Croatia north to south


I have to say, Croatia is quite a treasure, and two months on the roads weren’t enough to see it all. But see below the gems I had the chance to explore, and I hope you’ll like them as much as I did.


Our trip started in the capital city of Croatia, which has quite a lot to offer. Getting lost in the city center is surely my favourite way to explore. You will come across

  • Beautiful buildings: St. Mark’s Church, Zagreb’s Cathedrale, Zagreb’s National Theater
  • Pretty paved streets: Strossmayer Promenade, Kaptol
  • Historic locations: Grič-Tunnel, Stone Gate
  • Nature: Zrinjevac Park, Zagreb botanical garden

Have a stop at the Museum of Broken relationships displaying the stories of ex-lovers and items related to their failed relationships. I swear it is not depressing!

The surroundings of Zagreb also have a lot to offer:

  • Sljeme: catch a cable car or drive up the hill to enjoy a magnificent view over Zagreb. It is rather impressive at night, when all the city lights are shining in the dark.
  • Mirogoj Cemetery: it can sound a little sad to visit a cemetery, but its architecture, silence and history worth the detour.
  • Samabor: delightful town only about 25 km from the centre of Zagreb. This is a great place to take a day trip. Seat at the terrace of Slastičarnica U prolazu on King Tomislav Square and try the famous Kremšnita cream cake. Go for a stroll in the surrounding parks and walk to the Samabor Castle.
  • Trakoscan castle: park at one of the entries of the park and walk by the lakes and through the forest to get to this castle. There is possibility to visit the museum so make sure to check opening hours.


Istria is home to magnificent medieval towns, and I strongly advice to visit Grožnjan, Motovun and Hum (Guinness record for the smallest town in the world).

On the road, you should take a stop at Kotli for a swim in turquoise water natural pools. For a typical experience, go truffle tasting and hunting at Karlić Tartufi in beautiful surrounding accompanied by charming guides and sweet dogs.

On the coast, two stunning cities await for you.


This romantic town is built up on a hill surrounded by the sea. After a walk around the harbour, go through Balbi’s Arch to make your way into the walls of Rovinj. Get lost in the many paved streets while walking up to St. Euphemia Church, climb the bell tower and get a wonderful view from the top.



The architecture of this city will charm you. Visit the Amphitheater and take a walk through the old town, stop by Augustus Temple, Trg Forum and Triumphal Arch of Sergius.

Now we start heading south, and on the way you will find the inevitable Plitvice Lakes. Yes, extremely famous and touristy but a must see. Head there early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowd. Note that the further you walk, the less people you will see on the tracks. Don’t forget to prebook your tickets. I recommend parking on park 1 and take the itinerary C (for exploring the whole park and enjoying a boat ride, 4-6 hours – 8km)

Nearby, a much less touristy place is to be discovered: Barać Caves. Take a guided underground cave tour to learn about stalagmites, stalactites, Pleistocene fossil remains, endemic cave fauna and archaeological finds.

It’s time to get to the islands of the Adriatic Sea. They are many to choose from, here is the ones I had the chance to discover.

Dugi Otok

Catch a ferry from Zadar and let’s your journey to Long Island begin. Must see of this island includes a hike to Dragon’s Eye Sea Cave, a kayak journey to Golubinka Sea Cave and a swim next to Veli Rat lighthouse. Plan a day to go hiking in Telašćica Nature Park where you can get a stunning view over steep cliffs, encounter some donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary and find many swimming spots. You can also book a day trip to Kornati National Park to explore this protected area of the island by boat.

For fresh fish and local specialities, I recommend Buffet GUC in Zaglav or Restoran Roko in Žman.


More south is the fantastic island of Korčula, accessible by a short ferry ride. The old town of Korčula has enough wonders to keep you busy for a while. One tip is to wake up at dawn to get the paved streets all to yourself. Walk through the Town Gate to enter the in walls of the town and start getting lost around the narrow paved streets. Make sure to get to Katedrala sv. Marko and walk up the clock tower to have a breath-taking view over the place. You can also drive across the island to Vela Luka, visit Vela Spila and the Archeologic museum to learn more about the story of the island. Walk around the harbour and stop by Luka Mozaika, the world’s longest mosaic. On the road, take the chance to stop to a few beaches, there is plenty to choose from but most locals recommended Žitna Bay.

On the way in between this two islands, you can stop in Ston for lunch and if you are brave, walk up the city walls (40 towers, 5 forts, 5,5 kms and a sh*t load of steps).


Our last but not least stop is Mljet National Park. Prepare yourself for a day hike, a few boat rides and a lot of swimming. You can start the journey in Pristaniste ferry port on Veliko Jezeroand and catch the water taxi to Mali Most. You can then hike to Lastova Bay and back to catch the water taxi to Sveta Marija, a small island with a beautiful church.

Another must see of the island is the Odysseus Cave and plaža Limuni.

For this trip, remember your snorkeling goggles and water shoes (most beaches are rocky). If you are also looking to visit Split, Dubrovnik and Hvar, you can read the “Croatia by the sea” article.

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Adventure by Emily – 2022 ©