Croatia is the next European country to be presented in our series of articles about European hot spots. Many people automatically connect Croatia with sunshine, clear green-blue waters, little private hidden beaches and great seafood. But Croatia is much more than that! It has a long and interesting culture and lots of historically interesting places to visit. Not to mention its National forests where you can hike along the fjords and up in the lush, green mountains. In this blog you find 5 important places that you should not miss when visiting Croatia!
First out to be presented is Split, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia, with large numbers of visitors from all over the world every year, and a place well worth a visit. The mere beauty of Split will take your breath away where it sits by the water, its classic white and stone coloured buildings standing out against the back drop of the imposing mountains. The most spectacular part of Split is the Diocletian,s Palace, just in front of the harbor of Split. In fact it is more than what the name would make you think, it is the heart of the city within the old city walls, and one of the most impressive Roman heritage sites left. Over 200 buildings are gathered within the city walls in the Palace area, and you can easily loose yourself in the narrow streets of Split. That was actually the intention of the architects of the Palace, to make invaders get lost and trapped before reaching the most central and most important part of the palace; where the most important people would barricade them selves during hostile attacks. Now the narrow streets are full of life, cafes, restaurants and small shops; a place to spend your day within a living historical landmark. Don’t miss to pay a visit to the Cathedral of St Dominous, which used to be the mausoleum of the palace, before you leave Split.
Dubrovnik is another ancient town in Croatia famous for its fortification and most of all its impressive city walls. You can take a walk around the city on the walls, that indeed are some of the best-preserved city walls in the world. The city walls of Dubrovnik also contains a splendid city gate, Pile gate, through which people have entered the city for hundreds of years. The city within the walls has a lot to offer such as the Cathedral of Assumption, the Rectors Palace; a classic Gothic-Renaissance building from the 15th century. Other famous picks are the Dominican Monastery and museum, as well as the Sponza Palace from the 16th century. Just outside the city walls one can catch the Cable car and take a four-minute ride to the Mt Srd. From up there the views of Dubrovnik will leave you breathless.
The island of Hvar with the main city that goes by the same name is a dream destination in itself for many holidaymakers. The island of Hvar is famous for its exquisite nightlife, its beautiful beaches and maybe most of all for its blooming lavender that colours the island purple and wraps the visitor in its fragrance. In Hvar town, however, there is more to see than nature, and a good place to take in the city and its surroundings is to climb up to the top of the hill and visit the fortress of Hvar called Fortica. The narrow streets in the city center will take you there. Within the city walls there are many nice things and historical buildings to be seen, many of them around St Stephens Square, which is the absolute center of Hvar Town. Check out St Stephens Cathedral, the Arsenal and the Square itself that is a meeting point for locals and tourists alike.
Nobody can visit Pula without being taken aback by the towns unbelievable Roman Amphitheater from the 1st century. It sits just by the harbor and is without a doubt the Coliseum of Croatia. The Temple of Augustus is the other Roman remnant you will find in Pula that dates back to the same era. For history buffs the Archeological museum is a must to learn more about the times in Istria from prehistory to the Middle Ages. Pula is also famous for its god food served by the towns many little taverns. You can find a lot of nice Croatian Hotels as well.
Like many of the other Croatian cities Zadar has its king of monuments and architectural masterpiece. It is called St James’ Cathedral and is said to be the largest church build only out of stone, with no other supporting materials. St James’ Cathedral dates back to the 15-16th century and is on UNESCO’s world heritage list and is full of interesting sculptures and architectonic details to be discovered both in the exterior and the interior. When in Zadar, don’t miss to pay a visit to the most important Serbian-Orthodox monastery in Croatia that will marvel you with its beauty. In all the cities presented above you have the possibility to start a sailing trip around the islands of Croatia. That is a highly recommended way to really see the beautiful country and discover hidden gems, natural wonders and small harbor restaurants that you would otherwise miss out on.