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What to see and do in Croatia - historical landmarks, cultural sights and iconic attractions

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With seven recognized historical UNESCO World Heritage Sights, an extremely tumultuous past and a history dating back to the 7th century, the cultural offerings in Croatia are endless. From beautiful beaches to historical masterpieces, phenomenal restaurants and rugged islands, this tiny part of the Mediterranean may be small but it is certainly the ideal destination for an unforgettable holiday.

Sima Katic

My Destination local expert on

Croatia

Museums

 

When it comes to museums, Zagreb storms ahead. One of the most significant cultural institutions is the Mimara Museum, a beautiful treasure trove home to nearly 4,000 artefacts from various periods in history. Family-friendly museums include the Ethnographic Museum, the Technical Museum featuring ancient cars, a mine tour and numerous unique artifacts and the Zagreb City Museum. For something a little different, the Museum of Broken Relationships has now made Zagreb its home, opening its doors to the quirky and curious in 2010. The exhibits are all artefacts collected from real-life break-ups, love and love lost. From discarded wedding albums to devastating love letters, unusual pieces combine together to tell the tale of numerous dramatic, comical and tragic love stories.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

 

Croatia is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the town of Trogir being one of them. Here Baroque, Renaissance and Roman influences combine to create a town that has captured a slice of history within its ancient squares, cobbled streets and striking architecture. The Old City of Dubrovnik is another architectural gem, the reconstructed city and ancient city walls now an iconic emblem of the country. Over in Porec the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasia Basilica presents more architectural delights while the Cathedral of Sv. Jakov will win you over with its fascinating sculptures. Not to be outdone, Split offers up the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian. For nature lovers, the Starigrad Plain on Hvar and the Plitvice Lakes will get your cameras clicking.

 

Island Hopping

 

With so many islands in Croatia’s crown a visit has to include some time spent by the sea, exploring these jewels of the Adriatic. A popular way to do this is either charter a yacht or join a flotilla with various companies operating from Split, Zadar, Zagreb and Meuter. Yaching allows you to access some of the most remote islands, swim in sparkling water with no one else around and dine each night in a different island.

 

Nightlife

 

Whether island-hopping during the vivacious summer months, pub crawling in Dubrovnik or dancing until the sun comes up in Zadar, Split, Rijeka, Osijek or Zagreb, Croatians love to party. Posh and trendy lounge lovers will love the atmosphere of Jimmy Woo or Khala in Zagreb while rockers will feel at home in the cult club Rokatansky in Makarska. Those looking to party until the sun comes out should head to O’Hara, Tropic or Vanilla in Split while the coastal town of Zrce, has been compared to the likes of Ibiza. Kalypso, Aquarius and Papaya are just a few of the clubs which will be pumping music and full of party enthusiasts day or night. International DJ’s such as David Morales, and David Ghetta have graced the stages of these incredible beachside locations. Hvar has become a top party destination in recent years as young yachters who island hop by day live it up at night. Veneranda, Carpe Diem, Hula Hula and the Pink Champagne room are a few of the island’s hotspots.

 

Concerts and festivals

 

Croatia is making a name for itself with the never ending list of live concerts taking place, especially during the summer months. Tvornica Culture Club in Zagreb hosts a stream of live events while international superstars such as Beyoncé, Bono, Robbie Williams and Madonna, have all appeared live in concert in Croatia. Before you pack your bags, be sure to check out what is taking place during your stay, perhaps a street festival like Cest is Da Best or a musical extravaganza such as In Music Festival, Garden Festival, Electric Elephant, Terraneo or Ultra Europe will be something you’ll be eager not to miss out on.