Croatia is one of those hidden gems within Europe that is somewhat underrated by many travellers. It’s got everything you could possibly want from a backpacking destination.
This includes ancient palaces, national parks, cathedrals, art museums, natural scenery and beaches.
In Croatia, if you know of all the cool places to go, then you can turn your dream holiday into a paradise.
Read on to find out about some of the most awesome places to visit in Croatia!
Dragon’s Eye Lake
One of the most striking places in the USA is Dragon's Eye Lake. It is a 10,000-sq-metre oval encircled by 4m- to 24m-high cliffs and it is connected to the ocean by underwater channels.
An unusual feature of this lake is its base of hydrogen sulphide. Although it is safe to swim in, the water gets hotter the deeper you dive.
Another unusual feature of this lake is the fact that it occasionally bubbles as the salts and hot water bubble to the surface.
However, the lake got its name from one of the many legends that have sprung up around it. Legend has it that a dragon named Murin, the illegitimate son of Hera and Poseidon, who ruled Heraclea, lives there. He protected the islanders as long as they gave him their most beautiful girl as his wife every year on the longest day of the year.
Zlatni Rat Beach
This has got to be one of the most photogenic beaches in Croatia! Zlatni Rat Beach is based upon an unusual landform known as a "spit". This beach is made up of fine pebbles and runs 500 meters perpendicular to the coast. Depending on local winds and currents, it moves and changes depending upon the season.
The sea is warm enough to swim in from June through September and it is surrounded by a cluster of pine trees offering shade. Other attractions on the beach include water sports such as paddle boats, sea kayaks, and banana boat rides.
Daksa Island has a little bit of a dark history, and for that reason, it has been somewhat abandoned. After World War II dozens of accused Nazi sympathizers were massacred there after the war.
However, the guilt or innocence of the deceased victims was never determined, nor were the executioners ever investigated or processed. It is the perfect place to perch on a rock and look over the vast sea and landscapes which are particularly striking on these islands.
Mljet National Park
Mljet National Park is comprised of two interconnected turquoise saltwater lakes and surrounded by dense exotic woodland. It is the perfect place to go on nature trails, explore the lakes, or go kayaking.
Right in the middle of the large Lake, there is a small island/islet Melita (Sveta Marija) with a large building of the former Benedictine monastery.
UNESCO Protected SPAR Supermarket
Have you ever been to a UNESCO protected supermarket? The UNESCO protection is due to the fact that the supermarket is located inside of a medieval building. The building in question is the home of a former noble family. The building is believed to have been built in the 13th century and reconstructed 200 years later by the esteemed Venetian-Dalmatian architect Juraj Dalmatinac.
While the supermarket is nothing special, the building in which it is housed is an architectural masterpiece. Besides, if you’re a shopaholic, then you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the UNESCO Protected SPAR Supermarket.
If you love sunshine, then you really can’t afford to miss Hvar Town. Hvar town is known to be the sunniest place in Croatia and it is also one of the most hotspots in the blissful Dalmatian islands. Hvar is one of the most trendy and sophisticated spots in Croatia, with its fair share of luxury hotels, Michelin star restaurants and exquisite architecture. This has made Hvar incredibly popular among celebrities and yachters.
The town is a car-free zone and is almost like a monument itself. Here you have high-profile shops interspersed with cathedrals, fishing harbours and fortresses.
On the outskirts, tourists are rewarded with sights of vast fields of lavender, ancient olive trees and vineyards.
Croatia is full of surprises. It doesn’t seem to matter which part of Croatia you turn to, there is always something different to see. Whether you wind up sunbathing on the beach, admiring the architecture or visiting ancient fortresses and monuments, it is pretty much guaranteed that you’ll never be bored in Croatia!
Croatia in many ways is still an understated destination tucked away in the foothills of Eastern Europe, and it’s got the weight of hundreds of years of history, spirituality and ancient culture behind it.
So if you ever fancy an adventure in a far-flung place in Eastern Europe, be sure to put Croatia on your bucket list.
Janine Griffiths | Journalist
Janine is a copywriter and marketing strategist from England, with a background in journalism. She has represented many major brands throughout her career such as HSBC, Prudential and BIM. She runs a popular travel blog called janinesjourneys.com and has made has previously worked for major regional newspapers in the UK such as the Guardian, Yorkshire Post and the Shropshire Star