Is Zagreb worth visiting? My Opinion of Croatia’s Capital

Is Zagreb worth visiting? My Opinion of Croatia’s Capital

Croatia is one of the countries in Europe that I have visited year after year. Starting from road trips in Croatia to backpacking to even traveling with our baby – I have done many kinds of trips in this country.

Nestled between the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain and the banks of the Sava River, Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is often overshadowed by its more glamorous coastal counterparts. It has been a part of some of the road trips that we did in the Balkans.

Christmas city tram operated by workers dressed as Santa Claus
Christmas City tram operated by workers dressed as Santa Claus via Unsplash

One of the main reasons I visited Croatia time and time again was because of a music festival which I like to attend every summer. As a result, I have visited Zagreb often for just a day or sometimes even two. After spending many “one day”s in Zagreb year after year, I have finally decided to write down a post.

If you are visiting Zagreb, then most likely you are going to travel to other places in Croatia too. In that case, I highly recommend you rent a car like we did.

So, is Zagreb worth visiting? Or is it better to just arrive here, rent a car, and get out ASAP to do a road trip in Croatia and beyond? Here is my experience:

Mountains in the Background

Zagreb with mountains in the background
Zagreb with mountains in the background

The loveliest aspect about Zagreb for me was the background of mountains. The Samobor mountain range and Žumberak are visible from many parts of Zagreb.

These aren’t very high mountains like in Austria but they add to a lovely cityscape of this already scenic city. If you have a little time on your hands, then you can drive out of the city and explore the hilly landscape in your rented car.

Historic City Center

City Square, Zagreb, Croatia
City Square, Zagreb, Croatia via Unsplash

Zagreb’s city center is a captivating blend of historic charm, vibrant culture, and modern amenities, and you can spend almost an entire day just in the city center because everything is here and is a short walk away.

Wander through the historic Upper Town (Gornji Grad) to explore centuries-old architecture, including the iconic St. Mark’s Church and Lotrščak Tower. The blend of Gothic, Baroque, and Austro-Hungarian influences creates a visually stunning cityscape.

Here’s what to see in Zagreb City Center:

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Zagreb Cathedral
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Zagreb Cathedral via Pixabay

The Zagreb Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a stunning Gothic masterpiece. Its twin spires dominate the city skyline.

The cathedral holds cultural and religious significance, and its interior is adorned with intricate details and religious artifacts.

Ban Jelačić Square is the central square and the beating heart of Zagreb. It is the focal point for social, cultural, and political events. Landmark Statue: Dominating the square is a statue of Ban Josip Jelačić, a Croatian military leader. The statue is a popular meeting point and a symbol of Zagreb.

The Upper Town (Gornji Grad) is the historic core of Zagreb, characterized by narrow streets, cobblestone alleys, and medieval architecture.

A highlight of the Upper Town is St. Mark’s Church with its colorful tiled roof depicting the coats of arms of Zagreb and Croatia.

St. Mark's Church Zagreb, Croatia
St. Mark’s Church Zagreb, Croatia via Unsplash

Tkalciceva Street is a bustling pedestrian zone lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists to unwind and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

The street often hosts street performers and artists, adding to the creative and bohemian ambiance.

Lotrščak Tower Zagreb
Lotrščak Tower Zagreb via Unsplash

Lotrščak Tower, perched on the hill in Upper Town, offers panoramic views of the city. Visitors can climb to the top and experience breathtaking vistas of Zagreb. It is also called the “Zagreb 360° observation deck”.

The tower is also known for its traditional cannon firing, a practice that dates back to the 19th century.

Lively Street Markets

Street Market in Zagreb
Street Market in Zagreb via Pixabay

One of Zagreb’s hidden delights is its bustling street markets. Dolac Market, situated in the heart of the city, is a kaleidoscope of colors, offering fresh produce, local delicacies, and handmade crafts. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, interact with locals, and savor the authenticity of Zagreb’s gastronomic scene.

Dolac is renowned for its high-quality, locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers from the surrounding regions come to the market to sell their fresh produce, giving visitors the opportunity to buy seasonal and locally grown items.

In addition to fresh produce, Dolac Market is a great place to find traditional Croatian products such as homemade cheeses, olive oils, honey, corn bread, and various local delicacies.

Quaint Cafés and Cosy Atmosphere

Cafe in Zagreb, Croatia
Cafe in Zagreb, Croatia via Unsplash

Zagreb’s café culture is an integral part of its charm. Sidewalk cafés, tucked-away bistros, and historic coffee houses line the city streets.

Enjoy a leisurely cup of kava (coffee) as you soak in the relaxed atmosphere. The city’s commitment to preserving its heritage is evident in the preservation of these timeless establishments. Here are 5 cafes in Zagreb that I recommend:

1) Vinodol

Located in the city center, Vinodol is known for its historic setting, combining traditional charm with a relaxed atmosphere.

2) Botaničar

Situated near the Botanical Garden, Botaničar offers a cozy green oasis, perfect for enjoying coffee and pastries.

3) Velvet Cafe

Known for its vintage décor and artistic ambiance, Velvet Cafe provides a unique and eclectic setting for coffee enthusiasts.

4) Mali Medo

Tucked away in the Upper Town, Mali Medo is a small café with a rustic charm, known for its warm atmosphere and friendly service.

5) Eliscaffe

With a reputation for excellent coffee, Eliscaffe offers a welcoming space in the heart of Zagreb for those seeking a cozy café experience.

Green Oasis and Outdoor Escapes

Maksimir-Park, Maksimirski perivoj, Zagreb, Croatia
Maksimir-Park, Maksimirski perivoj, Zagreb, Croatia via Unsplash

If you are like me then you like to escape the urban hustle by stepping into green spaces from time to time. Let me tell you about Zagreb’s green spaces.

Maksimir Park, the city’s oldest public park, offers a serene retreat for nature lovers. Stroll through well-maintained pathways, encounter local wildlife, and unwind amid lush landscapes.

Another green space that you need to keep in mind is Zagreb’s Botanical Garden. It is known as the Botanički vrt Prirodoslovno-matematički fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu in Croatian, is a serene oasis in the heart of the city.

The garden is located near the city center, within walking distance from many popular attractions. It’s situated on Marulić Square, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists.

Established in 1889 as part of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Science, the Botanical Garden has a rich history. It was created for educational and scientific purposes, and over the years, it has evolved into a peaceful retreat for nature enthusiasts.

Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb
Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb via Pixabay

Another green space worth mentioning is the Mirogoj cemetery. It is one of the most renowned and picturesque cemeteries in Zagreb, Croatia. It is not just a burial ground but also a significant cultural and historical site.

Mirogoj is renowned for its impressive Avenue of Cypresses, a long path flanked by tall trees that create a solemn and serene atmosphere.

The Cemetery is open to visitors, and many people come to explore its architectural beauty, pay respects to their loved ones, or appreciate the cultural and historical significance of the site.

Zagreb’s Layout

King Tomislav statue and Art Pavilion building
King Tomislav statue and Art Pavilion building via Pixabay

Lenuci’s Green Horseshoe (Lower Town) is downtown Zagreb’s U-shaped system of city squares with parks. It is a vibrant and meticulously designed urban space, named after its architect, Milan Lenuci. Stretching from the Main Railway Station to the King Tomislav Square, this horseshoe-shaped ensemble encompasses a series of parks, squares, and cultural institutions.

Adorned with fountains, sculptures, and lush greenery, the area showcases architectural styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The oldest part of the horseshoe is Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square.

Lenuci horseshoe is a picturesque blend of nature and history, hosting landmarks like the Art Pavilion, Croatian National Theatre, and the Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Advent in Zagreb - Christmas Market
Advent in Zagreb – Christmas Market via Unsplash

Zagreb’s calendar is adorned with cultural events and festivals throughout the year. Most people visit Croatia in summer, which is the high season but if you visit in winter, you can experience Zagreb’s amazing Christmas markets. Here are a few festivals and cultural events in Zagreb that are worth noting:

One of the most famous festivals in Zagreb is INmusic Festival. Croatia’s largest open-air music festival is held on Lake Jarun island. Featuring a diverse lineup of international and local artists, INmusic attracts music lovers for a memorable experience.

Zagreb Film Festival is an annual film festival showcasing independent and international films. It provides a platform for emerging filmmakers and attracts cinema enthusiasts from around the world.

Another festival worth noting is Animafest Zagreb. It is one of the world’s oldest animated film festivals that celebrates the art of animation with screenings, exhibitions, and workshops. It gathers animators and enthusiasts to explore the evolving world of animated cinema.

A few more festivals and cultural events held in Zagreb are ZagrebDox (An international documentary film festival), Cest is d’Best (a street festival), Zagreb Book Festival, Advent in Zagreb, Floraart (garden exhibition held in spring) Zagreb World Theatre Festival, and Zagreb Pride.

Plan your visit around one of these events to experience the vibrant spirit of Zagreb.

Museum of Broken Relationships

There are numerous museums all over the world, but I’m sure you wouldn’t have ever heard of one that pays homage to broken relationships. It is in Zagreb and is worth a visit.

The Museum of Broken Relationships originated from the personal experience of two artists, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, who had recently ended their romantic relationship.

The concept was born from the idea of creating a space where people could share stories and symbolic artifacts from their past romantic relationships.

It is a unique and emotionally powerful museum that explores the various facets of failed relationships through personal objects and stories.

The Museum of Broken Relationships is situated in the Upper Town (Gornji Grad) of Zagreb, not far from St. Mark’s Church and other historical landmarks. Its central location makes it easily accessible to both locals and tourists.

If you are into museums, then also check out the Museum of Illusions which features a variety of optical illusions and interactive exhibits designed to challenge visitors’ perception of reality.

Zagreb Has Simple Public Transportation

Blue Tram in Zagreb
Blue Tram in Zagreb via Pixabay

No matter how pretty a city is, for a nice experience there, one needs to be able to move around without stress. In that case, Zagreb wins.

Zagreb’s public transportation system is efficient, connecting the city seamlessly. Operated by ZET (Zagrebački električni tramvaj), it comprises buses and an extensive tram network.

The trams, an iconic part of the city’s landscape, offer convenient and reliable transportation to key areas. Buses cover routes extending beyond the tram lines, ensuring comprehensive city coverage.

The integrated ticket system allows passengers to use both modes of transport with a single ticket. With frequent services and well-marked stops, Zagreb’s public transportation system is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way for locals and visitors to explore the Croatian capital.

Moreover, if you aren’t solo and are with your family here, you will be happy to know that it is easy to get app-based taxis like Uber and Bolt at affordable prices in Zagreb.

Good Starting Point for Exploring Croatia & Slovenia

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Zagreb is an excellent base for visiting the nearby destinations that Croatia has to offer. Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park is just 2 hours by road. I highly recommend that you don’t limit yourself to a day trip because this national park is worth so much more.

But if you still want to do a day trip to the Plitvice Lakes, here’s the one I recommend. If you go to Croatia, don’t miss this stunning national park that’s also a UNESCO world heritage site.

Additionally, you can also take a bus from Zagreb to visit Croatia’s coastal cities on the Dalmatian coast or the Adriatic coast. The Dalmatian coast is the larger body of water that separates the Italian peninsula from the Balkans. The most famous cities of Dubrovnik and Split are on the Dalmatian coast.

Two out of the four times we were in Croatia, we had a van or a rented car to go to the Dalmatian Coast. During the backpacking days, I hopped on a bus to visit Pula, which is a historical beach destination in Croatia’s Istrian peninsula.

Another amazing day trip opportunity from Zagreb is to Slovenia’s Lake Bled. We visited this place on our campervan when we drove from Germany to Croatia, and we camped next to Lake Bohinj.

The above-mentioned day trip makes total sense because it is cheaper to stay in Croatia than in Slovenia, and you can explore the magical Lake Bled in the nearby country while you are in Zagreb.

Where to Stay in Zagreb

For Zagreb, I will recommend two hotels where I have personally stayed with my toddler (she was three at that time).

Hotel Orient Express

Hotel Orient Express Zagreb
Hotel Orient Express Zagreb

We booked a suite in Hotel Orient with an attached room for our toddler. It was a very comfortable stay with nice beds, a TV, and a balcony. We even had an AC. In 2022, we paid EUR 72 for a night here.

The location of Hotel Orient is perfect because there’s a decent parking place so it is perfect for road trips. Also, the main train station was 500 meters away and the bus station was 1.5 KM away. 

Hotel Europa

Hotel Europa in Zagreb
Hotel Europa in Zagreb

Hotel Europa is also a mid-budget hotel in Zagreb and I paid the same as Orient Express hotel for it for our family of three – EUR 72.

In my experience, Hotel Orient was much better because we had an entire suite. But at Hotel Europa we had a massive bedroom with an extra single bed for our little girl. There was a shopping mall that was less than a kilometer away from the hotel where we went for lunch.

Is Zagreb Worth Visiting? Final Thoughts

If you are short on time and would prefer to spend your vacation time in Croatia’s other destinations such as Plitvice Lakes, Pula, Krka National Park, Dubrovnik, or Rastoke – then I suggest you don’t waste your time in Zagreb.

However, if you can spare some time then take a day to explore Zagreb because it offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity, making it a worthy destination like most of the European capitals. Whether you’re captivated by its historic landmarks, enchanted by its local markets, or simply seeking a relaxed European getaway, Zagreb has something to offer.

As you contemplate your travel choices, consider the allure of Zagreb – a city that invites you to explore its hidden corners and create lasting memories.

Rastoke, Slunj – Croatia’s Secret Waterfall Destination

Rastoke, Slunj – Croatia’s Secret Waterfall Destination

What landscape comes to your mind when you think of Croatia? Perhaps clear waterfalls – that’s because of overly popular (yet stunning) Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park. Or it could be an image of a historical beach destination, thanks to Game of Thrones because Dubrovnik was the shooting location for King’s Landing.

As a person who has visited Croatia year after year, I have to tell you that even though the country is stunning, the majority of beautiful places are overrun by tourists.

Because of this, visiting places like Dubrovnik or Krka National Park in peak times can be super stressful and may not feel like a vacation. Although the same is often thought to be the case for the Plitvice Lakes, I have a post about how it can be done in a way to avoid crowds.

I’m here to tell you about another place that I have been visiting year after year and it hardly receives any tourists. It is a town called Slunj, with a waterfall village inside it called Rastoke.

Introducing Rastoke, Slunj

Rastoke waterfall, Slunj, Croatia

So what is Rastoke all about? It is a historical village in a Slunj town with many small waterfalls and cascades and surrounded by rivers Korana, Slunjčica, and Plitvica.

The entire village is overwater, which is why it made it so special for me. Rastoke village is over three big islands and a bunch of smaller islands connected via bridges with water around.

Rastoke is known for its watermills too, which contributed to Slunj’s economic development.

Mini Plitvice Lakes - Waterfall in Slunj, Croatia Road Trip
Mini Plitvice Lakes – Waterfall in Slunj, Croatia Road Trip

Rastoke is called “Mini Plitvice Lakes” because one can see similar natural phenomena as that in the nearby Plitvice Lakes. Rastoke is where Slunjčica River flows into the Korana River, which is one of the two rivers of Plitvice Lakes National Park.

I can’t compare Rastoke with Plitvice Lakes because the Plitvice Lakes are super stunning and not many places compare to the epic scale of natural beauty of those lakes. Having said that, I’d like to mention that Rastoke is much smaller but it is a thousand times more relaxing experience because there aren’t many visitors. 

What’s more, is that this village is completely overwater. So if you rent a place to stay here, most likely it will be an overwater cottage. So, you can actually be a part of the landscape in a much deeper way as compared to the Plitvice Lakes.

Is Rastoke a Secret?

The Lovely Waterfront Houses of Rastoke, Croatia

Are there any secret places in this age of Instagram? Hardly any. That changes the real definition of a secret. In today’s age, a secret spot is one that’s not yet popular on Instagram.

The difference is that you wouldn’t see long queues of influencers in fancy evening gowns or cocktail dresses, so you can actually stand on scenic spots without thinking that you’re messing up someone’s photo (or Instagram reel).

Rastoke Waterfall, Slunj, Croatia [CC0] via Unsplash

Rastoke in Slunj is one such place. I have visited Slunj on many occasions because of a music festival that occurs near this town in a nature park along the River Mrežnica. This particular nature park has no network coverage, but don’t worry, Rastoke and Slunj definitely have a good network.

My dream house – a waterfront house in Rastoke with a waterfall on the side, Croatia

In order to truly experience Rastoke and Slunj town’s offbeat vibes, stay in one of the waterfront cottages here in Rastoke with the sounds of the waterfall in the background. I will share more information about this at the end of the post.

Where is Rastoke, Slunj

Rastoke is in the mountainous part of Central Croatia. It is located along the fast-moving route between Karlovac and Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is a North-South route to the Adriatic Sea. Rastoke, Slunj is 25 km from the Plitvice Lakes and just 16 km away from the nearest border of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Slunj Town in Croatia

Rastoke is a part of Slunj town. Slunj is a very small town with a castle, river, many restaurants, supermarkets, and bakeries. Just like some parts of Zagreb, you will also see little hills in the background in most of Slunj.

How to reach Rastoke, Slunj

Driving to Rastoke Slunj, Croatia

The best way to travel within Croatia is by driving. If you live in a nearby country in Europe then you will probably drive to Croatia and travel within the country with your own car. Alternatively, you can fly to Zagreb and just rent a car from there (or any other city in Croatia).

We did travel to Slunj on our campervan and the journey was straightforward because Slunj is located on the important North-South route between Karlovac and Plitvice Lakes. In order to see the car rental prices, you can check this link for a comparison and estimate.

On the few occasions I have visited Slunj, I have traveled here by bus and car both. I found the bus travel in Croatia uncomplicated, affordable, and stress-free. It was effortless to travel to the bus stops in Croatia using Uber or Bolt taxi services.

It is very easy to reach Slunj on a bus from Zagreb Plitvice Lakes or Karlovac. The journey from Zagreb to Slunj took us two hours on the last occasion and it was booked on the Omio app (which is amazing for travel within Europe).

Please note Rastoke bus stop isn’t the same as Slunj main bus stop but you can walk from one to another in 10 minutes.

Rastoke is seven minutes walk from Slunj bus station. If you’re walking in summer with full sun and luggage, then this walk can take you 10-12 minutes.

Rastoke Parking

I saw three parking areas right at the entry of Rastoke. The parking here didn’t seem to have an option of card payment so keep Croatian Kuna coins with you. 

Rastoke Entry Fee (2022) 

The entry ticket prices are in Kunas and usually 1 EUR = 7.5 Kunas. Here’s the entry info for visiting Rastoke in 2022:

  • Adults: 45 Kunas in July & August; 40 Kunas in the other months
  • Children / Students / Seniors: 30 Kunas throughout the year
  • Family Ticket for 3: 110 Kunas in July & August; 100 Kunas in the other months
  • Family Ticket for 4: 130 Kunas in July & August; 120 Kunas in the other months (additional child 20 kunas)

What to see in Rastoke

Rastoke Waterfalls

Rastoke Map, Croatia
Rastoke Map, Croatia

There are three main waterfalls in Rastoke. Yes, the map mentions more but I could just find three big ones. The rest of the waterfalls were small and there were also some small cascades. If you visit and find more than three big waterfalls here, I’d be happy to hear from you.

Walk around in Rastoke, and explore the three islands. Don’t be fooled by the small size, there is a lot to see here. The most obvious thing to do here would be to see the waterfalls, but there’s more.

Waterfall of Rastoke, Slunj, Croatia

Rastoke Village with Little Islands, Meadows & Bridges

Apart from the streams and waterfalls, Rastoke has meadows, little islands that are connected with bridges, an 18th-century mill, a traditional carpet washer made of wood, a fishpond, a cave, a Winnetou totem, and even a fairy garden.

Yes, you read that right. You can find your fairy in the fairy garden, get a fairy name, and check out the meaning of your fairy name.

Walk and explore Rastoke, Croatia

Fairies form an important part of Croatian and Slavic legends. This is one of the reasons why one of the waterfalls of Rastoke is called Vilinska Kosa – which means Fairy’s Hair.

Rastoke and the Legend of Fairies 

The legend of the fairies exists in Rastoke as long as the settlement itself. Legend has it that the riverbanks in Rastoke were home to the fairies. This is the reason why a lot of water flowed through the mills.

The fairies of Rastoke had supernatural powers. They dressed in white and wore crowns or green garlands. They wove their hair in thick braids.

The Magical Waterfall Village – Rastoke in Croatia

As per the legend, while the millers were busy grounding corn into flour at night with their mills, the fairies stole their horses. They brought the horses back before dawn with their manes braided up. 

There are more stories and legends about the fairies of Rastoke. It was believed that the fairies would lead lost travelers in fog to the right path, heal a sick person with herbs, and put a restless child to sleep.

How long do you need for Rastoke?

Korana River, Rastoke, Croatia

Slunj town is small and Rastoke is even smaller. You don’t need more than half a day to see everything here unlike the nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park which takes easily two days if you want to cover everything. However, I suggest you try to stay here for one night for a more relaxing experience. 

If you stay in Rastoke for a night, then you can also try to be a part of one of the kayaking trips on the Mrežnica River which is unbelievably clear. This river has many waterfalls, springs, and caves. If you arrive here in your own car or camper van, then you can also try to include Primišlje village. But I will talk about that later.

Slunjčica Walking Trail & Stari Grad

Stari Grad Castle next to Ratoke, Slunj, Croatia
Stari Grad Castle next to Ratoke, Slunj, Croatia

While you are in Rastoke, take some time out to experience the best of the surrounding natural beauty and walk along the river. Do the Slunjčica walking trail to see the clear water of this river and the sights around. 

One of the places that you will see on the Slunjčica walking trail is a Stari Grad, which is a big castle that’s on the opposite side of the main road as you drive to Rastoke from Slunj. Stari Grad is not inside Rastoke but you will see it from the parking spot or the bus stop of Rastoke. You don’t have to actually go inside the castle to admire it. 

In order to start the Slunjčica walking trail, arrive at Moćanovo bridge (Moćanovog Mosta) and then follow the trail along the river. 

Primišlje village near Slunj

If you don’t believe in fairies and magic forests, then your mind will change after you visit Primišlje. It is a small nature park along the Mrežnica River where it makes many streams, waterfalls, and cascades. This river is super clear and lush with greenery dragonflies and magical misty foliage.

The only way you can visit Primišlje from Slunj is by driving. So, it works well if you have a rental car or your own car. Another way to reach Primišlje would be to hire a taxi from Slunj.

Be prepared to spend a few hours here without network coverage, so I recommend you download an offline version of Google Maps before you start driving here from Slunj.

If you don’t have a car, and you’re alone then I suggest you skip Primišlje because it would be too much of an effort to arrive here. Another way to experience this area is by kayaking. I found the below kayaking tour of Mrežnica that includes Primišlje on GetYourGuide that you can sign up for.

Where to Stay in Rastoke, Slunj

Rastoke, Slunj with the overwater village, Croatia [CC0] via Unsplash

Slunj town has a number of guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts but I highly recommend picking a place to stay next to the waterfalls of Rastoke. There aren’t many such places but I can tell you about one of them, it is called Holiday House Rastoke Pod Lipom.

Holiday House Rastoke Pod Lipom is a waterfront property and the river flows right under it, so it is extra special. Sleeping with the sounds of water is therapeutic and you can experience it here. 

Having visited Croatia a number of times, I’d recommend staying longer in a place like Rastoke as compared to some of the other highly touristy spots such as Dubrovnik, Split, Krka National Park or Plitvice Lakes.

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9 Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe (that aren’t Grada or Bled or Camo)

9 Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe (that aren’t Grada or Bled or Camo)

Ever seen a list of the most visited destinations in the world? Most of them in the top 10 are in Europe. Yep, Europe is one of the most touristy continents. Why do I even mention it? Read on.

When a destination becomes even mildly famous in Europe, it kind of turns into Disneyland. It is not just with destinations that have been famous for decades – such as Amsterdam, Paris or Prague – but also newly famous destinations thanks to the power of Instagram such as Bucharest.

Same happened with the most famous lakes in Europe too. Yes, I’m talking about the ever famous Lake Grada of Italy, Lake Bled of Slovenia and Lake Camo of Italy again. Yes, they are definitely lovely but it is hard to enjoy the raw natural beauty of these lakes when the area all around is so developed and busy.

If you’re anything like me, then you seek peace and raw natural beauty of a lake destination instead of the hustle bustle of an overly developed town. Moreover, you would want to see the lake without too many boats in or around it.

For me, a stunning lake is the one that’s in the wilderness – or even better mountains. It is not surrounded by developed towns but you can only see empty areas if you sit next to the water. An absence of commercial boats is definitely an added advantage because it adds to the peace element. Calm and clear water so that you can see inside. Yes, that’s what it takes for a lake to be truly stunning.

Maybe I sound like a nature snob, but the thing is exploring natural landscapes is our thing. San and I are living in Germany and we often travel within the Europe on our campervan. We avoid big cities and instead head to National Parks. And guess what, some of the most beautiful lakes in Europe are found in National Parks. Yes, we have seem many European lakes and we’d like to tell you about the most beautiful ones.

The easiest way to reach most of these lakes is by car. If you live in Europe, then you can drive your own car to these destination. Alternatively, you can fly to the nearby destination and rent a car. Traveling by car is usually cheaper and more convenient in Europe.

Check Car Rental Prices in Europe

Click the above button to see a comparison of car or van rental prices for your preferred destination from many different providers.

Europe’s Most beautiful Lakes

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1) Lake Bohinj, Slovenia (Triglav National Park)

The spectacular Bohinjsko jezero - Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

The spectacular Bohinjsko jezero – Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

Slovenian’s Lake Bled gets all the attention, but Lake Bohinj is the one that will truly take your breath away. This lake has all it takes to be on top of our list. Bohinj is the highlight of Triglav National Park so you can rest assured that the natural beauty of the area around the lake is preserved. 

So what makes Lake Bohinj so special? The water is insanely clear, it is away from the main towns and is surrounded by big mountains.  Mount Triglav is the highest peak of the Julien Alps. Yep, so Lake Bohinj is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Alps. Bonus point – Lake Bohinj has some ridiculously stunning beaches.  

Mountains, clear lake and pretty beaches - Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Mountains, clear lake and pretty beaches – Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

You can not just sit on the side of Lake Bohinj on one of its beaches and not get stunned by the jaw dropping beauty of the mountains around it. They are so high! I wasn’t even able to capture the complete height of the mountains even with a wide angle camera except only at one spot where I walked way far back.

One of the many beaches along Lake Bohinj - Bohinjsko Jezero - Slovenia

One of the many beaches along Lake Bohinj – Bohinjsko Jezero – Slovenia

There are definitely many stunning lakes around the world but not many that you can camp right next to. Yes, you can actually put up your tent or park your camper van next to the lake in  Camp Zlatorog Bohinj. For all these reasons, Lake Bohinj is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.

For more information, read my post about Slovenia’s Lake Bohinj.

2) Black Lake, Montenegro (Durmitor National Park)

Black Lake - Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Black Lake – Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Many visit Montenegro for its beaches but in our experience this country’s mountains is so much better. Montenegro’s Durmitor Mountain range within the Dinaric Alps is a destination that will wow you over.

Within the Dinaric Alps, there’s a protected area called Durmitor National Park which has many glacier lakes. One of the most famous glacier lakes here is called Crno jezero (the Black Lake) near Zabljak, which should actually be called the Blue Lake. The water is extremely clear and is blue-green in color. 

Crno jezero or Black Lake entry area, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Crno jezero or Black Lake entry area, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Black Lake is actually a set of twin lakes that is joined by strait. There are trees and mountains around most of the lake so the resulting landscape is super stunning. There is also a walking path around the twin lakes with many benches. You can walk around both the lakes in 1,5 hours if you make a few resting stops.

You can’t swim in the Black Lake or Camp right next to it. For more information on Black Lake, read my post about Durmitor National Park.

3) Lake Zaovine, Serbia (Tara National Park) 

I was 4 to 5 months pregnant when San and I went to Serbia

Swimming in Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Serbia

A lot of the lakes in this list are surrounded by high mountains and pine trees but Serbia’s Lake Zaovine is a bit different. Yes, there are mountains but they aren’t as high on all the sides and we definitely did not see pine trees. As a result, there is a high visibility of the landscape around Lake Zaovine. 

Lake Zaovine is in Serbia’s Tara National Park, which is literally on the border of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is situated in Tara National Park which is known for its mind-blowing viewpoints. 

Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Mokra Gora, Serbia

Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Mokra Gora, Serbia

Talking about touristy, this place definitely isn’t. It is perhaps the least touristy destinations that are mentioned on this list. As a result, you can have the gorgeousness of this lake to yourself like we did. You can swim in it, spend a few hours around it, click endless photos without bothering about other tourists. For us, Zaovine is one of the best lakes in Europe for swimming.

For more information about Lake Zaovine, read my post about Tara National Park, Serbia.

4) Lago di Tovel, Italy

Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

Yes, Italy’s lakes are super famous and touristy, but Lago di Tovel isn’t. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous. It has the bluest water and was semi frozen when we visited in spring. It is surrounded by snowy mountains and has everything you imagine in a typical alpine lake. The best part, you can usually see a reflection of the snowy mountains on the surface. 

Lake Tovel is in Italy’s Trentino region which is known for the Dolomites. As with most of the lakes on this list, it is in a protected area – Adamello-Brenta nature park. As per the legends, this lake was once red in color. Spooky!

Lago do Tovel - the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino - Italy

Lago do Tovel – the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino – Italy

It is possible to walk al around Lago di Tovel in 1.5 – 2 hours to discovered other scenic spots. We couldn’t because I was pregnant when we visited and I wasn’t in a mood for so much exercise. The lake is triangular in shape. No, you can not swim in Lake Tovel.

In order to get to Lago di Tovel, you need to visit Italy’s Trentino region. Stay in Val di Non to enjoy its romantic beauty and drive to Lago di Tovel. 

For more information about Lake Tovel, read my post – Lago di Tovel, Italy or read about Val di Non.

5) Plitvice Lakes, Croatia (Plitvice Lakes National Park)

Crystal Clear Water - Plitvice Lakes Croatia

Water so clear that you can see the bottom of the lake – Plitvice Lakes Croatia

How can I write a post about the most beautiful lakes in Europe and not mention the Plitvice Lakes? It is a National Park in Croatia with 16 lakes that are formed on different levels that are interconnected. They are on different levels and as a result there are waterfalls and cascades. These lakes are stunning with insanely clear water.  This area is truly a natural wonderland.

The 16 lakes of the Plitvice Lakes complex are divided in two segments – the Upper Lakes and the Lower Lakes. Some of the lakes are really big but in my experience the smaller lakes were better than the bigger ones because you could really see the clarity. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park has 7 hiking routes that vary in length. Because of the size of the national park, not all trails cover all the lakes but just 1 of them does. That’s the hiking route we took but it took us all day and we ended up walking for 15-20 kilometers in total. You can also pick one of the smaller trails. I mention all of the Plitvice Lakes’ hiking routes in detail in my post. Be sure to read it before you go. 

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Maybe you were only looking for Europe’s most beautiful lakes but for me it is an added bonus when you get to enjoy the beauty of the waterfalls too. Yes, you will find a lot of them in this national park.

Sadly you can not swim in the Plitvice Lakes but it is really a good thing because that’s how the water is so clean and the biodiversity is truly protected. These lakes collectively are some of the cleanest lakes in Europe. The water is so clean that you can actually see the bottom of the smaller lakes.

Perhaps the Plitvice Lakes are the most touristy lakes on this list and the crowd peaks in the months of August and July. But you can visit them in other months and that will help you avoid crowds.

For more information, read my post about the Plitvice Lakes where I also mention how to avoid crowds.

6) Seealpsee, Switzerland

Recommended by Continent Hop

Seealpsee Switzerland - Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe

Seealpsee Switzerland – Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe

Switzerland’s Seealpsee that’s sat at an altitude of 1141 meters above sea level, is one of the prettiest lakes in Europe. The lake is located amongst the Appenzell Alps in Switzerland and reflects the nearby surroundings like a glass mirror.

To add to the magic, this alpine lake doesn’t get a lot of visitors. The only ones to be found here are ones that head off on the Wasserauen -Seealpsee hike.

You could take a picnic here and in summer possibly go for a boat ride; however, the postcard-perfect location is best enjoyed by taking a walk around it and admiring the dense trees and the glass reflections in the lake while the cows lazily graze around. On some days, the clouds almost descend on the lake, making it look unbelievably stunning.

There’s numerous options for stay here if you’d rather not spend just a single day at the lake.

 

7) Xhema’s Lake, Valbonë, Albania

Valbona Lake in Albania - Travel the Balkans - by Robert Figgen

Xhema’s Lake in Valbona, Albania – Travel the Balkans – by Robert Figgen

Albania’s Valbonë River and the Albanian Alps create a stunning natural landscape in Valbonë Valley National Park. The most famous lake in national park is Shkodër (Lake Skadar) and that’s massive. But there is a smaller lake in Valbonë village called Xhema’s Lake which is stunning. 

It is easy to reach Xhema’s Lake from Valbona village. You will see the signboards in the village itself and from there it is a 30 minute walk. The lake is super clear and blue. The water is icy cold. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs that adds to a strange rugged beauty to this spot.

Please keep in mind that Xhema’s Lake dries up in late summer heat and it is a better idea to see it in spring or early summer. The above picture was clicked in late June. The locals say that the lake is at it’s best in spring because that’s when the winter ice freshly melts and as a result the water is clear blue.

Here’s more information about Valbona Valley National Park.

 

8) Eibsee, Bavaria, Germany

Recommended by Happy to Wander

Eibsee =, Bavaria, Germany by Happy to Wander

Eibsee, Bavaria, Germany by Happy to Wander

When it comes to lakes, Germany doesn’t have a shortage of them and some of the best ones are in Bavaria. While Bavaria’s Königssee is definitely a more famous one, we’d like to mention Eibsee on this list, which is smaller.

Eibsee is special because not only it has crystal clear water but you can also see the Zugspitze (the highest mountain peak in Germany). It is said to be one of the purest and most beautiful lakes in Bavarian Alps.

You can visit Eibsee in all the seasons, each has something unique to offer. This lovely alpine lake freezes in winter and the water starts melting in spring. Summer is a very good time to visit with a family because the weather is warm. Bonus: you can swim in Eibsee in summer. Autumn can be a really interesting time to visit because of the contrast of warm red leaves against the cold blue water. 

Autumn Foliage around Eibsee, Germany

Autumn Foliage around Eibsee, Germany [Pixabay]

The landscape around Eibsee is rocky and you should take some time out to walk around the lake. You can reach Eibsee from Munich. We suggest you read Bayern Ticket Guide by Germany’s travel specialist – Happy to Wander.

 

9) Lago di Braies, Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in north Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in North Italy

Did we save the best for the last? Maybe. Yes, it is the second one from Italy on our list and totally deserves to be here because Lago di Braies is one of most beautiful lakes in the Alps. It is also called the Pragser Wildsee.  

Lago di Braies is often called the “pearl among the Dolomite lakes”. As with most of the alpine lakes on this list, you can enjoy a surreal landscape of mountains too.

Lago di Braies suddenly became extremely famous because of Instagram. This resulted in a massive spike of visitors and traffic jams. Thankfully there is now a restriction on the number of visitors from 10 am to 3 pm. If you arrive by car, you can only visit if you get a parking place in one of the valley car parks in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. Another way of visiting would be by booking a bus ticket to the lake in advance from Dobbiaco or Monguelfo. Another option would be to hike from Ferrara to the lake.

During your visit to Lago di Braies, you can take some time out to walk around the lake. The walking path is 4 kms and this way you can get to enjoy the surreal beauty of this lake from different perspectives.

Did something catch your eye? Let us know which one of the above mentioned European lakes you have visited already or are planning on visiting next. Comment and let us know.

Waterfalls of Krka National Park, Croatia: Complete Guide

Waterfalls of Krka National Park, Croatia: Complete Guide

What’s the first image that comes to your mind when someone mentions Croatia? Perhaps Dubrovnik-like beaches with turquoise water and medieval buildings along the coast.

Nature lovers would think of Croatia’s natural landscapes, after all the country has many of them and they are famous.

When it comes to beautiful natural landscapes, Croatia has it all – clear lakes, rivers, mountains, and spectacular waterfalls. The most famous waterfall in Croatia is located in Krka National Park – and you can swim in it. 

Croatia and its neighbor Bosnia-Herzegovina have a lot of stunning waterfalls and I have seen many of them. Two of them are in Una National Park, one in Kravice Waterfalls, many of them in Plitvice Lakes National Park, a few close to Plitvice Lakes in a town called Slunj, and the most famous one is in Krka National Park.

Introducing Krka National Park (and Why you Should go there) 

Inside Krka National Park, Croatia
Inside Krka National Park, Croatia – Photo by my friend Selin (@sollunatic_photos)

Just 10 km away from the pretty riverside town of Sibenik, you will reach one of the most beautiful parts of Croatia, where the Krka and Čikola rivers meet and create an amazing natural karst phenomenon.

With its seven waterfalls, a large number of lakes, world-famous aromatic lavenders, bees, and of course, its surreal view, today, this area is known as the famous Krka National Park.

Skradinski Buk

Named after the Krka river, this national park covers an area of 142 square km of magnificent scenery, including one of Croatia’s most famous sights, the Skradinski Buk waterfall. This waterfall is known as one of the most beautiful calcium carbonate waterfalls in the entire Europe. 

Krka and Čikola Rivers

You must have read about Krka River’s starting point in our post about Una National Park in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While Bosnia’s Una National Park shows the magnificence of rivers Una and Krka, Croatia’s Krka National Park shows the magic of Krka and Čikola rivers.

Tufa Formation

The similarity between Krka National Park and Una National Park doesn’t end there. Guess what, both the national parks feature similar tufa formations that create spectacular cascades and waterfalls.

Even the nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park is famous for its tufa formations and features multiple waterfalls and cascades. 

Cascades and waterfalls inside Krka National Park, Croatia
Tufa forms Cascades and waterfalls inside Krka National Park, Croatia – Photo by my friend Selin (@sollunatic_photos)

In Krka National Park, you can also visit beautiful monasteries, the gorgeous Roski Slap waterfall and its travertine islands, and of course, the best one should be a swimming session near the epic Skradinski Buk waterfall.

If that is not enough, the park also has an outlaid promenade walk with wooden paths, which offers a serene walking experience to its visitors.

The Krka National Park is a unique park that has an unaltered area of exceptional natural value, due to its preserved ecosystems.

That’s why in 1985, Krka National Park was proclaimed a national park, and today, it is the seventh national park in Croatia. The travertine waterfalls of the Krka River and its limestones are a fundamental phenomenon that should be visited once in a lifetime.

Where is Krka National Park?

Located within the territory of Šibenik-Knin county in southern Croatia, the Krka National Park stands along the Krka River. 

The Krka River, which has shaped the outstanding Krka National Park, streams all the way through the north-central part of the Dalmatian region between the plateau of the Čikola River and the Dalmatian Zagora region. 

Clear Krka river in Krka national park, Croatia
Clear Krka river in Krka national park, Croatia

The Krka River especially stands out with its constant process of travertine-building, which creates a beautiful karst phenomenon that attracts more than 700,000 visitors every year.

Krka National Park Guided Tours

I have shortlisted a few tours for you to consider booking. This way you can just not go through the hassle of research, trying to find the best spots, and the commute.

The above tours are offered by GetYourGuide and Viator. I have personally used GetYourGuide a lot in Europe and have loved the experience. I understand that Viator is more popular for travelers from the USA and Canada.

How to Reach Krka National Park?

Ferry from Skradin to Skradinski Buk, Krka National Park, Croatia
Ferry from Skradin to Skradinski Buk, Krka National Park, Croatia

If you are planning to rent a car in Croatia, driving is generally easy. Croatia is an amazing country for a road trip because you can see a lot of different kinds of landscapes in a short time.

You can enjoy the smooth roads and even speed up to 130 km/h on highways. Check out our Croatia road trip itinerary for ideas and information.

When it comes to reaching the Krka National Park, there are several ways. Let’s talk about the entrances.

Krka National Park Entrances (which one to take)

First of all, you need to know the entrances of the national park. Krka National Park has five entrances:

  • Skradin for Skradinski Buk,
  • Lozovac,
  • Roški slap / Laškovica,
  • Burnum / Puljane, and
  • Kistanje / Krka Monastery. 

The most common are the entrances at Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap, but if you are planning to drive to the park, the most preferred entrance is the Lozovac, which offers free parking spaces.

From the Lozovac entrance, you can also go further to Skradinski Buk very easily by using the National Park Krka buses.

If you are planning to use the Skradin entrance, you have to enter the park by ferry boat. To do that, you need to visit the little town of Skradin, and then find a parking space.

After that, you can purchase ferry tickets at the Krka branch office. The tickets can also be purchased online. After having your tickets, you can board the ferry and enjoy the great view of Krka National Park.

Ticket Office at Skradin - Krka National Park, Croatia
Ticket Office at Skradin – Krka National Park, Croatia

If you are planning to use public transport, you have to buy tickets at the bus terminal. If you are in a hurry, you can also buy the tickets on the bus if they are still available. To enter the national park, you can use two entrances; Lozovac and the Skradin. 

To reach the Lozovac entrance, you have to take a bus from Šibenik or another town in the area. The timetables can be found easily at every bus station.

If you travel from Šibenik, you have to make sure that the bus stops at the park entrance. Otherwise, you will be dropped on the main road, which means that you have to walk 1.5 kilometers to reach the entrance.

To enter the park through the Skradin entrance, you can take a bus from Šibenik, Zadar, Zagreb, or Plitvice Lakes National Park. The bus will leave you just 200 meters from the ferry stop at Skradin. From there you can use the ferry.

How Many Days Do You Need for Krka National Park?

Cascades in Krka National Park, Croatia
Cascades in Krka National Park, Croatia

In my post about Plitvice Lakes National Park, I recommend at least two to three days because there’s so much to see.

In comparison, Krka National Park has fewer things to see. If you have a packed itinerary for Croatia, then I’d say spending just one day is sufficient if you start early.

You can drive here early morning from Zadar, park the car near the ferry point in Skradin, get your tickets, hop on to the ferry from Skradin to Skradinski Buk, spend most of the day inside the National Park, and then spend the night in Skradin.

Ideally, you should stay for two nights near the park for a relaxed experience. This way you can sleep in Skradin (or any other nearby village) the night before your visit and also the night after your visit. This is how we did it. (We had no other choice because we were traveling with a baby)

Should You Make a Day Trip to Krka National Park?

If you’re visiting Croatia during peak travel months – especially August, then making a day trip to Krka National Park will be a stressful experience because of the crowds. It definitely won’t be easy because you will have to spend more time in the queues. 

Entrance Tickets for Krka National Park

KRKA National Park Entrance Tickets - Croatia road trip itinerary
KRKA National Park Entrance Tickets – Croatia road trip itinerary

The entrance fee for Krka National Park is €20 (150 kunas) per person if you just want to visit the Skradinski Buk waterfall, and it includes the ferry ride from Skradin to the National Park.

If you want to visit the entire Krka National Park then the ticket prices are different. Below are the Krka National Park Entrance Ticket Prices for 2024.

JAN/FEB/MAR/
NOV/DEC/
APR/MAY/OCTJUNE/JULY/
AUG/ SEPT
Adults – All AreasEUR 7EUR 20EUR 40
Adults – Roški slap, Kistanje (Well
of life, Krka monastery),
Manojlovac, Burnum, Krka
Eco Campus
EUR 7EUR 12EUR 20
Children (7-18 yrs) – All AreasEUR 4EUR 12EUR 15
Children (7-18 yrs) – Roški slap, Kistanje (Well
of life, Krka monastery),
Manojlovac, Burnum, Krka
Eco Campus
EUR 4EUR 8EUR 12
Krka National Park entry fee for 2024

Yes, it is much cheaper than the entry ticket for Plitvice Lakes National Park because you can just pay for a part of it instead of the entire national park. Consider booking a Krka National Park tour – it is a guided tour to see all the park’s attractions and the best trails. 

Ferry Pier Skradin

Skradin Ferry pier and river front - Krka National Park travel guide
Skradin Ferry pier and riverfront – Krka National Park travel guide

Skradinski Buk waterfall can be visited by boat from Skradin from April to October. This amazing boat ride is definitely recommended if you want to sail to the national park while gazing through the amazing scenery. The price of the boat trip is also included in the price of the entrance tickets! 

Just note that due to the overcrowded tourist population during summer, if you want to visit the park via boat with a large group of friends, you have to contact the Krka National Park in advance.

The tickets can be purchased through the Park branch office or online either with the printed ticket or the barcode on a smartphone.

Parking near the Ferry Pier

Views of Krka River from the ferry that goes to Krka National Park, Croatia
Views of Krka River from the ferry that goes to Krka National Park, Croatia – Photo by my friend Selin (@sollunatic_photos)

To take the boat from Skradin Ferry Pier, you have to park your car in Skradin, and then take the ferry to get into the park.

There will be a lot of parking lot owners outside of the Skradin city center that will try to “lure” you into their parking lots, but keep in mind that you can find a lot of parking lots very close to the center of town. And if the city center ones are full, you can always go back to those parking lots outside of the city center.

Our van parked near Skradin ferry pier
Our van parked near Skradin ferry pier – this parking was full at the start of the day

The parking near the Skradin Ferry Pier isn’t cheap and I do remember paying an hourly rate. Don’t get fooled by our picture here. This parking was completely full at the beginning of the day and we managed to find a parking spot at the end that thankfully had a tree for a shade.

This is how empty it got at the end of the day after we spent our evening in Skradin to eat some snacks. Looks like daylight? Yes, that’s a typical European summer evening.

Keep in mind that there are a few overpriced restaurants that offer free parking and they’re not so close to the ferry pier. We got burned on our first day here. We ate lunch in one such restaurant and ended up paying 200 Euros for 4 people – oops!

What to See inside Krka National Park?

You can start enjoying the Krka River’s wonderful waterfalls and the impressive landscape of its canyon with limestone hills. It is an outstanding view, but if it is not enough, here you can get to see a wide variety of both flora and fauna.

Clear water and fish in Krka National Park, Croatia
Clearwater and fish in Krka National Park, Croatia

Located in the Southern European region, the Krka National Park is the home of over 800 species of plants, including several endemic Illyrian-Adriatic species, over 200 species of birds, and also home to different amphibian and reptile creatures! 

You can also get to see 18 species of fish, including 10 endemic species, which makes the Krka a natural landmark of the highest category. If you are interested, here are some splendid activities to do in Krka!

Skradinski Buk and swimming in its emerald-green water

Skradinski Buk in Krka National Park
Skradinski Buk in Krka National Park – Photo by my friend Selin (@sollunatic_photos)

Out of the seven Krka waterfalls, there’s one that’s definitely worth a visit. The biggest and most popular activity to do here is definitely visiting the Skradinski Buk waterfall.

Being the highlight of Krka National Park, Skradinski Buk is the park’s largest waterfall surrounded by amazing greenery and full of endemic fishes!

The high season for the famous Skradinski Buk Falls is the school holiday time, which is July and August so if you are visiting that part of the year, then it is a good idea to start early.

The opening time for Skradinski Buk is 8 a.m., and the ticket office in Skradin opens 30 minutes before that. So the best time would be to arrive at the ticket office at 7:30 a.m. to beat the crowds. I couldn’t do that because I was here with my 8-month-old baby.

Skradinski Buk - the biggest waterfall in Krka National Park, Croatia
Skradinski Buk – the biggest waterfall in Krka National Park, Croatia

Skradinski Buk is the reason why 95% of the people visit the national park. They enter, swim in Skradinski Buk, relax around it, and then leave. Which isn’t a bad way to spend the holiday for family travelers. With its emerald-green water and amazing limestones, it is the perfect spot to swim.

As soon as you enter the Skradinski Buk entry point, you will hear the waterfall. There are small hills around and you can explore the area around to find different viewpoints. The wooden boardwalks will take you around this area.

Walk a little further, you will notice how big this waterfall is, and how small people look when they swim in it. See for yourself in the picture below.

KRKA National People swimming in Park's Main Waterfall - Skradinski Buk - from up above - Croatia Itinerary
KRKA National People swimming in Park’s Main Waterfall – Skradinski Buk – from up above – Croatia Itinerary

There is a bridge that goes over the swimming area of the waterfall where you can stand and get an excellent picture. Across the bridge, you can also find a couple of historic cottages that are currently offering craft workshops and souvenirs.

Toilets, restaurants, drinking and eating places are on one side of the bridge. There are many different kinds of little shops that sell snacks, bakery items, drinks, and souvenirs and some also sell swimming gear. I find most of the souvenir shops at tourist attractions similar and I don’t buy anything.

These Smaller Falls formed natural showering points in Krka National Park, Croatia
These Smaller Falls formed natural showering points in Krka National Park, Croatia

The is a spot near Skradinski Buk where the cascades form a natural showering spot. The area is lovely and you should definitely experience it.

I visited Krka National Park in August, which is the peak season. I never found an empty spot in this showering area since many people hogged this place for a photo. Instead, I ended up clicking a picture of someone else who was enjoying a shower here. 

Natural Shower in Krka National Park, Croatia
Natural Shower in Krka National Park, Croatia

The swimming area next to Skradinski Buk was too full for my liking but I did find a smaller swimming hole nearby where swimming was allowed. I will share more details in the swimming section of this post. 

The entire area of Krka National Park that has Skradinski Buk has many other smaller waterfalls and cascades all around. You can spend all day here if you want and see everything possible. 

One of the smaller waterfalls inside Krka National Park, Croatia Road Trip itinerary
One of the smaller waterfalls inside Krka National Park, Croatia Road Trip itinerary

In our case, we took the path that was supposed to be for strollers and wheelchairs but it took us to the end of the Skradinski Buk area. This way, we completely skipped the waterfall and started exploring from the back to the front. It was pretty funny because no one was walking in this direction. 

Roški Slap and its travertine islands

Roški Slap and travertine pools in Krka National Park
Roški Slap and travertine pools in Krka National Park by oliver.dodd – (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Roški Slap, which is also known as the vast waterfall, offers you a magical scenery with its countless backwaters, cascades, and travertine islands. There are also lots of other things to see here.

Roski Slap in Krka National Park, Croatia
Roski Slap in Krka National Park, Croatia

If you check out the left bank of the waterfall, you can visit the original water mills, which are the prized ethnographic monuments in Dalmatia and Croatia, that were used to grind wheat. And over the waterfall, there is a wooden road that dates back to Roman times!

To reach here, you have to take the boat from Skradinski Buk waterfall since it is complicated to find the entrance with a car.

Krka Monastery – the spiritual center of the Orthodox faith

visovac island with Krka monastry, Krka National Park Croatia
The Small island of Visovac with Krka monastery, Krka National Park Croatia CC0 via Pixabay

Being the most important Serbian Orthodox monastery in Croatia, the Krka Monastery is one of the monasteries that features a unique combination of Byzantine and Mediterranean architecture. It lies on Visovac Island. It is a tiny island.

Located above the Krka River, this monastery is the spiritual center of the Orthodox faith. Also known as the Holy Archangel, the Krka Monastery was first mentioned in the written records in 1402, as the endowment of Jelena Šubić.

You can also check out the ancient Roman catacombs, which are below the monastery. To visit the Krka Monastery, you can book an organized boat excursion, which lasts 2.5 hours from April to October, or by driving from the cute village called Kistanje.

Krka National Park Swimming

A semi hidden swimming spot in Krka National Park, Croatia
A semi-hidden swimming spot in Krka National Park, Croatia

If you are interested in swimming at Skradinski Buk, depending on the weather and the level of water, the waterfall is open for swimming between the 1st of June and the 30th of September!  

Me in Krka National Park, Croatia
Me in Krka National Park, Croatia

The water is really refreshing, and swimming near a waterfall is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Unfortunately, you can’t swim under the waterfalls, but you can swim at the base of the Krka Skradinski Buk. Just keep in mind to go there early – due to the crowd – and be careful walking on the slippery limestones.

If you’re like us and enjoy quieter surroundings, then you will be pleased to know we discovered a little quieter spot to take a dip. The Skradinski Buk waterfall’s main swimming area gets crowded and that’s the only one where you’re allowed to swim. However, there is a smaller swimming hole in this area, you just have to go a little up and you will find it. 

Our secret swimming spot in Krka National Park, Croatia
Our secret swimming spot in Krka National Park, Croatia

Just walk up the little hill but not out of the Skradinski Buk waterfall area. There’s a small pool with cascades that’s almost hidden and you’re allowed to swim there. That’s where we spent all our afternoon to cool off.

Hiking and Biking in Krka National Park

Are you into hiking? I am too when I’m not traveling with my child. Krka National Park has 47 kilometers of hiking trails. It also has 388 Kilometers of biking path, so if you are in Croatia with your mountain bike, you should take your time to explore the natural beauty of this national park.

Exploring Krka National Park on Bike

The bike routes inside Krka National Park have been formed strategically in a circle so that the cyclists can return to their starting point without going over the same route.

There are 12 cycling routes which can be divided into:

  • 3 mountain bike routes,
  • 3 road routes, and
  • 6 track routes for fun family bike trips.

There are three start and end points for all the cycling routes:

  • the Krka National Park Office in Skradin,
  • the Visitor Centre at Laškovica, and
  • the Krka Eco Campus at Puljane.

Yes, it is possible to rent bicycles and also E-Bikes. For that, you can find more information here.

Hiking Trails inside Krka National Park

To make it easy for you, I have created a simple table for you to understand Krka National Park’s hiking trails:

Trail (Start Point – End Point)LengthStart Point
Skradin Bridge – Skradinski Buk 3400 metersSkradin
Lozovac – Skradinski Buk 875 metersLozovac
Skradinski Buk Trail (Wooden Bridge around the waterfall)1900 metersLozovac
Goriš – Torak trail (Karst spring in the confluence)2950 metersGoriš
Brnjica (along the Čikola River, Gluvo’s trail to the narrow strait)1450 metersBrnjica
Kljucica trail (Walled town of Ključ over the narrow Čikola Canyon)1600 metersKljuč
Bačići Trail (white cliffs of Visovac)1800 metersBačići
Vukovića podi (Viewpoint)350 metersDubravice
Rogovo Trail (Rogovo viewpoint from the tip of the Rogovo horn over the strait)2300 metersVidikovac Rogovo
Stinice – Roški slap – Oziđana Pećina Cave (Forest hike to a cave)8500 metersStinice, Brištane Gornje, Roški slap, Oziđana pećina
Roški slap trail (Circular trail over the Ogrlice or Necklaces cascades over Roški slap waterfall)1360 metersOgrlice
Niz Ploču (down the cliff through the Roški ravines to the watermills and the river)1500 metersBogatić Miljevački
Laškovica – Žižići – Roški slap (view of the Roški slap waterfall from up above)3300 metersLaškovica
Krka Monastery Trail (Aranđelovac)2100 metersKistanje
Pištavac Trail (narrow trail through the canyon)850 metersKrka monastery reception
Trošenj – Pištavac Trail (viewpoint over the Trošenj fortress)5700 metersKistanje
Perice Trail (trail with a steep descend to the Krka River)1800 metersNečven
Manojlovac Trail (Imperial Viewpoint with Manojlovac fall – tallest Krka waterfall)360 metersIvoševci
Roman Path Trail (Imperial viewpoint, Manojlovac waterfall, hidden preindustrial watermills)630 metersIvoševci
Staza Brljan – Manojlovac trail (Brljan waterfall, prehistoric hillfort of Puljane, Brljan Lake)910 metersOklaj – Kistanje
Bilušića buk Trail (Bilušića buk is the first waterfall on the Krka river and Sedrena cave)300 metersBurze
Marasovine Trail (Brljan waterfall, Brljan Lake, Bobodolsko Lake, Bilušića buk, Topoljski waterfall)2700 metersMarasovine
Hiking Trails inside Krka National Park

In order to reach the starting points for almost all of the hiking trails, a car or a bike is needed, except for the main Skradinski Buk from Skradin. If you haven’t noticed already, the Croatian words “Slap” or Buk” are for waterfalls.

Eating or Drinking Inside Krka National Park

Finding food in the Krka National Park is no problem, however, if you are looking for a fancy meal, you won’t find it in the borders of the park. There are several small restaurants with buffets and snack bars with some sandwiches and drinks in the parking area. But if you want to pack your own sandwich, you can also enjoy it in many picnic areas in the park.

If you are looking for a full Krka National Park experience, you can go to Roški Slap Waterfall Tavern which is called Alte Mühle Kristijan, also known as Christians Place, and enjoy your food with your feet in the water! You can also find several water fountains to get some fresh water in the park. For fancier lunch and dinner options, check out the harbor where lots of restaurants and stores are lined.

What to Carry to Krka National Park

Me in Krka National Park - Ultimate Croatia Road Trip
Me in Krka National Park – Ultimate Croatia Road Trip

I should not have to mention this, but I can’t help saying it – make sure you carry your swimming gear. Carry a small and compact backpack with your swimsuit, towel, extra pair of underwear (just in case you’re unable to dry your swimsuit), sunglasses, water, and something to eat. We also carried a picnic mat.

Where to Stay near Krka National Park?

When you keep in mind the natural beauty of Krka National Park, a lot of campers would love to camp in the national park. Although camping is not permitted in the national park, there are several campsites in the direct area of the park.

Skradin

If you want to stay in a hotel or book an Airbnb, you have to check out the town of Skradin, which is very close to the national park. This cute riverside town with brightly painted stone houses and a ruined fortress will mesmerize you. You can stay in famous hotels like Hotel Skradinski Buk or find a few private accommodations as well.

Park Camp Marina

San and I in Camp Marina near Krka National Park - Croatia Road Trip itinerary
San and I in Camp Marina near Krka National Park – Croatia Road Trip itinerary

Just 5 km away from the Skradin, Camp Marina is another beautiful camping area near the National Park Krka. This is where we stayed for two nights and loved it. The area looks like a desert and it is unbelievable that there’s a river with many spectacular waterfalls nearby.

Surrounded by Mediterranean pines, olives, and grape wine, this massive camping park offers a great location and serene time. If camping is not your thing but still want to be in nature, you can also rent one of their rooms and enjoy the meals from its restaurant.

Lozovac

Camp Krka

If you like being surrounded by pine trees, you can pack your bags and stay in many tents at Camp Krka. This family camp is only 2.5 km away from the Lozovac entrance and was established by a local family called Family Skocic.

Camp Krka doesn’t just only offer tents, but also rooms and apartments suitable for couples and groups with a large group of members. You can also get to taste much local food like milk, cheese, wine, prosciutto, and olive oil here!

The delicious meals are served by the family as well. The essentials for campers like a washing machine, showers, toilets, warm water, and even an internet connection are provided by the camp. If you want to stay in a room or in an apartment, you can also cook your own food and even grill.

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10 Amazing Day Trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia

10 Amazing Day Trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Information about Day trips from Dubrovnik with details about how to reach, what to see and suggested tours.

What’s better than a typical mediaeval travel destination? A mediaeval walled city that is also a beach destination. Now add a fantasy fiction element to it (like Game of Thrones or Star Wars), it turns into a heck of a prominent tourist destination. Yes, that’s exactly what Dubrovnik is – a part of literally every single Croatia itinerary.

Dubrovnik is situated in Croatia’s Adriatic Coast, it is a mediaeval walled city that rose to its peak after the restoration post the break up of Yugoslavia. The fact that it was a shooting location for King’s Landing on Game of Thrones helped Dubrovnik rise to its prominence. Not just Croatia, but Dubrovnik is the most popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean.

Dubrovnik - King's Landing in Game of Thrones - Croatia Itinerary

Dubrovnik – King’s Landing in Game of Thrones – Croatia Itinerary

No doubt Dubrovnik is spectacular, but it seriously suffers from over tourism. Thanks to Instagram, Dubrovnik has turned into something like a Disney Land for holiday goers. 

Just because it is extremely crowded, doesn’t mean you should miss out on Dubrovnik’s beauty. Try visiting it during shoulder months and avoid it in July and August. Plan a super smart Dubrovnik itinerary so that you find a way to avoid the crowds, especially day trippers.

Dubrovnik viewpoint - Croatia Road Trip Itinerary

Dubrovnik viewpoint – Croatia Road Trip Itinerary

Why Should You Consider a Day Trip from Dubrovnik?

If you do end up visiting Dubrovnik, you will be happy to know that it is situated in a spot that makes it easy to visit some of the nearby countries for a day trip. It is close to the Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina borders. When you’re done with your Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik, then try exploring the area around.

From Dubrovnik, you can easily visit the nearby Montenegro our favorite – Bosnia-Herzegovina, and many other amazing destinations within Croatia on some well planned day trips from Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik isn’t far from Serbia and you can also visit it, but on a trip that’s longer than just a day trip otherwise it will be super rushed. The Balkans are lovely and you should try to explore this part of Europe by driving. We have an epic post about our road trip through the Balkans on our website that covers not just Dubrovnik but some other destinations that are on this list.

Our list of day trips to Dubrovnik has many options for nature lovers, wine connoisseurs and history enthusiasts. Yes, there is something for everyone on this list, so go ahead and find the one that suits you the most.

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PART 1: Day Trips from Dubrovnik to Bosnia-Herzegovina:

Kravice Waterfalls + Mostar (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina - travel the Balkans

Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina – travel the Balkans

Dubrovnik tends to get very hot during summer, but a day of swimming in the spectacular Kravice Falls of Bosnia-Herzegovina will cool you down. While you’re there, head to the nearby historical town Mostar that is of a cultural significance and is gorgeous too.

Getting to Mostar is easy from Dubrovnik with buses frequently making the hasty 3 hour drive up to the historical city. Once in Mostar, the stunning Kravice Waterfalls are about an hour away. If you are driving like us, you can actually stop at the falls before heading into the city to explore Mostar.

If you don’t have your car or van and are looking for ways to get to Kravice waterfalls, then booking an all inclusive day trip makes a lot of sense. This way, you can visit both Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls without the headache of managing your public transport. Below are some tours that we have handpicked for you:

Make sure you read all the details in the tours before booking because some features or additions may change over time.

Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia & Herzegovina - Balkans Road Trip itinerary

Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia & Herzegovina – Balkans Road Trip itinerary

While in Croatia, did you stop at the Plitvice Lakes? Did you yearn to swim in those inviting, turquoise waters? Did you want to take photos without the crowd of other tourists? Head to Kravice Falls to satiate all your needs. (Yes, our main profile picture on the blog has the Kravice Falls in the background)

The Kravice waterfalls are similar to Plitvice Lakes’ Mali Prštavac Slap in terms of beauty. They are both made of up many dreamy cascades that are surrounded by and lush forest, however, there is a feeling of calmness here as Kravice Falls are a little more hidden in the trees. Unlike Plitvice, you can actually swim here. (Yes, I can’t get over it)

Mostar is an old city that has many buildings still standing that are in the style of Ottoman Architecture including the Stari Most (the Old Bridge), the defensive towers erected on either side of the bridge, as well as in a large number of residential homes around the old city. If you are lucky enough to go at the end of July, you can witness the annual passage of young, Mostar men jumping off the Stari Most as part of a 450 year old tradition.

Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina - Travel to the Balkans

Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina – Travel to the Balkans

Lastly, don’t miss your chance to stop by the magnificent Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. Here you can learn a little bit about Islam (as they accept anyone to enter it’s walls) and get an unbelievable view of Mostar from the top of the towering minaret.

Vjetrenica cave (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Inside Vjetrenica Cave in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Inside Vjetrenica Cave in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Did you ever see Planet Earth Documentary series and saw an albino cave salamander? I did too, and I actually thought that in my lifetime I’d never get to see an elusive rare creature like this. I was wrong, I saw one in Vjetrenica Cave in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Albino cave salamander or Human Fish in Vjetrenica Cave

Albino cave salamander or Human Fish in Vjetrenica Cave

Vjetrenica Cave is an interesting day trip from Dubrovnik and highly recommended if you are looking for a unique thing to do. For anyone who hasn’t rented a car to drive around Eastern Europe with, you will need to get to the small village of Zavala first or you can book a tour that will guide you from Dubrovnik to the cave.

Once at Vjetrenica Cave, there are hourly English-guided tours that will take you into the cave system and point out some fascinating sites to see. The cave is well-known for being home to some peculiar looking fish and is worth taking the trip to admire it’s magnificent natural beauty.

Walking inside Vjetrenica Cave, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Walking inside Vjetrenica Cave, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Visiting Vjetrenica Cave was not a part of our list and honestly we did not even know of its existence. We lost our way on our way from Kravice Waterfalls to Montenegro, and ended up seeing a board for Vjetrenica Cave and decided to make a stop here. We were just in luck and arrived just 10 minutes before an English tour was going to start.

As mentioned earlier, Vjetrenica Cave is near Zavala; a quaint village recognized by its old stone masonry that makes up the majority of its architecture. The gem of Zavala is Zavala Monastery; a Serbian Orthodox monastery that overlooks the vast Popovo field.

PART 2: Day Trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro:

Kotor Bay (Montenegro)

Enjoying an ice cream in Denovici, Kotor Bay in Montenegro

Enjoying an ice cream in Denovici, Kotor Bay in Montenegro

The beauty of traveling around Eastern Europe is that there are so many intriguing day trips that you can take not only within the country, but also to the enthralling neighboring countries. Montenegro’s beautiful flower shaped bay of Kotor is so lovely and so close to Dubrovnik, that it would be a shame not to make a side trip here.

As with most of the destinations on this list, you can easily hop on a bus that will take you south into Montenegro and arrive at Kotor in about three hours. If you are driving yourself however, consider taking a more scenic route along the coast to breathe in the glorious Adriatic Sea.

Kotor Bay viewpoint, Montenegro - Balkans Road Trip

Kotor Bay viewpoint, Montenegro – Balkans Road Trip

For us, the joy of driving to Montenegro was almost as good as our time on its beaches, because the drive is full of viewpoints. The best part is that every single viewpoint has a parking place next to it so that you can stop and click photos.

If you don’t have your own method of transportation, then booking an all inclusive day tour will make a lot of sense as compared to managing the public transport. Below are some tours that we have handpicked for you:

Please read all the inclusions of the tour and the language of the tour guide before booking one.

A day trip to Kotor Bay (also known as Boka) is an ideal choice for those wanting to spend the day doing to fun outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking; with the reward of impeccable views.

Kotor Bay at night, Montenegro - day trips from Dubrovnik

Kotor Bay at night, Montenegro – day trips from Dubrovnik

If you would like, you can also explore the old medieval town of Kotor and its impressive fortified walls that hug the city. Around this ancient city, there are many formidable churches and cathedrals that show off the romanesque architectural style however, you can also see a huge amount of Ottoman and Venetian influence within the town’s centre as well.

Kotor isn’t the only must-see city that rests on the coast of Boka, Perast is another great stop most notably for its proximity to two small islets that appear just off of it’s coast. Gospa od Škrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks) and Sveti Đorđe (Saint George) are the sites of two impressive religious buildings; one being a Roman Catholic church and the other being a Benedictine Monastery.

Tara Canyon / River Rafting / Durmitor National Park (Montenegro)

Tara River Canyon near Zabljak and Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Tara River Canyon near Zabljak and Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Whether you are driving yourself around Eastern Europe or relying on tours and buses, Durmitor National Park is a day trip from Dubrovnik that you will not regret taking. It takes about three and a half hours to get drive to Durmitor. Getting here solo is much more difficult than other destinations on this list but there are a few day tour options that will help you visit Durmitor National Park.

Rafting on Tara River, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Rafting on Tara River, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Looking for something exhilarating to do on your day trip? Try river rafting through the Tara River Canyon; the deepest canyon in all of Europe. We highly recommend you consider booking a river rafting tour on Tara River so that you can enjoy the spectacular beauty of Tara Gorge.

The tour we’re talking about starts from Dubrovnik. The tour includes a drive to a river camp along Tara river where you will eat breakfast. After rafting instructions, you’re ready to go and enjoy the beauty of Tara River as it forms small waterfalls. There will be many swimming and photo opportunities. 

At the end of the 25 KM rafting experience, you will get to indulge in a warm shower and enjoy river side lunch. Post lunch, you will be driven back to Dubrovnik.

If you are not too excited about discovering the canyon from below, there are numerous caves and viewpoints that you can find while trekking around the gorge. You can also do a zipline over the canyon, which surely looks scary but fun.

Black Lake - Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Black Lake – Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Durmitor National Park itself is made up of the Dinaric Alps, a few other impressive canyons, and 18 glacial lakes. Black Lake is the largest and most visited of the lakes, luring tourists in with its mirror-like surface that reflects the breathtaking landscape surrounding it.

While Montenegro’s Kotor bay gets all the attention, I enjoyed my time more in Durmitor National Park. Given a chance, I’d prefer to go back to the relaxing mountains of this national park.

PART 3: Day Trips from Dubrovnik within Croatia 

Mljet National Park (Croatia)

Saint Mary Monastery - Mljet National Park, Croatia

Saint Mary Monastery – Mljet National Park, Croatia

Choosing to take a day trip from Dubrovnik to Mljet is a superb idea and it is one of the easiest destinations to get to due to how close it is. All you need to do is hop on a catamaran and in about two hours you will arrive to Mljet Island. Alternatively, you can book an all inclusive day trip to Mljet that starts from your hotel and make this visit even easier. 

If you are looking for a day trip where you can bask in the glorious nature of Croatia, Mljet has just that. Once you get to Sobra harbour, immediately you will notice the dense greenery surrounding you and will be led down a hiking trail to Mljet National Park. You will most likely want to catch the bus to take you to the other side of the island, specifically to the lakes known as Veliko and Malo Jezero.

These are two saltwater lakes that are connected by a small bridge called Mali Most. Here you can rent kayaks that you can take out onto the lakes; choose to paddle for a little work out or just relax and go with the current.

Next to the bridge is a ferry port where you can take a boat to the islet called Sveta Marija in the middle of Veliko Jezero, which is the large lake. On this isle, you can visit the romanesque Monastery and Church that was built in the 12th century in the name of St. Mary.

Elaphiti Islands (Croatia)

Elaphati island is not one island but a group of islands near Dubrovnik. These islands are collectively called the Elaphatis and are connected to Dubrovnik via daily ferries. 

Sipan Island of the Elaphiti Islands group - easy day trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sipan Island of the Elaphiti Islands group – easy day trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Out of all the Elaphiti Islands, there are three main islands that are the biggest ones. They are Koločep, Šipan and Lopud. You can decide to go to just one of them or some of them based on your preference. 

Koločep is the closest to Dubrovnik, just 5 KMs from the harbor at Gruž. Koločep is known for its old buildings and churches that were built between the 9th and 11th centuries.

Lopud Island is the middle island in terms of both distance and size. It is known for its sandy beaches. It has the Lafodia hotel. If you’re looking to relax on a nice beach, then Lopud island is the place for you.

Šipan is the farthest and the largest island our of the three main islands. It has several quite bays and beaches, so you will get a nice break here from Dubrovnik’s madness. 

We have shortlisted two tours that go from Dubrovnik to Elaphiti Islands. Check them out:

  • Elaphiti Islands day trip with lunch: This tour includes a visit to the all of the three main islands that we have mentioned above: Koločep, Šipan and Lopud. You can enjoy a nice swim on the beaches of Lopud and sunbathe there. 
  • Elafiti Islands Day Cruise on a Karaka Ship: Enjoy a day trip to Elaphiti islands on a unique Karaka ship with an air conditioned restaurant where you will enjoy a buffet lunch. This tour also includes a visit to the three main islands – Koločep, Šipan and Lopud. You also have a chance to go snorkeling by making an extra payment to use the gear.

Dubrovnik can get a little crazy with crowds during the summer. If you’re looking to enjoy the best of Adriatic coast’s beaches, then a visit to the Elaphiti islands makes total sense.

Korčula Island (Croatia)

Are you in search for a relaxing, beachy day? Consider heading to Korcula Island (a.k.a. Korčula). Travellers getting around Eastern Europe by foot can take a ferry directly from Dubrovnik, however, the schedule changes frequently and the direct ferries do not run all year round.

Korčula Island - day trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Korčula Island – day trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia

If you cannot find a direct ferry or you are driving, you can easily take a ferry from Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsula. It is only about a 2 hour drive up the coast and you can enjoy the incredible views of the Adriatic coastline.

Alternatively, you can book a tour to avoid the hassle of managing your transport to Korcula Island and back to Dubrovnik. Below are some tours that go from Dubrovnik to Korčula:

  • Korčula Day trip with wine tasting + visit to Ston: this tour includes a visit to the town Ston and Korčula Island with an inclusion of Croatian red wine tasting experience.
  • Korčula Island visit with Ston and Potomje + Wine Tasting: this tour is available in English and Spanish. The vineyards of Peljesac peninsula are famous and you will taste wine in one of the wineries of Potomje.

There is an abundance of beaches on this island. You can go swimming, partake in watersports activities, or taste some local cuisine at the seaside restaurants. Korcula is also a great choice for those who enjoy cycling; there are many places where you can rent a bicycle to traverse around the island.

Korčula Island near Dubrovnik, Croatia

Korčula Island near Dubrovnik, Croatia

With all this being said, Korcula Island is more than just a beach-filled destination. It is rich in cultural history and offers many archaeological sites and museums that you can visit around the island.

Pelješac Peninsula (Croatia)

Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia

Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia

Peljesac is a peninsula that includes the area starting around Ston all the way to the small town of Lovište. You could easily spend a week or two exploring all of the charming towns on Peljesac but if you are short on time, you can at least take a day trip from Dubrovnik.

There are a few places that you should stop at on your visit to the Peljesac Peninsula with the first one only about an hours drive away; and that place is Ston.

There are two tours that take you to the Pelješac Peninsula as well as Korčula island (mentioned above):

  • Korčula Day trip with wine tasting + visit to Ston: this tour includes a visit to the town Ston and Korčula Island with an inclusion of Croatian red wine tasting experience.
  • Korčula Island visit with Ston and Potomje + Wine Tasting: this tour is available in English and Spanish. The vineyards of Peljesac peninsula are famous and you will taste wine in one of the wineries of Potomje.

The most common thing to see is the aptly named Walls of Ston, which are reminiscent of the Great Wall of China. While exploring these walls and fortresses that are connected by it, you can also take in the scenery of Peljesac and the rolling hills that cover it.

Orebic is another popular destination on the Peljesac Peninsula and is about two hours away from Dubrovnik. Many people have chosen Orebic as their summer destination due to the picturesque beaches that are around this town.

Lastly, if you want to get to the very tip of Peljesac, you will find yourself in Loviste. Loviste is a calm seaside town that is only about 20 minutes away from Orebic. Most travellers like to come here for the quiet seclusion and to go sailing around the cove.

Krka National Park (Croatia)

KRKA National Park in Early Summer - Croatia Itinerary

KRKA National Park in Early Summer – Croatia Itinerary

Truth be told, this might not be the most accessible day trip from Dubrovnik if you are not driving around like us. To get to Krka National Park, you need to once again drive through Neum so make sure you have your passport and visa documents on you to avoid any delays. Driving from Dubrovnik should only take you about 3 and a half hours which is worth it as you are driving to paradise.

If you’re not driving and would still like to visit Krka National Park on a day trip from Dubrovnik, then we highly recommend you check out this private tour where you will be picked up from your hotel in Dubrovnik.

The main attractions of Krka National Park are the massive Krka Waterfalls. There are a total of seven waterfalls that sit along the Krka river with the most popular being Skradinski Buk.

A semi hidden swimming spot in Krka National Park, Croatia

A semi hidden swimming spot in Krka National Park, Croatia

You can hike around the whole park and take in all the lush scenery that has become the home for a ton of unique flora and fauna. Another key site to see on your day trip to Krka National park is the Visovac Monastery which is located in the middle of Krka river, only a boat ride away from Skradinski Buk. Even if you choose not to go out to see it in person, it is just as intriguing to view it from afar.

Split (Croatia)

Sunset in Split town - Croatia Road Trip

Sunset in Split town – Day trips from Dubrovnik

The distance between Split and Dubrovnik is a bit further than the previous suggestions but it is still possible to take a day trip here using your own car or van. A bus ride will take you about 4 and a half hours whereas you can save an extra hour by driving yourself.

Considering the transport time, this trip is recommended for those who are have their own transport. Keep in mind, you have to cross through Neum which is part of Bosnia so make sure to have any documents that you need for the border crossings.

If you have a little more than just a day, then you can also take a ferry that will connect you from Dubrovnik to Split in 4 and a half hours for a unique experience. It is the same amount of time that the bus takes.

Split town at night - Croatia Itinerary

Split town at night – Day trips from Dubrovnik

Split itself is the second largest city in Croatia, so there is no shortage of cool things to see in and around this city. Split has amazing beaches, so you can relax and enjoy the sea.

Much like other parts of Eastern Europe, you can see the influence of the ages that made their mark on Split. This is especially evident in the diverse architecture that ranges from ancient to modern.

There are a few notable buildings to stop at starting with Diocletian’s Palace; a Roman Fortress that was built in the early 4th century AD to be the resting place of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. While there, you can visit the Cathedral of Saint Domnius; the Mausoleum of Diocletian and the oldest catholic cathedral in the world that uses most of its original structure.

Lastly, the Ivan Meštrović Gallery; an art piece in itself that was built in the early 1930’s to be the summer villa for Ivan Meštrović and his family. Nowadays, the structure is used to display all of Meštrović’s most profound work and is a brilliant example of 20th-century Croatian art.

Other than exploring the old architecture, some other fun things to do in Split are to spend the afternoon hiking around Marjan Park and find unreal views of the city; get up close and personal with the Adriatic sea while scuba diving; and take part in a food tour as you discover the secrets of Old Split, the charming centre of town.

Did follow our day trip recommendations from Dubrovnik?

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Things to do in Pula, Croatia: Travel Guide for the Gem of Istria

Things to do in Pula, Croatia: Travel Guide for the Gem of Istria

Pula is fun, vibrant and historical. It has a bit of everything that Croatia is famous for – all packed in one destination.

Situated on the lower tip of the Istrian Peninsula, Pula is a coastal town with an abundance of distinctive rocky beaches. It is more than just a beach destination, it has a LOT of history too. There is so much more to this charming, medieval town that makes it worth the visit and the perfect destination for you to start or end your adventures in Croatia. 

The rocky coast of Pula, Croatia

The rocky coast of Pula, Croatia

Pula is one of the biggest and most important towns of the Istria region. Due the history surrounding this area, Pula is often viewed as a little Rome with many impressive Roman ruins dispersed around the city. With comfortable, mild weather year-round and an eclectic nightlife scene, you would be remiss to avoid Pula during your travels.

The Shipyard in Pula lights up at night, Croatia

The Shipyard in Pula lights up at night, Croatia

Pula has a massive shipyard that lights up at night with different lights. We saw this view from our hostel window every night and it was unbelievable.

Where is Pula


Ever noticed on the map that there’s a part of Croatia that’s on the opposite side of the sea as Italy? That’s where Pula is! With Venice just across the Adriatic Sea on the left, Pula is situated on the bottom angle of the Istrian Peninsula.

If you are planning to visit multiple places in the country, then Pula is the best place to start your Croatia itinerary. Istria is the westernmost county in Croatia which makes it an ideal place to begin your escapades around this mesmerizing country.

A Bit about Istria

The Streets of Pula, Croatia

The Streets of Pula, Croatia

You have noticed how I have mentioned Istria many times while introducing Pula. Well, here’s a little info about it. Istria is a peninsula in the Adriatic sea that’s mostly in Croatia, and some parts are also in Slovenia and Italy.

A big part of the Istria region inside Croatia is called Istria County – so, they’re not the same thing. When someone says “Istria”, they usually mean the entire region that is much bigger than the Istria County of Croatia.

In the Ancient times, Istria was called Histria and was much bigger than the present day region. This region has a lot of history, but I won’t go into that in this post. You can read about the history of Istria here.

How to Reach Pula?

It is simple to reach Pula by many different ways. We arrived here on bus from Slunj town but below are all the other ways to enter Pula:

Reaching Pula by air – Pula has an International Airport (Zračna luka Pula) which enables travellers to easily access the city from many different parts of Europe. Not just budget airlines but also bigger international carriers like Lufthansa and British Airways fly to Pula too.

Me after getting off the bus in Pula, Croatia

Me after getting off the bus in Pula, Croatia

Reaching Pula by bus – Travelling around Croatia is relatively simple with a reliable amount of train and bus routes that can help you access anywhere you want to go within the country and to its neighbours as well. We arrived here on a bus from Slunj (near Plitvice Lakes) and had to change it in Karlovac. You can arrive here on a bus from Rijeka, Zagreb, Split, Karlovac, Belgrade (Serbia) and Venice (Italy) to name a few. Here’s more information about reaching Pula on bus.

Reaching Pula by sea from Italy – Spending some time in Italy? Pula is nestled up to the Gulf of Venice which means you can ride a catamaran directly from Venice to Pula for a unique experience. Please note, just journey can only be done in summer. 

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Things to do in Pula, Croatia

Pula Beaches

The Rocky beaches of Pula, Istria - Croatia Itinerary

The Rocky beaches of Pula, Istria – Croatia Itinerary – a little ahead of Ambrela Beach

Pula is situated right on the coast of the Adriatic Sea so you can be assured that there is no shortage of picturesque beaches to spend your days here. Go with the family and lounge on the shore or take part in some water sports with your friends. If you are searching for paradise, you will be able to find it.

Pula beach sunset - Croatia Road Trip itinerary

Pula beach sunset – Croatia Road Trip itinerary

Taking a dip in some of the most popular beaches such as Ambrela Beach, Hawaiian Cove Beach, or Valkane Beach comes as a given that it is one of the best things to do in Pula. We loved Stoja Beach the most and you can even camp here if you are road tripping or camping around Croatia.

Below are some of the beaches of Pula that you should consider visiting:

Ambrela Beach

Me on the crowded Ambrela Beach during the peak season

Me on the crowded Ambrela Beach during the peak season

One of the most popular beaches of Pula, it is a blue flag beach. It is a pebble beach that’s on the Verudela peninsula. The famous Brioni Hotel is on this beach. Ambrela beach is perfect for swimming because the water is shallow and very clear. There are also two floating lines on the water along this beach.

Ambrela Beach tends to get very crowded, so as you move a further ahead, you will notice a few secluded shaded areas where you can enjoy some quiet time.

Stoja Beach

The Lovely Stoja Beach in Pula, Croatia

The Lovely Stoja Beach in Pula, Croatia

Out of all the beaches that I visited in Pula, I somehow enjoyed myself the most on Stoja. It was so because there are a few beaches that are together and you can see them from some spots. There’s the Stoja Beach, Seagull’s Rocks Beach, and the Valovine Beach (see the next point).

Valovine Beach

Valovine Beach is next to Stoja Beach. A very small part of this beach is sandy and most of it is pebbles. This beach has Big Mama Beach Bar, which is a good spot to watch the sunset.

Valkane Beach

Valkane Beach is near Stoja beaches in the Zelenika Cove. This blue flag beach has two beach bars – Valkane Bar and Sumi More. It isn’t the best looking beach in Pula because it is highly furnished.

A secluded spot ahead one of the popular beaches in Pula, Croatia

A secluded spot ahead one of the popular beaches in Pula, Croatia

Havajsko Beach

It is a small beach with pebbles. The water is very clear. On one side of this beach are the Verudela Beach Apartments and on the other side is the Verudela Canyon. Park Plaza Arena Pula is behind the beach.

Saccorgiana Cove

Saccorgiana Cove is at the end of Ambrela Beach. It is extremely small and has the Zeppelin Beach Bar on one side of it.

Valsaline-Mornar Beach

Another pebbley beach, Valsaline-Mornar is on Soline cove.

Sunset view from one of the beaches in Pula, Croatia

Sunset view from one of the beaches in Pula, Croatia

Gortan’s Cove or Gorton Cove Beach

Gorton’s Cove beach is next to the monument of Vladimir Gortan. It is a very small beach and is shallow, so is perfect for swimming. Gorton’s Cove has a small shaded area where you can sit. This beach has Pomidor Bar that has a small children’s play area too.

Felsen Beach or Seagull’s Rocks

Seagul’s Rocks beach is also called Felsen Beach, it is next to Stoja Beach. You can’t just walk into the water here because these rocks are a little high. There are many cliff jumping spots on this beach at different levels.

Beach Park Plaža

This beach is where the Park Plaza hotel is situated, and this is why it is sometimes called Park Plaza Beach. It is a very small beach.

Another unique experience to enjoy here in Pula is to sunbathe at a naturalist friendly beach (marked FKK). Naturism is a very common movement in Europe and is all about being free and comfortable in your own skin. 

Visit Pula Arena – the Roman Amphitheatre

Aerial View of the Pula Arena, the Roman Amphitheatre

Aerial View of the Pula Arena, the Roman Amphitheatre

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Pula Arena is resemblant of the famous Colosseum in Rome and is one of the six remaining ancient amphitheaters still standing. Constructed in 27 – 68 AD, Pula Amphitheater is the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia. The best part is that, one of its sides faces the sea.

View of the Adriatic Sea from Pula Arena, the Roman Amphitheatre

View of the Adriatic Sea from Pula Arena, the Roman Amphitheatre

Despite it’s cousin in Rome gaining worldwide notoriety, the impeccable restoration work done on this one has developed it into a pristine example of the ancient building style. It is the ONLY remaining Roman amphitheater with all three Roman architectural orders and side towers entirely preserved. 

After arriving in Croatia, you will surely get the Croatian currency from an ATM or a ForEx kiosk. Take out the note for 10 Kunas and flip it over. If you have one of the older 10 kunas, you will see the Pula Arena depicted on the note. Interestingly, the entry to the amphitheater is also 10 Kunas.

Pula Arena - the Roman Amphitheatre in Pula

Pula Arena – the Roman Amphitheatre in Pula

It was once the setting for epic gladiator fights but nowadays, Pula Arena is still widely used as a key venue for festivals and huge musical performances. International superstars like Alanis Morissette, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Sinéad O’Connor, Elton John, Micheal Bolton, Foo Fighters, Norah Jones, Jamiroquai, Anastacia, Sting and Status Quo have performed in Pula Arena. 

Imagine attending an art or musical performance with the backdrop of Roman ruins – sounds awesome, no? Pula Arena is also the venue for multiple festivals. Scroll to the bottom of the list of things to do in Pula to see the information about the festivals.

Want to see something different? Once every month, there is a small show here that mocks gladiator fights and is funny.

Walk Around in the Old Town

Arco dei Sergi in Pula's old town centre at night - Croatia itinerary

Arco dei Sergi in Pula’s old town centre at night – Croatia itinerary

One of the most interesting things about Pula is that it is filled with Ancient Roman buildings and ruins. The Old Town is the perfect place to wander around and see some of these former structures.

Some of the top sites to check out are all within walking distance of the main square, also referred to as the Forum.

San and I on the streets of Pula, Croatia Itinerary

San and I on the streets of Pula, Croatia Itinerary

Start at the Arch of Sergii (Zlatna vrata); an arch built in 27 BC devoted to three brothers of the Sergius family, a leading house that ruled over the area for a few centuries. 

Then to head the Temple of Augustus. The first Roman Emperor, Augustus, built a series of temples similar to the one you can see in Pula all over the Ancient Roman Empire. 

Walking around in Pula Old Town - Travel Guide

Walking around in Pula Old Town – Travel Guide

Lastly, you don’t want to skip Pula Cathedral. Although built quite a bit later than the other two recommendations and furthermore revised over the centuries, it is still a prime example of Ancient Roman architecture.

Visit the Open Food Market / Pula Fish Market

Cheese in Pula Marketplace - the open food market

Cheese in Pula Marketplace – the open food market

Alright all you foodies and photographers, this one’s for you! While visiting Pula, you have got to take a trip to the Open Food Market that’s open from 7 am to 2 pm. Follow your senses through the aisles of this fresh market as you taste samples from the many vendors selling their homegrown goods.

The merchants are separated with meats and fish sold inside the market hall and produce available outside. You can find things like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey, olives, olive oil, You can also grab a bite to eat, drink coffee, eat cake and enjoy your breakfast on the go. There are breakfast shops that are upstairs, but we recommend eating in the coffee kiosks that are outside.

Meat in Pula Marketplace - the open food market

Meat in Pula Marketplace – the open food market

Get ready to click loads of pictures because this market lis in Pula’s lovely city centre and looks gorgeous outside. You can see merchants lined up on each side of narrow paths – it all makes Pula Marketplace an interesting sight.

My husband, San is half Italian and as per him this market reminded him of Italy. For us, the most interesting part was cheese. We highly recommend a stop here, even just to see and mingle with the local community.

Pula Nightlife & Party Scene

Pula has an amazing party scene

Pula has an amazing party scene

What you are guaranteed to get when searching for Pula nightlife are unique venues and a variety of music. There will be a spot on the beach for you whether you are looking for a high energy DJ to spin you up some house and techno music or a mellow reggae bar. If you are looking for a more chill and alternative vibe, you will find venues in the Old City more your style. 

Visit the Shipyard Bar to enjoy amazing craft beer with burgers, Old City Bar to enjoy your drinks outside or Sunshine Beach Bar to enjoy the view of the sea.

Day Trip to Rovinj

There are many interesting small villages near Pula to take day trips to but Rovinj is a town you don’t want to miss. Rovinj is a harbour town that is lined with brightly, warm toned buildings and cobblestoned streets, featuring a pleasant mix of Italian and Croatian culture. 

Getting there from Pula for the day is also really easy with buses leaving on the 40 minute trip at all times throughout the day and costing only about five euro each way. 

Visit one of the Islands near Pula

Rovinj - an easy day trip from Pula, Croatia

Rovinj – an easy day trip from Pula, Croatia

You could go island hopping all the way from Pula down to Split if you wanted to as Croatia has over 1000 islands off of its eastern coastline. The Croatian Islands offer a much different experience than island life in more tropical climates can give you. Expect a mesh of incredible beachy landscapes with ancient European flavour.

The most popular islands to visit near Pula are the Brijuni Islands. Here you can visit the ruins of a Roman Villa, explore a protected Croatian National park, or even track down some dinos from the cretaceous period.

Take Your Kids to Pula Aquarium 

Jellyfish inside Pula Aquarium

Jellyfish inside Pula Aquarium

If you are travelling with your kids (and lets be real, even if you are not) an exciting thing to do in Pula is visit the aquarium. The setting for Pula Aquarium is unlike anything you have seen before as it is located within Verudela – a 130-year-old fort! So, you pay for the aquarium but get to enjoy the historical fort too.

Pula Aquarium shows, educate, and protect the wildlife that inhabits the Adriatic sea as well as the lakes and rivers around Croatia. Learn about the evolution. Get up close and personal with hundreds of different species of fish and crustaceans. You will see some sharks, jellyfish, octopuses, seahorses, crocodiles and piranhas apart from just usual fish. You will see some beautiful corals too. There’s an Amazonian theme on the second floor, which is lovely.

Inside Pula Aquarium, Croatia

Inside Pula Aquarium, Croatia

The best part is that it isn’t very big so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on something if you have time constrains. It is small enough for you to explore it in 1 or 2 hours, but big enough for you not to be bored. It is one of the best places to visit in Pula if the weather is bad.

While here, make sure you go to the roof to enjoy the panoramic views from there. Pula Aquarium also has a reasonably priced snack bar where you can enjoy a cup of coffee.

Parking outside Pula Aquarium is free, but it may be difficult to find an empty parking spot during busy summer months. If you’re arriving here by public transport, then get on to bus 2A or 3A to Verudela and walk to the aquarium from the bus stop.

Pula Festivals

If you’re visiting Pula in summer, then you may want to check out the below festivals that occur every year at the Pula Arena amphitheater:

  • Pula Film Festival – July or August
  • Festival Visualia – mid September,
  • Dimensions Festival – mid August
  • Outlook Festival – early September

Pula Weather and What to Expect

Pula has made it to many travellers itineraries due to the mild climate that is in Istria county year round. The warmest months are from June to September, with temperatures typically being above 20 degrees celsius. With that being said, Pula rarely cools down to below 10 degrees.

One thing you should take into account when planning and packing for your trip to Pula is that it can get very humid. This is expected with its close proximity to the sea, but it can get uncomfortable in August when this region sees its warmest weather. 

Our visit to Pula was in early August. During mid day, the weather was a little too warm for our liking.

Where to Stay in Pula

Colosseum Garden Studio Apartments

As the name suggests, these apartments are very close to the Pula Arena Amphitheatre. These apartments have a bedroom, sitting area in the garden, kitchen and literally all the appliances that you would need on your vacation.

Click here for more information. Alternatively, you can read reviews about this place here.

Riva Hostel

Riva Hostel in Pula - Travel Guide

Riva Hostel in Pula – Travel Guide

We stayed here and loved it! Riva hostel offers clean and comfortable accommodations in close proximity to some major attractions including Pula Arena. The shining feature of this hostel was the furnished terrace; a perfect spot for relaxing after a day of exploring and meeting fellow travellers.

Click here to book Riva Hostel or read the reviews about this place on TripAdvisor.

Camping Stoja

If you are on a camping adventure and in search of a safe place to stay, this is an incredible campsite right next to Stoja Beach. This campsite is within walking distance of everything you could possibly need to in your little oasis. 

There is also a swimming pool as well as other water sports facilities nearby to give you things to do during the day. At night, enjoy the sunset on the beach and if you are lucky, you will even see some dolphins swimming home.

Where to go after Pula?

Rovinj

We have already raved about taking a day trip to Rovinj, however, if time permits you should stay here for a few extra days. Most people are attracted to Rovinj for it’s dreamy, photogenic scenery but there is so much more to this port town.

For one, the locals are extremely friendly and charming. If you are needing suggestions for a place to eat or thing to see, you can count on the locals to give you a top-notch recommendation with a genuine smile.

Brijuni

The Brijuni Islands are a cluster of 14 islands off the coast of Pula. As mentioned above, a day trip is possible here but it is worth a longer visit if you have time. 

One of the main things to do in Brijuni is to visit the National Park. Depending on how you like to travel you can book either a guided tour, a self-guided tour, or rent a bike and go off and explore on your own.

If you are travelling with kids, they might really enjoy seeking out some dino footprints as there has been over 200 footprints found on Veliki Brijun Island.

To say that there are a ton of things to see here would be an understatement. Brijuni is rich in history which is evident through different sites around the main islands. You can find ancient Roman and Byzantine era ruins dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries. There are structures from the Bronze Age that are estimated to be from the 14th century BC.

Plitvice Lakes

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

For those searching for some time to bask in nature, than you need to head to the astounding Plitvice Lakes. Here you will find a collection of 16 turquoise-hued lakes strewn around a limestone canyon and divided by magical cascades. 

At this national park you can expect adventurous hiking trails, unique wildlife and, of course, unbelievable viewpoints. Due to the popularity of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, we highly recommend you spend some time here instead of attempting a day trip from Pula.

We absolutely loved our time here and made a whole guide with tips on how to avoid crowds when visiting this breathtaking sanctuary.

Krka National Park

One of the smaller waterfalls inside Krka National Park, Croatia Road Trip itinerary

One of the smaller waterfalls inside Krka National Park, Croatia Road Trip itinerary

Ok, did we grab your attention with Plitvice Lakes? Then you need to also add Krka National Park to your Croatia itinerary. Although it is not as grand as Plitvice, Krka National Park showcases a system of seven stunning waterfalls.

At Krka National Park, visitors are allowed to swim in the inviting pool that is created by the biggest waterfall, Skradinski Buk. There are also some fascinating sites to see here such as Krka Monastery which has been built on some ancient catacombs.

Zagreb

Cathedral and Rooftops in Zagreb - Croatia Road Trip itinerary

Cathedral and Rooftops in Zagreb – Croatia Road Trip itinerary

If you are following our Ultimate Croatia Road Trip Itinerary, you will already know that we visited Zagreb before making our way to Pula. Needless to say, that doesn’t mean that you can’t choose to stop in Zagreb after exploring everything that Istria has to offer. 

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, has its own charm with architecture that has been frozen in medieval times. Much like Pula, Zagreb has an intriguing history that you can discover throughout the Old Town quarters. You can take a walking tour around the city to see all of its main sites or wander around the cobblestone alleys on your own.

Did follow our travel recommendations for Pula?

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