Roman ruins, crystal-clear waters, and majestic walled cities make Croatia a breathtaking travel destination. Since its entry into the EU in 2013, the Croatia’s Adriatic coast has become a hidden treasure for yacht owners and those traveling by cruise ship. Sure, you want to visit somewhere new, but why is Croatia a must-visit?
Top Reasons to Sail Croatia
- Roman Ruins
Croatia has some of the best Roman sites, second only perhaps to Italy. A massive palace built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the fourth century A.D. still remains the heart of the city of Split. The giant complex includes a luxurious villa and a fortified Roman town. The labyrinth includes cellars, the mausoleum turned cathedral, Jupiter’s Temple, and a tower you can climb and explore. The Old Town of Split was built in and around the ancient palace making it easy to combine shopping and exploring the city’s medieval buildings with touring the Roman ruins.
Other Roman ruins are scattered around Croatia’s coast, providing plenty of wonders to discover. The Romans were followed by Gothic-Renaissance builders. Later pirates sailed the waters and lived along Croatia’s islands and coast. Tourists are beginning to discover these wonders, swim the clear blue waters, sun themselves on the sandy beaches, and visit trendy cafes and shops surrounded by historic architecture.
- Natural Wonders
We tend to think of Europe’s historic buildings and trendy shopping, not unspoiled scenery. Croatia’s meandering coastline is the Riviera of Eastern Europe. It features more than a thousand islands and thousands of miles of coastline to sail and explore. Yet Croatia is still a bit of a secret, sparing it from the larger crowds seen in so many of Europe’s waterfront locations.
The small town of Trogir is surrounded by water and a perfect place for yacht charters. Krka National Park features amazing waterfalls where you can swim at the base of the cascading water. Sandy beaches await on the island of Brač near Renaissance-era buildings. The thousands of islands along Croatia’s coast feature hidden inlets, clear waters, beaches, and great hiking trails. The Pelješac Peninsula features great wines and vineyards that offer tastings. Explore the surrounding rolling hills where there is great hiking. The cliffs offer great views of the beautiful waters, lush vegetation, and boats plying the Adriatic Sea.
- Stroll the Riva
Don’t miss the people watching along the Croatian National Revival Embankment (“Riva”) where Split residents stroll in the evenings after dinner. This waterfront pedestrian promenade allows you to combine the sea view with a chance to enjoy mingling with Croatians.
In Dubrovnik, walking along the town’s walls are the thing to do. View the ocean on one side and overlook the town on the other as you walk the along the 15th-century walls.
This “Pearl of the Atlantic” is a what you imagine a fairytale city would look like. Surrounded by think medieval walls, this former maritime powerhouse overlooks the sea and features quaint cobblestone streets. The town features mostly Baroque buildings with a few monasteries and palaces date back to the Gothic-Renaissance period of Dubrovnik’s golden age.
If Dubrovnik looks a bit familiar to you, it might be because it is a filming location for the television show Game of Thrones.
Dubrovnik was the only coastal town included in fighting in Yugoslavia’s fighting in the 1990s. Fortunately, Dubrovnik was quickly rebuilt. This means the whole Croatian coast is ready to explore. Post-war Dubrovnik has resumed its draw as a tourist destination, with even more visitors than before. It’s still considered Croatia’s finest town and has now become a stop for cruise lines. The city’s walled Old Town is vehicle-free is great for walking around allowing you an up-close view of the 15th-century fortifications.
- Communist Construction
The communists are not known for attractive construction and Croatia in the former Yugoslavia is no exception. Still, these streamline towers are important parts of history. Croatia gives you a chance to appreciate the questionable charm of these monoliths. The communist era buildings stand on the outskirts of historic towns, providing a dramatic counterpoint to Roman, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. These concrete towers won’t be there forever, and that may be a good thing.
- Gothic-Renaissance Architecture
In the 15th-century the Venetians rules the Dalmatian Coast. While they were there, they added Gothic-Renaissance architecture. Wander narrow alleys in these quaint towns to see the historic architecture, now filled with fashionable boutiques and cafes.
The coastline of Croatia provides a rare mix of historic buildings, resort-like collections of cafes, shopping, and gelato shops, and beautiful scenery. While cruise ships now visit Dubrovnik and Split, yacht travel has become the best way to truly experience the rich offerings in the area. Regardless of how you travel, now is the time to enjoy the wonders of this region before more tourists learn about hidden treasures in Croatia.