Beautiful Croatia has over thousands of beautiful islands, amazing beaches with romantic sea promenades, an ideal Mediterranean climate and rich cultural heritage. But, to experience the best of Croatia, don’t miss its ten astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Halfway between Split and Zagreb is the most exciting place of Croatian hinterland – National Park Plitvice Lake, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many visitors think that its 16 lakes interconnected with about 90 spectacular waterfalls and framed by lush greenery might be the most beautiful place in the world. And we couldn’t agree more.
Plitvice offers a delightful walk along 18 km of beautiful wooden footbridges and pathways. Walking along the crystalline lakes and besides magical waterfalls detoxes from any restlessness or stress. The tranquility of the perfectly turquoise water, misty waterfalls, and bountiful shades of green are a mother’s nature’s finest wellness treatment. Locals believe that wishes made under the biggest Plitvice waterfall always come true. And we think it is worth a try.
The National Park goes beyond beautiful cascading lakes. It occupies an area of 30,000 hectares, covered by beech, fir, and spruce forest. Deers, bears, wolves, boars, and numerous rare bird species live in this well-preserved piece of biodiversity heaven.
If you want to touch the park and see a few highlights – it can be covered as a day trip from Zagreb or Split. But if you’re going to explore the area, you are going to need at least three days here.
Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian
The most prominent part of the complex is Diocletian’s Palace, built in honor of the Roman emperor Diocletian, during the 4th century AD. Beautiful Palace, situated next to the sea, was intended to be his retirement residence. Today, Diocletian’s Palace is the surreally beautiful, lively heart of the Split. Narrow streets of the castle are filled with unsurpassable charm and beauty.
Peristil square, formerly a Roman court, echoes the ancient glory of the Roman empire. It is a central square of the Palace, where Diocletian was celebrated as a son of god Jupiter.
In the Palace, you can visit the smallest catholic Cathedral in the world, Cathedral of Saint Domnius on Peristil, built in the 4th century as the Imperial Roman mausoleum. From the top of the iconic bell tower near the Cathedral, you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the Palace and the sea.
Below the Palace is Riva, palm-lined seafront promenade, famous for its beauty, lovely historic buildings, and zen-inducing overlook at the Adriatic sea.
Old City of Dubrovnik
Renaissance harmony, a medieval mystic and fantasy-like Game of Thrones vibe – the city of Dubrovnik is bursting with good energy and unbelievably lots of things to see and do. The Old City of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered the most beautiful Croatian town and is among the most famous tourist sites in Europe.
Dubrovnik fascinates its visitors by its fairytale ambiance of the breathtaking city walls, Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance churches, aristocratic palaces, red-roofed townhouses, magnificent monasteries… For centuries, Dubrovnik was micro-republic that protected its independence by unprecedented diplomatic skills and riches earned in adventurous nautical trade endeavors of Dubrovnik merchants. During times when practically the whole Mediterranean was under the disastrous reign of the Turkish Empire, Dubrovnik was flourishing with power and bursting with culture, art, and literature. The flair of a strong, independent, and incredibly rich town still attracts people from all over the world.
Best sights in Dubrovnik are city walls, The Pile Gate, a stone gate entrance to the Old Town, and a 17th-century Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, with beautiful altars and Titian’s paintings. Rector’s Palace is a fascinating mix of gothic and renaissance architecture, built in the 15th century. Main street, Stradun, lined with historic buildings, is one of the most beautiful sights in Dubrovnik. And last but not least is the mountain Srđ, above the Dubrovnik, overlooking the stunning city and the ravishing nature.
Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč
Astonishing UNESCO Basilica of St Euphrasius, a masterpiece of 6th century Byzantine architecture, is a must-see of Poreč and Istria. Although the whole complex is beautiful and full of interesting architectural details, its highlight is glittering 6th-century Byzantine-style mosaics in the apse of the church. Art historians agree that by its beauty and significance, Poreč mosaics can rival those in Ravenna.
Poreč is a picturesque Istrian town situated on a peninsula, steeped in the history of the Roman Empire and Venice. Quaint narrow cobbled streets, beautiful Venetian era buildings, and the sea promenades in the shades of the pines are a perfect setting for a relaxing stroll.
The historic city of Trogir
Trogir, “city-museum,” is another beautiful Dalmatian UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every step of Trogir is full of history, culture, and stunning architecture. Laid out in the typical structure of the Mediterranean city, Trogir wins over your heart with every step you make on its 2300 years old streets.
The old core of Trogir is an island, surrounded by the city walls, originating from the age of Greeks and Romans. A guided walking tour will reveal the most important sites and captivating stories from Roman, Greek, and Venetian times.
The main sites to cover in this city include the historic city core that has ten churches and other buildings from the 13th century, the city gate and walls, lovely Kamerlango Castle, a Cathedral, Duke’s Palace.
Cathedral of Saint James
The Cathedral of Saint James, also called Šibenik Cathedral, is a triple nave basilica with three apses and a 32-meter-high dome. Its sophisticated renaissance architecture still amazes architects, and its harmonious structure and refined details awe people from all over the world. Its unique blend of Italian, Tuscan, and Dalmatian architectural influences created one of the most elegant sacral buildings in this part of the world.
Stari Grad Plain
The Stari Grad Plains, located on the island of Hvar, is an agricultural landscape established by ancient Greek colonists in 4th century BC. Due to its robust construction and smart watering solutions, Stari Grad Plain is in continuous use for olive orchards and vineyards for 24 centuries. The area was surrounded by stone walls, along with stone shelters and a water collection system.
Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards
This UNESCO World Heritage site spreads across four countries (Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia) with 4000 of tombstones (stećci), made of limestone and engraved with beautiful decorative motifs and inscriptions. The stećci are associated with local folk and fairy tales, superstitions, and customs. Their epigraphy and reliefs have significantly influenced contemporary literature and other forms of art in all four countries and the region.
Venetian Works of defense between 15th and 17th centuries
This UNESCO site stretches across the three countries – Italy, Montenegro, and Croatia. It consists of 6 defensive walls built by the Republic of Venice. In Croatia, there are Two Works of Defense. The system of Zadar that used to be a center of Dalmatia is the largest and most powerful fortress in the Adriatic. It used to be a strategic defense location for the empire, defending the route between Venice and Corfu from the Ottoman Empire attacks.
The stunning fortress of St Nichols, built near Šibenik, protected the city from threats of the Ottoman Empire. The structure is made on a rocky crag near the Šibenik channel. Other sites are the Fortified City of Kotor (Montenegro) and City fortress of Palmanova, the fortified city of Peschiera del Garda, and the walled city of Bergamo (Italy).