Croatia is considered a Mediterranean gem, which travellers find quite captivating due to the region’s charm. The countries you will find around Croatia are Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. The country’s coast meets the beautiful Adriatic Sea, a top summer destination for sunbathing and swimming. But before you embark on a Croatia Balkan tour, let’s take the time to review the most essential facts about this country:
Local Currency: Euro (EUR)
Visa Requirements: No Visa Needed for US Citizens
Religion: 87.4% Christianity, 6.4% No Religion, 2.3% Other, 3.9% Undeclared
Activities: Swimming, sunbathing, sightseeing, hiking, visiting museums, historical tours
When to visit: All year round, but especially in Summer, Spring and Autumn
Croatia is home to the most popular traveller of them all – Marco Polo. Embark on an adventurous Croatia tour through the stunning coastline and all other significant historical and natural landmarks of the region.
The cities worth visiting for your Croatia tour are Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Rijeka and Pula. All of those destinations have something unique about them worth checking out. Whether it is a historically significant landmark or a breathtaking natural spot – you are promised an unforgettable experience.
The landscapes surrounding Croatia are diverse, the architecture is ancient, and the people are incredibly hospitable. Your Balkan tour should, by all means, include this country in its itinerary. To learn more in-depth info regarding the main cities and attractions to visit, check out the following sections.
Your Croatian tour would be incomplete if you didn’t visit the capital Zagreb. This beautiful town will enchant you with its magnetic energy and fascinating history. The historic Upper Town is a top attraction in the city as it features cobblestone streets, medieval buildings and charming little cafes. Another must-see landmark and a symbol of the town is the St. Mark’s Church. Apart from the Upper Town, you can visit a Lower Town in Zagreb. There, you will discover multiple shops, cafes and important government buildings.
Dubrovnik is one of the most famous cities in the entire Balkan peninsula. Tourists usually prefer to stay the longest in this coastal town. Dubrovnik is called the “Pearl of the Adriatic” as it blends history with natural beauty and rich culture. With a history dating back to the 7th century, Dubrovnik will fascinate you with a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. You can visit the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, where you can listen to classical music, watch fantastic theatre and dance through the hot Croatian nights.
Another fascinating coastal town to visit on your Croatia Balkan tour is Split. Another UNESCO-protected site worth visiting in Split is the Diocletian’s Palace. There, you will see ancient Roman ruins dating back to the 4th century. If you are a history buff, coming face to face with one of the oldest remains in history will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But apart from the historical landmarks, this town offers a lot of modern-day places to visit as part of your tour to Split.
The city of Zadar has a lot of Venetian influence and is, therefore, an incredible sight to see. Some of the area's most popular landmarks are the Roman Forum - a central square surrounded by ancient columns and the 9th-century Church of St. Donatus. The Sea Organ, a popular tourist spot, uses the waves as a musician. Listening to the waves making music creates a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Another famous landmark of the town is the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, constructed in the early years of the 3rd century.
When in Rijeka, don’t miss out on walking down Korzo Street - a lively pedestrian promenade. There, you will find multiple shops, cafes and ancient buildings. This town is famous for its cultural events and festivals, a great example of that being the Rijeka Carnival. This is among the most prominent European festivals and is worth participating in. We also recommend visiting the Trsat Castle - a thirteenth-century fortress from the Roman times. Other attractions we include in our tours are the City Tower and the City Market.
The symbol of this coastal town is the Pula Arena - one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in the world. Dating back to the 1st century AD, it was once the host of blood-thirsty gladiator fights. Оther historically significant landmarks in Pula are the Triumphal Arch of Sergius and the Temple of Augustus. They are located within the Old Town of Pula, which is an excellent place for a promenade.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik, which has been enlisted by UNESCO, is a fascinating place to visit. Walking along the walls of this town will open a breathtaking view of red-tiled roofs and azure sea. The Dubrovnik old tour city tour will create memories you will cherish for a lifetime. You will visit the Onofrio Fountain, where you can take a drink from this iconic historic landmark. The fountain displays the innovative water supply system of the ancient people of Dubrovnik. The old town is also home to numerous festivals, concerts, and events throughout the year. Last but not least, this town is one of the filming locations of the popular tv series Game of Thrones.
As you continue your journey to the Dalmatian coast, you will reach the ancient city of Split. The city's heart is the Diocletian's Palace - a UNESCO World Heritage Site worth visiting. Walk down the narrow streets filled with shops and lively markets, and you will get the atmosphere of the place. The castle was built in the 4th century AD by the Roman Emperor Diocletian with the aim of being both a luxurious residence and a military fortress. The substructures of the palace are equally remarkable, featuring a labyrinth of underground halls and chambers. The basements served various purposes, such as storage, living quarters, and a hiding place during times of siege.
The Pltvice National Park is a real heaven on Earth! It is the oldest and the largest national park in the Republic of Croatia. The lake system of the park of the area consists of 16 lakes cascading one into the next. Even though they are the most prominent part of the park, they cover just 1% of the total park area. You can take seven different routes to tour the lake system and four hiking trails. Furthermore, the park is open all year round, but the most beautiful natural landscapes are formed during the Spring/Summer seasons. Include it in your Balkan tour, and you won’t be disappointed.
The KRKA National Park is located in southern Croatia and was established in 1985. The park is named after the KRKA River - the 72.5 km long river that runs through it. When walking around its 109 square kilometres, you will discover breathtaking waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes and lavish greenery. The KRKA park fosters multiple preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems. With its seven waterfalls and a total drop in altitude of 224 m, this park is a natural phenomenon.
A short ferry ride will transport you to the enthralling island of Hvar. Hvar is known for its mesmerizing lavender fields and medieval architecture. Among some of the activities you could do are exploring the fortress overlooking the town, indulging in local cuisine, and watching the sunset over the Adriatic. You can also visit the Stari Grad of Hvar - one of the oldest towns in Croatia, which is home to ancient Greek remains. During the summer months, Hvar is the host of multiple music festivals and various events.
If you wish to experience a taste of what Ancient Rome was like, don’t think twice about visiting Pula Arena. Located on the Adriatic coast, this amphitheatre symbolises the city of Pula and the entire country of Croatia. It was constructed all the way back in the 1st century AD with the aim of hosting gladiator battles before the eyes of thousands of spectators. Today it serves as a platform for countless festivals, concerts and various events, thus transforming it into a symbol of culture.
Korcula & Pelješac are two regions in the Croatia archipelago, each with unique charm and natural beauty. Locals know Korcula as the “little Dubrovnik” due to its medieval atmosphere and ancient architecture. Another popular belief about the place is that it was the birth home of Marco Polo. Pelješac is just a ferry ride from Korcula and an excellent destination for wine enthusiasts. Vineyards are quite a famous scene in the region; therefore, embarking on a wine-tasting tour is a great way to experience the place.
If you want to get a taste of the therapeutic benefits of the Adriatic Sea, consider visiting the small coastal town of Opatija. Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Opatija was a fashionable destination of the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy in the 19th century. One of the most prominent sights in the city is the Hotel Kvarner, which first opened in 1884. This region is also quite famous as a spa destination; therefore, if you are searching for thermal baths, healing procedures and relaxing zones, this is the place to visit.
The most iconic attraction of this city of Zadar is the Sea Organ - an innovative musical instrument built into the city’s waterfront. As waves lap against the shore, the Sea Organ produces melodies, creating an unforgettable experience. The story of this landmark is a rather fascinating one - it appeared as a result of the reconstruction work done to repair the devastations Zadar suffered after the Second World War. With the help of the architect Nikola Basic, who was working to redesign the city's coast, this marvellous creation appeared.
Apart from learning the main facts about Croatia, you should also be prepared with ideas about what your itinerary should include. If you know little about the country and are unsure of what to include in your Balkan tour, consider some of our suggestions to avoid missing out on.
1. How many days in Croatia is enough?
A 7-day Croatia tour would be more than enough to visit the majority of the coastal towns, experience the culture, taste the local cuisine and immerse yourself in the historical significance of this ancient Roman region. The minimum amount of days needed for a good Croatia tour is 5.
2. What is the best way to tour Croatia?
The best way to tour Croatia is by car and ferry (where needed). This way, you can be the most flexible and visit the majority of tourist attractions and landmarks. Each Balkan tour we organise is by car, and it has proven to be the most effective, comfortable, and cheap form of travel.
3. Is Croatia a cheap travel destination?
When compared to the majority of Western European destinations, Croatia is considered relatively cheap. However, the cost of your tour depends on multiple factors, including accommodation preferences, the locations you wish to include and, of course, your personal spending habits.
4. Which is nicer, Split or Dubrovnik?
It depends on what you are looking for. Split is centrally located and is a more relaxed place with multiple day trip options and great nightlife scenery. On the other hand, Dubrovnik is the pearl of Croatia and is a historically significant region with impressive architecture dating back to ancient Rome.
Here are some more example Balkan tour itineraries including Croatia:
A Legacy of Unity: A Tour Through the Former Yugoslav States
28 Days | 4 Weeks: Grand Balkan Tour
21 Days | 3 Weeks : Complete Balkan Tour
16 Days: Countless Memories: The Ultimate Balkan Tour
14 Days | 2 Weeks: Dream Fortnight Balkan Tour
10 Days: Balkan Adventure
8 Days | 1 Week: Soul of the Balkans
If you don’t find the combination of countries or duration which suits your travel plans, let us know and we will do our best to customize a program according to your preferences.
Why choose Private Guide Bulgaria for your Balkan tour, you ask? Well, first of all, we have a long history of organizing such trips and have learned all the best places worth visiting by now. We also offer multiple other perks, such as:
A 100% unique experience designed for your needs and wishes.
Insights from friendly locals.
Seamless organization of your itinerary.
Carefully selected accommodations and dining places.
Licensed expertise in the entire Balkan region, including history, cuisine, traditions and many more.
Hassle-free transportation by car.