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Places to Visit in Croatia

Travelling Itinerary for Croatia

When booking any kind of trip you want to ensure you make the most out of your time. This is where planning becomes absolutely fundamental. If you don’t know where to start or would like a bit of the hard work done for you then perhaps an organised tour is the way to go. However, if you want the freedom and flexibility to change your plans as you go you might want to organise it yourself. That’s why I’ve put together this post for places to visit in Croatia.

The majority of my time travelling in Croatia was with the tour company Sail Croatia. The itinerary was well organised and there was an interesting mix to suit everyone.

Travelling to Mljet

Our tour left Dubrovnik and we had a 4 hour sail to the island of Mljet. On the island is a beautiful National Park where we had the opportunity to hire bicycles and cycle round the salt lake. Commence the most beautiful bike ride of my life! On the way round we got to appreciate the fabulous view of the fortress. It’s built on an island within an island and the only way to get there is by hailing a rowing boat.

Places to visit in Croatia - Mjlet

There is only one hotel on the island (and also only one ATM) and a handful of restaurants. All get their produce fresh from the fishing boats daily and we even got to choose our own fish. Grilled fish served with potatoes and spinach is the local delicacy.

Visiting Korčula

The next day took us to the historic town of Korčula, which can be found on the north-east side of the island also known as Korčula. As another picturesque walled-city you could very well get it confused with Dubrovnik. It’s just as beautiful but without all the people. This is a fantastic place to walk the narrow streets, dine at quaint little restaurants and taste the local wine. You will also have possible excursions including kayaking and buggy rental.

For dinner on our trip we took a minibus to a house up in the hills to experience a traditional Croatian dinner. Fresh figs and Grappa were offered as we arrived. Grappa is a grape-based brandy drink and it’s certainly very popular! The starter was a selection of cheese and salami, the main, pasta and meatballs with a side salad and the dessert was a traditional one. The best description I can offer is icing sugared macaroni, but it tasted amazing I promise!

Exploring Vela Luka

Also on the island of Korčula is a port called Vela Luka. Just up the hill from the town is a cave called Vela Spila that’s well worth a visit. The archeological finds from this cave date back 20,000 years to approximately the time of the last ice age. Additionally there’s a museum in the town which shows some of the items found.

Places to Visit in Croatia - Vela Spila Cave at Vela Luka

The Island of Vis

On the island of Vis there is the option to do an organised tour. The tour is very informative about the history of the island and allows you to see the majority of the island from the back of a jeep. However, if you want a little more freedom there’s also the option to hire a car or mopeds. This is what I opted for. Personally I’d never driven a moped before but they’re super easy to drive and where better to learn than a country with beautiful sweeping views and empty roads? Not many Croatians have cars so there is very little in the way of traffic on the roads.

Places to visit in Croatia - moped riding at sunset

We visited a beach called Stiniva on the south of the island. It’s a pretty treacherous path but it’s well worth it to see this hidden cove. Keep an eye out for beautiful lizards on the rocks!

On the west side of the island is a town called Komiža. This is where the majority of Mamma Mia 2 was filmed. It is of course gorgeous and definitely worth one of the top places to visit in Croatia if you’re a fan of the film.

If you choose not to participate in the Vis tour, it’s also worth making the journey to Tito’s submarine tunnels. During the Second World War Tito realised the strategic importance of the island of Vis and made it one of the main naval bases of the Yugoslav People’s Army. The tunnels have been closed to the public until only 20 years ago so have grown quite an audience in recent years. Nowadays many of the tunnels have been converted to civilian use. Some have even been made into wine cellars!

Visiting The Blue Cave

This wasn’t necessarily part of our itinerary but our Captain saw an opportunity and took us to the Blue Cave. Entrance to the cave by the non-diving was only made possible in 1884 when dynamite was used to blast a hole in the rock. Through this a small speed boat will take you into the cave. This is well worth doing, it truly is a spectacular sight. However, during peak season, July and August, tourists have been known to wait 3 hours in line for 15 minutes in the cave. Trips can also be interrupted in cases of bad weather as the coastline is reasonably exposed and is subject to choppy seas. In this instance the boats won’t run so be warned.

Sailing to Hvar

The next day of our trip took us to the island of Hvar. Hvar Town has some interesting shops and restaurants as well as a fortress atop the hill, a nunnery where the nuns make lace out of silk and the liveliest nightlife out of any of the Croatian islands.

The fortress has a really interesting history. The construction originally began in 1282 when Hvar was under Venetian rule, but was built slowly over many years. In 1571 it was used to protect the entire population of the town when the Turks attacked and set the town alight. Several years later in 1579 the gunpowder store was struck by lightening causing a huge explosion and a lot of damage. Following the disaster it was rebuilt and repaired but since the latter part of the 19th Century it has been abandoned and left ‘for the fairies to dance in at night’ as local lore suggests. It’s definitely one of my top places to visit in Croatia, if not just for the history but for the spectacular view.

Hvar Fortress Croatia

A Trip to Stari Grad

Thus we travel to the other side of Hvar. Stari Grad is another beautiful port, made even better by the fact there is a vineyard a couple of miles inland. Our group did a wine tasting excursion where we tasted two whites, a rosé and a red. Complete with a selection of cheese, salami and anchovy, it was a great experience that I’d highly recommend. At the vineyard they also grow a lot of lavender which is used largely to make lavender oil. At one point Croatia apparently used to export 10% of the whole world’s supply of lavender oil.

Moving on to Split

Quite often confused with being the capital, Split is the second biggest city in Croatia. In Split we were given the option of two excursions – canyoning and zip lining. I chose the latter. It was incredible.

We took a minibus to Omis and up into the canyon. Hands down, there is no better way to see the magnificence of the canyon than zip lining through it. Personally I’m not a fan of heights but it’s worth it for this experience. I have never seen anything more breathtakingly beautiful. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Zip Lining in Omis Croatia

Best Places to Visit in Croatia

My whole trip was a wonderful experience but if you’re short on time my top three places would be –

  • The Blue Cave on the island of Biševo
  • The vineyards outside Stari Grad
  • The canyon at Omis

For me this was the trip of a lifetime. Happy travelling.

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