Mediterranean Croatia possesses a staggering collection of natural wonders and an amazing mixture of cultural treats. It’s even known for having the best Christmas market in Europe every year (in Zagreb).
Still, the most popular tourist destination is Dubrovnik, a walled city that juts into the deep blue Adriatic waters. Nearby Cavtat has become a popular holiday destination for Europeans who want to enjoy a bit of Croatian ambiance without the crowds.
Farther up the coast, Split’s old town lies inside the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. A short ferry ride away, the Venetian-era island of Hvar boasts some of the country’s top hotels and best seafood restaurants, as well as a pretty fishing harbor, 16th-century cathedral and a hilltop fortress. Travelers come here to enjoy its beaches and water sports.
If you prefer to spend your time in nature, the forested Plitvice National Park is Croatia’s most visited inland attraction, thanks to its extensive web of hiking trails, emerald-green lakes and thundering waterfalls.
Every region of Croatia has its own distinct culinary tradition. The seafood-heavy Dalmatian peninsula enjoys plenty of dishes that were influenced by Italy, whereas you’ll find Slavic, Hungarian and Turkish flavors further north. Meat and game is popular, and dishes are frequently flavored with spices such as black pepper, paprika, and garlic.
Croatia’s most iconic memento is probably the Licitar Heart, a shiny red heart made from dough and considered a symbol of friendship and luck. They can be found all over the country, along with another, better-known souvenir, the necktie. Yes, the tie is a Croatian invention!