin cave on a zip line, at a speed of 50kmph.

Drink in a bird’s eye view of the spectacular Biokovo Nature Park as you paraglide or take a deep breath and try bungee jumping off the 56m-high Maslenica bridge; the highest jump point in Croatia.

If you’re feeling braver still, try skydiving over this epic landscape.

There’s something magical about sightseeing by kayak. Above, kayakers explore the coast near Dubrovnik (Picture: Ivo Biocina)

Croatia’s emerald-green rivers also offer exhilarating experiences. Get your blood pumping by white-water rafting down the extraordinarily beautiful Cetina river canyon, spotting hidden caves and heavenly waterfalls as you paddle between rapids.

And there’s something magical about sightseeing by kayak. Paddle at a pace that suits you to the charming island of Visovac, which lies between two waterfalls in Krka National Park.

Love to rock climb? It’s essential to climb the legendary Anića Kuk, an enormous, 350m high rock in Paklenica National Park that guarantees to thrill even the most experienced of climbers.

To immerse yourself in this spectacular nature without breaking a sweat, hit the country’s thermal spas – like Istarske Toplice in Istria – cleansing your skin using minerals from Croatian hot springs, a ritual that dates back to Roman times.

You’re sure to head home feeling refreshed and with a new lease of life.  


Boredom is not an option in Croatia, with imposing castles, historic walled towns and eye-opening museums ready to inspire you at every turn.

Get swept up in the country’s ancient past as you tour its incredible historic sites – many of which are UNESCO-listed.

There’s Diocletian’s Palace in Split, an enchanting stone complex built at the turn of the fourth century AD,  filled with vibrant bars, bustling eateries and boutiques.

Prepare to be amazed by the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pula, one of the largest in the world. If you’re lucky, you might catch a concert in this ancient venue – or go on a guided tour to learn of the gladiatorial displays it witnessed in its heyday. 

It’s no wonder that Dubrovnik Old Town is known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ – this magical walled city sits at the foot of Mount Srđ and is filled with boutique hotels and traditional restaurants. A cable car ride will whisk you above the city, offering enchanting views of its red-tiled rooftops and the coast beyond.

Wander through the bars and shops within Diocletian’s Palace in Split (above), an enchanting stone complex built at the turn of the fourth century AD (Picture: Ivan Sardi)

Prepare to be amazed by the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pula, which is one of the largest in the world (Picture: Ivan Sardi)

Roam the streets of Hvar Town, the heart of the Hvar island, famed for its lively beach bars, yacht-filled marina and the grand Stephen’s Cathedral.

Both inland and along the turquoise coast, the landscape is studded with magnificent Medieval fortresses. Drop by the Gothic 13th-century Trakoscan Castle, which is an easy day trip from the capital, Zagreb, or the white stone Michael’s Fortress, which looms over the city of Šibenik.

Travel through more than 120,000 years of history in the Krapina Neanderthal Museum, a fascinating archive that sheds light on the lives of the neanderthals that once called this landscape home.

Roam the streets of Hvar Town, the heart of beautiful Hvar island  (Picture: Hrvoje Serdar)

There’s also the Memorial Centre of Homeland War Vukovar, a poignant war exhibition that pays tribute to the victims of the Homeland War of the 1990s.

Art lovers will be mesmerised by the striking sculptures and colourful canvasses on display in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. Or wander through the city’s unique Museum of Broken Relationships, a curious museum that tells the story of romantic endeavours that have gone awry.

Love live music? Catch brilliant acts performing at Croatia’s many summer festivals, and to truly immerse yourself in the country, experience Croatia’s unique folk culture by watching a performance by a folklore troupe. 

It’ll be complete with richly embroidered folk costumes and traditional music, from the upbeat melodies of the Međimurska popevka in the north to Bećarac in the east. Or listen out as locals share the fairy stories and folk tales that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Experience Croatia’s unique folk culture by watching a performance by a folklore troupe, complete with richly embroidered costumes and traditional music (Picture: Ivo Biocina)

Sample an array of wines and speak to the charismatic producers behind them on a vineyard tour (Picture: Maja Danica Pečanić)

When you’re feeling peckish, snack on the seasonal, sun-ripened fruits grown on Croatian soil – mouthwatering fresh fig with a sweet pink centre is a must-try. Feast on juicy watermelon from Dalmatia, or order a glass of Maraschino liquor made from local marasca cherries.

As the sun sets each evening, get the family together for a sensational Croatian dinner, piling the table high with local olive oil, mussels from Ston and moreish Pag cheese. The region of Slavonia is known as a must-visit for foodies – sample hearty ‘čobanac’ stew prepared over an open fire or fiš paprikaš, a warming soup. 

Of course, these dishes work beautifully with Croatian wines, from flavourful reds from the vineyards of the Dalmatian coast to aromatic white wines from wine regions that fringe the Danube river. Better still, sample a few on a vineyard tour.

Without a doubt, you’ll be charmed by the world-class culture of Croatia.

Click HERE to discover more about Croatia. 

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