From Capital to Coast, These Are The Best Things to Do in Croatia
Secret coves, majestic forts, and a museum dedicated to break-ups – let’s discover Croatia.
Croatia is one of those rare destinations that can satisfy almost everyone; beach days for the kids, city breaks for culture vultures, and mountain hikes for the adventurous amongst you. There’s no end of things to do in Croatia, so we at Plum Guide are here to give you a hand by narrowing it down to the very best activities for a holiday to remember – dream home included. You’re welcome.
For too long the Greek isles have dominated destination bucket lists; in recent years those in the know have started quietly drifting towards the sea, sand and (relative) seclusion of Croatia’s coastline. Those who dream of days spent at the prow of a boat would struggle to find better things to do in Croatia than sailing from one sandy bay to the other, exploring the vast range of landscapes and lighthouses that make up Croatia’s islands. There’s over a thousand of them, but some of our favourites are Rab with its pine forests, stone-steepled churches and nudist history (even former English king Edward VIII enjoyed a skinny-dip here); the glamorous Brač, with its world-famous white stone, steep cliffs and sandy bays; and Lošinj, where mysterious woodlands give way to tiny secret bays perfect for a peaceful picnic. If you’re not much of a seafarer, but want to get close to these aquamarine Adriatic waters all the same, we recommend a stay in Plum’s oh-so-sweet beachside home Honeycake, on the beautiful Čikat Bay.
Spend a weekend in the capital
When it comes to where to stay in Croatia, you could do worse than the capital. It may be at the end of the alphabet, but Zagreb should be top of your list if you’re looking for a city break to a capital that’s just as beautiful as Paris without the crowds. Here the streets are paved with cobbles, roofs are covered in pretty coloured tiles, and quaint squares are crowded with alfresco cafes where you can stop and enjoy a cold Croatian beer while watching the residents go about their business. A special occasion calls for a meal at the Michelin-starred Noel, where seasonal ingredients are given centre stage in elegant, refined dishes; or for a hearty dinner of traditional Zagorje soup and pork tenderloin, head to the rustic basement of Lanterna, where the chefs shop daily for ingredients at the nearby Dolac Market. Catch an exhibition at the Croatian Association of Artists, skip between the Old and New Towns on the hillside funicular railway, and check out the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships – though we’d recommend giving this one a miss if you’ve had an argument with your travelling partner over breakfast, lest they get any ideas.
Visit the historic city of Dubrovnik
“Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik'' may originally be the words of playwright George Bernard Shaw, but they’ve been echoed by basically everyone who’s been to this spectacular fortress city. If you’re looking for the most traditional things to do in Croatia, Dubrovnik should be your first port of call. Dine on seafood straight from the harbour at the authentic restaurant Proto, buy a delectable range of soaps, marinades, and other delights at olive oil emporium Uje, and marvel at the delicate folk embroidery and traditional beaded jewellery at Kokula Art and Craft Shop. A trip to the top of the Srđ hill is a tourist classic for a reason; the view here is rivalled only by that of Plum Guide’s House of Sanjarenja, where the terraced pool means you can gaze over those orange-tiled roofs and ancient walls as you take a dip. The walls are undoubtedly the most iconic image of the city, captured in films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and TV series Game of Thrones (keep an eye out for tour groups retracing Cersei’s steps) but we think its beauty is best appreciated in person as the sky turns pink with the setting sun.
Explore the outdoors
Part of Croatia’s draw for travellers is the diversity of its landscape; if you’re seeking flat plains, vertiginous mountains, thick woodlands, or sandy beaches, you’ll find them here. Fittingly, one of the best things to do in Croatia is to strap on your walking boots, and get ready for an adventure. Our favourite place to roam is the Učka Nature Park – here, brown bears wander through beech forests, golden eagles soar through azure skies, and the mountains offer a view all the way over to the Italian alps. However, we must admit that we’re not exactly camping pros; if, like us, you’d rather relax on a terrace than wrangle tent poles, we recommend finding somewhere to stay with four walls to keep out the wilderness. Our home critics at Plum have managed to track down the perfect place - this charming modern villa is on the outskirts of the park, within driving distance to the coast, and even has a hot tub to soak those sore muscles after a long hike.
Lounge on the beach
Sailing between islands, rambling through forests, exploring narrow city streets – it all sounds charming, but perhaps just a bit too much effort? There are countless things to do in Croatia, but sometimes you just want to do nothing at all. Pack a bikini or your swimming togs and a good book and head to one of the country’s many scenic beaches for what we in the business call a proper holiday. We’re connoisseurs of comfort, so you can trust us when we say that this Plum home is the perfect place for the rejuvenating stay we know you deserve; if the sauna and infinity pool don’t entice you, the fact that the beach is just steps from your home definitely will.