SUMMARY: An underrated port city on the Dalmatian coast. It is an eclectic mix of modern and ancient architecture and is in an ideal location with both national parks and party islands nearby. Don’t miss the city gate, Zadar Cathedral and the Church of St Donatus.
TOP TIP: The Sea Organ, an art installation by architect Nikola Bašić, is unmissable. It is an immersive experience which generates music using the waves. Combine this with watching the sunset made famous by Hitchcock.
EAT: Bruschetta for an interesting twist on classic dishes, see below for my personal favourite, the squid ink gnocchi.
UNESCO: ✖ (It is, however, on the Tentative List and is being considered for the future.)
SUMMARY: Home to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, this area is a must visit for those wanting to explore the more scenic side of Croatia rather than just hit up the festivals and parties.
TOP TIP: Unless you’re coming here for a quick day trip, then it is definitely in your best interest to rent a car to make life a lot easier when getting around.
EAT: There really isn’t much choice here, so if you’re more of a foodie, then head to Bistro & Cafe Plum located in the Hotel Degenija.
SUMMARY: A medieval city so perfectly intact that the majority of GoT is filmed here. Walk down the Stradun (the main street in the Old Town) and then climb and explore the walls which are considered one of the greatest fortification systems of the Middle Ages.
TOP TIP: Go in spring to avoid the tourists who take over the city during the summer. Head to Lokrum, a nearby island which can be easily reached by boats which depart from the harbour. It is home to historic buildings, gardens and a small GoT museum with a replica of the iron throne.
EAT: Head to Nishta for vegetarian and vegan dishes which will impress the most faithful of carnivores.
SUMMARY: The capital city of Croatia, but not overwhelming in the way that other cities can be. Instead, it is charming, cultural and easily explored by foot in a couple of days. It is often neglected by those who prefer to go straight to the coast, but it definitely shouldn’t be skipped. Highlights include the Cathedral, St Mark’s Church and a string of quirky museums.
TOP TIP: Laugh and cry in The Museum of Broken Relationships, the first of its kind, where anyone can donate items from their past. A touching, poignant and hopeful collection.
EAT: Hip restaurant Mundoaka Street Food for an unpretentious and varied menu.
SUMMARY: My favourite place in Croatia (so far). Rovinj has a very Venetian feel with its romantic cobbled streets and pastel colours. Not too busy, more of a idyllic, sleepy seaside town.
TOP TIP: It is fairly small so aimlessly wander and explore for half a day before sipping a coffee by the harbour and watching the world go by.
EAT: Giannino Rovinj for great seafood, and desserts to die for.