If you’re in the market for a beautiful Mediterranean getaway, you’re probably thinking of heading to Spain, France or Italy, right? I guess those places are cool (okay, who are we kidding, they’re super for a million and a half reasons), but there’s one thing they aren’t: Croatia. Just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, this Eastern European country has long been a hidden gem, just outside of the glamorous spotlight on tourism in Europe.

Until now.

Armed with all of the things that make the modern traveler swoon — picturesque beaches, mouthwatering cuisine, striking nature, Gothic architecture, sunny skies — it’s hard to believe that the enclave remained an off-the-beaten-path destination for so long. So get ready to skip over more popular European cities for the Medieval magnificence, modern flair and cultural romance of Croatia. Here are 13 reasons why you need to make this country next on your hit list (before everyone else does, too).

1. Mediterranean beauty (without the crowds). Croatian coastal towns have all the sun, beauty and fun as other popular Mediterranean towns, but without the annoying crowds.

Morning 👋🏻👋🏻 #sakarun #dugiotok #crostagram #ljetoincroatia

A photo posted by Marina Pezer (@marinapezer) on

2. Brad Pitt is building a luxury resort there. In the coastal town of Zablace, where Pitt was recently spotted vacationing. He later remarked that Croatia is “the most beautiful country he has ever visited”.

Last sunset for the summer in #zablace #croatia #jadran #dalmacija #iphone6photography #nofilter

A photo posted by Valentina (@valentina_perk) on

3. Game of Thrones is filmed there. Dubrovnik, the capital city, is the setting for GOT‘s royal King’s Landing. Croatia has also been used as the setting for The House of the Undying and Meereen.

4. Their cycling game is strong. For adventure travelers, one must head to Istria, a peninsula shared by Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, and offers a comprehensive web of biking routes that vary from lazy coastal cruising to strenuous mountainous trails.

5. You can actually island hop. Unlike Greece, the romanticized stories of quick and cheap island hopping are alive and well in Croatia — with over 1,000 islands and many ferry services, a lazy trip consisting of beaches and boats are well within our wallet’s grasp here.

We’re sure #sailcroatia beats going to work every day of the week 😎

A photo posted by Sail Croatia (@sailcroatia) on

6. The food will make an addict out of you. Wine trails, olive tree orchards, fresh seafood… What’s not to love about the deliciously seasoned, unpretentious Croatian cuisine? To eat like a local, head to foodie haven Vis!

7. Thru-hike a 1,200-mile trail. If hiking boots are always on your must-pack list, you have to try out this trail that connects the Western Balkan countries. Trek through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia for months, weeks or even days to get a unique outlook on Balkan life.

A photo posted by Via Dinarica (@viadinarica) on

8. You can surround yourself with lavender. In the glitzy town of Hvar, you might feel as though you’re relaxing on the French Riviera… Sparkling beaches, fields purple with lavender and wine glasses always half full promise to await you.

One of the oldest towns in Europe. 💜 #leaathvar

A photo posted by Leonarda_ (@leonarda_) on

9. Find yourself on an art trail. We’ve heard of beer trails, wine trails and hiking trails… But now the coastal town of Istria offers a more cultured take: an art trail. Weave through the cobblestone streets, where most every cottage is either a gallery or a restaurant.

10. Travel through time. Built at the height of the Roman empire, many of Croatia’s most vibrant cities still have hulking monuments that remind you of its past. Gaze at the astounding architecture in Split — some of which dates back 2,400 years!

11. Explore nature at its finest. Tour through the jaw-dropping Plitvice Lake National Park — on your feet or from the seat of a bike — and take a peek at the country’s amazing verdant landscapes, waterfalls and biodiversity.

Mutlu pazarlar💚 happy sunday🍀 Plitvice, Croatia with @oldkyrenian

A photo posted by HATICE KORKMAZ THE COLOR QUEEN (@kardinalmelon) on

12. Stargaze on an island. Want a front seat to the skies? Take advantage of the plentiful amount of campsites offered on the island of Krk — Croatia’s largest island.

13. Party hard. Music festivals, national celebrations and yacht culture prevails in this coastal country — snag a spot on the beach and get ready to dance all night in any of the country’s towns, islands, cities (or yachts).

Are you from Croatia or have you been there and think we left something huge off our list? Let us know in the comments!


2 Responses

  1. Susan Hopkinds

    My grandparents were from Croatia and spoke Croatian too! Our family has kept up the baking traditions over the years. I would love to go to Croatia someday! I’d love to take my 92 year old mother, but she won’t travel anymore. The country is beautiful! I read the whole article to my mom and showed her all the pictures. Thank you!!

    • Mary Zakheim
      Mary Zakheim

      Wow, Susan! Thank you for sharing this story with us — we’re so glad that you and your mother liked the pictures. We really hope you get over to Croatia soon!


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About The Author

Mary Zakheim
Content Writer

When she is not figuring out what the middle button on her headphones is for, explaining the difference between Washington State and Washington D.C., arriving to the airport too early or refusing to use the Oxford comma, you can usually find Mary in the mountains, at a show or on her couch. Mary is a content writer at Fareportal and likes annoying her coworkers with weird GIFs throughout the day.