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From hiking through the lush forests of Krka to sailing around the moonscape archipelago of the Kornati Islands, there is an array of incredible things to do in Croatia. With its medieval towns, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful national parks, a Croatia trip offers every traveler a diverse range of activities. Discover the Roman legacy in Split's Diocletian’s Palace, indulge in wine tasting in Istria, and embark on thrilling adventures like white-water rafting in Omiš. From historic landmarks to natural wonders, Croatia promises an unforgettable adventure.

Croatia Family Activity Holiday
  • Julie Stokes
  • From England
5 - Excellent
“We love this holiday so much we have returned several times . The buggy rides, the sn...” Read More
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1. SAIL ALONG THE DALMATIAN COAST

Electric boats in the Dalmatian Coast.
Ride an electric boat in to sightsee the olden architecture surrounding the Dalmatian Coast.

With hundreds of islands, hidden coves, and gin-clear waters, a sailing tour is the perfect way to explore the Dalmatian coast. Set sail from Split to the islands of Hvar and Brač, known for their beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. Drop anchor at the small island of Biševo to visit its magical ‘Blue Cave.’ Stop off at the island of Korčula to explore the pretty medieval town and dock for the night in Mljet National Park. End your journey in picturesque Dubrovnik, surrounded by medieval walls steeped in history.

Alternative destinations:

  • The Kornati Islands: If you’re a sailing enthusiast, sailing around the Kornati Islands is a must! Home to more than 140 islands and islets, many of which are uninhabited, Kornati offers a one-of-a-kind sailing experience. Explore hidden coves and anchor in secluded spots away from the crowds. The crystal-clear waters of Kornati National Park are also perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
  • The Pakleni Islands: Another nautical paradise is the Pakleni Islands. This archipelago, just off Hvar, boasts turquoise waters and lush landscapes. Anchor in secluded bays like Vinogradisce or Palmižana, where you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling. Head to the main island, Sveti Klement, to visit charming villages and dine in waterfront restaurants offering local cuisine.

Insider tip: Avoid anchoring in Hvar’s harbor. It’s bustling and very noisy—you won’t get much sleep! Anchor in the nearby marina for a more peaceful experience.

2. GO WHITE-WATER RAFTING IN OMIŠ

Tourists doing white water rafting.
Embark on an exhilarating white-water rafting adventure in Omiš.

A white-water rafting adventure on the Cetina River near Omiš is one of the top things to do in Croatia. Originating from a natural karst spring pool, the river combines adrenaline-pumping rapids with serene stretches against the breathtaking backdrop of limestone cliffs. With professional guides leading the way, you can navigate rapids like the 'Bride of the Wind' and 'the Gubavica waterfall,' followed by calm sections to enjoy the pristine nature.

Alternative destinations:

  • Zrmanja River Canyon: Located within the Velebit Nature Park, the Zrmanja River offers a thrilling ride through cascading waterfalls and emerald-green pools. Slicing through the limestone to create deep canyons like the Zrmanja River Canyon, the river has everything from calm waters to exhilarating rapids and waterfalls. A Zrmanja River rafting experience caters to various skill levels, making it suitable for beginners and seasoned adventurers.
  • The Mreznica River, Karlovac: Another beautiful spot for hitting the rapids is the Mreznica River in Karlovac in northern Croatian. Surrounded by lush forests, this beautiful river has over 90 cascading waterfalls. Be prepared for a fun ride where you can paddle over 26 waterfalls in one of Croatia’s deepest canyons!

Insider tip: Buy a good pair of aqua shoes for rafting to protect your feet if you need to walk on rough terrain. They are also more comfortable than wet trainers!

3. SIP SUPERB WINES IN ISTRIA

Hands toasting red wine in a vineyard.
Enjoy tasting wine straight from the vineyards in Istria.

Croatia boasts a rich winemaking tradition, and if you’re an oenophile or just love a good glass, exploring these diverse wine regions is a must! Start your wine-tasting journey in Istria, known for its robust reds and aromatic whites. The town of Motovun also offers a charming setting with numerous wineries to explore. Sip teran, malvasia, and Muscat wines that reflect Istria's unique terroir. Istria's gastronomic scene complements the wines, with truffle-infused dishes stealing the spotlight.

Alternative destinations:

  • The Pelješac Peninsula: The long finger-shaped peninsula north of Dubrovnik is another top wine region, renowned for plavac mali grapes and producing robust red wines. Head to the villages of Dingač and Postup on a wine tour, where family-owned vineyards cling to steep slopes overlooking the Adriatic.
  • Slavonia: If you prefer crisp whites to robust reds, make your way inland to Slavonia for a distinctive vinicultural experience. The region is famous for its graševina grapes, producing a diverse range of crisp and refreshing white wines, from dry to sweet. Enjoy wine tasting in the small village of Kutjevo and pair your wines with traditional Slavonian cuisine.

Insider tip: Skip the larger, well-known wineries and explore smaller, family-run establishments. You’ll enjoy a more intimate setting, personalized tours, and a chance to connect with passionate winemakers. Try Matošević Winery in Istria, Milos Winery on the Pelješac Peninsula, and Kutjevo in Slavonia.

4. GO HIKING IN PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK

Aerial view of waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Enjoy the view of several waterfalls lined up consecutively as you hike Plitvice Lakes National Park.

If there is a hiker’s paradise, it’s likely Plitvice Lakes National Park. One of the most popular destinations in Croatia, this UNESCO World Heritage site combines cascading waterfalls, clear interconnected lakes, and lush greenery. There are a variety of well-marked routes, from easy strolls along wooden walkways floating above the lake to more challenging hikes. Don't miss the Veliki Slap, the park's tallest waterfall.

Alternative destinations:

  • Krka National Park: Nestled along the Krka River in southern Croatia, Krka National Park is a hiking haven. Wooden boardwalks and numerous trails wind through dense forests, past lakes, and waterfalls. Hike to the Krka Monastery, built above ancient Roman catacombs, and visit the Visovac Monastery, located on an island in the middle of a lake.
  • Mljet National Park: This is a nature lover's paradise on the island of Mljet, with dense woodlands, two lakes, and several hiking trails. A flat 5.5-mile trail winds around the perimeter of the lakes with spectacular scenic views.

Insider tip: As two of the most popular places to visit in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park get extremely busy in summer, and also very hot! Visit in the autumn or the spring for less crowds and cooler hiking weather.

5. SCUBA DIVE AT AN UNDERWATER WINERY IN PELJEŠAC

Man diving towards a coral reef in the waters of Vis Island.
Discover the underwater world of Vis Island, embarking on a scuba diving expedition.

Located off Croatia’s Pelješac Peninsula, Edivo Vina Winery offers a wine-tasting experience like no other. Dive to retrieve your own underwater-aged, barnacle-encrusted bottle of wine stored upside-down in clay amphorae on the sea floor. Enjoy sampling your navis mysterium wine after your dive.

Alternative diving destinations:

  • Mali Lošinj: Another unique scuba-diving experience in Croatia is off the island of Lošinj. Don your scuba gear and dive just 12 meters below the surface near the town of Mali Lošinj to find an underwater museum! The archaeological park features a Venetian cannon, an exceptional amphora, and a replica Apoxyomenos statue that will one day form an artificial reef.
  • Lokrum Island: A short boat ride from Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island is a fantastic site where divers can explore the wreck of the SS Tomislav. Lying at a depth of 40 meters on the island’s southwest side, the wreck is almost entirely intact and home to abundant marine life, including dogfish, moray eels, scorpionfish, and giant tuna.

Insider tip: Don’t be fooled by Croatia’s warm waters. There can be icy currents deep down, so wear a thick enough wetsuit to avoid getting cold and spoiling your dive.

6. WALK THROUGH HISTORY ON THE ISLAND OF VIS

A world War II cave on Vis island, Croatia
Walk through the World War II hideout caves in Vis Island.

Take a walking tour through history on the island of Vis. Discover an intricate network of bunkers, caves, underground tunnels, and submarine hideouts constructed by the Yugoslav Army under Tito’s rule. Explore the abandoned military base, visit the missile base at Stupišće Point near Komiža, and learn more about Tito’s iron-fisted reign.

Alternative destinations:

  • The Ston Wall: Climb the Ston Wall, a 4.3-mile-long defensive wall on the Dalmatian coast built during the battle against the Ottoman Empire. The walls of Ston are twice as long as those in Dubrovnik and form the longest fortress system in Europe. They also feature 40 sturdy defensive towers and a vast hillside fortress standing sentry over the city.
  • Diocletian’s Palace: Exploring Diocletian’s Palace is one of the best things to do on your Split trip. Take a guided walking tour through the palace, built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the ancient architecture like the Peristyle, Diocletian's mausoleum (now the Cathedral of Saint Domnius), and the basement halls. Don’t miss the changing of the guard every day at noon.

Insider tip: The waters near Ston are renowned for oyster and mussel farming. After climbing the Ston Wall, head to the tiny village of Mali Ston for some of the best seafood in Croatia!

7. CYCLE THROUGH THE SAMOBOR AND ŽUMBERAK HILLS

A winding road and greenery in the Zumberak Hills.
Cycle through the peaceful winding trails of the Zumberak Hills.

Cycling in Croatia is extremely popular, and the Samobor and Žumberak Hills are among the top places to enjoy a cycling tour. This region is close to Zagreb and provides a mix of forested hills and meandering rivers. Cyclists can explore rural landscapes, picturesque villages, and historical sites throughout the region.

Alternative destinations:

  • Paklenica National Park: For those seeking more challenging mountain biking, Paklenica National Park offers rugged trails amidst impressive karst landscapes. The park is known for its canyons, peaks, and diverse flora and promises an exhilarating adventure.
  • Makarska Riviera: The coastal region of Makarska offers a blend of sea and mountain landscapes. Cyclists can enjoy flat coastal routes and more challenging mountain trails with panoramic views.

Insider tip: On your bike tour, try wild camping! You can camp on any small gravel beach without a permit, and it’s a fun and cheap way to spend the night.

8. EXPLORE THE PAKLENI ISLANDS ON A SEA KAYAKING ADVENTURE

Three kayaking boats spotted in Zadar.
Kayak with your partner in the never-ending sea water of Zadar.

Take to the water and paddle around the beautiful Pakleni Islands just off Hvar on a guided sea kayaking trip. Comprised of 16 islands, this captivating archipelago boasts spectacular beauty, pristine beaches, and many recreational activities. Paddle into Palmižana Bay on St. Klement and wander through the vibrant botanical gardens. Pop into the famous beach club Carpe Diem on Marinkovac island for a drink or visit the most beautiful naturist beach in Europe on Jerolim Island. A sea kayaking tour is one of the best things to do in Hvar.

Alternative destinations:

  • Dubrovnik: A kayaking tour around Dubrovnik offers a unique perspective of this beautiful coastal city. Paddle along the ancient city walls and admire the iconic, red-roofed architecture from the waters. Explore the hidden caves and coves around Lokrum Island and venture to the nearby fishing village of Zaton for lunch.
  • Brijuni National Park Kayak Tour: Discover the natural wonders of Brijuni National Park on a kayak tour. Paddle through the clear waters, explore the archipelago's diverse flora and fauna, and witness the beauty of this exquisite protected marine environment.

Insider tip: Book a table for lunch at Palmizana Meneghello for a seafood feast of local shrimp, sea truffles, and shellfish risotto. You can also spend the night in a private-owned family villa overlooking the bay.

9. DISCOVER CROATIA’S FAMOUS CAVES

Spiky formations in Upper Barac's Cave.
Admire the spiky rock formations of the Upper Barac's Cave.

Hop on a boat from Komiža on Vis and head to the tiny islet of Biševo to find the remarkable Blue Cave. One of ten caves on Biševo, the Blue Cave is the most spectacular and shouldn’t be missed. The sun filters through an underwater opening, illuminating the cave with a radiant blue light, while objects beneath the surface shimmer in hues of pink and silver.

Alternative destinations:

  • Modrič Cave, Zadar: This unique karst cave system features intricate tunnels, captivating stalactite formations, and hidden chambers. Explore narrow passages, marvel at subterranean galleries, and witness the mesmerizing play of light on ancient rock formations on a guided caving tour.
  • Barać Caves, Rakovica: Nestled near the town of Rakovica, these caves boast a fascinating underground world filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and fossil remains from the Pleistocene. Don’t miss the impressive Gorm Gallery and the Cathedral, two iconic features within the cave system.

Insider tip: The best time to visit the Blue Cave is between 11 am and 1 pm on a sunny, calm day when the strongest sun rays filter through the water. Be prepared for large crowds in summer, so booking a tour is the best bet to get a spot inside the cave.

10. SAMPLE CROATIA’S CUISINE ON A FOOD TOUR

A nicely platted black risotto.
Try the famous black risotto of Croatia.

One of the best things to do in Zagreb is to explore the capital city's culinary scene on a food tour. Visit the bustling Dolac Market, sample traditional Croatian dishes, and indulge in local specialties at various eateries.

Alternative destinations:

  • Istrian truffle experience: Head to Istria for a truffle-focused food tour. Traverse the picturesque countryside, join truffle hunts with trained dogs, and enjoy tastings of truffle-infused dishes, olive oils, and wines.
  • Croatian cooking class in Trogir: Enhance your culinary skills with a cooking class in Trogir. Learn to prepare authentic Croatian dishes using fresh, local ingredients and traditional recipes, and gain a deeper understanding of Croatian gastronomy.

Insider tip: Always ask the waiter if there are any specials. They aren’t always on the menu and are often the most delicious dishes!

Whether you’re a fitness fanatic, fun-seeking adventurer, or a foodie, you’ll find many incredible things to do in Croatia. From kayaking around Dubrovnik and hiking in Krka to caving in Vis and sipping wines in Istria, Croatia promises an action-packed experience of a lifetime!

To experience these incredible destinations in Croatia and more, contact one of our experts, who will help you with a customized trip to Croatia. For more information, go through our Croatia travel guide.

Published by Supriya Rayamajhi, updated on June 5, 2024
Plan a trip to CroatiaWe offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to Croatia.
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